Injuries are making a significant impact on every NHL roster already this year, and the way the schedule is arranged because of the Olympics, a slide early in the season could be devastating in April and May.Just look at some of the players who will miss significant time already this year:Vancouver : Daniel Sedin (four to six weeks) and Sami Salo (three to five)Detroit : Johan Franzen (four months)Columbus : Jan Hejda (four to six weeks)Edmonton : Sheldon Souray (TBD - concussion)Boston : Marc Savard (four to six weeks) and Milan Lucic (four to six weeks)Pittsburgh : Sergei Gonchar (four to six weeks)Nashville : Jason Arnott (two weeks)Carolina : Erik Cole (four to six weeks)Chicago : Adam Burish (four months), Ben Eager (TBD - concission)Montreal : Andrei Markov (three to four months), Ryan O'Byrne (eight weeks)St. Louis : Alexander Steen (eight weeks)This isn't even a complete list. There are some players, like Marian Hossa and Phil Kessel, that haven't even laced up their skates yet this season because of pre-existing injuries.And there are other teams, like Minnesota, that have dealt with nagging injuries to studs like Martin Havlat and Petr Sykora, but have avoided putting them on IR...so far.The 2009-10 season has many teams loading their October and November schedules with important conference games. Losing points in these games could be the difference between making the playoffs and being a four seed; the sense of urgency must be paramount.Some of the teams on this list could survive their missing players. Chicago's offense hasn't missed a beat in the absence of Hossa, Burish, and Eager.
But their goaltending situation is a train wreck, which might make them players in the trade market.If a team like Pittsburgh, who lost their best defender in Gonchar for six weeks on Tuesday, feels they need another stud on their blue-line, they might be forced to be active in the trade market early, as well.Teams that might not feel competitive could become premature sellers if a hungry market develops, figuring that players with expiring contracts that fill a need could become rentals another organization might overpay to acquire.The ripple effect throughout the NHL could be intriguing as the next few weeks evolve.As the injuries continue to attack rosters all over the NHL, player movement could become an important factor in the playoff races this year. We'll soon see which organizations feel comfortable with their depth and which feel they need to bolster their lineup to avoid losing costly points during a key player's absence.This could become a fun season on the trade market for NHL fans everywhere.. MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Statuesque Venus Williams was sent crashing to earth at the Australian Open Thursday, the seven-times grand slam champion's second-round defeat creating the first major shock of the 2009 tournament. Sports ChinaThe sixth seed was felled by free-hitting Spanish newcomer Carla Suarez Navarro 2-6 6-3 7-5 under floodlights, hours after sister Serena had survived a tricky encounter to advance."She was super consistent and aggressive and just went for her shots," Venus acknowledged. But I definitely have to credit her."I don't believe in jinxes because I don't believe in witches or warlocks or magical creatures and stuff," she added when asked if she was frustrated at another early exit here after her first round loss in 2006.Serena's champion's mentality lifted her to the third round despite a distinctly lukewarm performance.Facing Argentine Gisela Dulko, three-times champion Serena won the first set comfortably enough but had to overcome 3-0 and 5-2 deficits in the second to secure a 6-3 7-5 victory in 110 minutes.D-MINUS PERFORMANCE"I was able to get through it not playing my best.. that's how I would sum it up," Serena said. "Lots and lots and lots and lots of room for improvement."Today I was at a 'D-minus' but it is good that I won." Serena meets China's Peng Shuai next.Men's top seed Rafael Nadal and pre-tournament favorite Andy Murray were both clinical and combative in straightforward victories.Nadal thumped Croatia's Roko Karanusic 6-2 6-3 6-2, taking only 97 minutes to destroy his opponent."I won without any problems today, so that was good," the world number one smiled.Next for him is former world number two Tommy Haas."The first big opponent, I think," Nadal said "It is gonna be a very good test to see how I am.
I am going to have to play very well if I want have chances to win, no"Fourth-seeded Briton Murray was explosive on Rod Laver Arena, pummeling Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-2 6-2 in a performance which included 37 clean winners."I felt like once I got ahead I could settle down," Murray said "To come through in straight sets is obviously important. It was a good test to have at this stage in the tournament."WINNING STREAKLast year's runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed a great day for French tennis when he beat Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-2.Tsonga showed no signs of the back injury that forced him to pull out of a warm-up event in Sydney last week as he wore down his opponent.It has been 81 years since a Frenchman won the Australian Open singles title but five Frenchmen are through to the third round this year. Fabrice Santoro, the oldest man in the tournament, progressed Wednesday, while Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils also won Thursday.Women's fourth seed Elena Dementieva extended her winning streak to 12 matches with a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory over Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic.Dementieva, who is unbeaten in 2009 after claiming the Auckland and Sydney titles, admitted after her first round victory over Kristina Barrois that her run of matches had left her a little fatigued.The world number four made 23 unforced errors and served five double faults on the second show court but was still too strong for 35th-ranked Benesova, wrapping up the match in 72 minutes."Well, I'm not thinking about my chances I'm really enjoying the way I'm playing right now. Just want to go as far as I can, just enjoy every single match I play here," she said.Former champion Amelie Mauresmo breathed a big sigh of relief after squeaking past the lone Briton left in the women's draw. Missouri Energy Policy Group Applauds Legislation That Encourages Constructionof Clean Energy Generating Facilities in MissouriJEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ The Missouri EnergyDevelopment Association (MEDA), which represents most of Missouri'sinvestor-owned electric, natural gas and water utilities, today applaudedlegislation that establishes by statute funding tools for constructing cleanand renewable electric generation.The Missouri Clean and Renewable Energy Construction Act was introducedtoday by sponsors, Senators Delbert Scott (R-28th District) and Frank Barnitz(D-16th District)."This legislation is good news for all Missourians because it helpsutilities build much-needed clean and renewable generation with the leasteconomic and environmental impact," said MEDA Director Warren Wood.Wood adds that major generating projects would bring hundreds of millionsof dollars in economic benefits and tax revenues to communities across thestate.
"By providing a way to finance these plants in a period of financialturmoil, this legislation paves the way for the creation of thousands of newjobs employment opportunities we sorely need in these tough economictimes," he added.Provisions of the legislation call for the Missouri Public ServiceCommission (MoPSC) to authorize use of any of the three key funding tools: Construction work in progress a traditional and well respectedfinancing tool that permits a utility to recover the costs of financing andtax payments on a new generating plant, while that plant is being constructed; Federal loan guarantees that would provide automatic stateauthorization for use by utilities for new construction should federalguarantees become available; and Credit metrics regulation that first determines how much revenue isneeded to maintain the utility's credit rating during construction. "Not only will this legislation enableconstruction of needed power plants facilities that will deliver reliablelow-cost power and bring desperately needed tax revenues to hard-hit localgovernments, but it will also protect our citizens from sudden increases inrates," he said. Instead, they will gradually cover financing costs with theirmonthly bills slowly rising 1 to 3 percent per year during construction. Thisapproach vastly reduces the financing costs the utility would incur to buildthese facilities and these benefits are flowed through to consumers as smallerincreases in rates than would be experienced otherwise."Without this change in legislation, clean baseload power plants likeCallaway II would cost $2 to $3 billion more than necessary, just to coverfinancing cost, and would likely not be feasible due to capital constraints.It is time to amend this out-of-date law for the benefit of all Missourians,"said Wood. Consumer protection provisions in the legislation give MoPSC reviewover development and costs of any future generation. The MoPSC would firstdetermine if a proposed generating plant is the best resource to meetprojected demand for power. The MoPSC would provide time for all interestedparties to comment on the project's budget and schedule.