Top Line: Kane and Toews deals close; why RFAs won't get offers; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Blackhawks fans who are hoping for the announcement of long-term contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will have to wait through the holiday weekend. Talks are going well, but sources say they're taking longer than expected.
• Worried about the possibility of another team poaching your team's prized RFA? Don't be. Aaron Portzline uses Ryan Johansen's situation in Columbus to explain why an offer for a promising young player like him isn't likely to come. Terrific piece, and one you might want to bookmark for future reference.
• Ryan O'Reilly's agent calls him “a stubborn young man,” which does not bode well for the Avalanche's hope of getting the RFA signed to a long-term deal. O'Reilly will be a UFA in two years. Sounds like he's marking the days off on his calendar until then.
• You like what Colorado did in free agency? Craig Button doesn't. The TSN analyst has the Avs missing the playoffs next season.
• The Ottawa Senators are talking trade with an eye on improving their center depth and alleviating a logjam at defense.
• Could Vincent Lecavalier and the Flyers still be a match?
• Rory Boylen came up with a list of five unforgettable Alexei Kovalev moments. I'd forgotten all about No. 1. Amazing.
• Yes, Jon Cooper is excited about the reinforcements airlifted into Tampa during the past two weeks by GM Steve Yzerman. But the coach would be a lot happier if everyone tapped the brakes on their expectations of the 2014-15 Lightning.
• Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque has dropped the gloves in an effort to put a stop to a popular Quebec pig festival. Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd type.
• Ryan Kennedy offers a look at promising forward Dennis Yan along with other top prospects who are attending Team USA's summer Under-18 camp.
• Here's some absolute gold from the NHL Draft: The Predators had a mic on general manager David Poile and captured his day as it happened, including discussions on picks and insights on the James Neal trade.
• Willy Palov looks over the small group of QMJHL players taken at last week's draft and spies a couple of possible steals.
• Mike Fisher tweeted his support for the Hobby Lobby decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Anyone have a problem with that?
• Nashville's Rich Clune outed himself as an alcoholic in recovery. In this podcast he explains why he made that choice and where he's at now.