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Top Line: Rejected NHL team names; training camp pranks; more links

San Jose Sharks Ladies and gentlemen, your San Jose...Screaming Squids? And that wasn't the weirdest name suggested for the franchise that became the Sharks. Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• Here's Joe Pelletier with a great piece on rejected nicknames for recent NHL expansion teams. We came awfully close to the San Jose Rubber Puckies.

• The great Bernie Parent talks about driving to dinner with fans, breaking in new equipment and pulling some of the best pranks at training camp.

Nazem Kadri is still living in a dream world when it comes to his contract demands. Unless the Maple Leafs' center is ready to seriously slash his expectations, it's unlikely he'll be in Toronto's camp when it opens next week.

• Sean Gentille says there's not much chance that Kadri or defenseman Cody Franson will sign an offer sheet because no one has the money to pay them under this year's tight cap.

• If Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is already sick of answering questions about Toronto's goaltending controversy, just wait. The battle between Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer is just about to heat up.

• As long as Martin Brodeur is still strapping on the pads, it sounds like Cory Schneider is destined to be the goalie of the future in New Jersey.

• The chance to pull on the sweater of an NHL team for the first time in game action is what makes this week's Traverse City rookie tournament so important to the players who are participating. The Sabres will try to defend their 2011 tournament title with six first-rounders in the lineup.

• There are jobs to be won on the Bruins' third line this season. The competition starts today for hopefuls Ryan Spooner, Anthony Camara, Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith as Boston's rookie camp gets underway.

Stephen Weiss said he felt like "a deer in the headlights" when he attended his first informal skate with the Detroit Red Wings. It's never easy being the new kid, is it?

• Mike Babcock isn't allowed to attend the skates, but Detroit's coach already has big plans for Weiss and fellow "new kid" Daniel Alfredsson.

• No one's using the term just yet, but it sure sounds like unsigned RFA defender Jared Cowen is prepared to be a holdout when camp starts for the Senators.

• The Canadiens are ready to talk about a long-term contract extension with defenseman P.K. Subban. But the Norris Trophy-winner does not share Montreal's enthusiasm.

• At his first event as a member of the Canadiens, center Daniel Briere called the media attention "very impressive." Anyone want to guess what terms he'll use to describe it in, say, March?

• New Montreal enforcer George Parros may not be ready to start the season, but he's definitely ready for his close up. You think Canadiens fans might like this guy?

Scott Gomez says that his rookie season with the Devils was like "an Ivy League education in hockey." Now a grizzled veteran, he's hoping to teach the same lessons to the Panthers' young bucks.

• So what exactly is this morning's presser featuring Ales Hemsky and Craig MacTavish all about?

• Is John Tavares about to be named captain of the Islanders?

Claude Giroux is sticking to his story about the exploding golf club, but will he be healthy in time for the Flyers' season opener?

• Lack of cap space is preventing Philadelphia from offering UFA winger Simon Gagne a contract, but the Flyers have nevertheless invited him to attend the team's training camp. Expect Gagne to show up and sign on once the season starts, after Chris Pronger is put on long term injured reserve.

• Still unable to put any weight on his heel, it sounds like Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen won't be ready for the start of camp. Hard to imagine how hard-luck Carolina will replace his minutes, since spreading them around a defense that finished 29th in goals allowed last season seems like a lousy option.

• The outline for becoming "a hockey player" is there for the Jets' top prospects. It's up to them to fill it in.

Evander Kane says he's ready to score a lot of goals for Winnipeg, but you have to wonder what impact a summer spent rehabbing after foot surgery will have on his season, especially in the early going.

• Apparently, Ilya Kovalchuk's arrival makes SKA Moscow the favorite to capture the crown in the KHL, where the 2013-14 season gets underway tonight. What's not so clear is why Kovy is wearing 300 headgear on that image in the background.

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