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Avalanche send Hensick, Rycroft to AHL affiliate in Cleveland

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DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche sent T.J. Hensick and Mark Rycroft to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland on Sunday, leaving 25 players on the pre-season roster.

Hensick was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award at the University of Michigan and the centre has drawn comparisons to another Michigan native, Mike Modano.

Rycroft had six goals and six assists in 66 games last year. He ranked second among Avalanche forwards with 80 hits.

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San Jose Sharks pick Dimitri Patzold as Nabokov's backup goalie

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Dimitri Patzold won the San Jose Sharks' backup goalie job Sunday when the club sent Thomas Greiss to the minors.

Greiss had better statistics than Patzold during the exhibition season, which the Sharks finished 5-0-2 with a 2-1 win over Calgary on Saturday night. The 21-year-old Greiss went 2-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average, while the 24-year-old Patzold had a 2.88 GAA and a meagre .813 save percentage.

But the Sharks want their younger goalie to play regularly, so Greiss will start for the club's AHL affiliate in Worcester, while Patzold sits behind Evgeni Nabokov, who allowed just four goals in his three pre-season games.

The Sharks had a vacancy behind Nabokov, their starter since 2000, after trading Vesa Toskala to Toronto during the summer.

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Blue Jackets trim roster to 26 by assigning several players to club's top farm team

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets pared their roster to 26 players on Sunday by assigning several players to the club's top farm team.

Forwards Derick Brassard, Joakim Lindstrom and Tom Sestito were assigned to the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Forward Derek MacKenzie and defenceman Sheldon Brookbank also cleared waivers and were sent to the Crunch.

Forward Jakub Voracek was sent to the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and defenceman Joel Bouchard was released.

The Blue Jackets finished their pre-season with a 3-3-2 record and open their regular season on Friday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.

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