Top Line: Stanley Cup Final talk; Jets star too fat to trade; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Consistency, not flash, defines the success of Boston's emerging superstar, center David Krejci.
• How important will special teams be in the final, really?
• Hold it...here's an entire column on how their time in Windsor shaped the two men who will determine the shape of this series. What, you think I'm gonna miss a chance to plug the Spits?
• The Boston Globe offers a pretty sweet (and in-depth) introduction to the Blackhawks.
• Boston's master of mayhem is ready to do whatever it takes to help the Bruins win.
• The Blackhawks will counter with an irritant of their own.
• Here's how the Blackhawks will ensure that they don't end up like the Penguins. No, the answer is not "score more than two freaking goals."
• It might help to that end if Chicago can get something out of its struggling third line. After being ground into the muck by the hard-checking Kings, they have to use their speed to open up the neutral zone.
• Tim Wharnsby offers a look at how the two teams were built. Interesting that one drafted nearly twice as many of its players as the other.
• The Cup final offers one last glorious chance to call the game with the actual rule book in mind. It's up to the league to get the officiating back on track after three rounds of painfully inconsistent work by the officials.
• Edmonton's hiring of Dallas Eakins continues a recent trend. No, it's not coaches named after major cities in Texas.
• Watching Ralph Krueger hit the bricks after just 48 games has Edmonton's young players recognizing that it's on them to ensure that Eakins stays on the job as long as possible.
• Oh, this is going to be fun. Former Montreal goalie coach Roland Melanson says the play of Carey Price has deteriorated since he left, and he blames the approach of his replacement, Pierre Groulx.
• Here's the moment that the Vancouver Canucks (and possibly a couple of other NHL teams) were waiting for: the Kings have given permission to assistant John Stevens to speak with other clubs about their head coaching positions.
• There are always risks when a team signs a young player to a long-term contract, but the new seven-year, $28 million deal that Nashville gave to defenseman Roman Josi yesterday seems like a fairly safe play for both sides.
• It's imperative that two of Pittsburgh's top prospects step up and force their way onto the team next season.
• Not sure what took so long, but the Rangers finally received permission to speak with Lindy Ruff. I'm not convinced that he's the best option for this team, but Slats would be remiss if he didn't at least spend some time with Ruff before making his choice.
• Sergei Gonchar says winning is important to him and that's why he felt comfortable signing a two-year deal with the Stars. His Russian stoicism probably helped him get through that challenging moment.
• Is this Eastern Conference team the most likely landing spot for free agent Jarome Iginla? Kinda makes sense, doesn't it? • George Malik offers some deep thoughts on Damien Brunner and free agency, and the development of Tomas Tatar. He also reveals the identity of the NHL's first-ever Arab-American player.