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.
• 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.
• 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.