It's Miller's time

The U.S. Olympic hockey team's roster will be announced Jan. 1, and Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller is the leading candidate to anchor the U.S. team.

Through 27 games, the 29-year-old from East Lansing, Mich., led the NHL with a 1.88 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. He was tied for the league lead with four shutouts. With a 19-7-2 record after last night's loss, he was second in wins behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (21).

Great White North?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettmann said all six Canadian franchises have expressed interest in a Winter Classic outdoor game for Canadian teams.

All of the outdoor games so far have involved teams from the United States. The Flyers will play at Boston on Jan. 1.

Rules debate

Meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif., the league's owners discussed the need to protect players from direct hits to the head. The players' union would like a rule banning dangerous head shots that have led to concussions.


Ottawa center Jason Spezza will be out six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his right knee. . . . Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, out with a back injury, had a medical procedure performed Tuesday. It was described by coach Pat Quinn as "spinal stuff."

- Associated Press