Top Line: Steven Stamkos to Toronto talk won't die; more links
An annotated guide to today's must-read hockey stories:
• All that talk about returning home to play for the Maple Leafs? Overblown, says Steven Stamkos, who told the Tampa media on Thursday that he wants to win with the Lightning. That, of course, is exactly what a man would say if he didn't want to answer Are-you-thinking-about-leaving? questions every day for the final two years of his contract. Stammer says the social media “favorites” that started the clamor were “pocket tweets”—a wildly unconvincing explanation. It's a safe bet that the story doesn't die here.
• Mark Purdy says that a Summer of Shame has morphed into an Autumn of Angst in San Jose. But hey, the off-season has gone exactly as GM Doug Wilson planned, so no worries!
• T.J. Oshie's commitment to battling Alzheimer's has roots in his father's struggle with the disease.
• Not so, says Dejan Kovacevic. Dig past the baseball talk to get to his explanation for why the Pens needed to add Carcillo and Steve Downie to the lineup.
• So it turns out that not every goalie mask that's been painted up for this season had to be a beauty. Kind of a dud, this one, eh?
• While we're on the topic of letdowns, check out this list of features that are missing from NHL 15. Sounds like EA Sports really blew this one ... not that anything is going to stop fans from buying it.
• Connor McDavid had five points last night in his preseason debut with the Erie Otters. I'm expecting to use some variation of that line repeatedly this season.
• Jamie Grube offers up 10 predictions for the 2014–15 Blue Jackets. Number three isn't as crazy as it seems.
• Does a player who didn't finish among the top-five in the Norris Trophy voting last season deserve to be called the best defenseman in the game? According to NHL.com, he sure does.
• Rick DiPietro would love to get back between the pipes, but his body is telling him that his NHL days are over. Fortunately, he's found something new to keep himself busy.
• Training camps are still weeks away but already there's buzz about the biggest name potentially heading to free agency next summer. And it's not a player.
• Now we know why it took so long for Steve Moore's camp to confirm the end of legal proceedings against Todd Bertuzzi. Here's hoping both sides can put this horrible incident behind them and find some personal peace.