coach Patrick Roy apparently passed the firebrand gene on to his son Frederick. (Jack Dempsey/AP)
By Brian Cazeneuve
An abbreviated but annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Bloated by egg nog, grog and holiday chow, 20 teams must rouse themselves to action tonight as the NHL resumes play -- 10 had to hop early morning flights. Looks like the NHL’s Christmas break may not be all that beneficial to players.
• Bruce Boudreau actually likes the NHL's extended three-day Christmas break (the new CBA mandates an extra day), but now comes the challenge of getting his Ducks to maintain their momentum after an excellent first half of the season.
• Saturday night, the Blues and the Blackhawks -- old rivals -- will revive a holiday tradition that's been missing for 12 years.
• Outdoor hockey mania obviously has its limits. After sluggish ticket sales and some fan dismay about sky-high prices, passes for Anaheim's outdoor game against the Kings at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 will now be cheaper. Fans who have already bought tickets will get a refund for the difference in price.
• The spiced apple doesn't fall far from the fruit cart: Patrick Roy’s son Frederick was ejected from the first game of the Spengler Cup tournament, a 5-0 loss by his Rochester Americans of the AHL, for dropping the gloves and going after Cody Almond of the Swiss Geneva-Servette squad. Some patented Roy brand fireworks ensued.
• Jaromir Jagr, who has been offering his opinion on a variety of topics, says the Stars' Valeri Nichuskin could be the best player in the world.
• Slumping Bruins forward Milan Lucic is eyeing Canada’s Olympic roster, but he should gird himself for a real battle. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen says there's intense competition for roster spots, and Lucic may have run out of time.
• The loss of Calder Trophy candidate Tomas Hertl is not only a huge blow to the Sharks, but to hockey in general. Hertl's knee injury will keep the spectacular rookie out of the Olympics for the Czech Republic, and his entire season may be in jeopardy.
• While the U.S. opened with an easy win over the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship, the Swedes survived a toughie against Switzerland.
• It appears that Anthony Mantha has become a scoring machine and more for Team Canada.
• Lumps, bumps, bruises and ice packs are all part of the gig for black-and-blueliner Ladislav Smid, who is now laying his body on the line for the Flames.
• Once one of the league's most lethal offensive defenseman, the Capitals' Mike Green can't seem to get untracked these days. Part of the reason is his adjustment to coach Adam Oates' system.
• It's certainly been a painful year for Marc Staal. The Rangers defenseman, who has been out since the first week of December with a concussion, is expected rejoin the club for its next road trip.
• Remember Nathan Horton? The former Boston winger, who has been on long-term IR with a shoulder injury, will finally debut for the Blue Jackets tonight against the Devils.
• Enduring wisdom: Ken Dryden’s classic book, The Game, is still special 30 years later.
• Thought for the day: “Ignorance is bliss until someone points it out, right?" says the Hurricanes' Jay Harrison, who may be the NHL’s Brainiest Blueliner. "Then it’s not so blissful anymore." Harrison has a degree in psychology and is self-taught on piano and guitar. "I like to pay attention to details," he says, "and sometimes I’m a little more qualitative than quantitative.”
• And finally, more mirth from San Jose's Happy Holidays video series: