Predators are hurting

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DETROIT --- Nashville Predators forward Scott Nichol broke his left thumb in Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings and was scheduled to have surgery Friday.

"Scotty is an all-purpose guy for us," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He's strong on the draw, he's a top penalty killer and he's one of the leaders. We're going to miss him, but we've missed a lot of players over the last year or so. We just have to find another way to get things done."

It would help the Predators, trailing 1-0 heading into today's game in Detroit, if forward David Legwand can return from a foot injury.

"He really will be a game-time decision," Trotz said. "I'm hopeful."

If Legwand can't play, the Predators either will call up a forward from the minors or play with seven defensemen.

PANTHERS: Jacques Martin is no longer Florida's coach. His status as general manager is still up in the air.

Martin has filled both roles since the 2006-07 season. He will leave the bench after three years and has been offered the opportunity to concentrate on his front office duties, the team announced Friday.

"Over the past few days, both Jacques and I have spent significant time together discussing what is in the best interest of this franchise," team owner Alan Cohen said in a statement.

Martin's decision is expected next week, according to the release.

Cohen and assistant general manager Randy Sexton did not immediately return e-mails from The Associated Press. Cohen and Martin did not return cell phone messages.

The move was first reported by The Miami Herald . The newspaper also reported that Martin was in Rochester, N.Y., where the team's American Hockey League affiliate is located.

Florida went 38-35-9 to finish with 85 points, nine behind Southeast Division champion Washington.

The Panthers haven't won a playoff series since 1996, and they haven't won a playoff game since 1997. Florida hasn't even reached the postseason since 2000.

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