An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• A nice bit of outside-the-box thinking here from veteran reporter Dave Hodge who offers a fresh take on home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs. I wonder how many organizations, if given this option, would take it?
• Elliotte Friedman says Evander Kane is too valuable for the Winnipeg Jets to give up on but after the winger copped an attitude about his benching on Saturday night, it's fair to ask if their bridge is worth repairing.
• Barry Petchesky says the failures of the Maple Leafs prove the genius of advanced stats. I still take issue with the unshakable faith placed by some people in proxy numbers like Corsi, but until the NHL decides to track actual possession time, we're not going to hear the end of it.
• GM Steve Yzerman's tenure in Tampa Bay has seen its share of problems -- the Martin St. Louis situation and last season's playoff DNQ come to mind -- but there's no denying that he has the Lightning on the right path. The four-year extension he was awarded on Monday is proof of their faith in his approach.
• What was Vancouver's problem this year? Jason Botchford has John Tortorella's answer in this outstanding edition of The Van Provies.
• Tough day today at the CBC where heavy job cuts are expected in the wake of losing Hockey Night In Canada.
• Jason Gregor has an in-depth interview with Edmonton's Taylor Hall in which the outstanding young forward talks about continuity behind the Oilers' bench, what went wrong this season, and what must be done to get the organization back on track.
• The Nashville Predators have to leap over two teams, Dallas and Phoenix, to slide into the final wild-card slot in the West. Fortunately, those teams are their next two opponents.
• The Carolina Hurricanes have some big decisions to make about their smallest player.
• Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov got a bit distracted during last night's game in Winnipeg.
• As if four games in five nights wasn't going to be tough enough on the playoff-contending Columbus Blue Jackets. Now they have to survive that gauntlet without one of their top-six forwards.
• There's a new culture in Colorado, and it's all about clutch.
• Who is going to play for the Buffalo Sabres tonight? Who knows?
• I brought up the potential for this ignominious NHL record in a column a week or so ago. Amazingly, it just might happen.
• It's time for OHL Commissioner Dave Branch to recuse himself from any future dealings with the Windsor Spitfires if he thinks this play by 2014 first-round prospect Josh Ho-Sang was worthy of the 15-game suspension it drew. That's not to say it wasn't a dangerous play, and the broken leg suffered by Zach Bell can't be ignored, but a quarter of the season? This is an absolute joke of a call:
• The great Bob Duff disagrees with my assessment, arguing that Branch is doing his part to legislate needless stupidity out of the game.