The shaky play of Ducks
goalie Jonas Hiller
has him on the bench to start the playoffs. (John Cordes/Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• After being the Ducks' starter for the better part of the past five years, goalie Jonas Hiller was stunned to learn that he won't be in net when Anaheim opens its first-round series against the Stars on Wednesday. Can't blame coach Bruce Boudreau here. Veteran or not, Hiller is his third-best option right now.
• Here's one more reason why Teemu Selanne is just the best.
• There's a good ol' fashioned goaltending controversy brewing in San Jose. Even though Antti Niemi struggled down the stretch, I really didn't see this coming.
• Here's why, for Tomas Hertl, beating the Kings is personal.
• The Canadiens are set in net, but Montreal still has a big problem that needs to be straightened out if it's going to get past the Lightning.
• With goalie Ben Bishop still ailing, the Bolts are going to Plan B for their opener against the Canadiens on Wednesday.
• Henrik Zetterberg will practice with the Red Wings on Tuesday, an amazingly quick return just eight weeks after his back surgery. But his presence forces the big question: When will he be ready for game action?
• For weeks, Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche assumed that they were on course for a first-round meeting with the Blackhawks. The collapse of the Blues changed all that, forcing Colorado to abruptly change its focus to a different kind of challenge -- the Minnesota Wild.
• Chicago mainstays Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were back on the ice on Monday and should be ready to go for the series opener against St. Louis on Thursday. The Blackhawks might want to keep their heads up in that one. The Blues could decide to target their injuries.
• Finally, some good news for St. Louis: Sick bay will be a lot less crowded for the series opener against Chicago.
• For once, no one is talking about the Penguins as the favorites to emerge from the Eastern Conference. That might work to their advantage, says goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Or, perhaps, it's a recognition that guys like Fleury need to earn that respect after frittering it away over the past few seasons.
• Who starts in net for the Flyers on Thursday? Steve Mason's health throws the decision into question.
• Before we start in on the losers' bracket, don't forget that the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery is on Tuesday night. Here's a look at the chances that each of the 14 teams in the mix have of winning.
• There are rumblings on Long Island that Islanders captain John Tavares wants out.
• Alex Ovechkin is at it again. The Capitals' captain said on Monday that, as a leader, he has to take responsibility for Washington's failings ... and then he promptly he threw his teammates under the bus.
• "We've got to change the culture, we've got to change the standards. But enough's enough. Joke's over."
• Barry Trotz was the fall guy in Nashville, but let's not pretend that the Predators' failings were all his fault. They have serious issues top to bottom – particularly at the top.
• Josh Copper addresses three traits that Nashville may be looking for in its next head coach.
• Paul MacLean is looking for a 50-Goal solution to get the Senators back on track next season. That doesn't mean what you think it does.
• Brian Burke's advice to John Tortorella? "Shut your mouth and worry about your own team."
• Some interesting changes to be found in this month's top 30 NHL draft prospect rankings from ISS. Funny how playoff performance tends to change perceptions, eh?
• The Conference Board of Canada issued a rosy economic report that suggests the country could support a surprising number of new NHL teams
within the next 20 years.