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Many times, this modest little quarter of the sporting world is accused of being a nattering nabob of negativity. Yes, I know, shocking and all because of a few missives about NHL teams that are not printing money with the speed of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

So today I come to you bearing happy news about a couple of teams. Well, it's happy news for one team as long as you are not a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

This concerns the Buffalo Sabres, who are neck-and-neck with the Maple Leafs and the Atlanta Thrashers in the chase for that eighth and last Eastern Conference playoff spot presently held by the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Luckily for the Sabres, their new owner, Terry Pegula, was given the NHL governors' stamp of approval just in time for the league's trade deadline on Monday. This turned the Sabres from sellers into buyers just in time to get Brad Boyes, keep Tim Connolly and stay in the hunt. My friend Bucky Gleason has the happy story here.

There might even be good news about the Thrashers, although it's not entirely clear. A couple of groups agreed to zip their lips so they can look through the team's books with an eye to buying Atlanta Spirit, the company that owns the Thrashers, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and the Philips Arena.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both groups claim they want the Thrashers as part of the package and do not want to move them. This brings the number of non-disclosure agreements around the company in recent weeks to five, although the identity of the potential buyers is not known.

Finally, if you like slow torture that never ends, the Phoenix Business Journal has the latest in the never-ending stories of the always-shaky Phoenix Coyotes/Glendale bond deal.

Yes, I couldn't resist a little gloom and doom after all. But I'll bet some people in Winnipeg like that last item.

You know, the Goldwater Institute, and the NHL for that matter, not to mention several would-be buyers of the Coyotes, treat the politicians and bureaucrats of Glendale just like the bad guys treated the poor old sodbusters in western movies. That would be when the black hat pulls out his six-shooter, blasts away at the sodbuster's feet, yelling, "Dance, varmint, dance!"

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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