Top Line: Penguins coach Bylsma, five Maple Leafs on hot seat; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Rob Rossi explains what's behind the Penguins' lackluster 6-6-2 record since the Olympic break. Rossi's reasons all seem like valid explanations, but they're not quieting rumors that Pittsburgh may consider a coaching change before the playoffs.
• Steve Simmons asks scouts to explain the lost season of Toronto's David Clarkson, but even they can't quite figure it out. This looks more and more like a buyout situation this summer, doesn't it?
• Don Cherry teed off on the Maple Leafs after they signed college free agent Eric Knodel yesterday. Toronto's management usually deserves the scorn thrown its way, but I think Grapes missed the mark on this one.
• There's a theory out there that suggests Canadian fans have some emotional stake in a team from Canada winning the Stanley Cup. I don't buy it, but on the off-chance that you do, Cam Cole suggests you might not want to get your hopes up. Again.
• Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers has ramped up his game since returning from Sochi, but is he really Norris Trophy material? David Satriano makes the case.
• Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos wants to remind everyone that he's pretty good at hockey.
• "Oh my god ... I just got traded for Jarome Iginla!"
• Have you ever ripped on an NHL referee? Think you could do better? Adam Proteau says now's your chance to show everyone just how easy it is to properly officiate a game.
• Thomas Greiss wanted the opportunity to play more before agreeing to sign a new deal with the Coyotes. He'll get his chance now with starter Mike Smith on the sidelines and a playoff berth at stake.
• Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly plays the game as hard as anyone, which makes his pursuit of a uniquely perfect season so unlikely.
• Teemu Selanne wasn't looking for a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-style retirement tour, but he appreciates the reception he's been getting from fans as he makes his final stops in buildings around the league.
• I liked the idea on Wednesday when John Davidson was named chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee. I like it even better on Thursday. Progressive thinking like this can only make for a more legitimate enshrinement process, and that's something everyone can get behind.
• Rob Blake has been named GM of Team Canada for this spring's World Hockey Championship. It's an interesting choice. As assistant general manager of the Kings, Blake may have a conflict with his NHL duties if L.A. goes deep into the playoffs. At the same time, this could be a springboard to another job a couple of years down the road in South Korea ... so how could he say no?
• The Bruins welcomed their own Make-A-Wish kid to practice yesterday. Her experience might have been a little more painful than Sam's.
• Anthony Stolarz ended up with something more than a two-minute minor for his slash to the head of Josh Ho-Sang. Nice to see a disciplinary committee that knows how to adequately address this kind of head foul, isn't it?
• Roy Sommer set an AHL record on Wednesday night, but the real success story in Worcester, Mass., is Sommer's son, Mo.
• I think we can safely assume that Joe here is not what you'd call a "sports fan."
• The champion of this year's Iditarod couldn't have done it without some help from the ECHL. • CBC's The National offered up a fascinating look at how hockey provided an outlet for First Nations children assigned to the old residential school system.