Top Line: Ryan Miller trade fallout; Crawford's mask stolen; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Ryan Miller knew his time was due to expire in Buffalo, but that didn't make the reality of his trade to St. Louis on Friday night any easier.
• In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz says the Professor would be proud of the strong arm move by Doug Armstrong.
• The last-minute departure of Miller forced the last-minute addition of a back-up goalie who wasn't even a goalie.
• Bob McKenzie thinks Jaro Halak and Chris Stewart won't be Sabres for long. I made the same point in my column on the trade last night, though I think the Rangers are just as likely to wind up with Stewart.
• Miller was pulled before he could make that one last start for the Sabres. Could the same thing happen tonight for Martin Broduer? With trade rumors swirling, the contest against the Isles sets up as perhaps his last appearance with the Devils. Lou Lamoriello could feel pressed to make a deal now or never with the Sabres dangling Halak to the same two teams--Minnesota and Chicago--said to be in on the Brodeur sweepstakes.
• You remember that sweet mask that Corey Crawford had painted specifically for today's Stadium Series game? Well if you happen to know where it is, you might want to let him know. It's missing and presumed stolen.
• If the NHL goes outdoors in Chicago for a third time, this would make for an awesome setting.
• With a second Latvian player currently under investigation for possible doping at the Olympics, the Little Country That Could faces disqualification from the Games. James Mirtle explains what that would mean.
• If that did happen, it might also impact Kristers Gudlevskis' chance at history. At least it would in theory, although we'd all know the truth of his amazing accomplishment.
• Ottawa's Chris Neil escalated the war of words with Johan Franzen, calling the Detroit forward "gutless" after the two got into an altercation near the end of Thursday's 6-1 win for the Wings. “I’m there first shift and any shift he wants,” said Neil. “He wants to drop his purse, take the lipstick out, put it on his lips and ‘Let’s go.’ Anytime. Any day. Anywhere." Please let them meet in the playoffs...please let them meet in the playoffs...
• Only Brian Burke could sit on a panel discussing the future of hockey analytics and filibuster on the value of shootouts. Wait...you don't suppose he did that on purpose, do you?
• You know that ad about the Canadian in Indonesia whose buddies showed up unannounced with a fridge full of beer and a satellite TV? Stu Cowan has the real-life story of Morgan Girouard, Canada's most famous hockey fan.
• Team USA center Paul Stastny makes a thoroughly modern argument for the NHL's continued participation in the Olympic Games. I'm right there with him on this. If the league thinks they'll generate any sort of social media buzz with an August best-on-best tournament, they're kidding themselves.
• Pat Hickey says the road ahead looks like a minefield for the Montreal Canadiens, who tip off their most important six-game stretch of the season with a match against the Maple Leafs tonight. • Meet "Deadline Al," the man who was traded more often on deadline day than any other player in history.