Top Line: Doughty breaks the code; Rutherford hiring blasted; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• L.A. blueliner Drew Doughty may not be the most skilled of players, but on the ice he looks like he can see hockey’s code and crack it. The great Bruce Arthur shares the secrets of Doughty's mastery of the game.
• Honest and open to a fault, Doughty has emerged as the Most Valuable Talker of the playoffs.
• Darryl Sutter may be an old dog, but his ability to innovate behind the bench has keyed the ascension of the Los Angeles Kings.
• If the Rangers are going to get back into the series in Game 2, Larry Brooks says they need a dominant performance from their men in the middle.
• The way everyone around the Rangers talks about Rick Nash, you'd think the struggling scorer was an unstoppable offensive force. Maybe they should try a little tough love with the guy, just to shake things up, eh?
• The hiring of Jim Rutherford as the new GM wasn't exactly hailed as a triumph in Pittsburgh. Ron Cook says keeping Ray Shero would have been preferable to settling for a reject from one of the league's worst franchises.
• Dejan Kovacevic rips the Pens for the way they handled the process but likes the potential promised by Rutherford's main task in his new position--grooming his eventual successor. I get what Dejan is saying here, but these next two-three years may be the best that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have to offer. Shouldn't the team's priority be on the RIGHT NOW and not some point down the road when a younger man is ready for the big chair? Seems wildly wrong-headed to me.
• The advanced stats crowd was giddy to hear Rutherford open up his press conference with a vow to play the numbers game in Pittsburgh. He said he was heavily into their use in Carolina--not exactly a ringing endorsement there--and that the Pens would be at the forefront of their expansion moving forward. Interesting, possibly game-changing times.
• Several teams, including the Leafs, are asking the Sharks about the availability of Joe Thornton. Changes are coming in San Jose, but Thornton has a full no-movement clause. He'll only go where he wants, when he wants...and it's hard to see him choosing to go to Toronto.
• Hey, I love me some Bob Cole, but Anthony Richardson might be my new favorite play-by-play man: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqkvSUNfZFk]