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March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

DEPARTMENTS

Behind THE MASK

The white leaf is the centerpiece of this cage, which on first glance looks rather plain. But a closer inspection shows blue secondary leafs coming from the original like ripples in water. A reliable, stylish, old school design from Dave Gunnarsson.…

DEPARTMENTS

DIAMONDS TO DESTINY

MATT STAIRS WOULDN’T TRADE in his experiences as a big-league ball player for anything. His career spanned nearly two decades and included a World Series championship with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 and MLB’s record for most career pinch-hit home runs (23). But for part of those baseball years, well, he’s willing to negotiate. “Not the whole thing, but half my playing career,” says Stairs, “I’d have traded it in to play one game for the Montreal Canadiens.” Less than two years into his retirement, Stairs, 44, nows finds himself coaching the team he played for in the 1980s, the Fredericton (N.B.) High School Black Kats varsity squad. “It was a pretty simple decision,” Stairs said. “I had called to see if they wanted help and they offered me the job.” It’s as…

DEPARTMENTS

GRIGORENKO’S GROWING PAIN

MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO’S UPSIDE IS what had scouts drooling prior to the 2012 draft and what elated Sabres staffers after Buffalo selected him 12th overall. And Grigorenko showed enough in training camp to jump straight to the NHL from the Quebec League’s Quebec Remparts. But through the first third of a tough season for the entire Buffalo organization, he has confirmed what observers expect of many 18-year-old NHLers: he’ll need time and patience before blossoming. “He’s a kid,” said Sabres teammate Mike Weber. “Major junior is a great league, but pro hockey is a completely different monster to tackle. You do need that development, that learning curve and people and fans have to be patient.” Grigorenko was a healthy scratch for three of Buffalo’s 17 games and averaged slightly more than 11 minutes…

DEPARTMENTS

NO EXCUSE FOR EURO EXCLUSION

WANT MORE PROTEAU? READ HIS EXCLUSIVE WEB COLUMN THURSDAYS AT THEHOCKEYNEWS.COM/PROTEAU Swedish forward Ulf Sterner became the first European to play an NHL game Jan. 27, 1965. The world’s best hockey league wouldn’t get its first European GM for another 17,549 days – until Feb. 13, 2013, at which time the Columbus Blue Jackets named veteran hockey man and Finn Jarmo Kekalainen to the position. That’s more than 48 years between broken barriers. And for me, that’s wrong. If the average NHLer’s career lasts six years, we’re talking about eight generations of European players, but just a single European GM. We’re talking incredible disparity in the NHL’s management system relative to the makeup of the NHL Player’s Association, which according to union sources ranges from 22-33 percent in any given season. If the…