By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Fear of a Game 7 in Montreal has the Rangers focused on doing whatever it takes to win Game 6 at home on Thursday night.
• Canadiens coach Michel Therrien says that there are players who get you there and "players who get you through." He's had a few step up and prove themselves to be the latter during these playoffs.
• After Tuesday's 11-goal pond hockey exhibition, Montreal is ready for anything as it again faces elimination in Game 6.
• Dustin Tokarski was given the nod to replace Carey Price because of his reputation for coming up big in the clutch. Everything he's done so far for the Canadiens has proved that he is a winner.
• New York will have to knock off the Habs without the help of John Moore. The defenseman was handed a two-game suspension for his head shot on Montreal's Dale Weise in Game 5. Pretty easy call for the league, but a tough loss for the Blueshirts.
• Moore's head shot on Weise reminds us that the NHL's concussion problem remains shrouded in a cloak of secrecy. Not so surprising from the perspective of a league facing multiple lawsuits, but how to explain the silence of the NHLPA?
• Is the violence we've seen in these playoffs really so surprising? Not so much according to Cathal Kelly, who writes that in the postseason players are allowed to give free rein to their darker selves.
• Wanna go to Game 6 at Madison Square Garden? Better plan on skipping the mortgage payment next month.
• Ginette Reno has a conflict that will prevent her from performing at the Bell Centre if the Habs survive to see Game 7. Not to worry, Montreal fans.
• The parents of the Canadiens' Rene Bourque looked out their front door after Game 5 and saw this collection of head wear.
• If the Blackhawks somehow go on to win the Stanley Cup, their victory over the Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals will be the one everyone remembers. Michal Handzus scored the winner in double-OT to finish off a game that Mark Lazerus called "a jaw-dropping, head-spinning display of speed, of skill, of character, of hockey at its finest." Yep. What he said.
• Chicago blew a pair of two-goal leads, but still managed to stave off elimination in Game 5. Now the Hawks return to Los Angeles for another must-win Game 6, but with momentum on their side.
• The Kings earned themselves three chances to knock off the defending champs. And they just squandered the first.
• On a night when the hockey gods gathered to watch in wonder, it was fitting that Game 5 came to an end by the hand of Zeus. This guy has barely gotten off the bench in the past couple of games because of his sluggish play. Of course he scores the winner...
• Would L.A. consider buying out Mike Richards in order to create the cap space needed to re-sign Marian Gaborik? After Richards blew the coverage of Handzus on the game winner, I'd say the odds are pretty good.
• Here's George Malik on the art of the postseason coach's press conference.
• Have the playoff failures of the Capitals and the Penguins stripped Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby of their superstar luster? Damien Cox makes the case that their time as the brightest figures in hockey's firmament is coming to an end.
• A pair of first-round prospects have some explaining to do at the NHL Draft Combine, which gets underway on Friday.
• Get to know Sam Bennett, the possible No. 1 pick in this year's draft.
• Would the Sharks be better off if they parted ways with captain Joe Thornton? Kevin Kurz considers the drawbacks and benefits of such a bold move. I'd say there's no chance that Thornton will be dealt, but there is a real possibility that the team may remove the C from his sweater in order to give it to a younger player.
owner Eugene Melnyk is ticked at Vladimir Putin
. Here's why, and also what he's doing about it.