Top Line: Will Kovalchuk go home alone?; camp updates; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Larry Brooks examines the role played by the NHL lockout in Ilya Kovalchuk's decision to "retire" from the NHL.
• Most believe that Kovalchuk's defection was a one-off incident. Others say he might not be the only one yearning for the sweet embrace of Mother Russia. Most Russian nationals have already received, and rebuffed, contract offers from home, but only Kovy couldn't resist the siren song. The rest appear happy to be in the NHL.
• Pavel Datsyuk, for instance, has no interest in following Kovy back to Russia at this point. Enjoy this comically graceless Google Translate version of an article that appeared in Russia.
• The Devils may look to former Red Wing and Swiss league scoring sensation Damien Brunner to carry some of the offensive load in New Jersey. The free agent has had some nibbles but no serious bites since July 5.
• Fluto Shinazawa ruminates on a successful summer for the Flyers and a busy stretch for the Jets, among other topics, in his Sunday column.
• Two of the NHL's top young stars share a house. Sadly, it's not Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux.
• There's a lot of excitement in the air with development camps in full swing around the league, but Detroit GM Ken Holland reminds fans to tap the brakes on their expectations. It's a long way from dev camp to skating in the NHL.
• It's a good week to be a Chelios. Just days after Chris Chelios was called to Hall of Fame, his son Dean is making a strong impression at Detroit's development camp.
• Three Europeans, including 2013 top pick Linus Arnesson, are making a strong impression at Boston's camp.
• Avoiding the trap of relying on his size advantage is the focus for Washington's 2012 first rounder, Tom Wilson at the Capitals' development camp.
• Brent Flahr has all the details from Minnesota's camp. Sounds like 2012 first rounder Mathew Dumba is building a solid case for a spot on the parent club this season.
• Meet gritty goal scorer Kerby Rychel, the second of three first round picks made by the Jackets.
• Playing college hockey didn't prepare Calgary prospect Ben Hankowsku for the physical rigors of life in the NHL. Here's what he had to do about it.
• The Blues lost Philip McRae yesterday. The son of Basil McRae, and a promising young winger in his own right, is taking his talents to Tampere. A fresh start might be exactly what he needs after and injury-riddled 2012-13 season.
• The Coyotes feel they've finally landed a No. 1 center in Mike Ribeiro. It's an interesting assumption to make of a guy who mostly been a No. 2 in his career. He'll face a whole new challenge when he's facing shutdown units every night.
• Here's another risk-laden presumption: that Ray Emery can play a majority of Philly's games in 2013-14. He's clearly a more mature, more focused athlete than he was on his last swim through Philadelphia, but he hasn't been the go-to guy since 2006-07. • Yeah, it's been a hectic week, but how did I miss this wildly unexpected story about how David Booth is spending his offseason? Amazing stuff.