Leafs GM Brian Burke testified against the Ilya Kovalchuk contract with New Jersey

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Thumbnail image for brianburkescowl.jpgAs if you needed another piece of drama from the Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun drops a little nugget of information that will tweak out just about anyone involved.

Little known fact: Among those who took the witness stand to support the NHL’s case against invalidating the Ilya Kovalchuk contract was Brian Burke

Before you go flipping out and Devils fans start sending hate mail to Toronto, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind here. First up, Simmons just drops this line in with no other elaboration (not that it’s needed) into his Sunday column of rambling thoughts. While the information seems shocking and generates a reaction from fans and gets schmoes like me to write about it, that’s what it was supposed to do. You win this round, Simmons.

Secondly, Brian Burke is a company guy. After all, he used to be the NHL’s Vice President and Director of Hockey Operation from 1993-1998. If you thought that a current general manager who has been very outspoken about long, cap-challenging contracts wasn’t going to speak up on the league’s behalf, you’re crazy.

Burke is a lightning rod for attention and that’s because he’s one of the NHL’s most opinionated and most outspoken executives. One thing he’s always been, however, is loyal to what the league’s demands are. When you’re one of the guys that once was an architect on such matters, that will happen.

Before Devils fans start calling Burke a thousand different names (like you weren’t doing that already), know your NHL executive history and know that Burke is and has almost always been in the corner of Gary Bettman and the NHL.

Teuvo time: Teravainen to open with Toews, Hossa

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.

Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.

Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.

The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.

It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.

Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.

That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.

“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”

‘Great story’ Janmark surprises, makes Dallas roster

Brian Elliott, Mattias Janmark-Nylen
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Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.

“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.

“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”

Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.

As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.

He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.

His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.

Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.