Top Line: Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson swap stuns; Avs' big night; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The Islanders and Sabres pulled off a stunning swap last night, exchanging pending UFA wingers Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson. This was all about winning now for Islanders GM Garth Snow, who gets the more dynamic player but assumes a considerably higher risk with his end of the bargain.
• Tim Wharnsby says Moulson and John Tavares had something special going on that Vanek will be hard-pressed to replicate. He also touches on a week of reunions around the league and the resurgence of Jarome Iginla in his Monday morning catch-all.
• GM Darcy Regier wasn't able to address the current sorry state of the Sabres, but by making this deal he provided hope for the future.
• It should be a game of high emotion tonight as Dallas faces Buffalo, with Lindy Ruff returning to meet the Sabres for the first time since being fired last summer. It'll be interesting to see Steve Ott rev it up against his old teammates, too.
• Whoever's in charge of updating the record book in Colorado is earning his keep this month. Matt Duchene's tally midway through the first period on Sunday tied one mark while a two-goal rally in the third helped the Avs to set another.
• Brandon Dubinsky says he's "not a dirty player," but he shouldn't be surprised if the label sticks after this hit on Saku Koivu last night. There's no hearing scheduled yet, but we should learn about one later this morning.
• Another NHL player has been sidelined indefinitely because of a blood clot. Scary stuff. Here's hoping for a quick recovery.
• Isn't this exactly the kind of start that long-time observers were expecting for Stephen Weiss in Detroit? Maybe it's just a matter of needing to acclimate to a new system, but on most nights this season he's looked like the same marginally effective player he was during the past few years in Florida.
• Is Tampa Bay Lightning defender Radko Gudas part Mogwai? He sure responds poorly to getting wet. • Even with veteran Rick DiPietro getting a look in Charlotte, this is the goaltending name that 'Canes fans need to tuck away for future reference. Two starts. Two shutouts. Welcome to the AHL, kid.