By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Is it all just posturing? Maybe. But the Ryan Callahan rumors reached a boiling point last night, with sources saying New York GM Glen Sather wants his contract situation resolved before the Olympic roster freeze next Friday. TSN also reported that the Rangers have granted several teams permission to speak with Callahan's agent. That's a smart move. Other clubs are more willing to bid -- and bid aggressively -- if they believe they can sign the feisty winger long-term after acquiring him.
• Could St. Louis attract the Rangers with a package built around struggling winger Chris Stewart? I wrote the other day that I thought Stewart would be very tough for the Blues to move given his salary ($4.15 million) and lack of production, but he would be an NHL-ready piece to help the Rangers with this year's playoff bid, plus he has a contract in place for another year. The Blues would have to sweeten the pot with some youth (either a high pick or a prospect), but it might be worth it just to wipe Stewart's salary off the books for next season.
• The TSN panel talks Callahan and the needs of the Kings and Canucks in this trade rumor roundup.
• Jason Botchford isn't buying the Canucks rumors ... at least, not until the offseason.
• One player who won't be moved any time soon is Matt Moulson. The Buffalo winger is sidelined until after the Olympic break with an upper-body injury.
• Tim Wharnsby honors the upcoming 80th birthday of the great Don Cherry with 80 facts you need to know about Grapes. Did you know how close he came to coaching the Maple Leafs?
• The weight of the world is about to descend on the shoulders of two players who sit two lockers apart in Pittsburgh.
• From checking center to team-leading sniper, Ryan O'Reilly makes himself a factor for the Colorado Avalanche.
• Injuries to Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback forced the Lightning to call up two goalies from the minors ahead of today's game against the Habs.
• They're havin' themselves some fun in Winnipeg, aren't they? First, there's the fans:
And then, the players:
• Ottawa coach Paul MacLean suggests the polar vortex might be to blame for one of the season's most inexplicable statistics.
• Former Flyers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards return to their old stomping grounds tonight for the first time since being dealt to the Kings in 2011. You suppose they'll be warmly greeted?
• The Sharks have lost three straight and have generated just five goals over their past five games. They desperately need spark plug forward Logan Couture back in the lineup. Will he be back soon?
• The Rangers honored legendary broadcaster Sam Rosen for his 30 years of service to the team last night. Here's the ceremony, in its entirety.
• Here's a decent preview of Team USA's chances in Sochi from the IIHF web site ... although I'm not sure there's any reality in which Paul Stastny qualifies as one of the team's top three players while Joe Pavelski is ranked as a dark horse.
• Dig past all the basketball nonsense in this "Elias Says" column and you'll find a pair of unexpected stats
regarding Winnipeg's scoring and Carolina's goaltending.