Top Line: Bruins, 'Hawks prep for Cup final; coach fired on Skype; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• For a league looking to wipe away the last vestiges of the bitter lockout, the Boston-Chicago Stanley Cup Final sets up as the perfect finish to the season.
• Chicago coach Joel Quenneville says a 'Hawks-Bruins final is "good for hockey." Just a guess, but I bet Dan Bylsma and Darryl Sutter might have different opinions.
• The challenges the Blackhawks have faced along the way leave them fully prepared to take on the Bruins.
• With the way they play the game, the makeup of their lineups, and their playoff experience, the Bruins and Blackhawks are nearly mirror images of each other.
• Tyler Seguin and Patrick Kane were teammates in Switzerland during the lockout. It's a good bet they won't be exchanging chocolates as opponents during the final. Might help the Bruins if Seguin picked up his game the way Kane finally did in Game 4 against the Kings.
• Bruins coach Claude Julien has gone from scapegoat to "best coach ever" in the span of a couple of weeks. Here's how.
• Chicago sees the Bruins as being similar to the Los Angeles Kings ... only better.
• Here are five Blackhawks to watch in the Cup Final.
• And if this is how it happened, MacTavish is one sorry human being.
• Talent dictates that we haven't heard the last of these Los Angeles Kings. They might not win the Cup anytime soon, but the pieces are in place for them to remain in contention for years to come.
• Jack Todd celebrates hockey off the leash.
• Mark Madden thinks the Pens should basically torch the joint for the insurance money. His plan leads to a 2013-14 Pittsburgh team that will look very different from the one that just had its wheels shot off by the Bruins. He might have been a little emotional when he wrote this.
• Ron Cook argues that the smart move isn't to fire Bylsma, but to give him a contract extension. Cook makes some fair points along the way.
• Speaking of the Pens, talks are set to start this week that would see Evgeni Malkin sign a contract extension sooner rather than later.
• What...it's time to say goodbye already? Just one year into his NHL career, pesky winger Leo Komarov may be bolting the Maple Leafs for a larger role here. The guy who finished fifth in the league in hits will be missed.
• I'm not sure these odds have been vetted by Vegas, but Andrew Gross has the line on the top-six candidates to replace John Tortorella behind the New York bench.
• The NHL tweeted the names of the eight men who'll officiate the Final. No Stephen Walkom on the list...