NHL Changes Minor League Waiver Rule

The Winnipeg Free Press [url=http://www.moosehockey.com/news/05-06/20060407a.php]reports that the NHL and PHPA have agreed to change the 75K waiver rule which forced many veteran players on the bubble for NHL service to move overseas.[/url] Any skater with more than 320 games of experience at the NHL, AHL and ECHL level will be exempt from the rule. Any goaltender with more than 180 appearances in those leagues will also be exempt. The rule adopted this year made any veteran recalled making more than $75,000 elligible for waivers. As a consequence, many veterans were forced to choose between lower salaries in North America or higher pay in Europe. In the case of players like Shane Willis, who went to Davos in Switzerland and Linkopings in Sweden, the choice was Europe. The rule change could pave the way for Willis and center Eric Perrin's return to the Lightning organization.

HPK/HIFK Game Three

[url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] and HPK blew a three goal lead today to fall to HIFK 5-4. HIFK now leads their semifinal series 2-1. Ramo allowed 2 goals on 27 shots faced before being replaced midway through the third by Miika Wiikman who allowed 1 goal on 3 shots faced before Ramo re-entered the game and allowed 2 goals on 15 shots faced the rest of the way including Janne Hautonen's overtime game winner at 75:38 of overtime. In total, Ramo stopped 38 of 42 shots faced in the game.

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 4/7

[b]QMJHL[/b] Chicoutimi bludgeoned Gatineau 5-1 in the opening game of their second round QMJHL playoff series. Stanislav Lascek had 4 assists for the Sangueneens and was named 2nd star of the game. Chicoutimi leads the series 1-0. [b]OHL[/b] Peterborough ran roughshod over Sudbury beating Kevin Beech 6 times in a 6-1 victory in game two of their series. Beech made 26 saves in the loss. Peterborough leads the series 2-0. Underdog Owen Sound played tough with London before the Knights pulled away in the third period tonight for a 6-3 game one win. Marek Bartanus was scoreless and even in the game. London leads the series 1-0. [b]WHL[/b] Kelowna fell to Everett 5-3 in game one of their second round playoff series. Justin Keller had 1 assist and was -1 in the game. Kelowna trails in the series 1-0.

Game Night 4/7: Monarchs at Falcons

Run n' gun hockey. MAN-4 SPR-7 Gerald Coleman stopped 25 of 29 for the win. David Spina led the way for Springfield with 2 goals, 1 assist and a +3 rating. He was named first star of the game. Ryan Vesce had 1 goal and 2 helpers for third star honors. Norm Milley had 3 assists in the win. Making a late season push for 30 goals, Jason Jaspers scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season and was named second star. Marek Kvapil had 2 helpers on the contest to bring him to 44 points this season. Tryout amateur Kevin Croxton had his first AHL goal in the game while Jay Rosehill, Zdenek Blatny and Todd Rohloff had single assists. Rosehill's return from injury prompted the scratching of PJ Atherton. Game sheet from [url=http://ahl.leaguestat.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1002045]TheAHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 4/7: Chiefs at Storm

The Chiefs squandered an outstanding goaltending effort by Disher and Cey. JHN-1 TOL-3 Josh Disher stopped 37 of 39 before giving way to Morgan Cey who stopped 2 of 2 in relief. Veteran Dimitri Tarabrin had the Chiefs' only goal. Game sheet from [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/ppublic.cgi?action=box&id=3141]ECHL.com.[/url]

HPK/HIFK Game Two

With Miika Wiikman getting shelled in game one of the series, HPK turned to Karri Ramo and the 19 year old phenom did not disappoint. Ramo followed up his shutout in game four of the Ilves series with a 2-1 overtime victory over HIFK to even up their semifinal series at 1-1. Ramo stopped 29 of 30 shots faced in 72:37 of play and was named third star of the game.

Hrdel Sent to Johnstown

Yesterday the Springfield Falcons [url=http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=7541]announced that left winger Zbynek Hrdel has been reassigned to Johnstown of the ECHL. [/url] In 46 games with the Falcons this year, Hrdel has 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points. He has also played 13 games for Johnstown, collecting 6 goals and 5 assists for 11 points.

Smaby Unsure of Future

Fresh off a disappointing Frozen Four National Semi-Final loss to Boston College, University of North Dakota captain and defenseman Matt Smaby is unsure if he'll be back with the Sioux next year, or choose to sign with the Lightning. Smaby told the [i]Grand Forks Herald[/i] that he hasn't thought through the decision just yet. "My thoughts have been focused on other things," said Smaby, who was voted team captain before the season. Smaby and Buffalo draft pick and fellow junior Drew Stafford are drawing the most interest from Sioux fans already saying "Wait 'til next year."

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 4/6

[b]QMJHL[/b] Chicoutimi and Gatineau begin their series Friday night. [b]OHL[/b] Kevin Beech put forth a heroic effort, stopping 34 of 37 shots, but it wasn't enough as Sudbury fell to Peterborough 3-1. Beech was named the game's Third Star. The Petes lead the series 1-0. [b]WHL[/b] Moose Jaw and Calgary get underway Saturday night. Kelowna hosts Everett in Game 1 of their series starting Friday night.

Game Night 4/6: Thrashers at Lightning

The Lightning had an opportunity to put the stake completely through the Thrashers' heart tonight. They only managed to drive the stake halfway through. ATL-2 TB-3 (SO) It was Sean Burke versus Mike Dunham in a matchup of the two slowest goaltenders in the league. Burke stopped 29 of 31 before stopping 2 of 3 in penalty shots. This I know for certain: Brad Richards is money in shootouts. Ryan Craig scored the 15th goal of his rookie season on the power play. Pavel Kubina's return tonight pushes Timo Helbling out of the lineup. Paul Ranger played 18:41 with 1 shot and 4 blocked shots. Craig was -1 in 15:37 with 4 shots and 1 block. Evgeny Artyukhin played 5:19 with 1 hit. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021136.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]
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