Top Line: Peter Laviolette on hot seat; Joel Ward's great escape; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Everyone who has Philly's Peter Laviolette in the first-to-be-fired pool has to be liking their odds right now. The Flyers have yet to score an even-strength goal through two games, and mustered just 11 five-on-five shots in last night's 4-1 loss to Montreal. His seat is now officially hot.
• There aren't many players Montreal's fans love to hate more than Vincent Lecavalier.
• With Nathan MacKinnon all but headed to the Hall of Fame after his first two games, the fate of Paul Stastny draws into focus. It's a good bet he'll be traded before season's end, writes Adrian Dater, to ensure MacKinnon gets his minutes. If GM Joe Sakic can turn Stastny into a reliable defenseman, it would put the team on the fast track to playoff contention.
• The struggling Predators make sense as a possible destination Stastny. They can't score and they have defensive prospects to spare.
• Steve Simmons touches on Jake Gardiner and the challenge he poses for Randy Carlyle, and a memo sent out by the league asking teams to tone down the promotion of fighting in this week's Sunday column.
• Veteran columnist Larry Brooks puts in his two cents on the NHL's fighting debate. It's a good read, as always, from Brooksie.
• Wait a minute...Hot Stove is a pre-game feature now? That's like moving the Denny Crane/Alan Shore cigar-smoking epilogue before the opening theme song, for cryin' out loud! At least Hockey Night in Canada didn't screw up Coach's Corner.
• Do Phoenix fans have something to worry about here? Impending UFA Radim Vrbata has told the Coyotes he won't negotiate a new contract during the season.
• Have the Boston Bruins finally figured out how to score on the power play? A 2-for-4 performance against the Red Wings suggests they are on the right track after changing the role of Zdeno Chara.
• If you don't pick up the print copy of The Hockey News, here's your chance to finally read Ken Campbell's excellent piece on the Red Wings and their place as a beacon of hope in the decaying landscape of Detroit. This is a really solid read. • Taylor Hall and Devan Dubnyk were flat-out brutal again in last night's 6-2 loss to Vancouver. Bruce McCurdy has the gory details.