Top Line: Crosby vs. Lemieux, surging Blue Jackets, more links
By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• How does Sidney Crosby match up against Mario Lemieux? TribLive breaks it down. Really, that Pittsburgh has had both of them is as ridiculous as John Derek marrying Bo Derek after Ursula Andress. (Note: you must be at least 50 to appreciate those references.)
• The Blue Jackets have earned points in 10 straight? Unbelievable. Sergei Bobrovsky took it to another level last night, making 39 saves to win a game in which his team didn't score. Check out this number: his save percentage over the last eight games is .976.
• You know how routs are usually kinda boring? Last night's 8-1 pantsing of the Stars by Chicago was the exact opposite. It was like watching the Globetrotters pull out every trick to humiliate the Washington Generals, a jaw-dropping display of skill and effort that showcased the best the NHL has to offer. What a perfect night for Dallas owner Tom Gagliardi to fly in his family from Vancouver for the game. Oh, well maybe not...
• BREAKING NEWS: Chicago GM Stan Bowman thinks his team is pretty good. "I'd be comfortable [going into the playoffs] with the group we have," he said when asked about what his team needs ahead of the trade deadline.
• Speaking of fun to watch, today's Boston-Pittsburgh matinee stacks up as a beauty. It goes at 12:30 EDT on NBC.
• The Pens should put up a far better fight than the Caps did yesterday. That meek effort made it four losses in five for Washington and has to give GM George McPhee reason to question whether he has the right mix to move into next season.
• Here's the legendary Milt Schmidt on being passed for No. 2 on Boston's all-time wins list by Claude Julien, and how coaching was different in his day.
• The Buffalo Sabres are one of several teams looking to move players ahead of the NHL deadline, and the Ducks will consider moving Corey Perry, according to Bruce Garrioch, who also reveals that UFA-to-be Sergei Gonchar is on the block in Ottawa. Nothing earth-shattering here, but trade rumors are always fun, right?
• The Sabres could be one of the few teams clearly in selling mode with the jam-packed standings leaving many clubs in a buy/sell gray zone.
• The Rangers are in free fall after losing their fourth in five nights. Not sure what John Tortorella can do to get Marian Gaborik to show some effort when teacher's pet Brad Richards spends most of his time staring at butterflies.
• Larry Brooks says realignment creates more dead spots on the schedule than any time in the past three decades. Okay.
• The Maple Leafs dropped another one, but the impressive return of Joffrey Lupul last night against the Jets hints at better days ahead.
• Winnipeg stayed in the hunt with a strong effort from Zach Bogosian. The big blueliner defended Evander Kane in a nice scrap against Korbinian Holzer, than scored the clincher in the 10-round shootout win over the Leafs.
• Bogosian is one of 12 former first-rounders employed by the Jets. Sounds impressive, but is it necessarily a good thing?
• Jordan Eberle is creating more scoring chances this season but converting on fewer of them. Does that mean it's time to panic? • Good piece from Eric Stephens on how a visit from a Minnesota high school player offered a little perspective to the Anaheim Ducks.