If were almost three weeks into the NHL regular season, it must be time to play which underage junior(s) will be sent back before playing his 10th game. By now, most everyone is familiar with the 9/10 game threshold for junior eligible players in the NHL: Play that 10th game and the first year of the players three-year entry-level contract gets burned or used up, even if the player is sent back to junior at any time after that. It varies from NHL team to team and player to player, but theres growing evidence to suggest NHL clubs are becoming a little to a lot less concerned about burning the first year of the contract. Most, if not all, of the GMs Ive spoken to on the subject are far more cognizant of the 39/40 game threshold than the 9/10 mark. If a player plays in his 40th game of the season, it counts as an accrued year of service counting towards the seven years required to become an unrestricted free agent. Put more in terms us laymen can understand: if your favourite teams underage junior plays in 40 games this season, the clock starts ticking on his seven-year countdown to unrestricted free agency. So a team may very well be prepared to burn that first year by allowing its underage junior to play 10 games but, depending on how the player is faring at mid-season, wont permit the player to get into that 40th game, secure in the knowledge the young prospect is eight, not seven, years away from UFA. But as I said, each situation is unique, depending upon the individual team/player circumstance. Take the Buffalo Sabres, for example. Theyre not going to be very good this season. Underage forward Sam Reinhart and underage defenceman Nikita Zadorov could be the best players on the Sabres this season and general manager Tim Murray could say he doesnt want to start running the meter on either guy, in terms of burning a contract year and/or accruing a years service towards UFA. The reality is theyre not the Sabres best players, not even close. So the likelihood of Reinhart and Zadorov being returned to junior this week is extremely high. Reinhart is scheduled to play in his eighth game tomorrow (against Toronto) and he has one assist and is playing an average of 10:24 in his first seven games. The Sabres still love his potential but they want him to get physically stronger. They would prefer to send him to Rochester of the AHL but the development agreement between the CHL and NHL means Reinhart must be either kept on the NHL roster or sent back to Kootenay for what would be his fourth WHL season. So, barring an unforeseen development, Reinhart isnt likely to see his 10th NHL game this season. As for Zadorov, he has played just one NHL game this season, logging icetime of 6:12. He showed up to Sabres training camp well above his playing weight. Whats clear is he is not, at this time, prepared to be an NHL defenceman. His situation, though, is a little trickier than Reinharts. The Sabres want Zadorov to return to the London Knights of the OHL, where he was playing when they drafted him in the first round in 2013. Zadorovs agent, though, has informed the Sabres his client would rather play in the KHL and there are likely millions of reasons why that makes sense for the kid. But the NHL-CHL agreement is clear: Zadorov is supposed to be sent back to the OHL if hes not on the Sabres roster. And in this instance, that also happens to be the wish of the NHL club. So when the Sabres get around to re-assigning Zadorov, and they will, well see if there are any issues on his final destination for this season. There are underage juniors who are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Reinhart and Zadorov, those who are guaranteed or virtually guaranteed to skate past the 9/10-game threshold. Washingtons Andre Burakovsky has been playing as the Capitals second-line centre, even though he played junior hockey as a winger. Hes been outstanding thus far, scoring two goals and seven points in eight games, averaging 13:52. For now, hes not going anywhere. Ditto for first overall 2014 draft pick Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers. He is averaging 21:54 in seven games, chipping in with two assists and playing like a seasoned pro. Tampas Jonathan Drouin got a late start on the season because of a broken thumb but hes scored one goal and three points in four games for the injury-riddled Lightning, averaging 18:33. Id be hard pressed to think how poorly Drouin would have to play in order for the Lightning to even think about sending him back to junior for the second consecutive year. Leon Draisaitl, celebrating his 19th birthday today, will play in his ninth game for the Edmonton Oilers tonight and while hes had some ups and downs so far -- one goal and three points in eight games, averaging 13:13 -- the Oilers want him to work on the pace of his game. He cant do that in Prince Albert of the WHL, so unless theres a major reversal on the Oilers part, Draisaitl will play 10 or more games in Edmonton. The same is likely true of the remaining underagers -- Ottawas Curtis Lazar (0-1-1 in 5 GP, 13:58), New York Ranger Anthony Duclair (0-4-4 in 6 GP, 14:03) and San Jose defenceman Mirco Mueller (0-1-1 in 7 GP, 18:09). All three have played enough, and well enough, to justify sticking past the nine-game mark but, that said, theyre not at their ninth game yet. One supposes if they were dreadful in their next two or three games, their clubs could opt to re-assign, but based on everything weve seen thus far, thats doubtful. The Sens, Rangers and Sharks all fancy themselves playoff contenders, so theyre not overly concerned about burning the first year of an entry-level deal. The tougher call for them, and the other teams, will be after the 39th game, when they have to make a conscious decision to start the free-agency countdown clock when they could choose to delay it for a year. As for Bo Horvat in Vancouver, hes currently on a conditioning stint in Utica of the AHL. When he comes back form Utica, Vancouver has lots of time to look at him before deciding on whether he stays or goes back to London. He has yet to play a game this season because of a shoulder injury. Some NHL clubs and player agents have duly noted that if a team keeps an underager past the 9/10 game threshold but sends him back to junior before 39/40, there may actually be a financial benefit to the club to do so. If a player goes back to junior in a burned first year of an entry-level deal, its difficult to earn the bonuses available to him. It also makes it more difficult for a player with a lesser body of entry-level work (two years instead of three) to hit a home run in the players second NHL contract, much more likely to have to take a lower-value bridge deal than a long-term, big dollar pact. At the end of the day, though, development of the young players is the first and foremost consideration for NHL GMs. If the kids are ready to play NHL minutes, and theyre contributing in some meaningful way to the teams cause, whatever it may be, theyll likely stay. If not, then its back to junior, but that doesnt mean the 9/10 game threshold is paramount. Custom Nike Chicago Cubs Jerseys . Already owning gold from competition in Vancouver in 2010, Loch posted a combined four-run time of 3:27.526. That included a track-record third run of 51. Custom Nike Washington Nationals Jerseys .com) - The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman John-Michael Liles on injured reserve Tuesday. https://www.customnikebaseballjerseys.com/ . MacArthur scored two goals, and the Senators outlasted Detroit in a testy third period to beat the Red Wings 4-2 on Saturday night. Custom Nike St. Louis Cardinals Jerseys .500 ball against teams with winning records, so they needed a huge lift from somebody Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders. Custom Nike New York Yankees Jerseys . Louis Blues, having added Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from Buffalo, remain the No.BOSTON - The Boston Bruins end the season as losers. Rubbing salt in the wound, Bruins winger Milan Lucic has been labelled a sore loser in some quarters. The hulking Bruin didnt abandon his prickly game when the best-of-seven series ended in a 3-1 victory for Montreal in Wednesdays Game 7 at the TD Garden. Lucic had words with several Canadiens during the traditional post-series handshake on the ice. The 25-year-old from Vancouver aggressively shook hands and had words with fourth-liner Dale Weise and defenceman Alexei Emelin. #WhatLucicToldWeise was trending on Twitter in Canada on Thursday. An animated Lucic held onto Weises hand as he had his say and then had words with Emelin. Montreal forward David Desharnais, who was behind the defenceman, put his hands on Emelins elbow during the exchange, as if to guide him past. "Milan Lucic had a few things to say to a couple of guys," said Weise, who declined to go into specifics. "You look at a guy like Shawn Thornton who has been around the league and he plays hard and he plays that role and he had good things to say to everybody. He won with class and Milan Lucic just couldnt do that. Well, I wont get into what he said, its just a poor, its just a poor way to lose.” The Bruin reportedly said: "Im going to kill you next year," with an F-Bomb thrown in for good meeasure.dddddddddddd Lucic, clearly still feeling the emotion of the loss, was unrepentant in the locker-room. "Its said on the ice so itll stay on the ice. So If he (Weise) wants to be a baby about it - he can make it public." Asked about allegations by some Habs of Boston disrespect during the series, Lucic was agog. "Disrespect? I dont know what theyre talking about. Disrespect? Having a goal celebration, what kind of disrespect is that? Im not going to say anything. Ive got nothing to say about that." Lucics behaviour during hockeys time-honoured handshake line, seen as a mark of respect, drew a quick response. "All he can do now, though, is apologize for his error in judgment," Adam Kaufman wrote in boston.com. "Or hell be known as another guy who disrespected arguably the greatest tradition in all of sports." "Milan Lucic probably wont be up for Sportsman of the Year," tweeted Sports Illustrated in the link to its story. Others were more forgiving. But Lucic wasnt the only one talking tough after the game. "Great to see a Canadian team finally take out the Bruins in a game 7," tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Boston has also taken out both Toronto and Montreal in Game 7s in recent years. ' ' '