Top Line: NHL expansion downside; more must-reads
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Would Las Vegas sports books be willing to remove NHL betting lines—at least those on the home team—if hockey came to town? One gaming industry source says that it would send the wrong message if they did.
• Chris Johnston agrees that expansion is on the horizon, but says that the NHL can take its time before making a commitment to any new cities.
• Watering down the talent pool and bloating the playoff system are just two of Chris Stinson's reasons for saying no to any talk of expansion.
• Will the Kings sleepwalk through another regular season before taking a serious run at winning their third Stanley Cup since 2012? Given what we've seen of L.A. the last two times the team won a Cup, as long as the Kings qualify, it hardly matters what they do before the postseason tournament begins.
• Thick skin could come in handy this fall for the Jets, a team that most pundits have already consigned to also-ran status.
• How does a kid from San Diego become a world-class netminder without the benefit of a goalie coach? By turning to the internet, of course.
• Olympic goaltender Shannon Szabados has signed on for another season with the Columbus Cottonmouths. After helping Canada win gold in Sochi, she made history last season by becoming the first female to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
• The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is more than just a passing fad for two members of the Lightning. It's personal.
• Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who was diagnosed with blood clots in his right leg and both lungs earlier this month, is returning to Philadelphia to see a team doctor. No one is expecting good news.
• Rumors have surfaced in Boston that the Bruins have begun “casual” contract talks with David Krejci. Nice player, but I'd be in tough to defend the value of signing him to a long-term deal. Keep an eye on how the team deploys Ryan Spooner this season—he's the one player in the system who, at some point, might be able to step into Krejci's spot.
• Johnny Boychuk loves playing for the Bruins, but he knows that he could be a victim of Boston's brush with the salary cap. His unique skill set would be impossible to replace in the short term, but it should bring a valuable future asset if the B's were to trade him.
• Justin Faulk is a veteran of the Olympics and the World Championships, but the Hurricanes defenseman has yet to skate in his first NHL playoff game. He's hoping to change that this season in Carolina.
• It's expected that the Devils will have to trade a forward before the season to address a glut up front, but that's not stopping them from inviting another attacker to camp. Former New Jersey center Scott Gomez is coming in as an unsigned tryout player in a last-ditch effort to extend his career. Hard to see him making the cut, but it'd be an interesting story if he did.
• At least Gomez won't be the only out-of-work vet in the Devils' room. It's not official yet, but it looks as though 36-year-old Tomas Kaberle will be there too after spending last season in the Czech league.
• The look-up line (hockey's version of the warning track) is an idea whose time has come. Here's why Thomas Smith started a foundation to champion the cause.