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Pre-game reading: Manning hopes feud with McDavid is over now

-- Up top, Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning took on a pretty tough customer last night in Edmonton, dropping the gloves with Oilers forward Patrick Maroon.

-- Manning hopes that by fighting Maroon, it’s officially the end of his feud with Connor McDavid: “Even their guys, Patrick said ‘good job’ afterward. We would do the same thing if one our superstars got hurt. I understand it.” Maroon did, indeed, give Manning credit for answering the bell, telling reporters: “He did a really good job and it’s something we’re going to drop now. We’re going to move forward here, and we’re not going to hear about it anymore.” (CSN Philly)

-- There were quite a few interested observers at last night’s Sabres-Avalanche game in Buffalo. According to the Denver Post, a “total of 24 scouts representing 17 NHL teams were assigned seats in the press box.” The Avalanche will definitely be sellers at the deadline, and the Sabres could be too depending how they fare in their next five games leading up to March 1. (Denver Post)

-- According to Sportnet’s Doug MacLean, Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension for physical abuse of an official will be reduced to five games. No reason for the reduction is provided by MacLean, but Vermette is expected to appeal the ban to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Sportsnet)

-- The NHL’s Rangers and the NBA’s Knicks are both owned by the same guy, but boy are they different franchises, as the New York Times notes: “The most common explanation for how these teams share the same address but reside on different planets is that their embattled owner, James L. Dolan, attracted by the pizazz and celebrity culture of the N.B.A., has meddled in the affairs of the Knicks, with lousy results. By generally leaving Rangers executives alone, Dolan has allowed them to do their jobs well.” (New York Times)

-- Last night in St. Louis, Jake Allen’s mask fell off and the referee didn’t notice. So the Blues’ goalie actually stood in there and made a save, staring down Vancouver’s Jayson Megna without any facial protection. Afterwards, Allen’s coach, Mike Yeo, had this to say: “It’s pretty scary when the guy is coming down and he’s ready to shoot. In that area, where he was getting the puck, more often than not, they’re shooting high, so that was a little bit scary for sure. He stood in there. He’s crazy.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Enjoy the games!