Top Line: Henrik Zetterberg does Detroit no favors; referee paranoia; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Henrik Zetterberg's absence from Sweden's team photo session didn't go unnoticed this morning. Turns out he was receiving treatment for a herniated disc in his back and could miss some time in Sochi. Tough for the Swedes, but even worse for the Red Wings. They have to be thrilled that both Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are battling through obvious injuries to play in the Olympics instead of resting up for the stretch drive with Detroit.
• Just because they've made some lousy calls doesn't mean that Olympic officials are out to get your country. It just might be that they're not that good at officiating hockey games.
• Team USA was never tested in a 7-1 thrashing of Slovakia in its Olympic opener. This was a laugher from the start, with the Slovaks apparently thinking they could win by never possessing the puck. Tough night for goalie Jaro Halak, who reinforced every fear that Blues fans have about him and his ability to lead St. Louis into the postseason.
• Russia survived an early scare to hold off Slovenia, 5-2. But hey, how about that Ziga Jeglic? That was a big game for the unknown Slovenian forward, who is currently playing in the German league.
• It's not as much fun scoring an Olympic hat trick when your team gets pounded 8-4.
• Maybe next time Austria should try riding bikes to the rink.
• Now they're getting serious about the Olympics in Toronto.
• The Red Zeppelin has been spotted.
• Lyle Richardson discusses the NHL's international options if it decides to pass on the Olympics in the future. Some good insight here, but I'll keep saying it: Until the players decide they don't want to participate, there will continue to be NHL representation at the Winter Games.
• The use of a discriminatory slur led to the suspension of Hall of Famer Paul Coffey from his coaching duties in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
• OK, so here's Gary Bettman talking about the future of outdoor hockey, which is fascinating, but there's an even better reason for hitting this link that you'll have to see to believe.• If the Oilers hope to trade Nick Schultz ahead of the deadline, they might want to be a bit smarter about how they use him.