Consider for a moment Dale Weise

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Shea Weber and his $13 million signing bonus can afford to miss a season.

Mike Knuble may not play another game once the lockout ends, but the 40-year-old has already made millions in the NHL.

But what about Dale Weise?

I only mention Weise because I’m in Vancouver, but he’s not the only player who may have his NHL career cut prematurely short if the 2012-13 season is canceled due to the lockout.

Weise, if you’ve never heard of him (he’s perhaps best known as the guy who wouldn’t fight Shawn Thornton), is a 24-year-old fourth-liner for the Canucks who was drafted 111th overall in 2008 by the Rangers.

Last October, New York waived him, thus clearing his path to Vancouver where he’d score four goals and four assists in 68 games, with 81 PIM.

In July, Weise inked his first ever one-way contract (one year, $615,000). Up to then, he’d earned considerably less than a million bucks playing hockey.

Not that the Canucks were rushing to lock him up. First they put him through the arbitration ringer, often used as a message-sender from clubs to players. (It’s believed the Canucks were less than impressed with Weise’s willingness to embrace the guardian role on a team without a traditional enforcer.)

But the point of this isn’t to debate the merits of Dale Weise. Maybe he comes back and plays 1,000 games in the NHL. All I’m saying is, if I were him, I’d be worried. Real worried. Because beyond the 2012-13 season, there are no guarantees. And while $615,000 isn’t a ton of money in pro sports, it’s a ton of money for most people. And Weise isn’t far from being “most people.”

Weise is currently lighting it up in the Dutch League, as one would expect any NHLer – even a marginal one – to do.

Meanwhile, feisty forward Steve Pinizzotto has been turning heads for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Chicago while playing the same role Weise was signed to play with the Canucks.

“The level of [the AHL] right now is pretty high and the fact that so many guys aren’t playing hockey,” said Pinizzotto in November, “and it’s a huge advantage to be playing.”

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators

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It’s really happening.

For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.

The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: CNBC (Stream online here)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)