Top Line: Pat LaFontaine shocker, Ryan Miller's new era, more links
By John Rolfe
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Bucky Gleason examines the abrupt resignation of Sabres hockey ops president Pat LaFontaine, a stunning development that suggests the dual boogeymen of discord and dysfunction have barged into Buffalo's seemingly sunny front office. Apparently, the Ryan Miller trade was the product of a power struggle that was lost by the Hall of Famer, who loved working with the Sabres but now returns to the NHL and his former gig in the department of player safety. What this bodes for the rebuilding team should be interesting.
• Meanwhile, Ryan Miller is more than happy to be making a fresh start in St. Louis.
• Playing outdoors is nice and all, but its appeal is clearly limited, as Vancouver has learned. Seats are still available for today's Heritage Classic, which has been hurt by the lack of rivalry between the Canucks and Ottawa Senators as well as the teams' underwhelming play this season. A rematch of the 1915 Stanley Cup Final hasn't exactly made fans stampede to the box office, but the game should have its charms.
• Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says he's not giving much thought to the trade deadline despite his team's struggles of late--Saturday night's outdoor demolition of the Penguins notwithstanding.
• The Penguins, who have some issues to address, may be very interested in Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.
• In his Sunday collection of thoughts and observations, Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the Rangers have done all they can to keep Ryan Callahan, an impending UFA, but the Blueshirts' captain has every right to wonder why he's being asked to take less than he thinks he's worth when GM Glen Sather has had a habit of lavishing riches on some pretty questionable imports.
• Among today's notes from the Star-Ledger's Rich Chere: If the Devils are going to deal Jaromir Jagr, you can be sure the wily ol' winger--who scored his 700th career goal in Saturday's waxing of Islanders--is going to have his say in the matter.
• The Senators are waiting to see if Chris Phillips is willing to give them a hometown discount. If not, look for their longtime defenseman to be shipped by the deadline, possibly to Boston.
• Among his Sunday hockey thoughts, our old pal Adrian Dater at the Denver Post says that for NHL owners, a World Cup-style tournament would "make more cents" than continuing to allow players to skate in the Olympics every four years.
• Apparently, former Red Wings great Nick Lidstrom--whose number will be raised to the rafters at The Joe on Thursday night--is showing signs of imperfection in retirement. Looking back at his career, though, it's clear that this guy wasn't too shabby.• And if you're looking for a little inspiration this morning, here's The Boston Globe's Kevn Paul Dupont on an Arlington High School goalie's greatest save: His father's life.