Top Line: Penguins owe it all to Staal, bad news for Jason Spezza, more links
By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories about Jarome Iginla...and other stuff:
• Jordan Staal's decision not to extend his contract with the Penguins last summer was the first step on the path to this week's pre-deadline trading frenzy in Pittsburgh.
• Oh...and the Penguins shut out the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, 4-0, to win their 14th game in a row. The thing that stood out to me in this one: how relentless the line of Crosby/Dupuis/Kunitz was on the forecheck. If this is what their compete level looks like in March, I can't wait to see them in May.
• Jarome Iginla said the chance to win the Stanley Cup convinced him that Pittsburgh was the right place for him.
• The Calgary Herald breaks down how the Iginla trade came together.
• Steve Simmons says Jay Feaster should have been smart enough to say no to an Iginla trade. Meanwhile, Flames fans are left to wonder what might have been if Feaster or his predecessors had ever managed to acquire a true No. 1 center to play with Iggy. Our own Stu Hackel called it a crime.
• The Islanders -- yes, the New York Islanders -- kept it together after allowing a late Scott Hartnell goal and knocked off the Flyers for their third straight win and a share of eighth place in the East.
• A decision by the staff to reduce the amount of coaching information they were feeding the players has relaxed the Maple Leafs, leading to the team's seven-game point streak.
• The Sedins finally broke out of a lengthy scoring slump and Cory Schneider removed all doubt about who is No. 1 in the nets as Vancouver waxed the Avs.
• "It would be nice to be a surgeon," said Florida GM Dale Tallon after announcing that Ed Jovanovski would be lost to season-ending hip surgery.
• The Coyotes used six first-period goals to secure just their fourth road win of the season. Rusty Klesla had four assists as Phoenix scored more in that single stanza than they had in their previous six games, combined.
• Meanwhile, Gary Bettman told the mayor of Glendale that a group of investors who are interested in the Coyotes could be in place next week. Somehow, the mayor refrained from proclaiming a civic holiday in reaction to this joyous news. Word out of Canada is that it could be a group of Alberta-based investment bankers.
• A sloppy but thrilling win over the Blue Jackets moved the Oilers into a tie for eighth place in the West. Do the 2013 Oilers believe they might have another magical playoff run in them?
• It was the second shutout in as many nights for Antti Niemi, who is keeping his team in the playoff hunt and his name in the Vezina race with his quietly sensational play.
• Detroit GM Ken Holland spent Wednesday wooing free agent Danny DeKeyser. The highly coveted defenseman could make a decision about his pro hockey home today.
• The frantic pace of the shortened season is magnifying the mistakes being made by the St. Louis Blues. Their third straight loss, and eighth to the Kings, leaves them with little margin for error down the stretch. • "Finnish" off your morning reads with a great story about one of hockey greatest -- albeit lesser known -- trophies.