Top Line: Patrice Bergeron still hurting; headshot definition change; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Bruins center Patrice Bergeron says he never thought twice about his decision to play Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, even though he was in perhaps the worst medical condition of any player in postseason history. Three months later, he's still struggling. Will his heroic effort cause him to miss the start of the 2013-14 season?
• It's not considered an official rule change, but this season there will be altered wording to the controversial head shot definition that puts more onus on the hitter and whether the contact was "avoidable" according to Elliotte Friedman. We'll have to see it in action, but it appears that it could reduce some of the maddening inconsistencies that dog Department of Player Safety suspension decisions.
• Larry Brooks says a two-year offer for something like $7 million might be enough to get Derek Stepan to sign on the dotted line. It's an amount that would put New York under some financial duress, but the move has to be made before a team like the Islanders swoops in with an offer sheet for the center.
• Anyone caught by surprise when the Isles named John Tavares captain yesterday?
• Perhaps inspired by New York's announcement, Ian Mendes offers up this list of the best value contracts in the NHL . . . and JT is right there on top.
• Here's Islanders owner Charles Wang talking about the team's impending move to Brooklyn and his thoughts on selling the franchise.
• George Johnson offers some closing thoughts on the understated retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff.
• Nice to see the ever loquacious Chris Osgood land a gig at Fox Sports Detroit where, no doubt, the former goalie will be made to look better by the superior talent surrounding him.
• Looks like Danny Cleary finally came to terms with the fact that the Red Wings just aren't that into him anymore. The veteran winger agreed to a three-year deal with the Flyers last night, ending a drama that was becoming painful to watch. He'll add some value to Philadelphia's third line, but don't expect the signing to be well received by the team's fans.
• Sean Gentille says that trading winger Nikolai Kulemin is one way for the Maple Leafs to clear space under the cap to sign both Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson. The trade makes sense when you do the math, but it assumes that there's a team willing to pay Kulemin $2.8 million a year to be third liner . . . other than the Flyers, that is.
• If Kadri doesn't like the ways things are playing out in Hogtown, there's always the KHL.
• With a new star in town, and with jobs there to be won by the kids, GM Bryan Murray says that Ottawa is much improved over last season. Hey, just avoiding turning 2013-14 into an another episode of General Hospital would qualify as a better season.
• Former U.S. sprinter Tommie Smith understands the cost of standing up for human rights at the Olympics better than anyone. And he says athletes heading to Sochi should be prepared to follow in his legendary footsteps.
• Because we haven't had a good hockey scrap to watch in months, here's Jake Marchment (yep, he's related) in the middle of an absolute slugfest in preseason OHL action. • Life after hockey is not going well for former NHL enforcer Link Gaetz.