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Adam Proteau will return Feb. 26. In his absence, the The Hockey will feature several guest bloggers. Up today is THN copy editor Ryan Dixon:

• So NHL GMs feel the instigator rule needs some tinkering because, as is, it inhibits teams' abilities to protect their stars?

Didn't really see evidence of that Thursday night in Buffalo. Chris Drury hadn't even received his first stitch before Andrew Peters and the boys extracted revenge for what they felt was a dirty hit from Ottawa's Chris Neil on their captain.

Nobody seemed too concerned about the kind of suspension trouble they may be instigating at that point.

• Missing the playoffs would obviously be disappointing for Carolina on a number of fronts.

First of all, the Canes would join the 1995-96 Devils and 1969-70 Canadiens in the dubious category of teams who missed the post-season one year after a Stanley Cup title.

But what might prove most painful long-term is watching Jack Johnson, whom Carolina drafted third overall in 2005, star with the L.A. Kings for years to come. The Canes sent Johnson, who spurned their contract offer last spring to remain at the University of Michigan, to the Kings last summer with Oleg Tverdovsky for defenseman Tim Gleason and center Eric Belanger.

The move was designed to give Carolina, which sustained big off-season losses on the blueline via free agency and injury, some immediate help for its title defense. But Belanger has since been dealt away and Gleason has yet to register a goal (and has only three assists) in 41 games.

Meanwhile, Johnson has solidified his reputation as a potential franchise defenseman. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore has 14 goals and 29 points in 29 games for the Wolverines and was outstanding for Team USA at the World Junior Championship.

Looks like Kings GM Dean Lombardi got the last – and lasting – laugh on this one.

• It's a little early to call Foppa a flop in Nashville, but that's exactly what he was on his first shootout attempt in a Preds uniform Thursday.

With an opportunity to extend the shootout to a fifth round, Peter Forsberg swept in on Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak and, from the looks of it, tried to patent a new breakaway move called ‘The Nosedive.'

Forsberg, who's yet to register a point with Music City after three games, spun out, hit the ice and more than anything probably frightened and confused Halak before the young goalie brushed aside the puck for a 6-5 win.

Probably won't see that one on a stamp any time soon.

• I wonder what was going through coach Marc Crawford's head as he watched Roberto Luongo give his old team, Vancouver, the kind of goaltending Crawford never benefited from during his time with the Canucks as the Van City boys bested the Kings 3-2 Thursday.

The feeling must have been something similar to bumping into somebody you dated for seven years, only to find them a lot lighter and richer.

Makes you think maybe your timing wasn't quite what it could have been.


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