Top Line: John Tortorella at it already; Patrick Kane rumors?; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• "There better be no information coming out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble, to me," said Canucks coach John Tortorella, while wearing a ratty housecoat and shooing good-fer-nuthin' kids off his lawn.
• Will Torts force the Sedins to become shot-blocking fiends? Oh, he'll ask, but don't expect big numbers. It's tough to block a shot when you've got the puck all the time.
• Remember when Stan Bowman thrilled Chicago's fans by saying that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be Blackhawks for life? Well, good ol' 88 brought a bucket of cold water to that party. "That’s what you hope for", Kane said. "That’s obviously the ultimate goal to win championships and then play for an organization like this, but, you know, I’m still a young kid. I’m 24, turn 25 this year. To say what’s going to happen the rest of my career, I just don’t know. I mean obviously it would be ideal to stay here, but we’ll cross that path when we get to it." And so the crazy Kane-wants-out-of-Chicago rumors start . . . now.
• Larry Brooks reports that free agent Derek Stepan is open to a short-term deal, but just because he'll except fewer years doesn't mean he'll play for peanuts.
• Brooks also says that backup goalie Martin Biron will return to camp today, but there might not be a job waiting for him when he gets there.
• You won't believe what Patrick Roy focused on during his first practice as the Avs' coach. Oh wait, maybe you will.
• Not to put too fine a point on it, but Dejan Kovacevic says it isn't just the preseason that's meaningless in Pittsburgh. So's the regular season. And the first three rounds of the playoffs. Basically it's win the Cup or face absolute Armageddon for these Pens.
• Jaromir Jagr skated off early from his first practice with the Devils yesterday. The team's not worried, though. "We knew he was, like, 100 when we signed him," is something I wish Pete DeBoer had said.
• Here's Ken Holland explaining how he stole Daniel Alfredsson from the Senators.
• "I used to boo him," one Red Wing said of Alfie.
• Dany Heatley says the shoulder injury that prematurely ended his season is fully healed and he's in the best shape of his life heading into the new campaign. That commitment could move him back into a top-six role with the Wild.
• This wasn't the start that Joffrey Lupul was looking for. Sure, it's early, but yesterday's news out of the Leafs' camp pretty much ends any hopes he had of making Team Canada, doesn't it? You can't take a guy you can't trust to stay healthy though one day of training camp.
• Nashville coach Barry Trotz likes what he's seen from newcomer Viktor Stalbeg. No, I mean he really, really likes what he's seen.
• The Capitals opened camp yesterday with 69 players, but prized summer acquisition Mikhail Grabovski wasn't one of them. "I couldn't get my visa done on time," may seem like a valid excuse, but the lack of preparation doesn't make for a great first impression.
• Hope the new guy comes in hot because Luke DeCock says there's never been more pressure on the Hurricanes to make the playoffs than now.
• This is cute. The Flames are out to show everyone they're not the worst team in hockey. Aim high, fellas!• The Lightning say that Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop are coming into the season as equals, but it already sounds like one of them has the edge for the starter's job.