In the spotlight all summer, Roberto Luongo has deftly deflected criticism with humor. (Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Tony Gallagher says it's high time that Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo drop the diva routine. Luongo was quick to offer a witty rejoinder via Twitter.
• Enjoy the Olympic hockey, kids. Escalating salaries, and the rising costs to insure them, means that Sochi might be the last go-round for NHL players on the big stage.
• David Poile offered up a fresh story about the Miracle On Ice . . . and it just happens to involve one of the finest magazines in the land (no, not Cracked).
• Mike Babcock believes the slow pace of the most closely watched ball hockey game of all time could pave the road to a gold medal.
• The genius of Babcock, and the upcoming overhaul of the 2010 gold medal-winning roster, are two of the five things we learned about Team Canada from this week's orientation camp.
• Stephen Whyno offers up his own Canadian lineup prediction.
• There's been lots of talk about the enviable depth of America's goaltending pool. Finland smiles and says, "Welcome to the deep end."
• Has Thomas Vanek changed his mind about his future with the Sabres? Maybe.
• Ryan Kennedy writes that changes to the global game are a sign of strength.
• Balancing high expectations with goaltending concerns is the focal point of nhl.com's 30-in-30 package on the Penguins.
• Mikhail Grabovskiseems like a good fit with the Capitals. That is, as long as he makes news for what he does on the ice, not for what he says off it.
• A Ducks teammate says he is 99 percent sure that Teemu Selanne will return to Anaheim this season. I'm guessing he's right, but we should know one way or the other in the next 48 hours.
• For the first time in years, Ryan Kesler will be healthy coming into training camp. For a Vancouver team in transition, that might be the best news of the summer.
• The six-year deal that's paying Jeff Skinner nearly $6 million a year seemed like a safe bet when it was signed last summer. Now? After a season of frustration, it's time for him to prove he's worth the investment. Oh yeah . . . and he might have to do that while adjusting to a new position.
• Does Jarome Iginla have a lot to prove this season? One of his new teammates believes he does.
• After starting the summer with 12-ounce curls, Kris Letang, Jakub Voracek and other NHL stars have gotten back to work. This looks like it hurts.
• News broke this morning that another useful NHL veteran has signed overseas after being squeezed out by the diminished salary cap. Expect to see several more deals like this in the coming days.
• Remember those Sam-Gagner-for-captain rumors from yesterday? Jim Matheson says there is a more qualified candidate for the Oilers to consider.
• No wonder Blackhawks fans are traveling all around the league to see their favorite team. They sure can't afford to see 'em at the United Center.
• The Wildare bringing back a familiar face to inject some life into their moribund power play. As long as they don't expect him to make it faster . . .
• The KHL is a half-amateur league . . . says a KHL coach. Things don't usually go well after someone speaks truth to power over there. This could get interesting.