SCOREBOARD
Friday, May 23
No game scheduled. The Stanley Cup finals begin on Saturday.

WELCOME BACK
Tony Granato returned as coach of Colorado on Thursday, four years after he was demoted from the job. Granato will take over from Joel Quenneville, who parted ways with the Avalanche two weeks ago by mutual agreement. Granato was 72-33-17-11 when he led the team from 2002 to 2004. He has been an assistant coach since July 2004, when the Avs hired Quenneville.

GETTING CLOSER
Johan Franzen is expected to miss Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against Pittsburgh on Saturday night, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock says he will return at some point in the series. The center leads the NHL with 12 goals in the playoffs despite being scratched for the last five games of the second-round series against Dallas because of concussion-like symptoms.

REWARDED
Retired NHL great Brett Hull and longtime executive Les Jackson signed three-year contracts Thursday with the Stars, removing the interim general manager tag they shared when Dallas owner Tom Hicks made the unusual move to hire both in November. After Hull and Jackson replaced the fired Doug Armstrong, Dallas went on its longest playoff run since 2000.

HELLO AND GOODBYE
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault agreed Thursday to a contract extension through the 2009-10 season. Vigneault guided the Canucks to an 88-59-17 record in two seasons and won the Jack Adams Trophy in 2006-07. The Canucks also announced assistant coaches Barry Smith and Mike Kelly were relieved of their duties.

IN THE FOLD
Defensemen Mike Mottau and Sheldon Brookbank were re-signed by New Jersey on Thursday. ... Washington signed 2007 first-round draft pick Karl Alzner to a three-year entry-level contract.

SPEAKING
``I finished school in Sweden when I was 20 to become an engineer, but I didn't fulfill the course because I came here instead. If I stayed in Sweden and did more studying, I would've become an engineer. I like the decision I made.'' - Detroit defenseman and five-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom on choosing his career path.

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