Top Line: The return of Tim Thomas; the Rick DiPietro era comes to an end; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Is there a team out there so desperate for help between the pipes that they'd be willing to hire a rusty 39-year-old goalie with a teensy bit of baggage? If so, Tim Thomas might be the guy for you.
• Come, you know we're all looking at you, right Paul Holmgren?
• What took so long? The Islanders are finally buying out the albatross contract of Rick DiPietro. So, what do you think? Any other organization out there willing to give him a second chance?
• Progress was made in Monday's multi-party Olympic talks, but there's still no agreement in place for Sochi.
• Boston GM Peter Chiarelli just ripped Tyler Seguin in the Boston Globe. There are two ways the kid can react to this...and considering how much the B's have invested in him, he better choose the right way.
• So, there's another do-or-die vote tonight in Glendale. Only this one's really the last one. No kidding. Triple swear.
• Lots to do in Calgary as well.
• After more than a year of mentally preparing for an inevitable trade, can Roberto Luongo reconnect with the Vancouver Canucks?
• Jason Botchford offers another take on repairing burnt bridges.
• Stick tap to reader Ryan Ingersoll for pointing me in the direction of this great profile piece on the legendary, and still kicking, Howie Meeker.
• The Buffalo Sabres aren't alone in trying to deal with superstar players heading into the final year of a contract. Of course, the rebuilding Sabres face a different kind of challenge in deciding what to do with Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller.
• Here's the latest on pending free agent Stephen Weiss and a reminder why drafting players headed to the NCAA is such a popular option, especially in the later rounds.
• One deal is done in New Jersey and another one is close, but it looks like the big fish is about to swim away.
• Montreal came close to a big deal at the draft.
• We may never hear from Ottawa's fourth rounder again, but at least now we know the moment when Dany Heatley's confidence as a shooter shattered.
• The Penguins still don't have a deal with Kris Letang and that hang-up leaves three members of the team's penalty killing unit swinging in the breeze. • If worse comes to worse with Letang, a bountiful 2012 draft may help ease the pain.