SEEING STARS: This will be Joe Nieuwendyk's first trading deadline as the Dallas Stars' general manager and his weightiest decision will revolve around goaltender Marty Turco, who is on an expiring contract and probably won't be re-signed by the Stars. If the Stars opt to go younger in goal, two possible options are the Montreal Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak or the Thrashers' Kari Lehtonen. But what if Dallas decides to go back to its future and re-sign Dan Ellis, who likely will be the odd man out in Nashville. Ellis is an unrestricted free agent. In 2007, the Stars let Ellis - a player they chose 60th overall in the 2000 entry draft - walk away for nothing. This would be a way of remedying that miscue - and his acquisition cost would be considerably less than what either Montreal or Atlanta would ask for their young back-ups.
THIS AND THAT: The Bruins' Patrice Bergeron returned to the line-up after missing time with a broken thumb and scored in his first game back Thursday, good news for Canada's men's Olympic hockey team. The Senators' Milan Michalek, out since early January with a concussion, scored in his return to the line-up, good news for the Czech Republic's Olympic team … And Todd Bertuzzi who, once upon a time played for Canada's 2006 Olympic team, is up to 14 goals for the Detroit Red Wings and looks as if he'll be rewarded with a contract extension …The situation in the big Pittsburgh-Washington shootout the other night: Caps are leading by a goal early in the third and are awarded a power play. With Mike Green missing because of an undisclosed injury, coach Bruce Boudreau sends out five forwards - Mike Knuble, Tomas Fleischman and Nicklas Backstrom up front; Alex Ovechkin and Brendan Morrison on the point. The Caps scored almost immediately - and this with Alex Semin and Brooks Laich, who usually sets up in front of the goal with the man advantage, on the bench. Jose Theodore v. Brent Johnson probably wasn't the goaltending match-up that you'll see if these teams meet in the playoffs, but it sure made for a fun game.
AND FINALLY: On the same day the Montreal Canadiens fired Georges Laraque, the NHL players association announced a charity initiative to support the people of earthquake ravaged Haiti with a donation of $100,000. The PA is working with World Vision Canada and Laraque, who was born in Montreal, but traces his roots to Haiti, to help rebuild the shattered Caribbean island. Beyond its initial donation, the NHLPA is also running an online memorabilia auction - beginning next Monday - through its website, www.nhlpa.com , featuring Winter Classic jerseys worn over the past two years by Pavel Datsyuk, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Pronger and Brent Seabrook. Other items will include autographed Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin jerseys, autographed game-used sticks from Scott Gomez and Andrei Markov, as well as numerous framed autographed photos of NHL players. In a statement, Laraque, whose family in Haiti has been directly impacted by this earthquake, noted: "I'm extremely proud that the hockey community, including NHL players and fans, are uniting through Hockey for Haiti to make significant contributions toward this cause. Please open up your heart to these people. This is our chance to do something big to help a nation rebuild itself."