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Thursday morning look around the NHL

Hey there. Happy Thursday.

*Raffi Torres ended an ugly Stanley Cup finals opener with a dramatic flash of beauty for the Vancouver Canucks. The former Buffalo Sabres forward scored on an exceptional pass from Jannik Hansen with 18.5 seconds to play, and the Canucks stunned the Boston Bruins, 1-0, Wednesday night. Game Two is Saturday night.

Roberto Luongo made 36 saves in his third shutout of the postseason for the Canucks, but Boston's Tim Thomas matched him until Torres - the only Vancouver player with previous finals experience - slipped through the Bruins' defense for an eye-popping goal that launched a wild celebration at Rogers Arena.

*Last season's Stanley Cup finals were a goal-scoring bonanza. If the Canucks' series-opening win was any indication, this year's finals will be a goaltending duel. Luongo made 36 saves for Vancouver, and Thomas stopped the first 33 he saw.

*Canucks forward Alex Burrows could face discipline from the NHL after he appeared to bite the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron during Game One.

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*Dan Hamhuis delivered the most memorable hit during Game One, NHL.com writes, Unfortunately for him, it also marked the end of his night.

The Canucks' defenseman unleashed a perfect hip check on the Bruins' Milan Lucic as the hulking forward glided down the right wing past his own bench. Hamhuis sent Lucic skates over helmet, setting off a scrum that resulted in Boston's David Krejci delivering a cross check to Hamhuis that gave the Canucks a power play.

However, Hamhuis didn't get up from the ice after the hit. He eventually got to his skates, went to the locker room with 16 minutes left in the second period and did not return.

*Before the Buffalo Sabres can hire a minor-league coach, they need to determine where their minor-league team will play. The decision between Rochester and Portland will be coming soon.

General Manager Darcy Regier said Wednesday that based on conversations within the organization, he hopes an affiliate announcement will be made over the next few weeks. It's possible the minor-league coach could come from the Sabres' bench. Regier plans to meet with associate coach Brian McCutcheon and assistant James Patrick to gauge their interest.

*Great sports town, Atlanta, and it could have grown into a capable hockey town. We'll never know now that the Thrashers are headed for Winnipeg. The likelihood of Atlanta getting another crack at the NHL now rests somewhere between "when pigs fly" and "a snowball's chance in hell."

"After this, it's very hard to see the [NHL] returning to Atlanta," Rick Dudley, the Thrashers GM, told Bucky Gleason by phone Wednesday. "I think it could have worked there. It's a good sports market. It's a huge market. There were a lot of people there with enthusiasm. Given time, we would have put something in there for them to get excited about."

*The owners in Winnipeg announced they sold 1,870 season-ticket packages Wednesday.

*Colin Campbell is done serving as the NHL's chief disciplinarian, handing off one of the most thankless tasks in hockey to Brendan Shanahan. "It's a job that needs fresh eyes, a fresh look," Campbell said. "After 13 years of this, it's an all-encompassing job. You want to do the right thing for the players, for the game."

*Bucky will answer your questions directly into the camera at 10:30 a.m. in addition to his traditional Inside the NHL live chat, which begins at 10 a.m. Joining Gleason in the premiere of "Bucky Live" is me.

(I'll try not to swear, though if Regier and his actions Wednesday come up, I make no promises.)

---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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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