Top Line: Latest on Ryan Malone; Ryan Smyth's memorable exit; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• As goodbyes go, Ryan Smyth's couldn't have gone much better. Everything, from the fan reaction, to the captain's C to the the longest shift in recent memory to Vancouver's salute...it was an elegant tribute to a man who always played the game the right way.
• NHL.com offers a rundown of what's at stake on the final day of the regular season.
• Stanley Cup favorites a month ago, the Blues now look like a team that will be lucky to advance past the first round. With seven forwards down and eight losses in their past 13 games, St. Louis is ripe to be knocked off early.
• The Kings have been locked into their playoff position for so long that they haven't played a really meaningful game in weeks. Today, finally, they have something special to play for.
• This is a fascinating column from Larry Brooks in which the veteran scribe reveals the special relationship he's shared with Martin Brodeur for the past 20 years.
• Bruce Garrioch says this team has hung a For Sale sign around the necks of many of its players. He also looks at a coach on the hot seat, a GM candidate for Vancouver and Brendan Shanahan's replacement at the NHL in his potpourri column.
• Steve Simmons touches on a telling comment from Brendan Shanahan, a smart first pick for your hockey pool and problems in St. Louis in this week's Sunday column.
• A report suggests at least one coach on an expiring contract is being asked to stay on by his club.
• Adrian Dater says the Colorado Avalanche have been assembled in much the same way as the Blackhawks built a Stanley Cup champion. The core group of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon hasn't won anything yet, but they're about to take a first step towards what could be a serious stretch of success.
• David J. Neal says losing with youth has gotten old really fast in Florida.
• At least they set an embarrassing new record in the process.
• If you've always wanted to live like Wayne Gretzky, now's your chance. And it'll only cost a hair of $10 million.• With another Islanders' season ending with disappointment, Arthur Staple considers who will and who won't be back for the Isles next season. It's probably not the analysis that the team's long-suffering fans will want to hear.