Red Wing, white and blue? Jimmy Howard is vying for Team USA's' starting gig in Sochi. (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Jimmy Howard has a few thoughts on the battle for jobs in Team USA's nets .. .and why he might just have an advantage.
• Roy MacGregor makes a brilliant point about the construct of Canada's Olympic team. Instead of looking for 200-foot players - -as in, players who can play in all three zones -- Canada needs 100-foot players who can take advantage of the extra 15 feet of width found on international rinks. This is a really savvy piece.
• So, um, apparently Justin Bieber is joining the Toronto Maple Leafs next season. Hey, at least the fans would show up before the end of the first period for a change.
• After a turbulent opening to the offseason, the Vancouver Canucks were in damage control mode at their summer summit.
• There was some good news to come out of the event: the Canucks will retire Pavel Bure's number this season. No word on the date just yet.
• Here's why the NHL's plan for six outdoor games during the 2013-14 season might be cut back by one.
• Now that his signing is official, here's how Jaromir Jagr might fit in with the New Jersey Devils.
• Could Justin Abdelkader assume the role of the dear, departed Tomas Holmstrom in Detroit's offense? Not many boast an immovable trunk like Homer's, but Abdelkader's fearlessness makes him a viable candidate.
• Jordin Tootoo is spending some of his offseason touring Nunavut and speaking to Inuk kids. Say what you want about his style of play, but Tootoo never stops giving back to his community.
• Here's a look at how some other folks around the NHL's fancy new Metropolitan Division are spending their summers.
• Will his Olympic camp invite inspire Dustin Byfuglien to pay attention to his fitness for a change?. I'm gonna guess no. Buff is a solid NHLer, but he's too fat and too slow to be of any use to Team USA on the big ice ... and he knows it.
• Here's a take on some of the offseason's biggest winners and losers.
• Anthony SanFilippo offers up a course called Realignment 101 from a Philadelphia point of view.
• There could be big changes coming today at MLSE. Will the Maple Leafs be affected? And what does this all mean for the planned parade route?