By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The theme of Thursday night's action? A trio of backup goalies were forced into action at the most critical point of the year (so far). The results varied.
• Aw shucks, Sidney Crosby said. My goal wasn't as good as the one that earned Mario Lemieux a statue. If you think about it, that's a pretty high standard against which to compare any goal. But geez, what a beauty!
• After a 4-0 shutout of the Isles, it looks like the Penguins are Tomas Vokoun's team now.
• The Isles say they missed defenseman Andrew MacDonald in last night's loss, which kind of surprises me since I thought he'd looked brutal earlier in the series.
• Coaches Paul MacLean and Michel Therrien offered grudging respect for one another after the game, and series, ended.
• So which team was the real Canadiens? The one that tore through the first 40 games or the one that stumbled into, and out of, the playoffs?
• A two-goal performance in Chicago's knock-out win against Minnesota suggests that Marian Hossa is back in top form.
• The Leafs gave up on Tuukka Rask, trading him to Boston one year after drafting him. They're kinda wishing they could get a do-over on that one right now.
• Vancouver GM Mike Gillis faced a phalanx of reporters and answered some hard questions about a disappointing end to the season.
• What did Gillis have to say about Alain Vigneault? Lots of nice things, actually...but that doesn't mean the coach will be returning next season.
• That was quick. With the interim tag removed from his job title, Ron Rolston started swinging the axe in Buffalo by sending a pair of long-time assistants to the unemployment line. • Mike Smith earned the shutout as Canada beat host country Sweden 3-0 at the World Hockey Championship. Looks like the team is coming together nicely, which is more than Russia can say after the defending champs were beaten by France in what will go down as one of the greatest upsets of the decade.