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Top Line: 10 years of free agent bests, worsts; Ice Girls flap rages; more

David Clarkson may not be the worst free agent signing since 2005, but at seven years and $36.75 million, he's a contender for the dishonor. Photo:

David Clarkson may not be the worst free agent signing since 2005, but at seven years and $36.75 million, he's a contender for the dishonor.

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• Sean McIndoe considers a decade of decisions as he ponders the best and worst free-agent signings for each of the past 10 years.

• Martin Brodeur and Daniel Winnik top this list of five remaining free agents who could make an impact next season. Not sure about Marty, but Winnik? He's exactly the sort of big-bodied, big game player that every team wants during the playoffs. Not sure why someone hasn't pulled the trigger on him yet.

• George Malik looks at recent trade rumors suggesting that the Capitals could get Gustav Nyquist in exchange for Mike Green and seizes the opportunity to run a link to “Who's Got The Crack?” by the Moldy Peaches. Right there with you, George.

• Barry Trotz and his coaching staff want to implement a Capitals Way this season. They're just not quite sure what it is yet.

• Daniel Cleary knows Detroit fans are unhappy that he's returning to the Red Wings. But rather than letting their disapproval get to him, he's going to use it as motivation to prove them wrong. He can use all the help he can get, but one-way deal or no, I'm not convinced the veteran makes the club out of camp.

• Mark Purdy says that the Sharks should look to Sochi for a resolution to the Ice Girls crisis. I'm still trying to figure out how this has become an issue.

• Stan Bowman knows there are salary cap challenges ahead for the Blackhawks after the team signed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to identical eight-year, $84 million extensions this summer, but Chicago's GM says that it's his job to make everything work. He's helped his own cause by building a solid farm system that will offer options when it comes time to shed veteran salaries, but it seems inevitable that the team will take a step back at some point as a result of these deals.

• While the rest of the West has spent the summer beefing up their offenses, the goal-starved Coyotes haven't done anything since adding Sam Gagner. With little value left to be gleaned from free agency, Arizona may have to wait until camps get underway to find help via the trade market.

• The Sabres have yet to confirm it, but sources say the team has signed top center Tyler Ennis to a five-year, $23 million deal. It's a generous commitment to a player who is just coming off a career-best 21-goal season, but Buffalo sees him as one of their leaders as the franchise looks to emerge from a dark, dark period.

• Fumbling a key interview question hurt Hudson Fasching's stock at the 2103 NHL Draft, but as Bill Hoppe explains, the lesson learned put Fasching on the path to becoming one of the game's top power forward prospects.

• Former referee Paul Stewart spins a few barstool tales, including ones about a petulant Eric Lindros, a legendary whiner and handling hecklers.

• Here's another anecdote from Stewie, this one about dealing with a player who took complaining too far.

• Can the Flyers win the Stanley Cup? Not with Steve Mason in goal, says a former Philly great. Of course, people used to say the same thing about Corey Crawford, so...

• Kirill Kabanov never got the chance he wanted from the Islanders, which is why he asked to be bought out of the last year of his contract. The kid had the physical tools, but there was something missing from his game. Whether it was discipline, commitment or attention to detail, he wasn't going to get another chance from New York. Best for both parties to cut ties and move on.

• The actor who played frazzled goaltender Denis Lemieux in Slap Shot was ticked off at the Hanson brothers for not inviting him to join them for the direct-to-video sequels to the classic film. Maybe if he sat down and watched them he might send the brothers a thank you card instead.

 

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