Top Line: Flames hold fight club; players told to embellish; more
An annotated guide to today's must-read hockey stories:
• The Calgary Flames staged a fight club at camp on Thursday. No doubt the decision will draw the ire of the tree huggers and the Corsi Kids, but as coach Bob Hartley explained, the team wants its players to be prepared for a challenge if and when the situation arises.
• Buried deep in this story about a KHL vet trying to make the Coyotes is a pretty interesting revelation about the NHL's new diving rule. According to Arizona GM Dave Maloney, players pushed for coaching fines to be part of the rule change because several said they were told by their coaches to embellish fouls.
• The Colorado Avalanche and one of the best young lineups in the game are in your town? That's nice, but in Montreal, Patrick Roy and his larger-than-life persona will always be the story.
• With the way the fight for jobs at center is turning out in Toronto, Dave Shoalts says it's time for Nazem Kadri to do more than talk about how ready he is to assume a larger role with the Leafs.
• Barry Trotz's teams have always made hay in the face-off circle but he's got a lot of work to do if that's going to continue in Washington. Let's just say the Caps are a work-in-progress when it comes to the draw.
• Olaf Kolzig might have been one of the great goaltenders of his generation, but the Capitals didn't hire him to teach kids how to stop pucks. Here's a fascinating look into the duties he performs as Washington's professional development coach.
• It's like Patches O'Houlihan always said: If you can dodge a ball, you can make a run for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
• Could the lawsuit filed on Thursday by an injured Blackhawks fan lead to even more protection for spectators at NHL arenas?
• Glad to hear that Ryan Ellis has finally come to terms with the Predators, although his five-year, $12.5 million deal is one of the oddest we've seen. It looks like both sides agreed that his upside is as a third-pairing defender, so Ellis settled for the security of term while the Preds benefit from a low cap hit that looks fair now with it's potential to make Ellis an absolute steal down the road.
• Who will Columbus fans see in a Jackets jersey first, unsigned free agent Ryan Johansen or perpetually injured winger Nathan Horton?
• Luke DeCock says that with Jordan Staal down and out of action, the fate of Carolina's season may be determined by a little-used depth player and a rookie with no NHL experience. Apparently the 'Canes have heard about Connor McDavid.
• Or maybe the Hurricanes really liked Jack Eichel's dominant performance at last night's All-American Prospects Game. The co-favorite to go first in the 2015 draft had a goal and an assist and looked almost unstoppable at times while competing against the best players the country has to offer.
• Jonathan Drouin was back on the ice just two days after suffering a broken thumb, buoyed by news from Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman that he doesn't have to worry about being sent back to juniors.
• Stephen Weiss, Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin top this list of players who are desperately seeking a bounce-back season.
• Here's an excellent, albeit non-hockey specific, piece on the bottom shelf values received by American cities that invest in top-shelf sporting arenas.
• Finally, we're sending out good thoughts to the members of the Bay Area Hounds organization in Houston, who learned earlier this week that their rink is closing just days ahead of the start of the new season. Tough break for those kids.