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Wednesday morning look around the NHL

Happy Wednesday. It's a busy day in the NHL, especially for this time of year, so here's your look at the happenings ...

*Now that Swedish superstars Daniel and Henrik Sedin are finally close enough to touch the Stanley Cup, how do they get it away from hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara and the bruising Bruins?

"We've had a lot of challenges along the way to get here, but he's the biggest one yet - literally, I guess," said Henrik Sedin, last season's NHL MVP. "It's going to be exciting to see what happens, because we haven't played each other enough to know those guys very well. It's unpredictable."

The only sure bet is that one championship drought will end for one long-suffering hockey-loving city after the Canucks face Boston in the Stanley Cup finals, starting in Game One tonight in Vancouver.

*The Buffalo Sabres felt they caught a break last year when no NHL team decided to hire Kevin Dineen. It meant they had him around to coach their minor-leaguers for one more season.

It appears last season was the last one. The Florida Panthers have called a news conference for this afternoon, at which time they are expected to name Dineen as their head coach. It will be the first NHL job for Dineen, who has coached the Portland Pirates for six seasons, including the past three as the Sabres' affiliate.

*It didn't take Teppo Numminen long to realize what made folks in Winnipeg tick, what made it possible for them to get through those long winters in the middle of Canada.

"Hockey is their passion," Numminen, who spent eight NHL seasons in Winnipeg, said Tuesday. "That's where I started [in 1988]. I was 20 when I came, leaving home far away, leaving Finland, but I just felt right at home and welcomed. It was great to see the passion and support for the team."

The passion -- and the NHL -- is back.

True North Sports and Entertainment purchased the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday with the intent of relocating them to Winnipeg, which has been without an NHL team since the Jets left for Phoenix in 1996. The sale and relocation are subject to the approval of the league's board of governors, which will meet June 21.

*Winnipeg's 15,015-seat MTS Centre will be the smallest arena in the NHL, and Winnipeg re-enters the league at a time when it has never been more expensive to do business.

*Michael Gearon Jr. backed away from the microphones and cameras, overcome by the emotion of a day he hoped would never come for the Atlanta Thrashers. Gearon and his co-owners had just sold their hockey team to a group in Winnipeg. The Thrashers are heading north of the border, just as the Flames did 31 years ago, making Atlanta a two-time NHL loser.

There won't be a third chance anytime soon.

*Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa survived and thrived during a winter in Winnipeg, and he thinks the former Atlanta Thrashers will do just fine in the frigid center of Canada.

*If Manny Malhotra is unable to return from his career-threatening eye injury in time for the Stanley Cup finals, the Vancouver Canucks will have to settle for fresh legs and youthful enthusiasm in his place.

After Malhotra missed practice Tuesday and General Manager Mike Gillis said he hadn't been cleared to play, speedy forward Jeff Tambellini announced the Canucks are likely to use a new fourth-line combination putting him together with center Alexandre Bolduc and big wing Victor Oreskovich.

---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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