Did Thomas Vanek
take his last look at Buffalo's Niagara Center as a Sabre? (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• "I've thought about it. If it looks like it's a long rebuild, then it probably makes sense for both parties to move on." The thoughts of Thomas Vanek on his future in Buffalo lead off the QMI Sunday notes column.
• The Stars have reportedly hired Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill to be Nieuwendyk's replacement. That's one way to change a losing culture. We'll have more on this later this morning.
• With a goal and an assist in a 5-3 season-ending loss to Florida, 37-year-old Martin St. Louis became the oldest player in NHL history to capture the Art Ross Trophy. Steven Stamkos finished second, making for a more dubious mark: the first time teammates from a non-playoff club have finished 1-2 in the scoring race.
• The Penguins welcomed James Neal back into the lineup and he looked like he hadn't missed a shift, let alone eight games. His third career hat trick led Pittsburgh to an 8-3 win over the Hurricanes.
• After spitting the bit last night in Washington, the Bruins have one more chance to claim the Northeast title. Personally, I'd bet on this baffling bunch coming up short...again.
• Don Cherry offered up his thoughts on female reporters in the dressing room. Don't suppose that will stir up any controversy, eh?
• The Blue Jackets are left to ponder what might have been after falling one point short of the playoffs.
• A 3-0 playoff-clinching win over Dallas proved why Jimmy Howard has emerged as Detroit's MVP.
• Whether you think it's worse that the Maple Leafs are being outshot or outscored, they didn't do enough of either down the stretch. And that does not bode well for their first playoff run since 2007.
• Maybe their top prospect, big center Joe Colborne can help. He's looked good in a late audition.
• After flaming out in consecutive playoff runs as the top seed, the Vancouver Canucks hope to have better luck in their new role: underdog.
• It wasn't just a playoff berth that was on the line for Minnesota last night. The jobs of the coach, general manager and several players hung in the balance had they not clinched a spot with that 3-1 win over the Avs.
• Gary Lawless writes that Dustin Byfuglien is part of the problem in Winnipeg, not the solution. It's time, he says, to move the big man. This should go over well...
• The Old Grey Lady takes a look back at at the history of the vanishing Southeast division...and finds it sad.
• Adrian Dater says that the Colorado Avalanche, once the gold standard in the NHL, have morphed into cubic zirconia." He seems sad about this. Maybe this will cheer him up.
• The U.S. may be a legitimate world hockey power these days, but it heads into next week's World Hockey Championships trying to snap a streak of 79 years without a title. Look forward to this same link next year, when the number will be a nice, round 80.
• If you aren't aware that Hockey Night in Canada offers a parallel broadcast in Punjabi, you should be. Because it is awesome.
• Here's how a former Cup-winning coach of the Montreal Canadiens
is helping turn Israel into a second-tier hockey power.