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Thrashers coach Waddell will handle assistant coaching duties for East

ATLANTA - Don Waddell will feel right at home on Sunday night.

The Atlanta Thrashers head coach and GM will be on the bench with Eastern Conference head coach John Paddock of the Ottawa Senators for the NHL all-star game at Philips Arena.

Waddell was named assistant coach Friday as a replacement for New Jersey Devils head coach Brent Sutter. The league said Sutter had to tend to family matters.

Paddock and Sutter had earned coaching honours after their clubs posted the conference's top records at the midway point of the regular season.

Waddell is the only general manager in the history of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise. He has a 23-19-4 record since taking over head coaching duties on Oct. 17.

Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings is the head coach for the West. He'll be assisted by Ron Wilson of the San Jose Sharks.


ROCK-LANTA: The NHL is offering an eclectic mix of musical artists for the NHL all-star weekend.

R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo will perform his Grammy Award-nominated single "Because of You" during the second intermission on Sunday. The Atlanta resident is a five-time Grammy nominee.

Swedish rock band The Hives will open the game with a performance of their hit single "Tick Tick Boom."

The Atlanta Boy Choir will perform the U.S. national anthem. Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards will perform the Canadian anthem.


SCHEDULE TALK: The NHL's board of governors is expected to discuss the possibility of an 84-game schedule when they meet Saturday morning.

Each team currently plays 82 games each season, a number San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson thinks is too high.

"I'd like to see a 70-game schedule," he said Friday at a coaches roundtable forum.

"I'd like to see us have a week that we put aside and at least give the all-stars a couple of days where they can be with their families and just rest and get away from the game," he added.


BRRRR: It felt like hockey weather in the Georgia capital on Friday.

Afternoon temperatures were near the freezing mark and the wind made it feel much colder than that.

Normal highs are usually in the low teens this time of year.

It's expected to warm up to 12 C on Sunday.


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