Top Line: Record night for Taylor Hall, Sidney Crosby injury, more links
By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Was last night's 4-0 lambasting of the Canucks a preview of things to come for Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers? Hall's hat trick broke a Gretzky franchise record for fastest from the start of a game, but this was a total team effort. It was the sort of night that makes you wonder if Edmonton should be buyers before Wednesday.
• It was also the sort of night that makes Canucks fans imagine a future without the Sedins. With their contracts expiring at the end of next season, the team's status as a contender could impact the decision to move forward with or without them.
• Jarome Iginla said his Pittsburgh debut made him feel like a kid again. Meanwhile, the Pens are hoping a date with the oral surgeon is the worst thing to come out of Sidney Crosby's facial injury yesterday.
• With Iggy off the board, Ryane Clowe is hockey's most wanted man ahead of the deadline. Wait ... zero goals, lingering shoulder injury ... what? David Pollak says the Sharks played Clowe's career highlights on the video board to impress the scouts. Had to do something to obscure his play on the ice, I guess.
• The Dallas Stars face back-to-back home games against the Kings and Ducks that legitimately could alter the direction of the franchise. Lose both and they're probably sellers by Wednesday. Win both, they stay the course. Split? Joe Nieuwendyk goes on a Twinkie-eating spree and curls up in the fetal position under his desk.
• Here's one for the advanced stats adherents: the numbers suggest Jakub Voracek might be the best hockey player in Philadelphia.
• Mike Boone says the Habs have exorcised the ghost of Scott Gomez. It's an interesting take, but where are all the P.K. Subban-for-Norris stories after another magnificent performance in the 3-0 win over the Rangers?
• "Unable to assert their will, unable to win, unable to score, the Rangers are on a treadmill to oblivion." Another post-New York loss beauty from Larry Brooks.
• The Caps pulled to within two points of the eighth-place Rangers with a shootout win over the Sabres. Washington looked disinterested through 40 minutes, but came on hard as the game got into crunch time. They need to find a few more 60-minute efforts if they hope to punch their card into the postseason.
• Washington GM George McPhee offers a candid assessment of the organization's top three prospects.
• Kukla's Korner offers a tribute to Gordie Howe.
• The Avs were able to enjoy a rare postgame smile after winning for just the second time in their last 10 games.
• The always must-read Roy MacGregor says bigger nets are the answer in an age of bigger goalies.
• Mike Zeisberger says small deals could make the biggest impact at the trade deadline.
• A hat trick from Nazem Kadri powered a Leafs win over Ottawa that has the team on the verge of a playoff berth for the first time since 2004.
• The Swench Connection has become Ottawa coach Paul MacLean's go-to line.
• Should the Washington Capitals trade a goalie ahead of the deadline? Worked out pretty well for them last time.
• Steve Simmons' Sunday column touches on the fallout from the Iginla trade, and how Iggy might end up in Edmonton next season.
• Dan/Danny/Daniel/Darnit DeKeyser has joined the Red Wings. He won't play today against the Blackhawks, but could see action this week after getting in some practice time. • Team Canada rewarded a sold-out house with an 8-0 thrashing of Sweden in the final exhibition before this week's start of the Women's World Hockey Championship. Canada opens against the United States on Tuesday.