Top Line: The next Brodeur; Leafs have parade route planned; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The New Jersey Devils gave seventh-rounder Anthony Brodeur his father Martin's dressing room stall. Hey, at least they didn't give him the No. 30 jersey to wear.
• This is all kinds of awesome: New Maple Leafs president Tim Leiweke already has the parade route planned out for when Toronto wins the Stanley Cup. And that's not all...
• The team's fans may be bitter, but New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer doesn't believe that Ilya Kovalchuk double-crossed the Devils.
• Kovalchuk's departure has Jack Todd whipped into a fine lather. He says Kovy's defection back to Russia could be just the first of many moves that ultimately rock the arrogant NHL to its very foundation.
• The NHL schedule hasn't yet been released -- and it won't be until the Olympic situation is settled -- but Ian Mendes already has a list of 10 match-ups he can't wait to see.
• Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews gets his day with the Stanley Cup on Friday and he already has the day all mapped out.
• Hard to believe Josh Bailey already has spent five years with the Islanders. He's looking to make it an even 10 after signing a new five-year deal yesterday. The Isles bungled his development badly by rushing him to the NHL. Here's hoping he finally taps into his full potential.
• A serious head injury suffered in an AHL match has led Montreal's Blake Geoffrion to retire ... at least "for the time being." Here's hoping the 25-year-old eventually recovers fully and can play the game again some day. Though he's famous for his family name, his real claim to fame is as the first player trained in Nashville's minor hockey system to make the NHL.
• Apparently, this is a lousy time to try to trade Ales Hemsky. Edmonton's best chance may be closer to the deadline, according to an insider.
• If things don't work out for Neil Greenberg in the newspaper racket, he might want to consider looking for a gig as a player agent. Check out his incredibly detailed presentation on the value of Washington free agent Marcus Johansson and you'll see what I mean.
• The Boston Bruins fired head scout Wayne Smith two weeks after the draft. I'm guessing there was an internal rift over the decision to go heavily European this time out after relying heavily on the OHL in the past. I'm also guessing this story is going to have some legs.
• A quiet summer might be exactly what Boston's Dougie Hamilton needs to take the next step in his development.
• Here's what they're saying in Philly about the return of Ron Hextall.
• Coming off his ELC, Brendan Smith was given a two-year deal yesterday by the Red Wings. He had an up-and-down season in Detroit, but still shows plenty of promise. This contract gives him time to prove he belongs, but not much. He needs to get his game on the right track quickly.
• The Panthers locked up two key components of their future yesterday, signing goaltender Jacob Markstrom and second-overall pick Alexander Barkov. Both are expected to play significant roles next season.
• Evander Kane says he was "pleasantly surprised" by how well his surgically repaired ankle felt during an easy skate at Winnipeg's development camp yesterday.
• There's no guarantee that fifth-overall pick Elias Lindholm will play for Carolina next season, but general manager Jim Rutherford said he would be "shocked" if the freshly signed Swede wasn't in the lineup on opening night. I'm not sure he has the strength needed to compete night-in, night-out, but scouts rave about this kid's competitive fire. He might do more than just take in the scenery.
• Chip Alexander updates us on the lingering scheduling feud between the Hurricanes and N.C. State and the chance of Carolina signing a top-four defenseman. Ron Hainsey, anyone?
• New CBA, old CBA ... it doesn't matter. This summer's free agency spending spree proves there's no place for financial restraint in the NHL.