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Bits: Frans faces off with Okposo, Hillen; Ridderwall staying?

One more link dump before we get to the next Islanders report card later today...

Worlds: Kyle Okposo and Jack Hillen's USA squares off with Frans Nielsen's Denmark today in a suddenly very big Group D matchup. Meanwhile, Russia beat Slovakia 3-1, with Alexander Ovechkin getting the winner. Too bad Jaroslav Halak wasn't there to stop him.

Free Agents: Pierre LeBrun says the Kings will go after Ilya Kovalchuk, while the KHL is expected to bid on him plus our pet target Anton Volchenkov and Kings UFA Alexander Frolov. The last two at least are said to favor staying in the NHL, and unlike Olli Jokinen they are sure to have serious NHL suitors.

General Contract Vagueness: In the Stefan Ridderwall post -- the latest report suggests he will sign with Djurgården, by the way -- I brought up the cloudy issue of the NHL's recent transfer agreements with Sweden and Finland (and by "cloudy" I mean "The NHL hasn't bothered to explain them to fans"), with respect to whether there is a deadline for affected 2008 (and earlier?) draft picks to be signed this June. Here is predictably not-thorough information relayed by Lou Lamoriello to Devils beatwriter Tom Gulitti:

After some further investigation, the Devils do not need to sign 2008 first-round pick Mattias Tedenby before June 1 to prevent him from re-entering the draft. It’s related to the NHL and the Swedish Elite League agreeing to a new transfer agreement in late March. Lamoriello preferred not to discuss the reasons, but did confirm that the Devils do not need to sign Tedenby by June 1.

...Lou "preferred not to discuss the reasons." So glad that's ... uh ... clear.

Wings Post-Mortem: Johan Franzen told Detroit media that this hit by Douglas Murray should have been a 5-minute major. You make the call.

NHL Playoffs: The Habs might face the Penguins tonight without Hal Gill. ... Boston can close out the Flyers at the same game time. ... Yesterday, Antti Niemi let in a soft goal in the opening minute to let the Canucks get the start they needed on the way to a 4-1 win. Reason #154 to love the playoffs: A team that fell apart at home two nights prior can walk into the United Center and make the Hawks look like nothing special, extending the series. Two good teams, two totally different games -- and best-of-seven is the best way we know to sort it all out.

...but speaking of that series. OMG do I pity Sami Salo. Video of his uncomfortable injury is after the jump.

This Looked Really Bad

I recoil every time I see it or think about it. Hoping he makes a full recovery, manhood intact.