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Leafs No. 31 most valuable franchise; Kovalchuk opening floodgates?; Sabres jersey teaser (Puck Headlines)

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• This is how they play roller hockey in Italy.

• Of the world's top 50 most valuable sports franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's lone representative. [Forbes]

• "Will his defection hurt the NHL? Not really. The league can afford to be arrogant because the fans keep coming no matter who is on the ice. But Kovalchuk’s decision underlines the basic truth: the KHL is now a player in the global game. Not quite the WHA, perhaps, but a real competitor, especially for homegrown talent." [Montreal Gazette]

• Steve Whyno spoke with three agents on the topic of whether or not Kovalchuk's decision will cause a mass exodus in the future. [CP via The Score]

• Devils forward Patrik Elias said that Kovalchuk's departure would not have affected his decision to return to the team had it happened before he re-signed. [NJ.com]

• Alex Kovalev on his time with the Florida Panthers: “Everything was going well and, all of a sudden, (the Panthers) started pushing me away,” he said at the end of March, in Montreal for an alumni game. “I feel bad I have to kind of decide to retire on somebody else’s terms, not mine.” [Gazette]

• Ray Emery returns for a second stint in Philadelphia completely open to the idea of a goalie platoon with Steve Mason. [Inquirer]

• The 2014 World Championships will be held in Belarus, but there will be some Canadian-ness involved. The mascot, Volat, will be manufactured in Canada, and operated by, you guessed it, Canadians. [Eurohockey via Scotty Hockey]

• After suffering a serious head injury in November, Blake Geoffrion of the Montreal Canadiens has decided to "step away from the game game of hockey for the time being." [@BlakeGeoffrion]

• According to a Russian hockey agent, the CHL will eventual close its doors to all import players. [Buzzing the Net]

• Tyler Seguin as the next Mike Modano for the Dallas Stars? You're going to have to read past the headline on this one. [Defending Big D]

• Thomas Vanek could be traded at some point by the Buffalo Sabres. What would he look like on the Minnesota Wild? [Hockey Wilderness]

• LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez will avoid arbitration after signing a two-year extension. [LA Kings Insider]

• A New York high school team was disqualified from the state playoffs after it had played too many regular season games. After an unsuccessful challenge, the school was billed close to $10,000 in legal fees. [Post-Standard]

• The Washington Capitals have one remaining RFA: Marcus Johansson. What's his worth? [Japers' Rink]

• Why a Joel Ward for Ales Hemsky trade would work for both the Capitals and Oilers. [Hometown Hockey]

• Max Domi has signed his entry-level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. [Coyotes]

• Same for the Florida Panthers and No. 2 overall pick Aleksander Barkov. [Panthers]

• Undervalued talent in the NHL will garner a competitive advantage for teams. [Broad Street Hockey]

• Finally, the Sabres revealed a teaser for their upcoming new jerseys:

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