Top Line: Ben Scrivens NHL's top goalie; Olympic roster news; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• He's not about to Wally Pipp Jonathan Quick or anything, but Ben Scrivens has been lights out since taking over for the injured star in Los Angeles. He hasn't been beaten in more than 150 minutes and now leads the league in goals-against and save percentage. Nice way to make an impression on the new bosses.
• With Evgeni Nabokov rumored to be out for at least four weeks, Kevin Poulin is another backup with a chance to prove he's ready for prime time. The kid's played well of late, and with Nabokov's time running out, this is a great opportunity for him to show he's capable of eventually assuming the No. 1 job on Long Island.
• Interesting news this morning out of Russia, where Olympic team boss Vladislav Tretiak has told the media that only a 15-man Olympic roster needs to be announced by Dec. 31, allowing for additional time before the full Sochi rosters need to be finalized. Very interesting if true as it allows teams more time to evaluate injuries (hello, Steven Stamkos) and fill in spots with players who are peaking at the right time.
• Jim Matheson says this young gun is an Olympic lock, and explains the necessity of six outdoor games this season in his Monday morning column.
• Just because Ilya Bryzgalov has been recalled from the AHL doesn't mean he has to be rushed into action. writes Dan Tencer. I'd agree. Giving him time to learn his teammates and the system only improves the likelihood that he can give the Oilers the stability between the pipes they need.
• Mike Russo explains why the NHL trade market has gotten off to such a slow start this season.
• Maybe we just need to have more regularly scheduled GM meetings.
• Great news for Team Canada--and, I suppose, the Colorado Avalanche as well: Matt Duchene is expected to miss only about a week with a strained oblique. It could have been a lot worse for both teams as those injuries don't need to be particularly severe to require months to mend.
• The conventional wisdom holds that it is toughest for a young defenseman to make the transition from a lower level to the NHL, but as Sean Gordon points out, it's no piece of cake for centers, either.
• That makes four in a row in which the Canucks have outplayed an opponent and been betrayed by an ineffective offense. No surprise then that GM Mike Gillis is rumored to be shopping for a top-six forward.
• The NHL schedule provided a soft open for St. Louis through the first six weeks, but it's about to get a lot tougher for the Blues and that puts the pressure squarely on the team's goaltenders. This is a chance for either Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott to establish himself as the go-to guy for the second half.
• Mike Zeisberger takes a look back at the best and worst moments of the first quarter for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
• Jack Todd sings The Ballad of David Desharnais.• Randy Sportak ponders five burning questions for the Flames, including the possibilities on the trade market and when there might be a change between the pipes. I'd expect Karri Ramo to get a long look in net soon, and Calgary to be very active players in the market...but not until we get much closer to the March trade deadline.