Top Line: Vladimir Putin, world's greatest beer leaguer; tribute to hockey moms; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Vladimir Putin reminded everyone that he is the world's greatest beer leaguer with a six-goal, 11-point effort on Friday night. Pretty decent group of guys he plays with -- his buddies Pavel Bure and Slava Fetisov might help with those point totals -- but the Russians are at least two generations behind North America when it comes to team names.
• Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks penned a special tribute to his mom Lori, and to hockey moms everywhere for USA Today.
• Seems like something is always detracting from the great hockey being played in the Boston-Montreal series. Last night, it was Shawn Thornton spraying P.K. Subban with water mid-game that stole the headlines. It was a nothing moment -- the result was decided and no one was hurt -- but at the same time it was disrespectful to the game. A fine seems likely, but there's a bigger problem for Thornton: what if it inspires the Habs?
• Milan Lucic and the rest of the Bruins were simply too strong in every facet of Game 5.
• You won't believe the devotion of Montreal's fan club in Saskatoon. This might be the best place to watch Game 6 outside of the Bell Centre.
• Matt Fraser: Now there's a good Canadian boy:
• The Hawks have been in worse situations than dead even after four games. With the Wild gaining confidence, it's time Chicago brings that experience to bear.
• Chicago changed their style to adapt to Minnesota's clogging defense. After four games of frustration, it might be time for Plan B.
• The new MSG might be a sight to be hold, but Larry Brooks says it's become a silent and sullen home for the Rangers.
• If the Penguins really have learned anything from the failures of playoffs past, tonight's Game 6 is the time to prove it.
• Fluto Shinazawa's Sunday column is quickly becoming the weekend's best hockey read. His latest omnibus touches on player development in Detroit, the changing face of the Hurricanes and Flyers and the inevitability of NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Well worth your time.
• It's clear that Ryan Malone is in serious legal trouble. It's his status with the Tampa Bay Lightning that remains murky.But the 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr leapt at the chance to represent the Czech Republic in Minsk.