1. mikael backlund
word is coming out today that the swedish allsvenskan club västerås doesn't want the calgary prospect to return, pending his showing at this year's world juniors. apparently (and shep could probably elaborate further) västerås is playing backlund on a third line, and it's a bit unclear (to me, at least) if this is cause or effect; is backlund struggling and his icetime is being reduced accordingly, or is his role being minimized because of his almost-certain departure next year for north america ? either way, it seems that the 19-year-old might end up on the kelowna rockets after a world junior champion is crowned.
2. mats sundin
apologies for my outburst yesterday, but i'm pretty sick and tired of this "news" story cutting into my hockey highlights. it seems fairly obvious to me that mats has selected the rangers, and is waiting for the club to move a contract or two and clear up some space under the cap. this is what i'm hoping, anyways. vancouver is thriving with no big-name talent, and the insertion of an elite player is not gonna help calgary win the division...
3. chicago blackhawks
after a massively convincing victory in edmonton on tuesday, the chicago blackhawks have been kickin' it in cowtown. apparently the boys went curling at the glencoe club yesterday. hopefully they also boozed it up at cowboys and will still be suffering hangovers when they roll into the 'dome on friday night, but i doubt it... :P