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The Breakaway: Feeling Philly

by Shawn P. Roarke

* Former Flyers GM Bobby Clarke will be inducted into the Philadelphia Phantoms Hall of Fame next month. It is another fine honor for a man who has done as much as anyone to make the city one of the most passionate hockey markets in the United States. Congrats, Bobby!

* But it is not all good news in Philadelphia. The club announced Wednesday that star forward Simon Gagne was done for the season because of concussion-related symptoms. He will be missed by a team that is trying desperately to hold on to a playoff spot.

* How bad has the injury situation been in Philly? GM Paul Holmgren had to surrender a third-round pick to obtain Jaroslav Modry from the Kings just to cover the absence of Derian Hatcher, among others, on the blue line.

* Incidentally, CTN thinks that the acquisition of Modry was a very solid move. He is a good puck-moving defensemen who is often underrated, especially while playing on the West Coast.

* Speaking of injuries, Carolina also has it bad as it tries to win a wild and wacky Southeast Division. The team played a game this week with three call-ups from Albany (AHL) on the blue line. Fortunately, Casey Borer, Tim Conboy and Joey Mormina all acquitted themselves quite well.

* CTN extends get-well wishes to Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour, one of CTN's favorite players. He is out for the season with a knee injury. His professionalism and proficiency in the faceoff circle was the highlight of any Hurricanes game.

* Eric Staal, who will see his ice time rise even more in the face of Brind'Amour's absence, is only 45-percent successful in the faceoff circle. If you don't think that drop off won't be telling down the stretch, think again.

* In a conference call this past week, ageless Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios said he would love to play for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Nothing against Chelios, who is playing valuable minutes for the League's best team, but the American program has some serious problems if it needs a 40-something player to man the blue line.

* Is it CTN, or is the Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton feud approaching the enmity displayed by Tie Domi and Bob Probert during their wars back in the day. Just asking.

* It was a shame to see the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League suspend operations this past week. The league was trying to become the first single-A developmental league in North America. There is a niche for such a league CTN believes, but the MAHL wasn't able to fill it this season.

* Tampa Bay's Brad Lukowich is getting his hernia operation done in Germany because, according to GM Jay Feaster, the procedure used there results in less recovery time. Lukowich is expected back in a month.

* By the way, there is no truth to the rumors that Lukowich, a noted metal head, will catch a Rammstein show while in Germany. Although that is a fine way to recuperate from anything, in CTN's view.

The Rangers wasted a five goal lead against Montreal and it can only be described as a catastrophic loss. Watch Rangers-Canadiens highlights

* Montreal's comeback from a 5-0 deficit against the Rangers Tuesday night could define the season for both teams. Obviously, it is a huge boost for Montreal's confidence, but CTN thinks it will be more interesting to see how the Rangers deal with what can only be described as a catastrophic loss.

* Calgary obtained Jim Vandermeer in a minor deal from Philadelphia Wednesday. He is, in CTN's opinion, a prototypical Darryl Sutter player. It should be a match made in heaven.

* Speaking of hard-nosed Flames, what about Dion Phaneuf and the set-to he had against Shane Doan of the Coyotes earlier this week? It's always fun to watch two hard-nosed, no-quarter players lay it all on the line.

* It was a 2-1/2-hour drive from Tampa Bay to Naples for the GM Meetings. Don't ask why CTN flew into Tampa Bay. But suffice it to say that Clutch's most-recent disc, From Beale Street to Oblivion was in heavy rotation and made the trip a little more palatable. Although CTN is not sure that co-worker and fellow traveler Dan Rosen would agree.

* The idea to have all penalties result in the ensuing faceoff take place in the penalized team's defensive zone is among the best suggestions CTN has encountered in a long time.

* CTN also likes the idea of one-minute penalties being assessed in OT. It seems it would make everyone happy except for power-play specialists and poolies that are looking for extra PIMs.

* CTN doesn't understand all the haters when it comes to players that won't waive their no-trade clause. If wanted to trade CTN to, CTN wouldn't want to go. Not even if it was for the good of the team and the NBA promised to renegotiate my salary. No-trade clauses are hard-won concessions and should not be squandered lightly.

* With that said, CTN hopes Toronto's Mats Sundin decides to waive his no-trade clause in the next couple of days. The postseason will be far richer if the big Swede is invited to the party.



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