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Bob McKenzie
2/1/2007 7:45:24 PM


After just one year of having its all-star game in the middle of the week, it looks as though the National Hockey League will be moving it back.

Sources say it is safe to assume the 2008 affair in Atlanta will be on the weekend.

Meanwhile, the new arena deal in Pittsburgh is close, perhaps very close, but not yet done. They are still negotiating some open-ended issues. It should get done but it's not there quite yet and as we used to say during the lockout, there's no deal until it's done, all done.

As for the trade front, the Boston Bruins are trying to move defenceman Brad Stuart, but the price right now is high.

Very high.

And yes, the Edmonton Oilers would be interested in "renting" Stuart but not at the current cost of a forward like Raffi Torres or Joffrey Lupul and a top prospect like defenceman J.F. Jacques.

If the Oilers are going to give up one of their underachieving young forwards like Torres or Lupul, they must get a young, non-rental defenceman like Joni Pitkanen in return.

The struggling defending cup champion Carolina Hurricanes have a surplus of defenceman and are keen to add a centre as quickly as possible. Carolina wants Peter Forsberg and has made overtures for him, but that may not happen quickly so the canes will continue to look elsewhere.

Buffalo's ability to add a depth player at the deadline depends in large part on Tim Connolly's return. If the concussed forward returns to play during the regular season, and that is a possibility, the Sabres don't have cap room to add anyone.

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