By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Wait..where's he been all year? Old-school Ovie made a rare appearance in a must-win game against the Jets. No surprise then that Washington came out on top. Convince that guy to show up more often and maybe the Caps will make a race of this yet.
• Want a realistic look at your team's up-to-date chances of making the playoffs?. Check this out. Math is fun.
• An 8-1 loss to the Blackhawks last Saturday put the Dallas Stars were on the verge of a being blown up. Thursday night's 2-0 win over the defending champs shows why it's hard for GM Joe Nieuwendyk to push the plunger.
• Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf help the Ducks emerge from the shadow of the mighty Blackhawks.
• Mike Babcock is leaning on Teemu Selanne to provide a little inspiration for struggling rookie Damien Brunner.
• Montreal's Marc Bergevin is the front-runner for NHL GM of the Year honors. But not for the player moves. It's all about the culture change.
• Their coach ain't bad, either. Michel Therrien lit a fire under David Desharnais and P.K. Subban with second-period benchings. As a critic of his hiring last summer, it's time for me to concede. Therrien has pushed all the right buttons this year.
• Here are two crazy numbers that add a little perspective to Martin Brodeur's goal-scoring heroics.
• Winnipeg's goalies climbed up on a soap box and worked themselves into a lather over proposed changes to the size of their equipment. Can't say I blame them. Pekka Rinne isn't happy, either, although I don't think his concern about the record books carries a lot of water.
• In a must-win game against a struggling opponent, the Calgary Flames wet the bed in Nashville. Oh, and that minus-3 effort from Jarome Iginla? Not the sort of performance that enhances a guy's trade value.
• Not sure if losing to the 30th-place Panthers is rock bottom for the New York Rangers, but I don't think you'll hear much bragging in South Florida, although coach Kevin Dineen did reference Chumbawamba, so it's hard to tell.
• Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to hand it to the Conservatives in Ottawa -- they know their constituents. The Canadian government is removing the tariff on foreign-made hockey gear. Which is pretty much all of it.
• Don Brennan breaks down last night's 2-1 Boston win over the Senators. Like Don, I, too, was disappointed that Matt Kassian didn't earn a fighting hat trick.
• The Oilers must find a way to win in these three buildings in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
• Devan Dubnyk has started 11 games in a row for Edmonton. Is it time to give Nikolai Khabibulin a star? The short answer: yes. The long answer: yes, it is.
• The amazing thing about this story isn't the news of Alex Kovalev's retirement. It's the poll that asks if he is Hall of Fame worthy. Not Alex Delvecchio. Alex Kovalev.
• Sean Day, the 15-year-old hockey phenom, may be the next big thing, but don't expect the Ottawa 67's to take the blueliner first overall in the OHL draft.
• Picked up on waivers for the third time already this season, Zach Boychuk is back where it all started. #Dontunpackyoursuitcasekid
• I missed this one the other day, but it's well worth a read: Dave Stubbs on how the Vezina criteria change diminishes the legacy of the great Glenn Hall.
• Here's another one (hey, it's a really big Internet): Cam Cole on our shared first love, the incomparable Bobby Orr.
• It's never too early to start talking about the World Juniors. Looks like the U.S. is ready to name a coach for the 2014 event. Big name, but a bit of a surprise.
• Dude! Jarret Stoll? Seriously?
Yep, Home Ice: your go-to source for all the latest hockey/celebrity dating gossip.