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Cinco de Mayo papers from the NHL

Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all. If you make it to Cozumel on Elmwood, have one or two (dozen) for me. Till then, a look around the NHL:

*Mike Grier's teammates have had their say. Now it's up to the right winger and the Sabres on whether he'll be back next season.

"He's one of the nicest guys I've ever played with, one of the best leaders I've ever played with," said Ennis, trying to keep his composure while staring straight ahead, refusing to glimpse at Grier. "I hope he keeps playing. I hope he comes back."

Those sentiments echoed throughout the Sabres' dressing room when the players cleaned out their lockers last week.

"I hope he continues to play," left wing Thomas Vanek said. "Mike sat right next to me my first year, and he helped me out a ton. I hope he plays and continues because he's good for this room. He's good not just for young guys but with everyone. He's just a good person, good leader, and he's obviously still a good player."

*With time winding down, chants of "sweep, sweep, sweep" reverberated through the building, and the Tampa Bay Lightning kept pushing the Washington Capitals - all the way out of the NHL playoffs.

Sean Bergenheim scored two goals and Dwayne Roloson stopped 33 shots, helping the streaking Lightning complete a series sweep of the top-seeded Capitals with a 5-3 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

"We're definitely happy, but we're not popping champagne or anything," Lightning forward Ryan Malone said.

Meanwhile, there was no comeback for Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals - only more postseason disappointment.

"It was a tough year - we went through peaks and valleys - but I just thought if we persevered that something good was going to happen," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.

ESPN's Scott Burnside writes: As we watched the Washington Capitals shake hands at center ice of the St. Pete Times Forum, heads bowed, shoulders drooping, we were struck by one thought: what a waste.

*The Detroit Red Wings played their best game of the Western Conference semifinals. It wasn't good enough.

Devin Setoguchi scored his third goal of the game 9:21 into overtime, giving the San Jose Sharks a 4-3 win over Detroit and a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night.

*The Philadelphia Flyers know they can do it. They just can't afford to think about it - not yet, at least.

For the second consecutive year, the Flyers have spotted Boston a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals. Last year, Philadelphia won the next four games to eliminate the Bruins on its way to the Stanley Cup finals.

"We can't look at trying to win four in a row. We're not going to win four games on Friday," Flyers forward Danny Briere said on Wednesday after Boston won 5-1 in Game Three. "We have to win one game and go from there. That's all we should be focusing on."

*The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that more than two months after declaring a “sense of urgency” to find a buyer or investors who would keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, part-owner Michael Gearon Jr. reports limited progress.

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Thrashers and their fan base, and in the rumor-rich NHL, speculation has gained momentum recently that the team’s fate could be tied to how another franchise resolves its own muddled ownership situation.

The Phoenix Coyotes are expected to be sold soon, either to a Chicago businessman who would keep them in Arizona or to a Winnipeg, Manitoba, group that would move them to the Canadian city. If the Coyotes remain in Glendale, Ariz., Winnipeg reportedly would pursue another team — possibly the Thrashers, whose ownership group, Atlanta Spirit, wants to shed the franchise’s financial losses.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |