Once hockey's most hated man, Matt Cooke
of the Wild
has turned the other cheek with great success. (Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• If Patrick Kaleta truly wants to change his game, Matt Cooke is ready to help. Anyone notice that Cooke is leading the Wild in scoring this season . . . and has yet to pick up a single penalty?
• Kaleta is appealing the 10-game suspension he was handed for his head shot on Jack Johnson. I'd love to hear him make his case, wouldn't you?
• Maybe Cooke could point Max Lapierre in the right direction as well. The St. Louis Blues forward apologized on Wednesday for his hit on Dan Boyle, but that gesture is unlikely to have any impact on his Friday meeting with Brendan Shanahan and the player safety boys.
• Tuukka Rask on facing ex-teammate Tim Thomas for the first time tonight as the Panthers visit Boston: "Maybe we'll fight or something." Yeah, he was kidding. Probably.
• Forbes went to all the trouble of putting together a slide show to rank the NHL's most expensive tickets. The nice pictures almost take away the pain of these prices.
• No better way to start your day than this sweet story about how the Columbus Blue Jackets went all out for a sick boy from Montreal. Well done, fellas.
• If Buffalo owner Terry Pegula wanted to cashier GM Darcy Regier, the time to do it was last season. At this point, the Sabres are better off with his hands on the controls. At least, that's how Eric Duhatschek sees it. He makes a valid point about Regier's solid trading record, but can this franchise really move forward in the way it needs to with the architect of its failed past still calling the shots?
• Whenever the Sabres are ready to deal Thomas Vanek, they might want to give the Flyers a call. Philly desperately needs a sniper and has a decent collection of young talent that could make for an intriguing return.
• Karl Alzner called Washington's defensive play "a fire drill," but the bigger story from their 2-0 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night was that it was the third consecutive whitewashing administered by the Henrik Lundqvist and the Blueshirts on these Caps.
• Former enforcer/current political candidate Georges Laraque is facing fraud charges over a failed synthetic ice venture. This should make his door-to-door campaign visits a little more interesting.
• Bobby Orr says his knee feels fine. It's everything else that hurts. I dunno about you, but if Orr's talking, I'm listening. It's been great having him back in the spotlight as he's made the rounds to support his book release. (Here's an excerpt on Orr's most iconic moment.) Don't be a stranger after this is over, Bobby.
• Martin St. Louis shook off the pain and finished the game after taking the brunt of a Drew Doughty slap shot off his foot on Tuesday night. The Bolts are now waiting to learn how long their captain will be out of action.
• Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is not good at business.
• The Senators hope to bring the more aggressive approach that led to Tuesday's win over Phoenix into tonight's home opener against the Devils.
• Marian Hossa's age is finally catching up to him.
• What else can the Kings do with struggling defenseman Slava Voynov but be patient? You think maybe that six-year, $25 million deal he signed over the summer is weighing a little heavily on him right now?
• John Tortorella's big idea to jumpstart the slumping Canucks? Split up the Sedin twins. Apparently lighting a fire under Ryan Kesler wasn't an option.
• Things are not going well for the Metropolitan Division.
• The Jets are waiting for a good word on the condition of Evander Kane after their top forward tweaked a knee in practice yesterday. He's been the team's most consistent player to this point, so his absence from the lineup would be deeply felt.
• Just when you thought that hot start meant you couldn't make fun of the Maple Leafs