Hockey writer for USA TODAY since 1986.

Sabres could all but wrap up last place tonight vs. Coyotes — The rematch of the Jack Eichel Bowl is set for tonight when the Buffalo Sabres play the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz. Last week in Buffalo, the Coyotes won 4-3 in overtime with some Sabres fans cheering the Coyotes.

Red Wings getting better goaltending from their backup — What happens in the Detroit Red Wings' game Sunday against the New York Islanders might have a profound impact on how coach Mike Babcock uses his goaltenders down the stretch. With Jimmy Howard struggling, Petr Mrazek could become prominent in Babcock's plans if he has another strong outing.

Race for last place has Sabres, Coyotes fans buzzing — Several games on tonight's NHL docket have playoff implications, but those games might not draw as much attention as the 7 p.m.

Red-hot Bruins closing in on slumping Red Wings — The current statuses of the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings prove that it only takes about 10 days to alter a team's fortunes dramatically in the National Parity Hockey League. The Red Wings were 12 points ahead of the Bruins in the standings on the morning of March 5.

Google changes could rank company statements above news stories — Google is giving brand messaging a boost. A recent change in the company's news algorithm is allowing press releases and corporate statements to move up the ranks in Google's News searches. The links that previously appeared in these searches came only from approved news sites.

NHL rookie race now a race again — The NHL's Calder Trophy race is now too close to call. For much of this season, Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg has been the clear favorite to win the rookie of the year award. But Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau's candidacy has been growing stronger as the season has progressed.

Carey Price builds solid case to be rare MVP-winning goalie — Over the last 50 years, the Buffalo Sabres' Dominik Hasek (1997 and 1998) and the Montreal Canadiens' Jose Theodore (2002) are the only two goalies to win the Hart Trophy. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association vote on the award and traditionally have seemed reluctant to hand the award to goalies, much like baseball writers don't often choose pitchers as MVPs.

Maple Leafs bench Nazem Kadri because they care — The Toronto Maple Leafs' announcement that Nazem Kadri will sit out at least two more games for being late for a Sunday meeting is an indication they still hope he can be a centerpiece of their rebuilding effort. If they didn't believe he was worth the trouble, they would not have made this punishment so public.

The New York Islanders still have much to prove — The New York Islanders could sit atop the Eastern Conference tonight and still not have proven they are the best NHL team in the New York area. If the Islanders earn a point tonight in the game against the New York Rangers (7, ET, NHL Network) and Montreal loses in regulation, New York moves ...

Torey Krug, Reilly Smith signings still leave Bruins in cap quandary — Friday's much-needed re-signing of defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith gives the Boston Bruins two fewer contractual headaches this summer. But Krug's new salary cap hit of $3.4 million for one season and Smith's hit of $3.425 million for two seasons, although both reasonable and important to the team, underscore that the Bruins face more cap struggles this summer.
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Mar 30, 2015

Excellent read from @HeleneStJames: Howe family feels blessed with Gordie turning 87 via @usatoday

Mar 30, 2015

Swedish team cuts ex-NHL player Andre Deveaux after vicious slash via @forthewin

Mar 30, 2015

Sabres could all but wrap up last place tonight vs. Coyotes via @forthewin

Mar 30, 2015

RT @ByMikeBrehm: Updated Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel sweepstakes via @usatoday

Mar 30, 2015

RT @ByMikeBrehm: Monday's NHL playoff clinching scenarios via @usatoday

Mar 29, 2015

Red Wings getting better goaltending from their backup via @forthewin

Mar 29, 2015

RT @ByMikeBrehm: Updated Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel sweepstakes via @usatoday

Mar 28, 2015

RT @ByMikeBrehm: Rangers' Tanner Glass fined for nasty hit with stick (with video) via @forthewin

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