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Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL June 9, 2014

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is still plagued by concussion issues.

Hours before the Stanley Cup finals began, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proudly proclaimed that concussions are down across the league and there are numbers to back him up.

That does not mean the league has figured out how to prevent head injuries among its players. Or that the numbers tell the whole story.

According to data from STATS provided to The Associated Press, there were 53 concussions during the regular season, a sharp decline from the 78 reported during the league’s last full season two years ago.

But even Bettman said there is only so much the league can do about a player hiding a head injury to stay on the ice.

Toronto Sun is asking if Stastny is playing hard ball with the Avs.

Paul Stastny wants to make ‘em sweat.

The 28-year-old pending free agent centre has decided to play hardball with the Colorado Avalanche and will hold off negotiating a contract extension until June 20, according to the Denver Post.

With free agency set to open July 1 – and teams able talk with players starting June 25 thanks to the new CBA – that doesn’t leave either side a lot of time to exchange offers.

While the Avs are optimistic a deal will be reached, it’s unclear what Stastny’s role would be as the future unfolds. Colorado boasts a lineup that includes Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly, all of whom can play centre. O’Reilly spent parts of last season on the wing.

It's highly likely that the Brodeur - Devil days are numbered.

The idea of Martin Brodeur playing for a team other than the New Jersey Devils appears to be moving closer to reality.

In an interview with ESPN.com, the 42-year-old goaltender reiterated what he said during the 2013-14 season — that he will explore his options on the unrestricted free agent market when it opens on July 1. Brodeur did not rule out a possible return to the Devils next season, but he sounded more likely to leave the only NHL team he’s ever played for to clear room for Cory Schneider to become the team’s No. 1 goaltender going forward.

“I’ve had a lot of good conversations with the Devils, but I’m not inclined (to go) back at this point,” Brodeur told ESPN.com on Friday. “I just feel that with Schneids the organization has to move on. Me being around might be tough a little bit for them. I don’t completely put it out of the question (returning to New Jersey) but I don’t want to mess up the cards for the Devils.