Top Line: Canucks staff failing team's prospects; RFA signings; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Go ahead. Give it your best shot. Try to come up with at least one good reason to explain why the general manager and coaching staff of the Vancouver Canucks aren't watching the team's top prospects state their case at the rookie tournament in Penticton. Their absence is a slap in the face to the kids and an insult to the team's supporters.
• That's not the only controversy in Vancouver. No, wait. That's just the 40-deep media scrum that Roberto Luongo can expect to face every day this season. How'd you like to be that guy?
• Wayne Scanlan explains why deals like these have been so hard to come by.
• Here's John Allemang with an absolute must-read piece on Ottawa forward Dave Dziurzynski. You might not remember the name, but you surely saw him concussed in a lopsided staged fight against Frazer McLaren. What's happened since makes for an amazing story.
• It doesn't matter where the salary cap stands or what it costs, says GM Stan Bowman. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be Blackhawks for life.
• NHL teams are cooling on Russian talent. That's not a newsworthy statement in and of itself, but when it comes from former Soviet great, and current player agent, Igor Larionov, it's worth paying attention.
• The young core in Edmonton, built around a trio of first overall picks, has often been compared to the groups that eventually led Pittsburgh and Chicago to Stanley Cup titles. David Staples runs the numbers and wonders if slow development is cause for concern. Spoiler alert: it is.
• Mike Chambers ponders the key questions facing the Avalanche as they head into camp next week. There'll be lots of attention paid to the first-overall pick and the big names in the front office and behind the bench, but the storyline I'll be watching closely is the health, and play, of Joey Hishon.
• That new scoreboard in Denver? Wow.
• This explains why those idiots in the good seats never seem to be watching the game.
• Rookie Torey Krug knew he couldn't come to camp expecting to make the Bruins if he didn't put in the work this summer. But the key to any success won't be improved explosiveness. It'll be the ability to play a high-level game like he showed last spring with consistency.
• Winnipeg first rounder Josh Morrissey is earning rave reviews at the Penticton tournament. Sounds like the team thinks his development path might be shorter than it's been for other recent top picks.
• The best part of watching rookie camps? Spying the youngster who unexpectedly has taken that developmental leap from hopeful to legitimate prospect. The Capitals think they have one of those kids in offensive-minded defender Connor Carrick. • I'm not sure what's going on during most of this, but that doesn't mean it's not the greatest pre-game show ever. Seems like they should have been playing "Comfortably Numb" in the background, doesn't it?