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April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008

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.

THE STANDARDS

HARD TIMES FOR BUFFALO FANS

A FEW YEARS AGO, actor/comedian Denis Leary wrote an opinion piece for The Hockey News lightheartedly suggesting new names for some NHL teams. One of the funniest was his rechristening of the Sabres as the Bitter Bastards of Buffalo, on account of the city’s unfortunate luck on some of pro sports’ biggest stages (a.k.a. the Stanley Cup final and the Super Bowl). These days, I think Buffalonians – and in particular, Sabres fans – have every reason to be bitter. With promises of parity paradise, Gary Bettman and Tom Golisano sold them a bill of goods and there’s no better proof of it than by examining a team that so charmed the locals after the lockout, yet slowly has been stripped away to become a sliver of its former self to…

IN THIS ISSUE

Fans flock in Stockton

Stockton Thunder fans proved their devotion to a team that spent much of the season near the bottom of the Pacific Division. For the third straight season, the Thunder led the ECHL in average attendance with 6,648 fans a game and 239,337 people through the turnstiles in 36 home dates. Stockton Arena has had the league’s top attendance since the Thunder entered the ECHL in 2005-06. “The hockey fans in Stockton, San Joaquin County and Northern California have proven yet again to be some of the best fans around,” said Thunder president Dan Chapman after a capacity crowd of 9,737 saw the home finale.…

THE STANDARDS

DON’T LET THE BAD ECLIPSE THE GOOD

“Alex Ovechkin is one reason why we still love the NHL EACH YEAR, AT THE START of the hockey season, I look forward to another round of inspiring and incredible performances, the things that have attracted me to the greatest sport on earth for so many years. But in the back of my mind I always know there will be shameful occurrences that blacken the eye of the sport and make it difficult for those who don’t regularly follow hockey to understand what we see in such a violent game. This year has been no exception; from the Chris Simon stomp to the Chris Pronger mini-stomp to the Randy Jones hit from behind that knocked Boston’s Patrice Bergeron out for the year to the recent Patrick/Jonathan Roy meltdown in the Quebec League, hockey…

THE STANDARDS

ST. LOUIS

MVP Manny Legace, G. Legace went from an afterthought to an all-star. Detroit’s decision to let him walk via free agency continues to be a blessing for St. Louis. The Blues are out of the playoffs, but without the play of Legace, they would’ve been eliminated by January. On a team without a capable backup, he made 28 consecutive starts. The club was on pace to finish with a sub-.500 record, yet Legace’s stats included a goals-against average under 2.50 and a save percentage better than .900. SURPRISE Brad Boyes, RW. The Blues felt Boyes could be a productive goal-scorer, but no one in the organization penciled him in for 40-plus. A year after being acquired, he had a breakout season. He was recently rewarded with a four-year, $16-million contract.…