Top Line: Patrick Kane the face of Team USA?; Staal health updates; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Has Patrick Kane become the face of American hockey? And if he has . . . is that a good thing?
• Not sure that Herb Brooks would have liked this angle, but 14 players at Team USA's camp were from Minnesota. And apparently, the guys were pretty proud of that fact.
• No one has forgotten what Ryan Miller did in Vancouver, but history doesn't count for much now, so the 2010 Olympic hero desperately needs a hot start this season to ensure that he isn't the odd goalie out when the U.S. roster is finalized.
• USA Hockey is well aware of its failure to medal when the Games have been held outside North America. A new approach to team building has the Americans liking their chances this time around.
• The TSN staff projected Team Canada's roster. The appropriate reaction to the result is: Have these guys ever actually watched a game of hockey in their lives?
• Three Staals are in the running for spots on Team Canada. And two of 'em have to prove they're healthy first. Here's the latest on Marc's eye and Eric's knee.
• Babcock also said that the first three months of the NHL season should make it clear who will man his net at Sochi. "One of these goalies will step up — no question. One of these goalies will be hot going in, so everyone will know who is playing in goal for Canada." Not sure the rest of the nation shares his confidence...
• It's a pretty good time to be a lefthanded-shooting defenseman, or a natural winger, in Canada.
• Andrew Ladd might be seen by some as a long shot to make Team Canada, but Gary Lawless thinks that he brings a unique set of skills that could be a good fit for the team. I'm right there with him. Ladd is a natural winger with size, pugnacity, scoring touch, leadership and international experience. I think he's a very good bet to make the cut.
• While the Canadians were running drills on the floor, the Americans took in a ball game. What's that tell you?
• Could two of the NHL's top young players be heading toward holdouts? "I don't expect either side expects me not to be [at camp]," says Rangers center Derek Stepan. Meanwhile, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo says that he's not thinking along those lines.
• Which team has the best general manager/coach combo? A ranking on CSN Philly suggests -- surprise! -- that it's the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. John Boruk breaks down the rest, from 1-30 (and yes, he might have slotted the hometown Flyers a little too high).
• Speaking of Philadelphia, the Flyers get the 30-in-30 treatment today on nhl.com. And would you believe that their scribe thinks goaltending is a question mark in Philly? Crazy, eh?
• Jarome Iginla hit the ice for the first time with a few of his new teammates in Boston yesterday. And while his focus is on fitting in with the Bruins, he still has hopes of catching Steve Yzerman's eye for a shot at Sochi.
• After missing Canada's world junior camp over the summer with a foot injury, will third-overall pick Jonathan Drouin of the Lightning be ready for camp?
• Potential Canucs backup Eddie Lack is a throwback to the days of goofy, flaky netminders. As long as the guy can stop some pucks every fifth game or so, there's nothing wrong with a bit of color.
• Sure, he blew off a few preseason games, but that didn't stop CSKA from handing Ilya Kovalchuk the C.
• Has Edmonton decided on a new captain? If the team has, as one report suggests, expect the unexpected.
• Saying his "dream is to play in the NHL," spin-master Linus Omark has returned from his one-year exile in Switzerland and re-signed with the Oilers. It's a nice depth add, but where exactly does he think he fits in on that squad?• Devils prospect Ben Johnson is innocent until proven guilty in a pair of sexual assault cases (his lawyer has said that he expects Johnson to plead not guilty), and so he has every right to attend camp with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. But as Bob Duff points out, the team's handling of the situation shows stunning insensitivity to the proceedings.