Top Line: Crosby awaits clearance, Kings set to defend Cup, more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Sidney Crosby is waiting to hear from doctors if he will be cleared to play in Game 1 of the playoffs. With all that's on the line, I'm surprised that NBC hasn't suggested he see Dr. Leo Spacemen. If he wants clearance that bad, all Sid has to do is dance for it.
• Marc-Andre Fleury recognizes that he is the question mark for the Cup-or-bust Penguins. He thinks his new role as a father will help him get through any rough spots. Ah, new fathers. Is there anything they won't tell themselves in their sleep-deprived delirium?
• Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau won't tip his hand and reveal who is starting in goal for the Ducks, but he is willing to accept the underdog role against the seventh-seeded Wings. Apparently every team is the underdog this spring.
• Dave Stubbs goes back nearly a century to look at the playoff history of the Canadiens and Senators. This one's a must-read if only for the great line about what once passed for social media.
• Listen to Boston GM Peter Chiarelli though, and he'll tell you this series doesn't look so lopsided to his eyes. Or mine, for that matter.
• It may seem trite to select Pittsburgh and Chicago to meet in the Cup final, but Eric Duhatschek reminds us that occasionally the cream does rise to the top in sports. Anything can happen -- it's why they play the games, right? -- but it is tough to imagine either of these teams being felled along the way.
• Yeah, the Wild put themselves in a lousy spot with their bumbling April performance, but that doesn't mean they're content to let the Blackhawk bulldoze them.
• The Islanders take a look back to identify the moments where their season finally came together. This bunch seems awfully loose ahead of their meeting with the Penguins. With John Tavares leading them, they're going to be a fun team to watch.
• Actor/writer/Habs fan Jay Baruchel was given a chance to spend a day with the Cup. Here's what happened.
• Alexander Ovechkin has a message for the New York Rangers. It's not, "Your wife called and she wants you to pick up some milk on the way home."
• Chris Stevenson has the top 10 storylines of the NHL playoffs. Really? This Kessel thing hasn't blown over yet?
• The arrival of Jim Nill suggests a culture change is coming to Dallas. Which is fine, as long as that culture change brings three NHL-ready defensemen with it.
• They're pretty excited in Colorado about winning the NHL draft lottery last night.
• After the death of his father, Doug Gilmour's long battle against Alzheimer's has taken on a personal dimension. • Rihanna plays Montreal's Bell Centre tomorrow night. Someone please get her a Habs' jersey. We don't want this to end badly.