By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The Avalanche need to trade for goalie Ryan Miller in order to become a serious playoff contender, at least according to Mark Kiszla. I'm not convinced there's anything to the spate of Miller-to-Colorado rumors during the last couple of days, but getting him out of Buffalo might be the only thing that can revive his deteriorating game.
• This season's artificially low salary cap is a kick in the teeth to fans of high-revenue teams, writes Tony Gallagher. It's an interesting take . . . and hardly the first time the league has punished its most loyal customers.
• The story of Oilers hopeful Will Acton is required reading for kids hoping to one day make the NHL. He's proof that if you play the game the right way, you don't need to be a big scorer to get your chance.
• Is your favorite soap opera not dishing out enough drama? Just keep one eye trained on the career of Nikolai Zherdev because he is certain to deliver the goods. The former first round pick of the Blue Jackets had his KHL contract terminated at his own request only a month after he signed it. Zherdev probably just found out that HC Lev Praha wasn't going to use him as a full-time cherry picker like he'd hoped.
• Crushing news for the aging puck bunny set: Mike Modano has remarried.
• NHL.com takes a look at the six most unlikely single-season performances in NHL history. Although, to be fair, they probably shouldn't include anyone who spent a season riding shotgun with Mario in his prime.
• Disappointing story out of the Owen Sound Attack camp. Senators third-rounder Jarrod Maidens went home Sunday after suffering a recurrence of post-concussion symptoms. Maidens was touted as a first-round talent before the 2012 NHL Draft, but head trauma sidelined him early in the 2011-12 season. This was his attempt to get back into the game. Our best wishes for a full recovery.
• Chuck Gormley considers the five key questions to be answered at the Capitals' rookie camp, including the chances of Tom Wilson making the big club and why the organization's top prospect won't be on hand.
• We all should have listened to nine-year-old Duncan Keith.
• Appropriate that Kevin Dupont touches base one last time with two of his go-to subjects, Phil Kessel and Joe Thornton, in his final Sunday column. Required reading, right up to the end. Job well done, KPD.
• With his core players locked up, the challenge now for newly-signed Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is to start shepherding some young talent into the system.
• Focusing on helping Boston win, rather than on putting up the numbers to justify his massive deal, allowed Milan Lucic to get his game back on course during the playoffs. Can he maintain that focus this season?
• Steve Simmons considers Team Canada's egos, the greatness of Teemu Selanne, and Finland's goaltending in his notes column.
• Making the Olympic team has always been Jimmy Howard's dream, but taking care of business for the Red Wings is the goalie's first priority this season. • Doesn't seem right that a training trip to Sochi would include a beach day, does it?