Top Line: NHL playoff goalie shocks; Blackhawks' marked men; more links
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.
• Here's why, for Tomas Hertl, beating the Kings is personal.
• 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.
• 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."
• Josh Copper addresses three traits that Nashville may be looking for in its next head coach.
• 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.