The Red Wings won't let D Nicklas Lidstrom and C Pavel Datsyuk sit without a fight.
A league source told Sun Media that Red Wings GM Ken Holland plans to appeal commissioner Gary Bettman's decision to suspend the pair of all-stars for tomorrow's game vs. the Blue Jackets because both pulled out of weekend festivities.
Players who don't participate in all-star weekend must either miss the last game before the break or the first game back.
Holland said in an e-mail Saturday he wasn't happy with Bettman's ruling.
"Lidstrom has played in nine or 10 all-star games, shown up at every NHL awards show and has been a tremendous ambassador for our league. He has tendonitis in his elbow that has been an ongoing issue for a number of years ... He has earned the right to miss a game to try to get 100% healthy."
There is a strong belief the trade ball might actually start rolling with the clock ticking toward the March 4 deadline.
The whisper is Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke will make a hard pitch for Panthers D Jay Bouwmeester. But the Panthers are reluctant to make a move while they're in the playoff race. The Leafs have also been linked to Ducks D Chris Pronger.
Meanwhile, Thrashers GM Don Waddell will decide shortly whether to be a buyer or seller at the deadline. The indication is there's a lot of interest in veteran D Mathieu Schneider. "We haven't gone as well as we'd like, but we are playing better," said Waddell. "I've said all along, we'll see where we are in mid-February."
Other teams to watch on the trade front: The Senators, Hurricanes and Islanders.
The NHL is close to finalizing a deal to hold its annual awards show in Las Vegas in late June. The NHL Players Association is also expected to hold its annual meeting in Vegas.