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Proteau's Blog: A crease in time

• Lightning coach John Tortorella is getting his goaltending controversy out of the way early this post-season. He's banishing Marc Denis – as well as the two years and $5.6 million Denis has left on his contract – to the press box and making 20-year-old rookie Karri Ramo the backup to Johan Holmqvist for the first round.

Tinkering with your No. 2 goalie usually doesn't have many long-term ramifications for teams, but thanks to Tampa Bay's tight salary cap situation, Jay Feaster's duties for next season just got a little bit tougher.

• Had mixed feelings seeing retired NHLer Joe Nieuwendyk in the stands at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum Tuesday night for an AHL game between the Marlies and Rochester Americans.

On the one hand, it was great seeing the three-time Cup-winner back in an arena, even if it was only in a scouting capacity to check out Florida Panthers' prospects playing for Rochester.

However, it was also a little sad to know one of the greatest, classiest guys to ever play in the NHL wasn't around for one more playoff run.

• Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for bravely winning the NHL draft lottery.

I just hope (a) Bill Wirtz allows the draft to be televised; and (b) nobody related to Wirtz or Bob Pulford is ranked by the league's Central Scouting Service as one of the top 4,000 draft-eligible players.

• More congratulations to Canada's National Women's Team, which defeated the United States 5-1 to win the 2007 World Championship before another packed house in Winnipeg.

And many thanks to Canada's Jennifer Botterill and the U.S.'s Julie Chu for providing readers with their thoughts throughout the tournament. As always when it comes to the women's game, the hockey is great, but the people involved are even better.


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