Top Line: Did Chara break The Code?; Devils sale on fast track; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Joe Haggerty thinks Zdeno Chara's teammates might have a problem with that photo he took with Marian Hossa at the Chicago winger's Stanley Cup party in Slovakia. Not sure there's anything to see here, but I'm not going to knock a guy for looking to stir the pot during the dog days of August.
• So it looks like the sale of the New Jersey Devils to a deep-pocketed group headed by Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris could be completed in two days. That loud thump was the sound of Phoenix fans hitting the floor.
• Coyotes owner George Gosbee answered fan questions via Twitter on Tuesday. Have to love his first answer . . . and good luck to you, sir, with that. Co-owner Anthony LeBlanc is in the hot seat later today.
• Evgeni Malkin's agent says Malkin never entertained any thoughts about playing for a team other than the Penguins. No surprise there. I just keep wondering what sort of reaction Papa Malkin will get next time they show his face on the big board at Consol.
• Here's a heartbreaking piece from Sean Gordon and Allan Maki offering some insight into the life of Jordan Boyd, along with the sad truth that there's simply no way to prevent tragic deaths like his from occurring.
• Detroit GM Ken Holland feels like Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss were the perfect upgrades to prop up an offense that ranked 20th in the NHL last season. Are Red Wings fans being sold a bill of goods? I don't think so. Pulling on that sweater has a way of energizing some players. I expect both of them to be significant contributors to Detroit's challenge for the Eastern Conference title.
• His dismissal from Denver University caught pretty much everyone in the hockey world, including George Gwozdecky, by surprise, but the college legend quickly landed a new challenge when he signed on to assist Jon Cooper in Tampa Bay.
• There was lots of numbers talk in Denver yesterday. The Avs announced they'll retire Adam Foote's jersey on Nov. 2, and first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon revealed that he'll be wearing a different set of digits when he makes his NHL debut. Personally, I think the kid made a brilliant choice.
• Kyle Wellwood is one of two former NHL players on the verge of signing in Switzerland. Yep . . . Wellwood on the big ice. Expect a lot of huffing and puffing.
• The Sharks are talking contract extension with veteran defender Dan Boyle. His agent says he's looking for a two- or three-year deal, which suggests that's he's also ready to look at a significant pay cut.
• One of the two companies bidding to overhaul the Nassau Coliseum is proposing a plan that would see the Islanders return to their old building to play six games after they move to Brooklyn. We should know whether Bruce Ratner or a competing bid from MSG earns the contract at some point today.
• The Sporting News is running a series on the teams that have tortured their fans the most over the past two decades. Can you guess which NHL team tops the list?
• On the occasion of the toothless wonder's 64th birthday, Bill Meltzer reflects on what Bobby Clarke meant to a generation of Philadelphia fans.
• Deadspin digs out a couple of excerpts from a book about recently convicted murderer Whitey Bulger that explains how the mobster got involved with Chris Nilan and used the Boston Bruins as cover to help run guns for the IRA. Yep. Seriously.
• A player for the Ontario League's Saginaw Spirit was arraigned on Sunday on charges of assault and home invasion after he broke into his girlfriend's place and stabbed her father in the back. Defenseman Dalton Young, 20. was expected to compete for one of three overage spots with the Spirit this season, but that's up in the air now. Young was undrafted, but had earned an invite to Washington's summer development camp.
• If the NHL's slate of six games won't scratch your itch for outdoor hockey, the AHL might have your fix. Along with the Grand Rapids/Toronto game that is slated as part of Winter Classic Week, the league has just announced a second game featuring the Lake Erie Monsters and Rochester Americans at Rochester's Frontier Field on Dec. 13. First one game, then another . . . this is how the NHL ended up with six, right? • There were concerns after Canada and the United States waxed the competition in Vancouver that women's hockey might not be a viable Olympic sport. But the IIHF believes progress is being made toward parity. I'd agree that the mentorship program is a step in the right direction, but the on-ice results suggest we may be another decade away from having two or more teams capable of challenging the big girls at the top.