Top Line: Tomas Vokoun retiring?; Bettman on NHL relocation; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• A report out of the Czech Republic yesterday suggested that Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun was considering retirement as a result of the blood clots that have him sidelined. His agent quickly jumped in to deny it.
• Gary Bettman calls the rumors of NHL expansion and relocation "gratifying," but says there's nothing to them at the moment. Of course, this is the same guy who said the Thrashers wouldn't relocate right before they did, so...
• If you're Canadian and over 50, this is the anniversary of one of the greatest days of your life. But I probably didn't need to remind you of that.
• Careful management will be required to keep Marian Hossa in Chicago's lineup this season. If it means keeping him healthy for the playoffs, the Hawks should mix in all the off days they can.
• A 25-year-old former batboy for the New York Yankees convinced his dad to buy the Florida Panthers and is being groomed to manage the organization. No, this is not the plot of a Carl Hiassen novel. Yet.
• Dave Nonis reveals he could have been GM of the Maple Leafs a decade ago, among other personal insights, in this interview with Damien Cox.
• There are bars and charts and graphs and all manner of visual aids in this overview of goalie drafting from 2001-2013. Sounds like the new adage is true: if you're good enough, they'll find you.
• Adrian Dater says the Avs might be in trade talks with this Eastern Conference team.
• Ryan Lambert wonders how it's possible that NHL teams don't understand the CBA. I'm not sure it's a "don't understand" situation as much as it is a "we're smart guys, we'll figure it out" kind of conceit, but it's a failure all the same.
• After cutting training camp hero Michael Raffl, the Flyers are left with a couple of tough roster decisions. No matter what happens though, Simon Gagne isn't part of any plans, contingency or otherwise.
• It's not that 2013 first rounders Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat have played so well that they've forced their way onto Vancouver's roster. It's that the Canucks are so bereft of depth that they don't have any other options.
• Having invested a first rounder in Ian Cole, the Blues decided to stay in-house for their No. 7 defense job and released veteran Ryan Whitney. If he was too slow for that bunch, it's hard to imagine him finding another NHL gig at this point, barring some team suffering seven separate misfortunes.
• The Jets were lousy again last night, getting shutout by the Bruins at home. No one's putting emphasis on preseason results, but there has to be some concern about the effort this team is putting out. It's looking more and more like Claude Noel won't survive until Christmas.
• Doesn't seem that long ago that Angelo Esposito was a can't-miss kid. Now, he's just another guy looking for a job after being cut by the AHL Hartford Wolfpack.
• The KHL was quick to denounce an earlier report that it would take on a Norwegian-based expansion team next season. Let's see what they say about this rumor out of Switzerland.
• Has Jose Thedore finally found a gig? • My ol' buddies at Upper Deck did more than grab a few thousand autographs at this year's NHLPA Rookie Showcase. They enlisted some non-icthyophobic NHL hopefuls to help cure Austin Watson of his fear of catfish. Kind of...