Here's a look at 10 things to watch when the NHL playoffs begin Wednesday with a new format, some stars returning from injuries and renewed rivalries:
NEW LOOK: Forget what you knew about how teams matched up in the playoffs. When the league went from having six divisions to four this season as part of its realignment, the plan for postseason was also altered. Two wild cards were added in each conference and at least half the first-round series were guaranteed to have teams face division opponents.
IN THE EAST: The Atlantic Division-winning and defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins will face the wild card Detroit Red Wings in the opening round. The team that advances will face the division's second place Tampa Bay Lightning or third place Montreal Canadiens. The Metropolitan Division-champion Pittsburgh Penguins will play the wild card Columbus Blue Jackets and the winner moves on to face the division's second or third-place teams, the New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers.
OUT WEST: The Pacific Division-champion Anaheim Ducks are set to match up with the wild card Dallas Stars, the fifth team in from the Central, in the only interdivision series. The winner will play the Pacific's second place San Jose Sharks or Los Angeles Kings. The Central champion Colorado Avalanche face the wild card Minnesota Wild and the team that advances will match up with the division's second- or third-place teams, the St. Louis Blues or defending Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks.
ON THE MEND: The Blackhawks expect to have Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the lineup when they play at St. Louis on Thursday after each had long layoffs to heal injuries. Kane has been out since hurting his left knee March 19 — against the hard-hitting Blues. Tampa Bay might have to get to the second round to have goaltender Ben Bishop on the ice. Bishop has been out since last week with an upper-body injury and isn't going to be re-evaluated until early next week. "It's unfortunate, not just for our team, but for Ben," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He's had a great run with us this year." Tampa Bay has to hope Anders Lindback, who has played in one playoff game previously, makes the most of his opportunity to play in net.
BUCKLE UP: One of the many intriguing matchups in the opening round has the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Kings against the Sharks for the third time in four postseasons. The Kings eliminated the Sharks in Game 7 of the second round last year after being eliminated by them in Game 6 of an opening-round series in 2011. Los Angeles and San Jose have played 22 times the last three years, including the playoffs, and each has won 11 of those games. "We figured we were going to see them at some point," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. The Rangers and Flyers, whose arenas are about 100 miles apart, have met many times in the playoffs in the past, but not since 1997 when Philadelphia got past New York in five games and went on to lose in the Stanley Cup finals.
PRESIDENTIAL PRIVILEGE: Boston had the best record in the regular season, giving the franchise its first Presidents' Trophy since 1990. The Bruins can be pardoned for not being too cocky about their chances because they lost three of four matchups this season against the Red Wings, who are in a 23rd straight postseason. "All of the pressure is going to be on them," Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. "They've got to win, we're not supposed to. We've got to make it as hard as possible on them."
CROSBY'S CHANCE: Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby won the Art Ross Trophy for the first time since he really was a kid, scoring a league-high 120 points during the 2006-07 season as a 19-year-old, second year pro. Crosby crushed the competition in scoring, reaching the 100-point mark for the fifth time in his career to finish 17 points ahead of Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. "There's so much more to his game than just scoring, but it is pretty amazing to see," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.
WELCOME BACK: The Stars are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Columbus is still playing for just the second time in its 13-season history and first since 2009. The Avalanche are playing among the league's best after three years of missing the postseason. The Lightning are back in the 16-team tournament for the first time since 2011. Dallas forward Tyler Seguin was in the postseason the previous three years in Boston, and he's got advice to share with teammates: "A big thing with the playoffs is, you've got to hate the other team."
SELANNE'S SWAN SONG: Ducks star Teemu Selanne plans to retire after this season, ending a 21-season run that includes a Stanley Cup in 2006. The 43-year-old "Finnish Flash" averaged less than half a point per game for the first time in a decade. Selanne has become a supporting player on a talented team that should advance for the first time since 2009.
WOE CANADA: The hockey-crazed country north of the U.S. border is represented by only one team — Montreal — in the playoffs. It has been 41 years since that was true and back then, the Scotty Bowman-led Canadiens won one of their NHL-record 23 championships.
AP Sports Writers Fred Goodall, Josh Dubow, R.B. Fallstrom and AP freelance writer Dan Scifo contributed to this report.
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The American College of Physicians has just released a survey covering attitudes of its members towards gun violence. This was the second survey conducted by the ACP on medical attitudes towards guns, the previous having been published in 1998. In the earlier survey, while 90 percent of the respondents believed gun violence to be a public health issue, less than 20 percent stated that they engaged in prevention counseling with patients. The feedback from the most recent survey was similar; most physicians consider gun violence an even bigger medical problem than they did previously, but a majority still do not consider themselves willing or able to intervene with patients who present evidence of being at risk for violent behavior with guns. In fact, three-quarters of the respondents said there was a need for more education of physicians to help them counsel patients in firearm injury prevention.
The survey results reported by the ACP are similar to feedback about guns from other medical specialists. In 2013 The American College of Emergency Physicians also published a survey on how emergency physicians felt about gun violence patients and, like the ACP, found that the vast majority of emergency physicians had never been formally trained regarding firearm safety counseling and did not believe that patients would see them as credible sources for counseling about guns.
Gun violence is a public health issue for which physicians have not developed very clear guidelines for counseling and/or treatment. In fact, there is no medical agency or association that has even issued a protocol for identifying patients who might be at risk for gun violence, either as perpetrators or victims. While we know everything about gun violence victims after they are shot, physicians do not have the knowledge to intervene appropriately before the violence takes place. Lacking the kinds of treatment guidelines that exist for other public health issues like obesity, smoking or substance abuse, physicians are forced to pretend that gun violence as a clinical issue doesn't exist.
The ACP survey was followed by a Policy Position Paper in which the organization listed nine recommendations to help prevent gun violence and only the first two recommendations covered practice and counseling methods for physicians to follow in treating patients. The other seven recommendations covered the usual legal/legislative solutions that have been advanced by every advocacy group that promotes policy initiatives to reduce gun violence.
Everyone should debate and support common-sense legal and legislative solutions to the problem of gun violence, but you don't need four years of medical school followed by internship and residency to figure out how to advocate against guns. What only physicians can bring to the debate is exactly what they are not doing now, namely, using their unique skills and their equally-unique relationships with patients to deal with gun violence as a medical issue for which interventional counseling might yield significant results.
Don't get me wrong. It's easy and perhaps even a little arrogant for me to stand outside the medical profession and tell doctors what they should do. Between patient care, insurance forms, electronic medical records and God knows what else defines the modern clinical workload, physicians certainly have full plates and I don't want to heap on anything more. But in a paper published in 2013, Shannon Fratteroli and colleagues pointed out that the greatest value of joining clinical treatment to advocacy in discussions about gun violence is the fact that physicians are trained to communicate with patients about fear and are "accustomed to helping people manage their fear of disease and death." As so much of the current gun debate is generated by fear -- fear of crime, fear of violence, fear of government -- physicians should bring their clinical experiences in managing fear to this debate and thus provide patients with sound and effective alternatives to picking up a gun.
Something fundamentally wrong when publishers think solution to bad comments is completely killing them http://t.co/qmfxFj6flo— Amanda Zamora (@amzam) April 13, 2014
"Sun-Times kills comments until it can fix ‘morass of negativity, racism, and hate speech’"- so until the internet stops being the internet?— SKO (@StartKyleOrton) April 14, 2014
The first eclipse of the year is well placed for observers throughout the Western Hemisphere.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California-bound Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb. after witnesses said a passenger tried to open a door midflight.
The airline said the Chicago-to-Sacramento plane landed on Eppley Airfield Sunday to "have an unruly passenger removed" before continuing on to its destination. The flight with 5 crew members and 134 passengers arrived in Sacramento about two hours behind schedule.
Once on the ground, a doctor onboard told KCRA-TV he and two other passengers tackled the man in the back of the cabin and restrained him until air marshals escorted him off the plane. Scott Porter said the man "was going to do bad things to the plane."
The airline had no further details about the passenger. A call to the Omaha Airport Authority wasn't immediately returned.