Top Line: Vanek linked to gambling probe; Detroit's ugly deal; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• According to a report from a Rochester TV station, Thomas Vanek appeared in federal court on Monday in connection to an ongoing gambling investigation. Vanek, who signed a lucrative deal with the Wild last month, played briefly in the city while in the Sabres farm system. As reporter Berkley Brean notes, “Thomas Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer. But our law enforcement sources say he's connected to that gambling investigation.”
• Everyone who has taken a look into the plans for Detroit's new arena has come away impressed ... except those who can't get past the $284.5 million that will be kicked into the project by the city. Bill Bradley takes a fascinating look into the finances and can't figure out why a bankrupt city would give money that is desperately needed elsewhere to a pizza billionaire. A must-read.
• Elliotte Friedman goes 54 deep in his final 30 Thoughts column of the season. Lots of good stuff, as always, including takes on the Ryan O'Reilly situation, Joe Thornton, Kevin Hayes, Ales Hemsky and much more.
• Could the Avalanche be the new frontrunners in the Hayes sweepstakes?
• Is Evander Kane the answer to the Predators' offensive woes? Josh Cooper says that while Kane is a great talent, Nashville would be better served by steering clear of another problem child.
• The NHL just became the first pro sports league to issue a report showing how green it is. Fascinating to see the lengths to which the league will go to ensure that it minimizes its impact on the environment.
• Despite coming off a disappointing first season in Boston, Loui Eriksson stands to become the Bruins' first-line right wing, replacing the departed Jarome Iginla. If you're a fan of the fancy stats, this apparently isn't a cause for concern. If, however, you are a fan of players who finish scoring chances, this could be a problem.
• Here's a new fancy stat for people who really, truly, are obsessed with numbers. This serves as a reminder that there are a lot of people out there whose brains are wired very differently from mine.
• Looks like Maria Kirilenko is trying to wash that man right out of her hair, socially speaking. The tennis star has removed all photos of ex-fiancé Alex Ovechkin from her Instagram account. At least we have our memories ...
• And finally, a hockey satire blog has been launched by Wyatt Arndt. This could be interesting.