Top Line: NHL concussion lawsuit looks thin; Don Cherry's future; more links
By Allan Muir An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories: • A legal analyst takes a look at the case of the 10 players who are suing the NHL for conspiring to hide information about the damaging effects of concussions. Going by this, it's quite unlikely that anyone who is involved with the league is losing much sleep over it. • This story suggests the future of broadcasting legend Don Cherry is up in the air as a result of the new Canadian broadcasting deal. That's probably accurate, at least in the sense that, at this point, no one, not even Grapes himself, appears to know how this will play out. Not quoted in this story, though, is Scott Moore, the President of Broadcast at Rogers, who spoke last night on CBC Radio's As It Happens. Essentially, he said he considers Cherry and Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean to be vital parts of the program, adding that he'd already reached out to Cherry. Moore certainly gave the impression of a man who wanted to keep Grapes on board. • That massive $5.2 billion deal came together quickly and with very little fuss, writes Jordan Heath-Rawlings. • Only $5.2 billion? The rest of the sporting world mocks this puny deal. Except maybe the National Lacrosse League. This one probably looks pretty good to them. • The upshot of this deal for the NHL? It changes the financial underpinning of the system. Teams that previously fretted about the bottom line will soon have a guaranteed revenue stream that directly impacts their ability to sign players. For a team like the Oilers, it means their bevy of young stars could remain with Edmonton for life. For a team like the Coyotes, it means there's no chance they will miss the revenue triggers that would have allowed them to exercise an escape clause and leave Arizona. There'll be a lot more written about this in the coming days. • TSN may be losing NHL hockey, but it won't give up "The Hockey Theme." • Vincent Lecavalier expects tonight's game, his first back in Tampa, to be an emotional experience, but he's not out to prove that the Lightning was wrong for cutting ties with him last summer. This one will be worth tuning in to if only to see the response he gets from the fans. • The Islanders unveiled yesterday their jerseys for their Stadium Series date against the Rangers. They are nearly as terrible as the team itself. When you consider the resources invested in creating these things, it's amazing how badly so many of them are turning out lately. • What should the Rangers do about their inability to score? How about trying to win more games by 2-1? I can see the line forming at the Madison Square Garden ticket windows now... • Mike Heika digs out his thesaurus to explain how the Stars managed to get the W last night when similarly spirited efforts haven't been similarly rewarded in the past. • The news for injured Minnesota forward Zach Parise wasn't good, but it could have been a lot worse. • Could this be the end for Rick DiPietro? The career of the former No. 1 pick is up in the air after he asked for, and was granted, his release from his AHL tryout contract. • Jail time isn't the only possible ramification of the charges against Semyon Varlamov. A conviction could also mean the end of his NHL career. • Ted Nolan has identified the root of the problems in Buffalo. Now he has to convince the young Sabres that communication and trust in each other will pave the way out. • Martin Erat has the support of his teammates after requesting a trade from the Capitals. Not sure Jay Beagle is going to be all that thrilled with Alex Ovechkin today, though. • Is this Philadelphia Flyers line really "the hottest in hockey"? • Rusty Klesla paid the price for the defensive struggles of the Coyotes. The team placed him on waivers yesterday with an eye on shaking up its back end. With several teams in the market for veteran help, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that one is willing to take a chance on him. • Tim Gleason is off the trade market, at least temporarily. The veteran blueliner, who reportedly is being shopped around by Carolina, is out at least a week with a lower-body injury. • The Red Wings will play another game tonight without Pavel Datsyuk. It's likely that he'll be out on Friday as well, but the team isn't ready yet to call his injury a concussion. • Detroit is going back to Jonas Gustavsson for its contest against the Bruins. Coach Mike Babcock says struggling starter Jimmy Howard needs to spend some time refining his technique with goalie coach Jim Bedard, but they still believe in his ability to lead the team. • Will P.K. Subban get the call for Team Canada? Don't ask Babcock. • St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong just returned from a trip to the farm and he offered an update on the progress of the Blues' top prospects. With this team in go-for-it mode, some of these guys may be used as trade bait before the end of the season. • Dmitry Kulikov might be an immature, turnover machine, but that doesn't mean the Florida Panthers are actively trying to trade him.