Top Line: NHL playoffs doom regular season powers; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The postseason is always cruel, but never quite like this year. At least two teams that rang up 100 points will be gone by the end of the first round. And that number might be low.
• The Sharks' long memories ensure that the hostility will be ramped up for their first rounder against the Kings.
• This piece by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News...wow. He's been on a roll this season, but this column suggesting the young Dallas Stars find inspiration in the film Streets of Fire might be his best of the year. Personally, I'll never forgive Jim Steinman for ruining Sisters of Mercy, but that's me.
• Candiens goalie Carey Price says most Canadians will be rooting against his team in the playoffs. Which makes sense, given that most Canadians do not reside in or around Montreal.
• Eric Macramalla takes a look at the legal issues facing Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the challenges that lie ahead for the troubled winger.
• Of course, Teemu Selanne wanted to share the spotlight on his big night.
• Here's a compilation of post-game tweets congratulating Ryan Smyth after his final game with the Edmonton Oilers. The best part is the accompanying photos. You'll see why.
• The possible end to this former first-overall pick's NHL career wasn't quite as fitting.
• Painful it may be, but the time is right for the New Jersey Devils to part with Martin Brodeur.
• I happened to be watching Sunday when Capitals announcer John Walton offered up a heartfelt homily on dealing with the end of another Cup-less season in Washington. Nice of Dan Steinberg to take the time to transcribe it because it was pretty great.
• Pretty much everyone in a Washington sweater who was asked to comment on Adam Oates said the same thing: "Good coach, but it's not up to me." In other words, they want him gone.
• The great Kevin Allen asks this question of Washington: Do you give another man a chance to persuade Alex Ovechkin to change, or do you talk to him about moving on?
• Jim Matheson includes a couple of interesting names on his list of likely 2014 NHL award winners. It's looking more and more like the Norris Trophy will be the toughest to call.
• Of course Johnny Hockey scored in his NHL debut. Was that ever in question?
• Of course John Tortorella blew a gasket with Bob Hartley in the house. Was that ever in question?
• The final Van Provies of the season examines the aftermath of Daniel Sedin's injury, a bet between an old-school analyst and a numbers nerd, and quotes True Romance. So yeah, it's good.
• Lance Hornby issued final grades for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Going by how lenient some of these are, I'm kind wishing that I'd had Lance as my math teacher ...
• This is a terrific piece by Corey Masisak on the roots, impact and legacy of the AHL's Hershey Bears. • Finally, this isn't hockey, but it may be the greatest prank in sports history. Well worth your seven minutes.