Top Line: Line brawl erupts in Toronto; Shanahan's busy day; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• There was nothing wrong with a tough guy like Buffalo's John Scott looking to start something in the Sabres' preseason tilt against the Maple Leafs on Sunday night. The problem is that he picked on superstar forward Phil Kessel. That stupid decision prompted a line brawl that featured Ryan Miller going at it with Jonathan Bernier and led to David Clarkson hopping over the boards to protect Kessel. If you start your day hand-milling granola while wearing your favorite Birkenstocks, you might not want to watch as the carnage unfolds.
• Damien Cox points the finger of blame at Buffalo coach Ron Rolston.
• Here's a look at the penalties handed out after the fray. Nice job by the stripes, there.
• Clarkson is all but certain to get 10 games for joining the fray. Kessel's stick-swinging may cost him a couple of games as well. Now here's a very interesting twist: the cap hits of suspended players remain on the books, so the Leafs, who were considering carrying just 21 players to stay in compliance, now face the challenge of making the numbers work while some good money sits on the sidelines.
• Sorting out that mess is only one of the headaches awaiting NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan this morning. He also has to deal with Vancouver's Zack Kassian and the careless stick that broke Sam Gagner's jaw (video).
• Probably should have seen this one coming: Looks like the team that's interested in Brenden Morrow is St. Louis. The Blues have several ties to his old team, including GM Doug Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock, they don't play a fast game, and there's enough left in petty cash for a cheapo deal, so this makes some sense. UPDATE: It's a done deal.
• This year's free agent chase is still far from being settled, but that's no reason not to look ahead to what could be a stellar group of UFAs next summer.
• The great Jack Todd discusses the annual phenomenon of the training camp sensation.
• It looks like the two open spots on Boston's third line have been claimed.
• Peter Laviolette's four-day experiment in forced chemistry went better than expected.
• Frank Seravalli has a good idea of how Philly's roster will look when the team breaks camp.
• There doesn't seem to be any room on Winnipeg's roster for Josh Morrissey, but the 2013 first rounder isn't making it easy for the Jets to cut him.
• There are people out there -- no kidding! -- who will tell you that John Tortorella is one of the smartest guys they know. I have to wonder what they're thinking when they hear Torts saying something brilliant like he doesn't trust X-ray machines.
• The blood clot issues that have Tomas Vokoun on the sidelines leave the Pens in a vulnerable spot. They need to figure out who backs up troubled tender Marc-Andre Fleury and how to make sense of their cap situation before opening night.
• Adrian Dater clarifies the pronunciation of Marc-Andre Cliche's name and speculates on what his acquisition means for the Avs and the trade market. • Who's manning the nets in Calgary? "Still don't know," says coach Bob Hartley. But one of the three in contention may be slipping out of the picture for reasons other than his play.