Top Line: Trouble Bruin in Boston?; Detroit looks dangerous, more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The Bruins' loss was their first in regulation in more than a month, but that doesn't mean there aren't reasons for concern ahead of the playoffs. Veteran scribe Kevin Dupont puts on his worryin' hat and spells them out.
• Boston has traded away two of the NHL's top-five scorers during the past couple of seasons. That sort of talent drain would hobble some franchises, but the core of the Bruins' succcess is prioritizing more important things than the scoring race.
• The Detroit Red Wings reminded everyone that they'll be a dangerous playoff opponent with an opportunistic win over Boston last night. The Wings were outplayed most of the night by the red-hot B's, but used a terrific performance from Jimmy Howard and some timely offense to seal the victory late. When Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson are back to the mix, this team will look like a pit of vipers.
• The Rangers are breathing easier after learning that Ryan McDonagh suffered no serious damage from that Alex Burrows hit. The only question now: when can he return to action?
• The last thing Pittsburgh Penguins fans need to worry about is an apparent lack of passion as the season winds down, writes Joe Starkey.
• If the stumbling Chicago Blackhawks needed a rallying cry ahead of the playoffs, they have one now.
• Ken Hitchcock has decided to plant goalie Ryan Miller on the bench tonight when the Blues take on his former team, the Buffalo Sabres. Miller, surprisingly, seems to be okay with the decision. In fact, he's more worried about how Steve Ott's chirping will be received by their former teammates than he is about missing out on what should have been a very important start.
• Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl left the orange safety sweater in the room and took part in practice as a healthy player yesterday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery back in December. Nice add for the Sharks if he can get himself up to game speed over the next couple weeks.
• The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of adding a significant reinforcement of their own for the stretch drive.
• Brian Costello says the heat should be directed toward GM Bryan Murray, not coach Paul MacLean, for the Ottawa Senators' failure of a season.
• Matt Larkin compiled a list of 20 things to love about Jaromir Jagr after 20 NHL seasons. Man, I don't know how you stop at 20...
• The Hockey News offered up another NHL draft do-over, this time focusing on the Class of 2012. Among the takeaways: slow-developing defenders don't get a lot of respect from their panel.
• The ache in Islanders captain John Tavares' heart is worse than the pain in his knee that has him on the sidelines until next season. There's a country song just waiting to be written, right?
• Best news of the week: Josh Harding is back with the Minnesota Wild after being sidelined since Dec. 31 by complications arising from his medicine for multiple sclerosis.
• At least the hockey mom who was banned from attending her son's games for three years admits that perhaps she "advocated for him the wrong way." An honest mistake, no doubt.• The great Don Van Massenhoven will pocket his whistle for the last time at the end of this season. I'd forgotten about the time he was almost killed in action. This piece gets into that life-altering event along with a few other highlights of his 23-year NHL career.