Top Line: Cruisin' Bruins, sinking Ducks, McPhee's gamble, more links
By John Rolfe
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The streaking Bruins are feeling no pain after having their way with the rival Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday night as Zdeno's Chara's new defense partner continued to get up to speed. However, Milan Lucic may have some 'splainin' to do for his hit (above) on Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin.
• Montrealers are justifiably proud of the way they braved foul weather to show up for their team, but concern is growing about what spring will bring the struggling Habs. As captain Brian Gionta put it, "The snowball is rolling the wrong way ... "
• Alarms are ringing out in Anaheim after the skidding Ducks were routed in Calgary. During a postgame interview on NHL Network, forward Andrew Cogliano bluntly used the "s" word to describe his team's effort as its lead in the Pacific Division continues to shrink.
• The toxic pot continues to bubble in Vancouver as Henrik Sedin's 1,000th game was lost in the concern over the possible extended loss of Ryan Kesler to injury. The Province felt compelled to run an editorial calling for the head of coach John Tortorella, who has proved be a bad fit with this crumbling, underachieving team.
• Justin Bourne takes an interesting look at players fraternizing with the enemy in the NHL. Want to hang out with your friend on the opposing team? Better have your game in order.
• In his 30 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman says that Canucks brass should resist pushing the proverbial panic button. Also on the menu: the long shadow of Connor McDavid on the 2015 NHL Draft; why the Islanders were quite happy to take Sebastien Collberg in the Thomas Vanek deal; and the outsized ability of diminutive Martin St. Louis to hold a grudge.
* McPhee, meanwhile, is gambling that Evgeny Kuznetsov will be as good as his considerable upside suggests. On the other hand, the Russian forward could turn out to be the next Alex Radulov.
• The GMs meetings wrapped up with suggestions for mostly minor tweaks to the game. If that seems disappointing, Sportsnet's Mark Spector points out that progress comes slowly at those league clambakes, where there's no such thing as a quick fix for anything.
• Stephen Whyno explains how the proposed changes to face-off rules could have a major impact on the NHL if they are approved.
• Jim Matheson says that incidents like Rich Peverley's collapse, and the subsequent postponement of the Stars-Blue Jackets game, highlight the sometimes painful evolution of the way the NHL deals with medical emergencies and traumatic injuries.
• Helene Elliott writes that any concern about the physical toll of playing at the Sochi Olympics doesn't apply to Anze Kopitar. The Slovenian star came home energized and is lighting it up for the Kings.
• The youth movement in Detroit continues as the overflowing sick bay has given a second chance to rookie forward Teemu Pulkkinen, who will try to help keep the Red Wings' streak of playoff streak alive in the team's final 17 games.
• Aaron Portzline says that visiting players can be forgiven for doing a double take when they skate by the penalty boxes in Columbus, which are run by a pair of identical twins.
• Questions continue in the wake of the tragic death of junior player Terry Trafford, who was found dead in Saginaw, Mich., on Tuesday. Ken Campbell writes that Trafford's history of drug use and depression is a bit murkier than first reported.
• Fans of the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads are up in arms after discovering that a large beer and a small beer in their team's arena are exactly the same size. The only difference is the shape of the cups they come in. Oh, and the price, of course.
• There have been some eyesore sweaters throughout the years, but this one may make you avert your gaze. • It's always special to score your first NHL goal, but it would be nicer if the linesman didn't turn the puck into a souvenir for the fans.