Daily Cupcakes - Links From Around the NHL, March 15th, 2012

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 14: Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a break during second period action against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL's unstable labor situation is leading the league to cancel the league's European season-openers next year.

The uncertainty surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement has prompted the league to call off next fall's games in Europe.

A senior league source confirmed Wednesday that the season-opening overseas games have been cancelled.

It will be the first time since 2007 that teams won't kick off the regular season overseas. As many as six teams have been involved in European games in past seasons.

All the noise recently coming from Florida, where the GM Meetings concluded yesterday, and yet not a single piece of news or speculation or...anything about the looming CBA issues. Harrumph.

NHL general managers ended three days of meetings Wednesday with little discussion about upcoming collective bargaining negotiations between the league and the NHL Players' Association.

The current agreement, that ended the season-long lockout in 2005, expires Sept. 15. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the general managers to conduct "business as usual'' according to the current agreement, including working under the salary cap of between $63 million and $64 million

The trapezoid continues to be a divisive and curious topic around the NHL. Puck Daddy takes a look at a few different angles of the argument.

As Shanahan and Mike Gillis both said, goalies aren't going to be as adventurous because the forecheck is so aggressive — and could be made even more so with further rules changes. But that doesn't mean the trapezoid should remain, or remain unaltered. In fact, as Gillis said, it renders it pointless.

The San Jose Sharks continue to be one of the big stories in the NHL as the season winds down to the final 3 weeks. Unfortunately for them, it's for all the wrong reasons.

The floundering Sharks find themselves in an unexpected dogfight just to reach the playoffs. They've won only six games since January, have struggled to score goals and are mere shadows of recent San Jose teams.

A sampling of observers who cover the league indicates a general opinion that the Sharks will manage to somehow find their way into the postseason, and perhaps even be a dangerous team once there.

Two nights ago, NHL history was nearly made. Nearly.

But in Tuesday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, as the Blues were going for a mark that hasn't been accomplished in over a decade, there was finally a chink in the armor.

It wasn't for a lack of effort, but the Blues' penalty killers were taxed.

Brent Seabrook finally snapped the Blues' penalty-killing streak at 51 kills in a row, which was two shy of the Washington Capitals' mark of 53 in a row set in 1999-2000.

Out East, the Washington Capitals have been playing their way into a solid foothold in the playoff race but experienced bad news that may have an impact on the potential Alex Semin Sweepstakes this summer.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Caps’ No. 1 draft pick in 2010, recently named the top NHL prospect in the world by the Hockey News, has decided not to join the team next season. His decision was announced earlier today on "The Icing Show" on KHL-TV channel.

‘To be honest, my decision has been reached," the 19-year-old phenom said. "It is my intention to continue my career in the KHL. At the same time there is no clarity as to which club it will be."

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