Top Line: Rangers in trouble; Pens GM search; draft outlook; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• In a Game 1 battle of destiny's darlings, it was the Los Angeles Kings who proved to be more charmed.
• Here's Eric Duhatschek letting serendipity, gambling and perfect escapes tell the story of Game 1. As good a gamer as you'll find.
• The Kings didn't play particularly well for much of Game 1, but still managed to come away with a win. Ken Campbell says it's bad news for the Rangers if that's the best they can do against this team.
• Drew Doughty made an early mistake that ended up in the back of his own net. Then he made up for it in spectacular fashion.
• Call it bend-but-don’t-break goaltending. Call it a tease. Call it luck. But you have to hand it to Jonathan Quick. His ability to come up with the big save in the clutch continues to be the difference for the Kings. Just as he did ahead of overtime in Game 7 against the Hawks, he made a game-saving stop--this time on Carl Hagelin's shorthanded breakaway. Amazing stuff.
• It was a Dave Kingman-type night for Martin St. Louis, who had two amazing chances to beat Quick and whiffed on 'em both.
• If you were watching the game in the States, you missed this great Elliotte Friedman profile of Henrik Lundqvist:
• Rob Rossi rounds up the chatter from around the Stanley Cup Final regarding Pittsburgh's ongoing search to land a new GM. Just a reminder, Mario: Three weeks until the draft...
• Don Cherry says draft prospects should smarten up and skip the NHL Scouting Combine. Unless it's a fringe player with something to prove, I'd have to agree that the value to the kids is minimal.
• Kyle Woodlief says 18 of the first 20 players taken in the draft are likely to be forwards. Here's his guide to the best in this year's class.
• With his draft still more than a year away, Connor McDavid knows the pressure is only beginning to build. Here's what he's doing to prepare himself for the most important season of his career.
• Gary Bettman finally got around to confirming what we all suspected when we first heard the news: the change of Devils ownership in New Jersey precipitated the league's decision to give back the first-round pick the league stripped from the Devils in the wake of Ilya Kovalchuk's cap-dodging deal.
• Bettman also said that if the Los Angeles Clippers are worth $2 billion, there are several NHL teams worth even more. Nice thought, but I'm not sure anyone with $2 billion burning a hole in his wallet would agree.
• Then the commish delivered a slap in the face to anyone dreaming of expansion to Seattle. In a nutshell: until the NBA agrees to return to town, there's no hope of a new building. Without a new building, there's no NHL.
• Maybe Stars bench boss Lindy Ruff can understand what it will be like for Barry Trotz as he prepares for his first season coaching somewhere other than Nashville.
• Could this former Vancouver coach return to guide the Canucks next season? It makes some sense. He's changed a lot since his last turn with the team and might be exactly what they need.
• The Florida Panthers interviewed an interesting candidate for their vacant head coaching position. Seems like more of a veteran's coach to me, so I'm guessing there's not much chance this guy will end up in Sunrise.
• Everyone in hockey starts somewhere, but you won't believe the background of Los Angeles Kings PA announcer Dave Joseph. (Stick tap to Dallas PA great, Jeff K.)• Minor league referee Rory Boylen says minor hockey doesn't have a body checking problem, it has an intimidation problem.