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Thursday morning look around the NHL

Happy Thursday. It's not raining yet -- but it will be soon. Since Donn Esmonde wrote we should give thanks for our weather, it's rained in 12 of the 18 days. Coincidence?

While waiting to pull out the umbrella and get the message that Little League is canceled, here's your look around the NHL ...

*Brayden McNabb is following the Tyler Myers career path. He and the Buffalo Sabres can only hope it continues.

McNabb, one of the Sabres' top defensive prospects, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract Wednesday. The signing comes days after he helped lead his junior team to the Western Hockey League championship and into the Memorial Cup.

The Sabres signed Myers after identical feats two years ago.

*Bucky Gleason writes the affiliation between Buffalo and Rochester made sense for nearly three decades and makes sense now. Their relationship is an easy sell and created a broader fan base in both cities. The Amerks have teetered on instability since the Sabres dropped them three years ago. Reuniting them should make both franchises stronger.

*Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored the go-ahead goal on a rare breakaway with eight minutes left in the second period and answered a challenge to fight by pounding on San Jose forward Patrick Marleau six minutes later.

That angered Ben Eager, which led to a run of undisciplined third-period penalties that the Canucks quickly turned into a 7-3 rout of the Sharks on Wednesday night. Vancouver leads 2-0 in the Western Conference finals that now shifts to San Jose for the next two games. Game Three is Friday.

*Boston and Tampa Bay have played a pair of surprisingly high scoring games and the trend might continue the way the Eastern Conference finals is going.

The series is tied 1-1 and the teams have combined for 18 goals. Game Three is tonight in Tampa and if scoring continues to come from unexpected players the big numbers will continue.

*Atlanta Thrashers fans are planning to take advantage of possibly their last opportunity to demonstrate support for the NHL to remain in Atlanta. Thrashers fans are planning a rally before the team's annual select-a-seat event for season-ticket holders at Philips Arena on Saturday.

*With the Thrashers being pursued by an ownership group in Winnipeg, Manitoba taxpayers won't subsidize an NHL team in the city, but the province will consider everything else in its power to score the return of professional hockey, Premier Greg Selinger said Wednesday.

*Edmonton city council has approved an agreement framework with the Katz Group to build a new downtown arena. The city says the deal will keep the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL in the city for 35 years. The arena will cost $450 million, with the city providing $125 million, the Katz Group paying $100 million and $125 million coming from a user-paid facility fee.

(As someone who has yet to see an Edmonton media relations worker, I hope some of that money is used to hire at least one person to work in the arena's new press box.)

*The National Hockey League has been honored as the Sports League of the Year by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

*The search for the next coach of the Dallas Stars has been slow going so far, but it should start to gain a little steam soon. So far there have been no formal interviews, writes ESPNDallas.com, but General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk has had some contact "in one way or another" with potential candidates. Among that group appear to be Montreal assistant coach Kirk Muller, Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, Dallas associate coach Willie Desjardins and former Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock, who just wrapped up a stint as head coach of Team Canada at the World Championship in Slovakia.

---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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