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[Thursday's FTB]: Mark your calendars

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The draft lottery is April 18. Prepare yourselves.

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John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Panthers play the Leafs tonight, but more importantly, we finally know the date of the draft lottery!

Source: NHL draft lottery to be held April 18 | Sportsnet.ca

The countdown starts now. (How many of you are going to actually create a countdown to the draft lottery? A small, sad part of me wants to buy a fancy calendar and dramatically mark off the days...)

Is the NHL trying to play down its draft lottery? | The Globe and Mail

Good point from Mirtle - the draft lottery could very well be held in the midst of a playoff game, and it sounds like they want to downplay it rather than having it as a stand-alone show. Regardless of how much the league hates tanking, though, burying the draft lottery isn't going to solve anything. If they're truly bothered by it, they should take steps to change the draft system and figure out a different way to assign picks. Otherwise, they just have to accept the fact that tanking's going to happen.

Leafs Notebook - March 25 | Maple Leafs Hotstove

Interesting thoughts on Bailey and college prospects here.

How Is This Allowed? The Leafs Use Insider Trading to Sign Free-Agent KHL Prospect

In the Leafs Notebook linked above, Anthony Petrielli makes the point that in the OHL, "insider trading" is common. Not sure whether it's a good thing to keep doing--there are a lot of ways it could backfire, especially if the league decides it's not okay. It's hard to be mad about something that landed the Leafs a decent prospect, but the Leafs might want to be careful about this sort of thing in the future.

GameCenter Live is an overpriced, buggy mess | Winging it in Motown

"The biggest issue that has existed for years is real-time lag."

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander learning the hard way in physical AHL: ‘He’s not a boy anymore’ | National Post

So many beautiful and exciting things in this story, but my favorite? Nylander's teammates call him "Sunshine."

How the Calgary Flames Are Laughing at Advanced Stats

DGB's latest, on the improbable Flames run. Some teams have all the luck.

Danny Briere's Air Force flight surgeon girlfriend is cool | Sportsnet

Capt. Misha Harrell is a flight surgeon in the US Air Force and she has seen real battlefield action.

The Roomies

Probably my favorite hockey thing that I read yesterday - the story of 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad rooming with 37-year-old Willie Mitchell. Really gives you an insight into rooming situations in the NHL. (Plus Mitchell's wife Megan sounds incredibly cool.)

Newly formed National Women's Hockey League to begin in 2015-2016 | Stanley Cup of Chowder

"The Canadian Women's Hockey League finally has some healthy competition--and it looks like this new, United-States-based league will be able to pay at least some of its players."