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This Week's Edition of "Between the Boards"

Well hello again hockey fans and welcome to another week of Between the Boards…..

Lets start in the Eastern Conference and the New York Rangers are breathing a sigh of relief when the Doctors confirmed that after Bure’s surgery that he does not have a ACL tear and should be back by the end of January. Also the Rangers did get some bad news as well when they learned that Richter will miss the rest of the season with post concussion effects that have not let up since October. This could mean the end of a great American born goalie and he was the back bone for the Rangers for many years. The Rangers after learning that news made a deal with the Predators to get Mike Dunham to help young Dan Blackburn. They gave up a lot to get Dunham who is still young and can be a #1 goalie in this league. The key players in the deal for Dunham where Rem Murray and  Tomas Kloucek both players have a ton of upside to them and will help add to the good young core of players in Nashville. The Boston Bruins had a tough week last week in their last 3 games they have been outscored 13-6 and 2 of the loses were to the Canadians,  a team that eliminated them last year in the playoffs. Staying in the Northeast Division the Bruins had better keep an eye on the surging Senators they are red hot having gone 6-2-1 in their last nine games and also just as hot is Marian Hossa who is tied for league in the NHL with 10 power play goals and 19 goals overall. Also there is some rumblings out of Ottawa that Bonk is on the trade blocks and also as well Arvedson. In the Southeast division the Canes have gone ice cold going 2-5 in their last 7 and one of the main reason is the injury to goalie Kevin Weekes out 7-10 days. Also the schedule maker has not helped the Canes with having already played 3 sets of back to back games. This week Bolts goaltender Khabibulin has admitted he has not been as good as can be playing. He says its not from lack of conditioning or games played he says he just not playing up to level he expects to play at. If he gets hot he could really help the Bolts pull away in the Southeast division.

Now off to the Western Conference and those of you who thought that Wild where a fluke think again. The upstart Wild went into Detroit this week and beat the defending Cup  Champs in their building. They also last week beat the cup runner ups in Canes as well. Things are not getting any better for the Avs with injuries now to Forsberg and Sakic who will miss the start of their homestand this week. The Blackhawks have been hot since they have welcomed back Theo Fluery to the team. Since his return they are 3-1-1 and he seems to have got his life back together. The Great Ones team the Phoenix Coyotes are in a bad streak right now having only 10 wins in 3 months and has prompted some rumors about Bob Francis. Coaching is not easy....... coach of the year one year and then rumors about being fired. In other coaching news the Flames should have their new coach in place soon and the leading candidate is former Sabres coach Ted Nolan but the problem with him is that he got the tag in Buffalo as GM killer and makes any GM weary of hiring him. The hottest goalie in the West is not Roy,Cujo, or even Turco. Its Jean-Sebastien Giguere in his last 3 starts he has 3 shut outs and it’s not Disney magic he is for real. If the playoffs were to start today the top 4 teams from the Western Conference last year would not would not make the playoffs. That shows you how tough the West is this year.

1. Markus Naslund  scores on Saturday night 4 goals and 1 helper. He now leads the league in goals scored with 21.
2. The Wild’s Dwayne Roloson beats both Cup Finalist in one week.
3. Vincent Lecavalier scores his first shorthanded goal of his NHL career last week. As he gets to be a better penalty killer look for him to get many more in his career.

4. Welcome back Theo Fluery we missed you in hockey and hope you stay on the right path.

1. Gary Bettman please get rid of the instigator penalty and these concussions and hits from behind will go down.
2. The Pens are a bad hockey team now having lost 8 in a row and being out shot by the Ducks last game 47-19.
3. The New York Islanders on their weekend trip to Sunshine State they get only 1 point out of 4. They let the struggling Panthers come back from 2 goals down late and then 12 seconds into their next game they gave up a goal to Cory Sarich in a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
4. The New York Rangers the highest payroll in hockey have lost 5 in a row and look like they may miss the playoffs once again if they do not correct things soon.