The Avs say they support embattled goalie Semyon Varlamov
, but he's bound to be a distraction. (Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The game may be the only sanctuary that is free from the harsh realities of his life now, but the right thing for Semyon Varlamov to do now is step away from the Avalanche, writes Mark Kiszla.
• Or maybe the Avs should take the decision out of his hands. In fact, sitting Varlamov is a pragmatic, not emotional, response to this situation, writes Terry Frei.
• Varlamov's Colorado teammates are staying tight-lipped about his situation for the moment, but not his accuser.
• "The whole team supports him, including head coach Patrick Roy," Varlamov's father told the Russian media.
• "You cannot discount the involvement of other forces that may be interested in aggravating the situation," said yet another Russian official, perpetuating the Olympic sabotage theory that's gaining steam in Russia. He also offers a solution to help clear everything up.
• Mike Siekski says the salary cap room that Steve Downie will free up at the end of the year is more valuable than anything he can bring to the Flyers as a player. Kinda harsh there, eh Mike?
• Brian Burke put pen to paper (I'm assuming) to make the case for fighting in the NHL. The father of Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart comes out against it. The decision: Burke, by a knockout.
• How bad are things in Edmonton? Coach Dallas Eakins is getting chirped by little kids when he takes his daughter to school. Just remember, Dallas: these are the good old days.
• Great read here from Dejan Kovacevic on the little engine that could, Pascal Dupuis.
• Alex Ovechkin is out for tonight's tilt against the Flyers. Guess that means he's going to miss the pregame dance party, too.
• GM Jarmo Kekalainen likes what Marian Gaborik has done so far for the Blue Jackets, but says he expects much more from the veteran. Gaborik should take that as a challenge to provide some leadership on and off the ice before the team is willing to commit to a long-term extension for the pending UFA.
• Canadiens coach Michel Therrien hasn't shown any faith in P.K. Subban's ability to protect a lead late in games. That doesn't bode well for the blueliner's chances to make Team Canada for Sochi.
• Examine the decisions made by any ex-GM and you're likely to find a few gems. Ryan Dixon takes a look at how one team is benefiting greatly from the groundwork laid by its ex-architect.
• Playing a quieter brand of hockey suits Dion Phaneuf just fine.
• Leaving a team that's on the verge of something special was the hardest part of being traded for Matt Moulson. That, and saying goodbye to his BFF John Tavares.
• Wayne Gretzky explains how close he came to playing for the Maple Leafs and the Canucks. Spoiler alert! It was pretty close.
• Roberto Luongo talks about how close he came to playing for the Maple Leafs. No spoilers for this one.
• The plus/minus stat is viewed by its detractors as a flawed method of determining a player's value. I'm guessing that Patrick Kane is among them.
• Ex-Vancouver greats Markus Naslund and Stan Smyl share their thoughts on the great Pavel Bure. The Russian Rocket will have his number retired by the Canucks on Sunday.
• Every guy in the league will own one of these in the next five years, according to Matt Duchene.
• GM Bryan Murray says he still has confidence in his struggling Ottawa Senators.
• If this AHL vet can't live his NHL dream one way, a TV show and a mobile app
might help him do it in another.