Daily Cupcakes - Links to stories around the NHL - March 16th, 2012

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 14: Gabriel Landeskog #92 (R) of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his powerplay goal at 5:35 of the second period along with Ryan O'Reilly #37 (L) in their game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Globe and Mail is giving Gabriel Landeskog props, they like his chances at the Calder Trophy.

If the Colorado Avalanche are this season’s Cardiac Kids, then Gabriel Landeskog is the fellow holding the defibrillator paddles.

He struck again Wednesday night, setting up Jamie McGinn’s goal with 0.7 seconds left in the third period to send the Avalanche’s game against the Buffalo Sabres into overtime. When overtime failed to produce a winner, Peter Mueller scored the only goal of the shootout to give Colorado a 5-4 win.

"Rookie of the year would be a tremendous honour but to me it’s about trying to get in that playoff spot. That’s all that matters," he said. "It’s up to me to help the team win. That’s all I’m focusing on."

There is no doubt Landeskog will be captain of the Avalanche some day. He was the first European captain of his junior team, the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. He carries himself with the quiet air of a leader, befitting someone who successfully moved by himself at the age of 16 from Sweden to Canada to play major-junior hockey.

The Oilers want a new arena.

One hundred million dollars. A one, eight zeroes. That is what’s standing between the city of Edmonton and its planned new downtown home for the NHL’s Oilers. No big deal, say supporters of the space-age barn that would replace aging Rexall Place. That’s a fraction of the cost of a major highway overpass. Done right, say the starry-eyed, it could transform Edmonton’s infamously sleepy downtown. But where is the money going to come from? The city’s sweetheart deal with its richest citizen, Oilers owner and pharmacy billionaire Daryl Katz, left that $100-million gap to be shaded in through the largesse of "other levels of government."

So far, those other levels have refused to consider it, and pretty convincingly, too. When Rexall Place (originally the Edmonton Coliseum) was built in 1974, the city got help from, among others, the federal agriculture department. But in government circles, the days of that kind of creativity are over. The federal government passed through a period of fiscal stimulus when the financial crisis hit, but wanted the money to go to "shovel-ready" projects. Edmonton’s dream palace didn’t even exist on paper yet.

Poor Liles is in a pickle again.

John-Michael Liles must look up at the heavens sometimes and wonder who he has peeved off.

For most members of the Maple Leafs, the 2-13-2 funk the team is on right now is the first time in their professional careers that they have been on such a horrific skid.

Not Liles.

"I’ve been through this before and it’s not fun, I can guarantee you that," Liles said, wearing an exasperated look on his face.

Indeed, a year ago, as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, Liles was involved in a similar collapse. Considered one of the best young up-and-coming teams in the league heading into the 2010-11 campaign, the Avs went on a devastating 6-28-2 slide that left a bitter taste in the mouth of the veteran defenceman.

Quebecor is going ahead trying to gain a NHL team.

Media giant Quebecor Inc. has "all the tools" to buy an NHL team and manage its new arena in Quebec City, the company said Thursday.

Quebecor, owner of Sun Media, made the statement as it reported a surge in income and profits for 2011.

"Quebecor Media now has all the tools it needs to pursue its goals, which are to manage a world"'class multipurpose centre and to bring a National Hockey League team to Quebec City," the company said in a statement.

Quebecor closed a 25-year, $33 million naming-rights and management deal for a state-of-the art arena that's scheduled for completion in 2015. The value of the agreement rises to $63.5 million if Quebec City lands an NHL franchise.

Forbe's talks about the If You Can Play, You Can Play project.

It would seem that pro sports is becoming friendlier to accepting homosexuality, given the positive response to one NBA executive’s 2011 coming-out, the league’s (and a few of its player’s) own participation in an anti-gay slur advertising campaign, and now a new effort involving hockey players to ensure the locker room is not a homophobic environment.

It’s called the You Can Play Project, and among those spearheading it is Patrick Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. Patrick is also just as famous for being the brother of Brendan Burke, who quit hockey before his senior year of high school because of a homophobic environment, and later came out while he served as manager of Miami University of Ohio’s hockey team — to "so what" shrugs from the players and coaches, and with the support of his father. Sadly, only a few months after his December 2009 coming-out, Brendan Burke died in a car accident in Indiana.

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