Top Line: Boston begins to heal, Letang opposes outdoor games, more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Of course the great Kevin Dupont managed to find the words to sum up Boston's first steps back to normalcy, calling it "a night to remember, a hope to hold dear."
• The Bruins bought a few postgame beers and spent some time with the city's first responders as a way to say thanks from a grateful city.
• Here's the reaction from Buffalo.
• "I think I've gotten enough of outdoor games," said Kris Letang, voicing the first note of opposition from the players to the NHL's expanded schedule of outdoor games. I'm sure there are more who think like him, but they're probably smart enough not to take a swipe at contests that inflate the hockey-related revenue that drives up their paychecks.
• They are less enthused about their chances without Ilya Kovalchuk, who will miss his 11th straight game tonight. The Devils have scored just 16 times over the 10 games without him, crushing their playoff hopes. Wait...sounds like Kovy for MVP, right?
• The Penguins' web site posted a pregame story about Brenden Morrow finally finding his groove in Pittsburgh. He then went out and made that piece look awfully prescient with a two-goal performance to lead the Pens to a 6-4 win over the Habs.
• The playoffs are a foregone conclusion in Montreal, but the road to readiness is proving a little steep. That's three blowout losses in a row for the Habs. Do they really miss Alexei Emelin that much?
• Not sure how a story can be written about Nazem Kadri's April slump without mentioning that he hasn't scored since Don Cherry kissed him on Hockey Night In Canada, but Mark Zwolinski thinks that a curse is the least of Kadri's problems.
• With their playoff lives on the line, the Rangers promised intensity before their last game against Philly...and then got their doors blown off. With no margin for error remaining, can they finally find that consistent effort down the stretch? It helps their cause that all six of their opponents currently sit outside the playoffs.
• If that was Miikka Kiprusoff's last game in Calgary, he went out in style, helping the Flames upset a desperate Detroit squad. After the game, though, coach Bob Hartley announced that Kipper would get the start in the team's home finale on Friday.
• The legendary Kipper Kid, last seen four years ago, returned to the Saddledome to pay tribute one last time to his hero. Judging by that photo, he might be old enough now to have grown that beard himself.
• Edmonton president Kevin Lowe apologized for saying that there are two tiers of Oilers fans. As someone who has said something dumb in front of a live mic once or twice, I'm willing to cut him a break after this apology, but Terry Jones thinks the team's supporters deserved better.
• His name keeps surfacing in trade talks, but Sam Gagner is playing like someone who is part of the solution in Edmonton.
• After missing the playoffs for just the second time in nine years, changes are coming in Nashville. With $22 million available under the cap, their fans will expect the team to spend some money to make improvements.
• Canada is sending another young, inexperienced side to the U-18 World Hockey Championships that get underway today in Sochi, Russia. Connor McDavid and possible 2014 first overall pick Sam Reinhart lead the Canadian charge into the last major tournament ahead of the 2013 draft.
• Here's a nice piece on the AHL Toronto Marlies, who haven't been forgotten despite the return of NHL hockey to Hogtown. • Let's close out with a great read about a family in Montreal that has held season tickets to the Habs for more than 60 years. You won't believe what it cost them for a pair of ducats overlooking center ice in 1942.