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Alumni defense report: Housley in for Team USA, McKee out with Amerks

Sources told The News earlier this evening that Jay McKee's spot on the Rochester Amerks coaching staff might be tenuous and coach Ron Rolston confirmed late Monday night to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that McKee is, in fact, out after one season. 

Rolston would only say that it was a matter of "fit" between he and McKee. Rolston and fellow assistant coach Chadd Cassidy had been together the previous six years with USA Hockey's National Development Team.

In other USA Hockey News, Sabres Hall of Famer Phil Housley has been named head coach of the US National Team for the World Junior Championships this winter in Ufa, Russia. Housley has spent the last eight years as head coach at Stillwater (Minn.) High School.

---Mike Harrington

Video: Sabres pre-draft news conference highlights

Darcy hanging open for business sign

The Sabres held a draft preview press conference today with general manager Darcy Regier and scouting director Kevin Devine, but much of the chatter at the 35-minute session was about Regier's theories on the trade market, both with his four draft picks in the top 44 and on potentially moving for NHL-level players to help his ninth-place-in-the-East club.

The draft is Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.

"More calls have gone out than I've been receiving," Regier said. "But that doesn't mean it won't change. The tendency is for this thing to ramp up as you approach the draft and when you get on the floor, it gets a little crazier."

The Sabres appear bent on using their picks to acquire players and not to move up to a top-5 slot in a draft that has a lot of uncertainties because of players missing time in junior and because several of the top picks are Russian. The Sabres traditionally shy away from Russians and they're a big worry across the league because of the lure of big money from the KHL.

Devine said he likes the depth of the top 20 in the draft but notes there's no superstar talent the likes of Steven Stamkos or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be had.

"For us to try to move up in the top five, for the price it's going to be, I'm not sure if it's worth it," Devine said. "Because I'm not sure those players have distinguished themselves any differently than some of the players that might be around [No.] 9."

In other news from Regier today:

---The Sabres have not yet opened negotiations with restricted free agents Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta

---The team has not closed the door on re-signing Jochen Hecht, who Regier says is now healthy after longterm concussion issues. 

---Finnish winger Joel Armia, the No. 1 pick from last season, is expected at prospect camp next month at Niagara University. He signed his three-year entry level contract last week but it won't begin until the 2013-14 season while he plays during the upcoming season in his homeland. And Regier said it's possible Armia could bypass Rochester and come directly to the NHL.

Said Regier: "Ability-wise and projecting him, he'll have to come to training camp but his talent and skill level would make it a possibility for him to play out of the gate."

---Mike Harrington

Coming Sunday: NHL Draft week gets rolling, Sabres get retooled by GM for a Day

Be sure to check out Sunday's editions of The News for John Vogl's preview of next weekend's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh as well as Bucky Gleason's annual "GM for a Day" feature, where he kicks Darcy Regier out of his chair for a day and rebuilds the Sabres his way.

Regier and scouting director Kevin Devine will meet for the media Monday in First Niagara Center for their annual draft preview and I'll be on hand to cover that. Vogl and I will both be in the house next Friday and Saturday in Consol Energy Center, the home of the Penguins, to cover all the draft proceedings

With the NHL finalizing the complete order of the draft, the Sabres will have two picks in the first round (Nos. 12 and 21) and two in the second round (Nos. 42 and 44). Their other picks are No. 73 (third round), No. 133 (fifth), No. 163 (sixth), No. 193 (seventh) and No. 204 (seventh). They have no fourth-round selection.

The complete first-round order looks like this:

1, Edmonton; 2, Columbus; 3, Montreal; 4, NY Islanders; 5, Toronto; 6, Anaheim; 7, Minnesota; 8, Carolina; 9, Winnipeg; 10, Tampa Bay.

11, Washington; 12, Buffalo; 13, Dallas; 14, Calgary; 15, Ottawa; 16, Washington; 17, San Jose; 18, Chicago; 19, Tampa Bay; 20, Philadelphia.

21, Buffalo; 22, Pittsburgh; 23, Florida; 24, Boston; 25, St. Louis; 26, Vancouver; 27, Phoenix; 28, NY Rangers; 29, New Jersey; 30, Los Angeles.

---Mike Harrington

Reports: Sabres sign Armia, first-round pick in 2011

The Sabres have agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with 2011 first-round pick Joel Armia, according to reports.

The Finnish winger has signed a deal that could be worth up to $3.825 million, according to Swedish News and The Sabres did not immediately announced the deal.

Armia, who recently started mandatory military service in his homeland, is expected to spend another season in Finland before playing in the Sabres' organization. The contract will not start until Armia arrives in North America.

The 19-year-old recorded 18 goals and 38 points in 54 games with Assat of the Finnish elite league. He also had five goals and seven points in seven games with Finland at the world junior championships.

---John Vogl

WTC tribute among emotional reactions to Kings' long-awaited Stanley Cup victory

There are all kinds of ways to celebrate winning the Stanley Cup. The Los Angeles Kings did it yesterday with a big parade on the plaza of Staples Center and a rally inside. But a Kings fan from New York named Dave Krasne had a completely different thought and it was brilliant. 

WtcKrasne got a Kings Stanley Cup champions cap and took it to the World Trade Center memorial in lower Manhattan, placing it on panel S-3 and tweeting a picture of it (right, click for a bigger view) that's going all over the hockey blogosphere.

What's the significance?

The hat went right between the names of Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis, the two Kings scouts killed on Sept. 11, 2001 when United 175 crashed into the South Tower. Krasne said he "couldn't let them miss the festivities" in a tweet to Los Angeles Times veteran Helene Elliott and insider Rich Hammond. 

Props to and Yahoo's Puck Daddy, among others, for giving this some pub. But props most of all to Krasne for really thinking deeply about the great moment of his favorite team.

* * * 

Just imagine the Sabres winning the Cup and how many people would want to see Rick Jeanneret hoisting it even more than the players. That's the feeling in LA for Hall of Fame announcer Bob Miller, who got the Cup at a postgame party from captain Dustin Brown and penned a story for the LA Times on his thoughts.

The former voices of the Kings all felt a bond to Miller and the Los Angeles Daily News had a great blog detailing their reactions.

One of the storytellers? Former Sabres and Bisons voice Pete Weber, who started on the air in the NHL as a 27-year-old doing Kings games in 1978. He was at WEBR Radio, moved to LA for three seasons, then came back to Buffalo and eventually moved on to Nashville, where he has done Predators games since day one in 1998. Weber excused himself at a North Carolina banquet to watch the final moments online in a hallway and then, as the story says, took a quiet moment to himself in a nearby restroom.

"At least I was intelligent enough to make sure had a good supply of Kimberly Clarke stock in my pocket so people wouldn't worry about what was wrong with me," Weber said.

There was also a three-Kleenex moment during Thursday's victory parade for announcer Jim Fox, the longtime Kings player. He went all Jeremy Roenick, circa 2010, on the air. Watch:

---Mike Harrington

Penguins favored to win Stanley Cup in 2013; Sabres are 25-to-1

The buzz hasn't even worn off in Los Angeles yet, but the gambling folks are already looking ahead to the 2013 Stanley Cup. The oddsmakers think the Kings have a good chance to repeat.

The Kings are the second choice at 11-to-1, according to gambling website Bovada. The Pittsburgh Penguins are favored to win the Cup with 7-to-1 odds.

The Sabres are tied for 12th at 25-to-1 with Washington, Tampa Bay and Anaheim.

Here are all the odds, with the usual disclaimer: Gambling is bad. Your money is much better spent on women, whiskey and concerts.

Odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh Penguins                   7/1

Los Angeles Kings                     11/1

St. Louis Blues                          12/1

Vancouver Canucks                   12/1

Chicago Blackhawks                  12/1

Detroit Red Wings                      12/1

New York Rangers                     12/1

Philadelphia Flyers                     14/1

Boston Bruins                            14/1

Nashville Predators                    18/1

San Jose Sharks                       22/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                  25/1

Washington Capitals                  25/1

Anaheim Ducks                         25/1

Buffalo Sabres                           25/1

New Jersey Devils                      30/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                   35/1

Florida Panthers                        35/1

Colorado Avalanche                    40/1

Dallas Stars                              40/1

Ottawa Senators                        40/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       40/1

Winnipeg Jets                            40/1

Calgary Flames                         50/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    50/1

Edmonton Oilers                        60/1

Montreal Canadiens                   60/1

Columbus Blue Jackets              75/1

Minnesota Wild                          75/1

New York Islanders                    75/1

---John Vogl

Stanley Cup: Kings win first title

LOS ANGELES -- Dustin Brown probably isn't going to remember much of the celebration after leading the Kings to their first Stanley Cup title in their 45-year history with a 6-1 win over the Devils. The euphoria was still sweeping through Staples Center, and Brown for the first time all season wasn't sure where to go or what to say.

He was virtually speechless while skating around the rink.

No, he wasn't skating. He was flying. 

And it was priceless.

"There are so many people behind this team," Brown said. "I don't know, man. Words can't explain it."

The Kings became the first team in NHL history to win the first three games, lose the next two and win in six. Los Angeles had won NBA titles, World Series and college football and basketball championships. Now, it can add the Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Quick was brilliant in the playoffs as he had been all season. His easiest game came Saturday. He faced only 18 shots and settled into his crease with a 3-0 lead in the first period. He walked away with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the postseason.

"I think the attention the team is going to get is great," Quick said. "That's something we have been looking for in this market for so long, to get that attention toward hockey. It's just an honor to be on this team."

The Kings became the first team in NHL history to win the first three games, lose the next two and win in six. Brown had said before Game Six that the Kings' top players needed to perform if they were going to win it all. The game took a dramatic turn in the first period when former Sabres winger Steve Bernier took a major penalty for boarding Rob Scuderi.

"I didn't want to hurt our team," Bernier said. "I wanted to help them. This is extremely hard. It's been a long playoff run for us. To finish on that note, it's not fun for sure. But there's nothing I can do now."

Brown, a native of Ithaca and the Kings' captain had only one assist to show for the first five games before scoring the first goal of the game and adding two assists. Jeff Carter had two goals while Drew Doughty and Mike Richards each had two assists to help turn the clincher into a blowout.

"Your best players need to be your best players," Brown said. "We've had that all year. Today, there was an opportunity to do something special. Our big guys stepped up. It was a team effort. We had everyone playing. It's been the key to our success."

--- Bucky Gleason

Sabres announce broadcast changes; big moves for Rob Ray, Kevin Sylvester

Rick Jeanneret will call Sabres broadcasts for several more seasons. He’ll be joined by a new partner for the next one.

The Sabres announced numerous changes to their television and radio broadcasts Monday, and the biggest involves the booth. Jeanneret has signed a multiyear contract and will do play-by-play for more games than last season, when he took several breaks. Rob Ray, meanwhile, will replace Harry Neale as the lead color analyst.

Ray had been serving as the third analyst at ice level. He will stay between the benches for home games, which will leave Jeanneret alone upstairs. Ray is expected to join Jeanneret in the booth on the road, becoming a full-time color commentator after eight seasons with the broadcast team.

Neale will continue to work on the telecasts, as will Kevin Sylvester, Mike Robitaille, Danny Gare and Brian Duff. Neale will join Robitaille as a regular analyst on the pregame show and intermission reports, while Robitaille will continue to do the postgame show.

The role of Sylvester, who filled Jeanneret’s seat during the broadcaster’s breaks, is also being significantly altered. Most of Sylvester’s duties will be on the radio, including a daily two-hour show that will debut June 18.

"Sabres Hockey Hotline" will air on the team’s flagship station, WGR-AM 550, from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Sylvester will serve as host and executive producer of the show, which will be broadcast from the Sabres Store in First Niagara Center.

"I’m excited to move ahead with this new opportunity and contribute across multiple media platforms," said Sylvester, who will also do feature stories for television intermissions and the team Website.

Duff, who began working part time for the Sabres last season, has signed a full-time deal to serve as host for all the television broadcasts on MSG. He will do the pregame and postgame shows, plus the intermission reports.
Gare will write a blog for, appear weekly on "Sabres Hockey Hotline" and contribute to the broadcast feature stories.

"We are very excited to add yet another platform for our fans to get original Sabres content," team President Ted Black said. "'Sabres Hockey Hotline' will give fans an additional 350-plus hours of Sabres programming each year that we know fans will love."

---John Vogl

Stanley Cup final: Facts and figures

LOS ANGELES -- The Devils and Kings are ready for Game Six of the Stanley Cup final tonight in Staples Center. The Kings have a 3-2 lead in the series. Twenty-six of the 32 teams that had a 3-2 lead went on to win the Cup.

Here are some other facts and figures, via NHL public relations.

* A team has had a 3-0 lead 25 times in the finals. Twenty teams completed the sweep. Three others won in five games. If the Kings win, this would make the first time in NHL history a team won the first three, dropped the next two and won in six games. The 1942 Maple Leafs are the only team to come back from three-zip and win it all. Detroit came back after trailing 3-0 but lost the seventh seven game to Toronto in 1945.

* Since 1939, teams with a chance to clinch the Cup on home ice are 40-20, but have lost six of the past eigtht in that situation since 2000. That includes the past four: 2008 Red Wings, 2009 Red Wings and the 2011 Canucks. Anaheim was the last team to win the title at home, which it did in 2007.

* Devils goal Martin Brodeur, with a win tonight, would tie Patrick Roy for fifth place for victories in the finals with 18. Jacques Plante had 25, Ken Dryden 24, Turk Broda 21 and Terry Sawchuk 19. Brodeur is currently tied with Billy Smith.

* The Kings were 12-0 in the first three games of a playoff series but 3-4 after Game Three. The Devils were 4-8 in the first three games, 10-1 in the fourth game and beyond.

* The road team has a 47-38 record in the playoffs, marking the highest win total for road teams in one postseason. The Kings are 10-1 after their record 10-game streak ended Saturday in Game Five.

* Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador had no goals and nine assists in 82 games during the regular season, but he's tied with LA's Drew Doughty for the scoring lead among defensemen. Both have four goals and 14 points. Salvador's postseason point total in the most ever for a player who played at least 70 games and had fewer than 10 points during the regular season.

--- Bucky Gleason


Stanley Cup final: Tallinder making difference

LOS ANGELES -- Former Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder is having the time of his life with the Devils after getting back into the lineup and helping them to two straight victories in the Stanley Cup final. The Kings have a 3-2 series lead going into Game Six tonight.

It would be tough to argue he was the reason New Jersey pulled itself back into the best-of-seven series, which resumes in Staples Center, but there's no denying he has made a difference along the blue line. He played very well Saturday in Game Five to extend the series.

"I thought Tallinder was fantastic," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "He skated the puck out of trouble and [had] composure. He was the most rested guy we've got. He was out for five months. You can see the fresh legs and how he looked."

Tallinder made his Cup debut in Game Four after leaving the lineup Jan. 17 with a blot clot in his leg. He had been waiting for the opportunity. The lanky Swede has made an impact with his steady play, experience and long stick. He's having a blast. The Devils are looking to force a seventh game at home with another win. 

"After being absent for 4 1/2 months, I love it," Tallinder said. "I’m enjoying and having fun with it. There are a lot of emotions, but what can you say? It’s just fun to be back playing hockey."

--- Bucky Gleason 

Coaching name to remember: Jon Cooper

The topic of coaching changes comes up often in Buffalo considering the long run of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. One of the most-used defenses of the pro-Ruff camp is: "Well, if you get rid of him, who else is out there?"

Jon Cooper continued his run toward an NHL job over the weekend.

Cooper added yet another championship to his overflowing resume as the Norfolk Admirals won the Calder Cup as the AHL's best team. Norfolk, led by former Canisius star Cory Conacher (who is profiled in The News today), swept the Toronto Marlies to cap a dream season.

The Admirals closed the regular season with a North American record of 28 straight victories. They finished 55-18-1-2 and outscored opponents, 273-180. The numbers for Cooper are even more impressive:

*He has a record of 401-164-38 over the last nine seasons.

*He has four championships, plus three regular-season titles.

*He has been named Coach of the Year in the AHL, the United States Hockey League and the North American Hockey League.

*He is 94-44-10-8 during his two AHL seasons.

*Prior to leading Norfolk, Cooper went 84-27-9 with Green Bay of the USHL. The Gamblers had just 32 points the year before Cooper took over, and he led the greatest turnaround in league history by guiding them to 82 points and the first of two straight regular-season championships.

*In five seasons as the general manager and coach of the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL, Cooper went 223-93-17. He led the Bandits to two titles and was named NAHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06 and 2007-08.

"This coach here is a players coach," Conacher said. "That definitely helps. It makes things more comfortable for us players. He has a great relationship with all the players, both with the team and individually. That really helps. He gives us the time off when we need it, and we do team events. We’ve gone fishing and gone to baseball games and all that stuff as a team, and that’s important for bonding."

---John Vogl

Stanley Cup final: Back to SoCal

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer had a feeling Zach Parise would respond to questions that had been dogging him about his lack of production in the Stanley Cup final. The Devils captain had gone without a point before scoring a critical first goal in a 2-1 win over the Kings in Game Five.

Parise took advantage of Jonathan Quick's miscue on the power play and beat him to the post after stealing his errant pass behind the net, push the Devils in the right direction. The team that has scored first has won each of the five games in the final. New Jersey's win snapped L.A.'s record 10-game winning streak on the road.

"It’s always nice to contribute," Parise said. "I still think that our line was playing fine. We were hetting a lot of great chances, and it wasn’t going in for us. Tonight, we get lucky and it’s the difference."

The Kings had a 3-0 series lead but still have the odds in their favor as the best-of-seven series shifts back to Southern California. Only six of 32 teams that trailed, 3-2, in the final series have gone on to win the Cup. The 1942 Maple Leafs were the only team that came back from three-down in the finals to win it all. New Jersey is looking to join them.

If the Kings aren't reeling after losing two in a row for the first time in the postseason, they will be if New Jersey wins for the third straight time Monday night in Staples Center. Game Seven would be played in the Prudential Center in Newark on Wednesday.

"We’re going to try to ruin the party again," said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who made 25 saves and several critical stops in the final two periods. "They’re so close in L.A. to winning the Stanley Cup. I’m sure it’s getting to them a little bit to have all these chances and not capitalize on them. We’re just looking to stay alive."

--- Bucky Gleason

Stanley Cup final: Kings desperate for crown

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Kings have been in this situation three times during the postseason and three times eventually came away with the win they needed to advance. Now, they have another opportunity to win one game and bring home the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Los Angeles seemed a little more on edge than New Jersey after conducting their morning workouts in preparation for Game Five tonight in the Prudential Center. The Kings have had a 3-0 series lead in all four rounds of the playoffs and lost Game Four three times. They came back to win the fifth game twice. A third would clinch their first title.

"We’re here," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Jersey deserved the game [Wednesday]. But we’ve been able to bounce back from losses pretty well in the last 15 or 20 games of the season and the playoffs. Hopefully, we can dust ourselves off and come out with a good effort."

The Kings have a 15-3 record in the postseason and are 10-0 on the road. They have said repeatedly that the Devils have given them their biggest test over the past two months. Captain Dustin Brown said he and his teammates need to come up with a full effort in Game Five and end the series.

“”At this point, you find whatever you have left in the tank," Brown said. "Ultimately, it’s not going to be the coaches or management or media. It has to be [us] to push each other. We’ve done that thus far."

--- Bucky Gleason

Stanley Cup final: Devils need Parise

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils captain Zach Parise has been reasonably effective and had his share of scoring chances, but he's still without a point through four games of the Stanley Cup final. The Devils need Parise's production sooner than later to extend the series.

Game Five is tonight in the Prudential Center with the Kings holding a 3-1 series lead after their loss Wednesday in Staples Center. New Jersey is trying to be the second team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the finals to win the Cup.

"Zach’s game is so much more than the stat line," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after a brief workout this morning. "He’s the heartbeat of our team. He’s the identity of our team. He forechecks. He backchecks. He kills penalties and in all situations. He really is our barometer. He’s the guy who makes us go whether he’s scoring or not. I don’t measure his game on goals and assists."

It's a good thing, too, at least in the finals.

Parise has 15 shots on goal in the four games but has nothing to show for them. He's actually without a point in five straight games, including the clincher against the Rangers in the conference finals. He's also minus-6 over the five-game span.

"I'm not concerned about his game," DeBoer said. "I know it's going to come." 

The team that has scored the first goals and gone on to win each of the first four games. The Kings are 10-1 when they open the scoring throughout the playoffs while the Devils are 9-2 when they score first. Los Angeles has won a record 10 straight on the road in the postseason.

"I don’t think there’s any secret that we won the last game because, for the first time in the series, we found a way to get some momentum," DeBoer said. "It hasn’t been for a lack of effort. I think we’ve pushed hard enough in the first period of games to grab the lead at different points, but [Jonathan] Quick has either made a big save or they made a good defensive play to keep us off the board. That momentum is important for sure."

--- Bucky Gleason

Sabres Edge tops 12 million page views

Sabres Edge reached another milestone today by securing its 12 millionth page view, becoming the first Buffalo News blog to garner that many looks.

Sabres Edge began in March 2007. It topped 1 million page views in April 2008, hit 3 million in September 2009 and quickly began reaching more milestones. It reached 5 million page views in February 2010, hit the 6 million mark two months later and topped 7 million in June 2010.

With more than 5 million views in the past two years, Sabres Edge averages more than 6,800 looks per day. There have been 4,387 posts by the writers and more than 35,600 comments by readers.

Stanley Cup final: Brown has no room to roam

NEWARK -- Kings captain Dustin Brown was effective in the first three rounds and was emerging as a star in the postseason before his game suddenly became quiet in the Stanley Cup final against the Devils. The winger is looking to turn it around tomorrow night in Game Five.

"I’ve been pretty quiet in the finals so far," Brown said this afternoon after a 45-minute workout in the Prudential Center.

Brown has one assist to show for the first four games against New Jersey, which is believes is a credit to the Devils' disciplined defense. He said the Devs have given him very little room to operate after all the space he had while plowing through Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix.

"It’s different team in general [than Vancouver]," Brown said. "Jersey does a lot better job taking ice away. For me, personally, on my left side, they’re taking a lot of the my ice away, which makes it more difficult to enter the zone. I feel I’m just as physical. I just don’t feel like I have as much time with the puck."

Brown had four goals and five points in five games against Vancouver, two goals and six points in the sweep over St. Louis and a goal and five points in five games against Phoenix. He's been one of the Kings' more physical players against Jersey but hasn't had the same production.

"It’s due to the team we’re playing," he said. "It’s by far the best team we’ve played."

--- Bucky Gleason

Sabres' Rick Jeanneret gets call for Hockey Hall of Fame

When the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame named Rick Jeanneret as one of its newest members this week, there was really only one line left to fill on his honor sheet. The Sabres' longtime announcer, who already has been inducted into the team's Hall, had an open space for the ultimate honor -- the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The space was filled today. Jeanneret has been named as this year's recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster, a a prize that grants him a spot as a media honoree in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I’m excited, there’s no doubt about that whatsoever," Jeanneret said by phone this afternoon. "You can try and act blase and try and say, 'Well, it’s just another day in RJ’s life,' but it’s not."

Jeanneret, who started covering the Sabres in 1971, is the longest-tenured announcer in the NHL. He is the second Buffalo play-by-play man to earn the honor, joining the late Ted Darling (1994).

"It’s a chance to be among some pretty exotic company," Jeanneret said. "I’m not only talking about the people I’ve worked with like Ted Darling, but somebody that I admired when I was growing up and that was Danny Gallivan."

Gallivan, an inaugural winner of the Foster Hewitt award, called games for the Montreal Canadiens and "Hockey Night in Canada." Jeanneret will be enshrined alongside him in Toronto in November.

"When I first started, Danny was still working," Jeanneret said. "He was just at the end of his career, but I remember looking down the broadcast press row in Montreal Forum and seeing him down there. It made me feel pretty special down at the other end, I can tell you that."

---John Vogl

Stanley Cup final: Brodeur still evolving

NEWARK -- Devils goalie Martin Brodeur figures he's still evolving as a goaltender even though he has nearly 1,200 regular-season, some 200 postseason games and three Stanley Cups behind him. He has played better during the playoffs than he had in recent years.

Brodeur, 40, said this afternoon that a shift in equipment has improved his movement around the crease. He's always worn pads that were well below the specifications and for years has been an advocate of smaller pads for all goalies in an effort to increase scoring.

"I changed the makeup of where my knee sits," Brodeur said of his pads. "I changed the size of them. I got them a little bigger, a little wider – within the rules, I promise. I still have a lot of room to get them bigger. It’s a couple of little things. All year, I was tweaking them. It’s been working out good.

"They’re still small, trust me, compared to other guys. I still have a lot of room to wiggle if I really wanted to. I just don’t feel comfortable getting a lot bigger [pads] than this."

He changed shoulder pads this year, chucking a pair he wore for 12 years in exchange for Pekka Rinne rejects. The shoulder pads still had Rinne's name stitched on them when they arrived. The Devils' training staff removed the stitching after a few weeks.

Brodeur is hoping to add coming back from an 0-3 deficit to win a title to his list of accomplishments in a Hall of Fame career. The quest continues tomorrow night with Game Five in the Prudential Center. The Kings had a 3-0 series lead before the Devils' 3-1 win Wednesday night in Staples Center.

"We still believe," Brodeur said. 

--- Bucky Gleason

Conacher, Norfolk take 3-0 lead in AHL final after officials botch OT dump-in goal

The Norfolk Admirals deserve to win the AHL championship. They are 42-3 in their last 45 games. Yes, that's right, they've won 42 of their last 45 games.

Given that track record, they may have taken a 3-0 series lead against Toronto in the finals no matter what Thursday night. However, they should not have taken their 3-0 lead the way they did.

Visiting Norfolk beat Toronto, 1-0, in overtime after former Sabres prospect Mike Kostka dumped the puck into the Marlies' zone and watched as it bounced off a stanchion and into the net while goalie Ben Scrivens went behind the net -- where the puck was supposed to go.

Lost in the celebration was the fact the Admirals were offside on the dump-in. The AHL admitted its mistake today.

“We have spoken with Toronto Marlies management and confirmed that a rules interpretation error by the on-ice officials occurred on the Norfolk Admirals’ overtime goal during Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals," the league said in a statement. "On the play, a dump-in from center ice by a Norfolk player caromed off a stanchion and into the Toronto net. The correct application of AHL Rule 83.4 would have negated the Norfolk goal due to a delayed offside call.

“As AHL By-Laws do not allow for any change to the final result of a game based on an incorrect rule interpretation, the result of the game stands.”

The Admirals can close out the Marlies on Saturday afternoon in Toronto. Before that, be sure to read about Admirals star, Canisius College grad and AHL MVP Cory Conacher in Saturday's editions of The Buffalo News. We caught up with the rising star in Toronto before Thursday's game.

UPDATE: Due to breaking news and space constraints Friday, the Conacher profile will run in Monday's editions.

---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 |