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December 26, 2006

December 26, 2006

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

Strike up the band: Broncos end 11-year skid

In his eight seasons at Western Michigan, coach Jim Culhane’s Broncos had never won at Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. With fans right on top of the action and a large student section that stands and yells all game long, Yost is one of college hockey’s most difficult arenas for road teams to play in. So Culhane got creative. To help prepare his players for their trip to Yost’s raucous environment, Culhane blared the University of Michigan fight song ‘Hail to the Victors’ the entire time when the Broncos last practiced before leaving town. “Michigan’s band is right behind our bench, so we played their fight song as loud as we could for three straight hours to prepare our kids for that environment,” Culhane said. The tactic worked…

DEPARTMENTS

Long live Brodeur, the king of Jersey

NO. 1 GOALIE Martin Brodeur, 34, agreed to a six-year, $31.2-million contract extension Jan. 27 that will keep him in New Jersey through 2011-12. While he could’ve commanded top money by becoming a free agent, Brodeur accepted $5.2 million per season to stay with the team that will allow him to catch Patrick Roy on the all-time wins list. NEW EX-HABS COACH Claude Julien was named the team’s new coach June 13 as GM Lou Lamoriello continued to use the Montreal pipeline that brought Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson and Pat Burns to New Jersey. The move came after Lamoriello coached the Devils for most of last season following Robinson’s resignation in December. CZECH BACK Unrestricted free agent Patrik Elias signed a six-year, $42-million deal to stay with the Devils. Elias, named captain…

DEPARTMENTS

Recovery mode for Kessel

THE BOSTON BRUINS and rivals across the league are united in their support of fallen teammate Phil Kessel, after he underwent successful cancer-related surgery. The fifth overall selection in the 2006 NHL draft is recovering after the procedure Dec. 11 at Mass. General Hospital in Boston. At the request of Kessel’s family, the Bruins declined to elaborate on the specifics of the surgery, or how much time the 19-year-old center was expected to miss. A Boston television station reported it was testicular cancer. Kessel, who left the University of Minnesota to sign a three-year contract in August, played all 27 Bruins games through Dec. 9. He attended the team’s Dec. 10 family holiday party and had surgery the next day. Kessel’s teammates were surprised, but supportive and optimistic. “It was a shock,” said winger Brad Boyes,…

DEPARTMENTS

Zalewski gets his points, playing all-around game

Alphabetically, Clarkson junior center Steve Zalewski will always be near the bottom of the heap. But in terms of potential, Zalewski is at the top of the class. A 5-foot-11, 192-pounder drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fifth round in 2004, Zalewski emerged from the first semester as the Golden Knights’ leading scorer, with 11 goals and 19 points in 17 games. “Last year, he played very well, but in terms of points, things didn’t go his way,” said Clarkson coach George Roll. “But with his relationship with (left winger) Shawn Weller – they’re best friends and really compliment each other on the ice – we felt this was going to be a breakout year for Steve.” Zalewski plays a complete game reminiscent of former Golden Knight Craig…