Not Dead Wings yet: young blood like mobile defenseman Danny DeKeyser
will likely put Detroit in the playoffs again. (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Crazy story out of the OHA Junior C final where, after Game 2 was in the books, it was decided that the third period of Game 1 will be replayed because a protest by the Essex 73s was upheld. When was the last time you heard of that happening? Ever?
• The Red Wings took control of their playoff destiny with a win over Nashville. While everyone's been talking about their 21-season streak of postseason appearances coming to an end, Detroit has reeled off three wins in four nights to move into seventh place.
• The puck-moving skills of youngsters Danny DeKeyser and Brendan Smith have helped stabilize Detroit's defense down the stretch.
• Sidney Crosby has received medical clearance to return to practice today. Still no word, though, on whether he'll be available for the start of the playoffs next week.
• Here's a solid piece from Josh Yohe on the toll the last week has taken on Matt Cooke and his family.
• So much for easing Erik Karlsson back into the lineup. In his first game since having his Achilles' tendon almost completely severed 10 weeks ago, Karlsson played a game-high 27:11 to help the Sens beat the Caps and clinch a playoff berth.
• The Habs eliminated the pesky Jets and clinched home ice for the playoffs with a third-period comeback win in Winnipeg.
• Calder candidate Brendan Gallagher talks about his impressive rookie season. The best part: the weirdest things he's been asked to autograph. What is wrong with people?
• The analysts at Hockey Night In Canada offer up their picks for the season's top awards.
• Here's one five-timers club worth joining. How about the one the Stars signed up for with last night's loss to Columbus? More exclusive, less desirable.
• Their win in Dallas allowed the Blue Jackets to extend their unlikely playoff dreams to Saturday's season finale against the Predators.
• One member of the 500-games-played club, Mike Liut, talks about another who'll enter the fraternity tonight: Buffalo's Ryan Miller. With his expected start against the Isles, Miller becomes just the 62nd stopper to reach that milestone.
• It was a bittersweet night for Marc Staal, who had to watch from the press box as his three brothers, including Jared making his NHL debut, skated for Carolina against the Rangers.
• There's been plenty of talk in Boston about the disappointing seasons of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Maybe it's time to point a finger in the direction of their center, David Krejci.
• Joe Haggerty offers up 15 Thoughts about Boston's 2-0 win over the Lightning last night.
• Over at Grantland, Katie Baker takes a look at how the playoffs should shake out. Not sure anyone was "practically panting," though...
• The Flyers handed out their season-ending hardware last night. Surprisingly, None Of The Above didn't claim a single award.
• Kerry Fraser takes a look at how officials make sense of the chaos in instances like the brawl that marred the end of Wednesday's Blainville-Boisbriand/Baie-Comeau contest.
• Forget about all the postseason position wrangling. The best performance in hockey yesterday took place in Russia, where 16-year-old Connor McDavid posted another hat trick to lead Canada into the semi-finals of the U-18 World Championship. This kid is a double-underager and he is absolutely tearing up this tournament with eight goals and 14 points in just five games. He's also 71 percent on the draws and probably sold the most raffle tickets to help pay for the trip to Sochi.
• Tim Wharnsby offers up his thoughts on the Gordie Howe movie that airs this weekend on CBC in Canada and the Hallmark Channel in the States. I cannot attest to the quality of the review, however, because my eyes were transfixed by the awesome poodle 'fro worn by an opposing player in the accompanying still.
• Speaking of movies, they've made a biopic about the legendary Valeri Kharlamov
in Russia. Don't suppose anyone knows how a cinephile might see this in the States, do they?