Top Line: Avs gambling on Varlamov; Ovechkin struggles; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The Avalanche hitched their wagon to Semyon Varlamov on Thursday night, signing the goaltender to a five-year extension worth an average of $5.9 million per year. He's been dynamite this season, but his thin postseason track record makes me leery -- this deal might be too much, too soon for a still unproven player.
• After watching another truly sorry performance by the Capitals on Thursday night, Adam Proteau says that there's no reason for continued patience with this roster.
• Ryan Johansen is just gross:
• Team USA will announce its captain today, and Rob Rossi likes Dustin Brown's chances.
• Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says that his team has stockpiled many prospects who could be playing in the NHL with another organization right now. Hey, there are only so many jobs available on an eighth-place team ...
• This one is worth reading if only to understand why "Jaromir Jagr" and "hot tub antics" appear in the same headline.
• Still can't believe that Ben Scrivens made 59 stops on Wednesday night? Wondering how many toughies he had to make? Judge for yourself. Here's each and every one of 'em:
• The Sabres are "crossing their fingers" and hoping that an injury suffered by Matt Moulson late in Thursday's win over the Coyotes is nothing serious. With the trade deadline fast approaching, a stint on the IR for Moulson would be a disaster for Buffalo.
• Sometimes, a change of scenery is exactly what a player needs.
• A pair of long-time training partners found themselves on opposite sides of the NHL's fiercest rivalry ... with a father in the middle.
• The fancy stats have spoken, and they say Michel Therrien must go.
• The mob at Therrien's door might be a little more subdued after the Canadiens' big win over the Bruins last night.
• Here are the late updates out of Tampa after Ben Bishop took a skate to the back of the head early in last night's loss to Ottawa.
• Accountability seems to be the theme of the day. Oilers owner Daryl Katz spoke of it last week, but doesn't actually seem to be applying it within his organization. Jonathan Willis shines a spotlight on three members of the old guard whose time should be up.• Adrian Dater has been saying for ages that Denver is a natural for an outdoor game. Seems like someone important finally agrees.