Top Line: Fixing Canada's goaltending; the next Gordie Howe; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Don't know what it cost the Globe & Mail to send James Mirtle to Sweden, but the return on their investment is one of the most compelling hockey stories you'll read this year. Mirtle examines how this small country is developing goaltenders and explains what Canada must do to catch up.
• You've probably never heard Patrick Marleau mentioned in the same breath as Gordie Howe, but the way things are lining up, you may hear it a lot before long.
• Gary Lawless calls out a group of five players he names the Atlanta Association for being the reason the Winnipeg Jets are, and will continue to be, losers. A great read from a solid, thoughtful writer.
Drouin, the centerpiece of Canada's World Junior team, left the game with an upper body injury and did not return. No word yet on the severity of the injury. By the way, that's Tampa Bay's 2013 second-round pick laying out their first rounder.
• While the debate rages around the NFL about the appropriateness of one franchise's nickname, Roy MacGregor offers a suggestion to head off a controversy of our own.
• And this right here is a clinic on Advanced Self-Delusion conducted by former NHLer Mike Commodore.
• Chris Stevenson explains that a slipping Canadian dollar could have a dramatic effect on the fortunes of the NHL. And yes, that new $5.2 billion Canadian TV deal will be paid in loonies.
• Jason Kay lists the 10 logos he misses most from the NHL's past. Spoiler alert: fishsticks!
• Nearly six years after drafting him 11th overall, the Hawks finally cut ties with a big winger who promised so much, but delivered nothing.
• Watch Jonas Gustavsson channel his inner Neo with this amazing stop:
• The relationship between the Blue Jackets and Ohio State hockey hasn't always been warm and friendly, but the newest coach of the Buckeyes hopes to change that.
• They're still losing it in St. Louis over Patrick Berglund's chinstand.
• Ryane Clowe took a big step in his recovery from concussion issues by skating with the Devils yesterday, but with two significant incidents of trauma in the past eight months, he's more concerned with his long-term health than returning to action. Can't say I blame him.• Take a look at these rinks where the hockey tournament will be played in Sochi. Pretty amazing.