An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The celebratory mood of Chicago's annual fan convention was dimmed by the knowledge that one of the team's stars is sure to be sacrificed to appease the salary cap gods before the new season gets underway. The victim is likely to come from a pool that includes Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival and Brent Seabrook.
• Speaking of the Hawks, the NHL is still working on plans to produce another HBO 24/7 series around next year's Winter Classic. Considering the snorefest that arose from following the Leafs and Wings around in 2014, would it really be such a bad idea to put this baby to bed?
• Milan Lucic won't apologize for his handshake-line outburst at the end of the contentious Boston/Montreal series, but in hindsight he says, ”I definitely could have handled the situation better than I did.”
• With Wednesday's arbitration hearing close on the horizon, Adrian Dater says there's little hope for an amicable settlement between the Avalanche and forward Ryan O'Reilly. However this plays out, expect ROR to be the center of trade rumors until the team finally pulls the trigger. The relationship between the two sides is too damaged to move forward.
• “There is no Dana. Only this Zuul mask.” Nice job, Cam Talbot.
• Dmitri Kulikov signed a new three-year deal with the Panthers yesterday, but Adam Proteau doubts that he'll still be a Panther when that contract runs out. For years he's seemed like a player who needed a fresh start somewhere else to realize his full potential. Now that he's locked up with a reasonable cap hit/term length, he may be a more appealing option to other teams around the league.
• Of course, the Panthers themselves might not be in Florida to finish out that deal. Broward County officials have commissioned a study to assess the viability of allowing the Panthers to relocate out of South Florida. Guess that means they're not all that interested in forking over the $80 million the team is looking for in assistance, eh?
• The Rangers added another veteran forward to their roster this morning, signing former Penguin Lee Stempniak to a one-year, $900,000 contract. Larry Brooks is not impressed.
• Now that he's off the market, the Winnipeg Jets have turned their attention to David Booth and Daniel Winnik. They gotta do something eventually, right?