By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• This is what Oilers center Sam Gagner looked like right before the doctor prescribed a liquid diet for the next six weeks or so.
• Edmonton moved to ensure that the next opponent who takes liberties with one of its stars will face justice long before hearing from VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan.
• Damien Cox thinks Kessel should receive a get-out-of-jail-free card from Sheriff Shanny to send a message to NHL enforcers. He's wrong of course--Shanahan's job does not entail making up rules as he goes along--but as always Cox makes an interesting argument. The real problem for Shanahan is: How strictly can he punish Kessel, who took a couple of whacks at someone's ankles, after he has already handed out a five-game regular-season suspension to Canucks' tough guy Zack Kassian for the stick-swinging incident that left Gagner with a broken jaw?
• James Mirtle writes that Toronto's goon culture has come back to bite them.
• Wild forward Jake Dowell has a personal reason for his long involvement with the Huntington's Disease Society of America. His father and brother are both dying from it. And Dowell might someday suffer the same fate. He tells his story here to Mike Russo, and later tonight on ESPN's "E:60" program.
• Not much to report from yesterday's meeting of the league's Board of Governors, although Gary Bettman says that the "vast majority" of general managers support the hybrid icing rule. The group also discussed Olympics issues and got updates on the sale of a couple of teams.
• You might want to carefully check your seat selection before buying hockey tickets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
• I'm sure it's frustrating for Rangers GM Glen Sather to have the Derek Stepan contract situation dangling over him, but saying his star center is not "a big enough fool" to sit out the year is probably not going to build any bridges between the two sides.
• The Sharks will be without Raffi Torres for at least the first month of the season -- and maybe a lot longer -- after the feisty but well-meaning winger injured his knee in a collision with Ducks winger Emerson Etem.
• ICYMI: Our buddies over at Extra Mustard identified the hockey game that was playing in the bar at the end of this week's Breaking Bad.
• A bar in Boston reports that a bachelor party from Toronto destroyed a mural commemorating the Bruins' epic Game 7 comeback win over the Leafs in their first-round playoff series last May. Bet it was that Cole Whittier guy who started the trouble. He was always up to no good.
• Former Islanders' first rounder Nino Niederreiter is sure to survive the next round of cuts in Minnesota, but he'll have to prove that he can play a different kind of game in order to stick when the regular seasons starts.
• The Senators were named the top professional sports team in Canada by the Worldwide Leader. The ranking is based on bang for the buck, coaching, fan relations, ownership, players, stadium experience, title track and ability to undertake a thorough crime scene investigation.
• "We’re going to [expletive] run other teams out of our building. We’re going to be a pack of wild dogs." That has to be the greatest quote from camp, right?
• You never want to see anyone get hurt, but in Detroit's case a few injuries could be the best thing that could happen.