Top Line: Who are these Blackhawks?; amazing NHL draft history sheet; more
• Rick Morrissey wonders how the 2013-14 Blackhawks want to be remembered. As the proud defending champions who roared back to make this a series? Or as the group that went away meekly? We'll find out tonight in Game 5.An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Lance Pugmire says this is the key to the 3-1 series lead the Los Angeles Kings have built over Chicago. And it will be the key to finishing off the defending champs.
• So much for white knuckle, edge-of-your-seat playoff hockey. The Canadiens and Rangers engaged in a sloppy, preseason-style exhibition last night, filled with goals, gaffes and goonery, with the end result being a trip back to the Big Apple for Game 6.
• Here's Chris Johnston on the eight minutes that saved Montreal's season.
• So much for those vows to stay out of the box. For the second game in a row, the Rangers displayed a glaring lack of discipline. And this time, it cost them.
• At least one Ranger faces suspension as a result of some late-game thuggish behavior.
• Was that head shot just an unfortunate moment in time, or could it be the turning point that swings the series in Montreal's favor?
• At least one Canadien decided to poke the bear after Henrik Lundqvist was pulled from the game. No way that could come back to bite him, right?
• Rick Nash and Chris Kreider managed to be both heroes and goats during the course of Game 5.
• This early stop may have saved the game for the Habs. What a beauty by Dustin Tokarski:
• Here's a downloadable spreadsheet featuring every draft pick in NHL history. So many ways to have fun with this incredible piece of work by Justin Fisher. Thanks for sharing, buddy.
• George Malik gives Red Wings fans something to argue about with a look at what the team might do in the upcoming draft and free agency.
• Philadelphia Flyers fans appear to agree on what the team's top offseason priority should be. And for the first time in years, it's not a No. 1 goalie.
• One 2014 NHL draft hopeful has no problem being compared to his
famous infamous father.
• It sounds like coach Barry Trotz and GM Brian MacLellan understand they can't ride Alex Ovechkin like he's Kobe Bryant and expect to succeed in Washington. But can they effectively break the Capitals of their over-reliance on the superstar winger?
• The Blue Jackets rewarded coach Todd Richards with a two-year contract extension. After the season they just had, it was a foregone conclusion. Interesting though that the term wasn't a little longer. Savvy move by GM Jarmo Kekalainen not to overcommit.
• A new name has emerged as a favorite in the Florida Panthers' coaching search.
• I'm with Cathal Kelly on this whole military-themed sports uniforms thing.
• The arena that houses the KHL's Donbass Donetsk was ransacked and set on fire by armed insurgents yesterday as civil unrest continued in the Ukraine. Keep a good thought for the civilians in that dangerous part of the world today. • Finally, it's not hockey, but it is the moment all your pals will be laughing about today. If you haven't seen 50 Cent throwing out the first pitch at the Mets game last night, you really need to click here.