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Friday morning look around the NHL

Happy Friday. I guess the best thing about the NHL's second round is that it's almost over. Sweep, sweep, sweep (?) and five games (?). Not exactly the drama the league was looking for, eh?

*Terry Pegula watched Tim Connolly get crushed into the boards from behind. He saw Rob Niedermayer unsuspectingly accept a blow that sent him into the boards.

The Buffalo Sabres' owner began thinking of a rule change.

"I suggested some rearview mirrors for our headgear next year," Pegula said, "but I don't know if that's legal in the league."

Mirrors definitely won't be on the agenda of the NHL's board of governors or the competition committee. However, Pegula and Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier do have a few legitimate ideas they'd like the league to examine.

*Bucky Gleason writes that Pegula eliminating financial restrictions in pursuit of a Stanley Cup goes far beyond broadening the Sabres' options for acquiring players or expanding scouting. It also can be extended to keeping players in the system in an effort to help them manage the salary cap while improving their depth.

Take defenseman Shaone Morrisonn, for example. He isn't likely to crack the lineup next season but has one year and $2.075 million on his contract. One option would be buying out his deal to create more cap space, but they would have more salary room if they stashed him in Portland. Morrisonn would get the playing time he needed, offer guidance to younger players and still be available if they ran into injuries.

*Ryan Kesler seems to be trying to carry the Vancouver Canucks into the Western Conference finals almost singlehandedly.

Kesler broke a tie with a power-play goal at 7:28 of the third period for his second straight game-winner, and the Canucks beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 Thursday night to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

*No NHL team knows better than the Philadelphia Flyers how hard it is to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven playoff series.

Philadelphia beat Boston four straight times in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals to eliminate the Bruins en route to the Stanley Cup finals. This year, the Flyers are in a hole again, but at least they know the deficit isn't insurmountable.

The Bruins put the Flyers on the brink of elimination with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night that gave Boston a chance to complete the sweep in Game Four tonight.

*While Ovechkin was Washington's best player in the second-round loss to Tampa Bay, he did not dominate games nearly as often as has come to be expected from one of the best players in the world.

Throughout this season when Ovechkin's lack of offensive production was brought up, the response from members of the organization was that it was related to the team's attempt to switch to a more defensive-oriented system. When the team met with the media for the final time this season Thursday, Ovechkin's injuries were the response to those questions.

*Canada and the United States are playing right now in the world championships. It's scoreless after one period. Paul Gaustad plays for the Americans, while Marc-Andre Gragnani is playing for Canada.

---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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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