Top Line: Kings' biggest foe; blame on Broadway; five best fights; more
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• It's the New York Times. So of course they're quoting a literature professor in a story that seeks to understand the inexplicable resilience of the Kings.
• Eric Duhatschek says the Kings are winning despite going against the script. Once the definition of a defensively responsible team, they are now this loosey-goosey collective that routinely falls behind by a pair of goals before becoming fully engaged with the proceedings.
• That may be because the Kings' biggest foe in the Stanley Cup Final isn't the Rangers. It's fatigue.
• Pat Leonard says Hennrik Lundqvist is the reason why the Rangers find themselves down 2-0. Once Jonathan Quick’s teammates have begun their adrenaline-packed comebacks, the Kings' stopper has completely shut the door while pucks zip past Lundqvist on the other end.
• Alain Vigneault says tonight's Game 3 is a must-win for the Rangers. Seems like a practical response to the situation.
• Steve Ballmer just spent $2 billion to help the NBA tidy up its Donald Sterling mess by buying the Los Angeles Clippers. You don't suppose he might be interested in buying the Los Angeles Kings, too, do you? If the team is packaged with the arena, it'd be a hard deal for him to pass up.
• Bruce Arthur considers the surprising second act in the career of defenseman Willie Mitchell. Great stuff, as always, from Bruce.
• TV ratings prove that hockey, like chicken wings, is in the life blood of Buffalo.
• GM Doug Wilson is keeping an open mind about rebuilding his San Jose Sharks. That means we can expect near-daily rumors about the futures of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau with the club right up until opening night.
• Joe Haggerty stokes the fire under the rumors that Boston may move Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk in a major roster shakeup over the summer. Something's gotta give, but not sure those two are players I'd be interested in moving at this point.
• Gary Bettman proudly proclaimed that incidents of concussion were down this past season, but that doesn't mean the league has figured out how to reduce head injuries...or prevent players from hiding them in order to keep their spot on a roster.
• The NHL's competition committee meets today in New York, where there is some interest in exploring making goaltender interference a reviewable play. There's strongly divided opinion on this, and several other issues facing the group, according to Damien Cox.
• Ryan Kennedy offers up his list of the five greatest fights of the 2013-14 season. Missing a couple we liked, but a pretty solid selection here.
• Would you believe a general manager once bribed his goaltender to leave town during the playoffs in order to give his team a better chance of winning?
• He died for his team: here's the story of Charlie Gardiner, the only goalie to captain a Stanley Cup champion.
• The head of the NHL's Central Scouting says German forward Leon Draisatl is his pick to go first overall in the upcoming draft. Not a lot of consensus about whose name will be called first. Ask four scouts and you're likely to hear four different names.
• Here's a terrific piece by Dave Isaac on how the Philadelphia Flyers, along with a few influential Canadians, have turned South Jersey into a hockey hotbed. • Scott Glennie had a Gordie Howe hat trick to lead the Texas Stars to a 6-3 win in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.