Top Line: Stanley Cup Final game day; Avs to pass on Seth Jones; more links
By Allan Muir
A super-sized annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• After all, we still don't know what's wrong with the guy. My guess? A touch of the ol' rinderpest. Yeah, that might be a lousy guess.
• A big reason the series is going Boston's way right now? Patrice Bergeron is winning the battle against Jonathan Toews.
• After years of being brushed under the carpet, the Hawks have become a viable part of the conversation on Chicago talk radio.
• Game 4 is "almost a do-or-die situation" for the Blackhawks, writes Bryan Bickell in his NHL.com blog. Hmm. Didn't realize he was doing this for their site. Must be what he's doing to keep himself mentally sharp while he's stapled to the bench.
• Joel Quenneville identified one Blackhawk who has to be better in Game 4.
• Hey, remember when the Maple Leafs almost knocked off the Bruins in the first round? Sorry, Toronto -- it's not because you guys were any good. The Leafs just caught the B's at the right time. Here are five reasons why Boston is better now than then.
• Hockey isn't scripted like football, writes Fluto Shinazawa, but consistently winning face-offs allows a team to execute plays in a way that chasing the puck doesn't. That's been key to Boston's success.
• With the ink barely dry on the new CBA, you know this isn't an owner just laying ground cover: The Chicago Blackhawks are losing money.
• To the surprise of no one who has been paying attention lately, the Avs have decided to pass on local boy Seth Jones and take a forward with the No. 1 pick. Pro Tip: Don't assume that means Nathan MacKinnon is the choice.
• You remember that CHL ban of European goalies that had all the tall foreheads in Canada up in arms? Yeah, apparently the Europeans think it's a swell idea. Yeah, imagine that...
• Wayne Gretzky was golfing yesterday. So, of course, the conversation turned to the return of hockey to Quebec City.
• Ottawa GM Bryan Murray stoked the fires under the hot stove, announcing that he's in the market for a top-six forward and is looking to move up in the draft.
• Now that Datsyuk is under contract, the Wings have three more free agents to deal with. Sounds like GM Ken Holland is ready to cut ties with all of them.
• Add one more name to the list of superstar Russians who didn't give a second thought to returning home to play in the KHL when it was time to sign a new contract.
• Danny Briere has been informed by the Flyers that he will be bought out when the window opens.
• Well, unless the Maple Leafs and Flyers have anything to say about it.
• The Bank is about to become The Garage.
• Glad it turned out this way, but this feels like a hollow victory for Gordie Howe. • The Grand Rapids Griffins captured their first Calder Cup, thanks to a player who failed to score a goal all season long.