Top Line: NHL Coach of the year duel; Should Devils fire Lou?; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Like the Red Wings' season was ever in doubt ...
• Does Detroit's Mike Babcock deserve to be named Coach of the Year for what he's done with an injury-ravaged lineup? Or is Patrick Roy the better choice for the Adams Award?
• Pavel Datsyuk blowing up Sidney Crosby? That just happened.
• Datsyuk's play since returning from a lengthy stint on the IR signals trouble ahead for either the Bruins or the Penguins.
• Randy Miller wonders if the new owners in New Jersey will ask Lou Lamoriello to step down after another failed season for the Devils. That would be a bold move, but it would send a message to the team's dwindling faithful that a new path to success must be charted.
• Randy Carlyle has a chance to do the right thing in Toronto's last two games.
• Rumors are swirling that Brendan Shanahan is being pursued by the Maple Leafs for a senior management role. But is he the right guy for the job?
• Damien Cox says that the Canucks' decision to hire inexperienced Trevor Linden as their front-office leader isn't so shocking when you consider how hard it is for previous winners to replicate their success elsewhere.
• Hiring Linden as Vancouver's new president was a risky move that was sparked by dismal season ticket renewals, says Gary Mason.
• David Ebner offers up a five-step plan for returning the Canucks to glory. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to consider No. 3.
• Are the Bruins on the verge of making a surprise addition before the playoffs?
• Another exceptional effort from Ducks rookie goalie John Gibson led Anaheim to a Pacific Division-clinching win over the Sharks. Gutsy move by Bruce Boudreau to start the kid in such a critical contest, but it paid off.
• It may have a hole in it, but don't ever question the size or the strength of Kris Letang's heart.
• How serious is Paul Maurice about laying a foundation for the future in Winnipeg? Serious enough to do this at the team's final practice of the year. Don't think I've ever heard of that happening before.
• Let's close out with this special moment featuring Marley Sommer, the son of Worcester Sharks coach Roy Sommer, singing the national anthem last night. Marley, who has Down's Syndrome and is autistic, was supposed to sing from the bench with dad's help. He had a different idea as to how he wanted to handle things:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2KUEfx0HFY&feature=youtu.be Well done, Marley.