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Daily Cupcakes - Stories From Around the NHL - March 20th, 2012

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Mar 15; Newark, NJ, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Steve Downie (27) takes a shot during the first period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 15; Newark, NJ, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Steve Downie (27) takes a shot during the first period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Another one of Graham James' victims has come out to tell his story. Be forewarned, it is not an easy read.

His name is Greg Gilhooly. He believes he may be Graham James’s first victim.

And this is his story, the one he was never allowed to give in court.

Next Tuesday in Winnipeg, Graham James will be sentenced after pleading guilty in late February to sexually assaulting two young hockey players he once coached, former NHL star Theoren Fleury and Fleury’s cousin, Todd Holt. In 1997, James was sentenced to 3 ½ years for sexually assaulting former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and two other unidentified former junior players. He served just 18 months in prison.

It was lawyer Greg Gilhooly who discovered in 2010 that James had been quietly pardoned in 2007 by the National Parole Board, allowing him to leave the country. Gilhooly learned of the pardon only after he had approached Winnipeg police with allegations that he, too, had been sexually abused by James.

Apparently the Winnipeg Jets players aren't all fans of the way the fans chant various things during the game.

The crowd at Winnipeg's MTS Centre has become famous for jacking up the Winnipeg Jets this season and helping the team earn one of the best home records in the Eastern Conference. But not every Jets player is keen on everything the crowd does.

Forward Tanner Glass wasn’t thrilled when fans chanted "Crosby’s Better" during Friday's game against the Washington Capital when Capitals' forward Alex Ovechkin hit the ice.

"I don’t like that stuff. I don’t have time for that," Glass said Saturday after the Jets practised. "Cheer for a guy or even against him but, I don’t know, I think that’s a bit much. … I wouldn’t be chanting it."

Semyon Varlamov is getting some love.

Semyon Varlamov has been the NHL's best shootout goaltender this season. Thankfully for the Colorado Avalanche, he's shown he can stop pucks before the tiebreaker as well.

Varlamov was on top of his game last week, winning all three of his starts and allowing just seven goals despite facing 106 shots. He capped his week with a virtuoso performance in New York on Saturday, stopping 41 of 42 shots and almost single-handedly beating the Rangers.

The Avs paid a big price -- including their top pick in the 2012 NHL Draft -- to acquire Varlamov from Washington last June. He's making GM Greg Sherman look smart now; Varlamov is one of the reasons the Avs enter Monday's games in eighth place in the West. He's 9-2-0 in his last 11 games and has allowed just 17 goals in that span.

A preview of the OHL playoffs. The Wolves will be taking on the Battalion.

The Sudbury Wolves play a high octane, speed-based game led by 2012 OHL scoring title winner Michael Sgarbossa (47-55-102pts). Sgarbossa is surrounded by a number of offensive weapons in Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Josh Lievo (32-41-73pts), Russian forward Andrey Kuchin (25-40-65pts) and deadline acquisition Derek Schoenmakers (26-24-50pts). The Wolves also have a veteran blue line including offensive stud Josh McFadden (15-26-41pts), Frankie Corrado (3-23-26pts) and Charlie Dodero (2-24-26pts). It will be interesting to see how his series plays out if Brampton can shut down Sudbury’s speed and frustrate the Wolves or if the Wolves can overpower the Battalion offensively.

The Brandon Wheat Kings will not be playing their home games... at home.

Hockey fans like to think their sport trumps just about everything. Not so in Brandon.

The Brandon Wheat Kings are about to start the first round of the WHL playoffs, but the team’s venue, the Keystone Centre, is booked for the annual Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. Thus, the Wheat Kings will journey to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre for home dates in the best-of-seven playoff series.

Team owner Kelly McCrimmon said the club was lucky to even get that.

"We weren’t even sure we could play games here," he said Monday, after a press conference in Winnipeg. "We were looking at [playing in] Red Deer or a Lethbridge, teams that have missed the playoffs. And I think that would be really tough on our team."