A popgun offense has been grounding Scott Hartnell and the Flyers out of the gate. (Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• For the second straight season, and just the fourth time in franchise history, the Flyers have opened with three consecutive losses. A shakeup deal seems inevitable after the team's offense generated just three goals in those three games.
• Scoring depth and a franchise record-shattering shutout helped the St. Louis Blues get exactly the start they wanted.
• Sportsnet worked up an hour-long special on the herculean efforts to put the Saddledome back in working order after flooding devastated the city of Calgary this summer. Here's part one and part two. Some truly amazing stuff here.
• Here's Calgary's Joey MacDonald with an early save-of-the-year candidate. Ya think Chris Higgins replayed this one in his mind a few times while he stared at the ceiling in his hotel room last night?
• Detroit managed to wrangle two wins out of a three-games-in-four-nights start, but the ineffectiveness of the third line and a sputtering power play have coach Mike Babcock concerned.
• Lars Eller has always seemed like something less than the sum of his parts since joining the Habs, but a pair of strong performances prompted Jack Todd to write that Eller may be on the be on the verge of becoming the big, game-dominating center the Canadiens haven't seen since the glory days of Vincent Damphousse.
• Gare Joyce, the man who literally wrote the book on hockey scouting, explains why Peterborough forward Nick Ritchie is the top prospect for the 2014 draft despite some very obvious flaws in his game.
• Is a sputtering start reason enough to be concerned about Jaromir Jagr? It's not exactly a leading indicator, is it? I'm not going to rip Pat Pickens for buying into the narrative that Jagr was useful last season in Boston, but I will say that anyone who ignored the substance of those efforts might want to give them deeper consideration before setting their expectations for the veteran winger's play in New Jersey.
• Colin Campbell used his bully pulpit to slap down complaints about Mason Raymond's spin-o-rama game winner on Saturday night. Despite the whining of Senators coach Paul MacLean, this is a move that won't be blacklisted any time soon.
• First Kevin Dupont, and now this. Hockey is losing another great columnist as Bucky Gleason posts his final Inside the NHL column for the Buffalo News. Whether you loved him or hated him--and his audience seemed equally, and passionately, divided--Gleason's column was a must read. Good luck to John Vogl, who is picking up the torch starting next week.
• Toronto GM Dave Nonis was released from the hospital on Sunday after suffering an episode in the press box during Saturday night's game against the Sens.
• The problems that are hounding the Capitals in the early going are the same ones that led to their playoff demise last spring.
• Anton Khudobin gives the Hurricanes their first competitive backup netminder since the Tom Barrasso days, writes Luke DeCock. Me, I still think Khudobin will be the 1A by the time this season is over.
• Is it just an early season coincidence, or has some system tinkering by coach Dan Bylsma led the Penguins to become a more effective defensive squad?
• A sprained knee will force Charlie Coyle to the sidelines, leaving the struggling Wild without their No. 2 center for up to a month. The pressure's now on Mikael Granlund to make something of a role that he fumbled away last season. He comes into it this time, though, with at least one big fan who believes he can get the job done.