Michael Russo's Short Takes

  • Updated: November 23, 2013 - 9:31 PM

Sabres turning wheels

The Buffalo Sabres already have received permission to talk to Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning about the vacant GM’s post. He’s considered the front-runner because he spent several years in Buffalo as a scout.

Pittsburgh assistant GM Jason Botterill, a former Sabre, is also considered a candidate, while Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton, who once upon a time interviewed for the Wild GM job, badly wants an interview.

Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Rick Dudley, who lives north of Buffalo and used to play and coach the Sabres, seems like a natural fit, but he may have no shot. LaFontaine is looking for a youngster he can help mold. Dudley does things his way and has managed Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida, Atlanta and helped guide Chicago to a 2010 Stanley Cup as chief talent evaluator.

Valuable guy

Brent Burns, a power forward after turning into a defenseman in Minnesota, returned to San Jose’s lineup after a facial injury. He scored against struggling Steven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay. Well, actually, Joe Thornton’s shot glanced in off him: “I didn’t do anything on that, but, hey, I don’t say no to them.”

The Sharks are 8-0-1 with Burns in the lineup and 6-3-4 without him.

Another of San Jose’s former Wild players, out-of-favor Martin Havlat, was a healthy scratch against Edmonton last week. That led to trade rumors, but agent Allan Walsh noted on Twitter that Havlat has a full no-move clause.

Steen but not heard

Russo quarter-pole award winners: Hart Trophy: Alex Steen, St. Louis; Vezina: Josh Harding, Wild; Norris: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix; Calder: Tomas Hertl, San Jose; Jack Adams: Patrick Roy, Colorado; Selke: David Backes, St. Louis; Lady Byng: Logan Couture, San Jose.

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