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Wednesday morning look around the NHL

Happy Wednesday. It's going to be sunny and hot, thankfully. If you complained about the spring rain or the long, dreary winter, no complaining today.

*Bucky Gleason writes the shenanigans in the first three games of the Stanley Cup final, after what many expected would be a tight and entertaining series between two teams with distinctly different styles, were an embarrassment to a league already fighting credibility issues. Is this the NHL or the WWE?

So far, the finals haven't been about hockey. It's been about biting, head shots, street justice and everything else wrong with hockey. Is that what the league is selling?

*Michael Ryder and Keith Ballard both realize the Stanley Cup finals have reached a tipping point, and they've each got a chance to push the series in their club's favor.

Either Ryder's Boston Bruins will ride the momentum from their blowout victory and even the finals in Game Four tonight, or Ballard's Vancouver Canucks will rediscover their dominance with a third victory, earning the chance to parade the Stanley Cup around their own rink two days later.

"It's a big game, a big point in the series," said Ballard, a healthy scratch in the first three games. "Both teams know what's at stake in this one."

*Even without an owner and with the NHL running the team, the Phoenix Coyotes were hopeful of re-signing free agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. When it became clear they weren't going to be able to reach a deal, the Coyotes backed out and decided to let Philadelphia give it a go.

Frustrated with what it felt was a high asking price, Phoenix sent Bryzgalov's negotiating rights to the Flyers on Tuesday for a third-round draft pick in 2012, forward Matt Clackson and future considerations.

The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that four years ago, the Flyers had success in dealing for pending free agents, signing Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. However, they were unable to sign Evgeni Nabokov and Dan Hamhuis after acquiring their rights last year, though they did move Hamhuis' rights to Pittsburgh for a third-round pick in this year's draft.

*The Ottawa Citizen writes it wasn’t what he wanted to do and he spent months in a rehab program trying to avoid it. But in the end, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson decided that if he wanted to continue playing in the NHL, he’d have to have surgery to correct a nerve problem in his lower back.

General manager Bryan Murray delivered the news on Tuesday afternoon: Alfredsson will have surgery on Friday. The recovery time will four to six weeks, which will take him to the beginning of August, about six weeks before the beginning of training camp.

*Ryan Keller scored a power-play goal at 9:09 in the third period and Robin Lehner made 33 saves as the Binghamton Senators defeated the Houston Aeros 3-2 Tuesday night to win the American Hockey League's Calder Cup championship.

The success of Binghamton, which eliminated the Portland Pirates in the second round, has delayed Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray's decision on hiring a new coach, writes the Ottawa Citizen.

*The Carolina Hurricanes have named former captain Rod Brind'Amour and former NHL head coach Dave Lewis to their coaching staff.

*The Chicago Cubs drafted the son of the Great One. Trevor Gretzky, the son of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, was selected in the seventh round by Chicago. The younger Gretzky knocks in runs -- not goals -- as a left-handed power-hitting California high school first baseman.

---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 |