Top Line: Luongo feels bad about beating Schneider; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Wyatt Arndt takes over the Provies for one night only -- hey, look, another Vancouver loss! -- and slips in an interesting bit of gossip about Markus Naslund.
• The problem with the NHL's new playoff format? There could be two Cup contenders eliminated as early as the first round in the stacked Western Conference.
• Nice follow-up piece here from Greg Wyshynski giving the background to the high-five hockey fight from earlier this week.
• The Toronto Maple Leafs have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, a forward ranked second in league scoring and a goalie with one of the best save percentages. So why does no one consider them a contender?
• Bringing in so many rookies at once was key to the success of Tampa's outstanding freshman class.
• Jameson Cooper digs deep and comes up with five reasons to pay attention to the Florida Panthers down the stretch.
• Sometimes ugly can be a beautiful thing. Especially with two points on the line.
• So, Nicklas Backstrom gets a silver medal after all while his doctor, appropriately, gets thrown under the bus. Wonder though why both the PA and Backstrom say the decision still needs to be discussed. Is there a lawsuit in the future?
• Avi Goldberg wonders if the fan-journalist approach that new HNIC host George Stroumboulopoulos plans to take undersells the possibilities and responsibilities of the job. Little soon to be critiquing Strombo, but there's no denying he'll be watched closely, and judged harshly, if he falls short of some very elevated expectations.
• It's a victory for the women's game, and for the next generation of female hockey players, when Shannon Szabados takes the ice tonight for the Columbus Cottonmouths of the SPHL.
• Scoring slumps and soft goaltending have ended all talk about a miraculous drive to the playoffs for this team.
• Theo Fleury says he's moved on from hockey and has a new life to talk about in his upcoming book.• A Werner Herzog-produced documentary about the Soviet National Team? I'm in.