Around the Net – an afternoon skate around the league

I am sorry to report that I am again running behind, which has pushed your morning skate around the league into the afternoon!

I am sorry to report that I am again running behind, which has pushed your morning skate around the league into the afternoon! Hopefully things will get back on track tomorrow, but until then here is your AFTERNOON look at what’s happening around the Penguins and in the National Hockey League.

The big story making the rounds today is the fact that Wayne Gretzky might be returning to the National Hockey League owner’s club. It is being reported that Gretzky and Mike Modano have been approached by Brett Hull about being part of a group that would purchase the Dallas Stars from Tom Hicks. Personally, I like the idea… Modano is a Dallas icon, while Gretz and Hull are best served as being league owners. They each tried their hand at management/coaching with mixed results…ownership could be a great way for both to stay involved, while surrounding themselves with other great hockey people.

Gretzky, Hull and Modano to buy Stars?

Dave Molinari takes a look at the Penguins areas that are in need of improvement… namely the power play, scoring and team defense.

Pens need to improve in key areas

Josh Yohe of the Tribune Review talks about the immediate impact that Sergei Gonchar has had upon returning to the line-up.

Gonchar makes immediate impact

Former NHLers Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy are outraged by the news of Graham James’s pardon. The news had been held out of the public eye for some time, but recently slipped out.

James pardon shocks and disappoints many

With their 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched their first division title in 17 years. The Hawks victory also clinched a playoff spot for the Los Angeles Kings, who have been out of the post season for eight years.

Hawks clinch Division title

ESPN might not offer much in the way of hockey coverage, but they have provided us with this great breakdown of the playoff picture. It is updated daily and is a nice way to follow everything that is going on in all of the races.

Breaking down the playoff picture

The Flyers’ Chris Pronger brushes off a Larry Brooks’ report that he is a locker room cancer…Brooks penned a piece that quoted two anonymous GMs as saying that Pronger is the reason that the Flyers have struggled this season. Personally, I chalked it up to the goaltending injury situation, but what do I know…

Pronger not fazed by Brooks

The Leafs are running their own version of the show “Greek” as they have their three college free agents living in one house together and playing on the same line.

Toronto Frat Pack

Max Afinogenov wants to thank the Thrashers for having some faith in him this season.

Afinogenov says thank you to the Thrashers

The National Hockey League is denying a report that they have a deal to send the Coyotes back to Winnipeg.

League says no deal in place with Winnipeg

The Edmonton Oilers have signed Swedish prospect Linus Omark to an entry level deal. Omark played the previous season in the KHL.

Oilers ink Omark

More later…