Top Line: Hockey Hall of Fame to summon Class of 2014; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg top the list of likely honorees as the Hockey Hall of Fame gets set to name its Class of 2014.
• Modano is a bundle of nerves as he awaits the call from the Hall.
• Is this the year that Eric Lindros finally gets the call? There'd be some nice symmetry if he made the cut the same year that Forsberg--who was part of the trade that sent Lindros from Quebec to Philadelphia--earned his jacket.
• Ron Cook writes that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has made such a mess of his coaching search that Pittsburgh has become a laughingstock around the league. Rutherford clearly screwed up by offering a two-year deal to his top choice, Willie Desjardins, that gave the coach no authority to hire his own assistants. Now the Pens will have to pay more and commit longer to someone Rutherford wanted less than Desjardins. Not the best start to his tenure.
• Alex Ovechkin says he's going to win the Rocket Richard Trophy again next year. So, I guess the rest of us can cross that one off our to-do lists, eh?
• If the Ottawa Senators trade Jason Spezza, they'll need to stitch a C onto someone else' sweater. And the most likely candidate is...
• Eric Duhatschek considers several key dates to watch on the newly-released NHL schedule, including a possible outdoor game in February featuring a Stanley Cup playoffs rematch.
• And how about this cruel twist of the knife? When the Los Angeles Kings raise the Stanley Cup banner at their home opener, the team that has to sit through it will be the San Jose Sharks.
• Ben Bishop may be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, but he's still bitter about last season.
• There's almost nothing better in hockey than Brian Burke with a microphone and a head of steam. Here's the Calgary exec on the Stanley Cup champs, the NHL Draft, LGBT bullying, and so much more.
• Gary Bettman is in Las Vegas for the NHL Awards. Guess what question he's hearing from everyone?
• I've seen more of Josh Ho-Sang than any other prospect in this year's class, so I understand why everyone is calling him the draft's ultimate wild card. He's erratic, sure, but man you cannot teach gamebreaking skill like this kid has.
• Not only does Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad have the body of a 30-year-old, but he thinks the game like a 10-year veteran. Those two qualities will make it impossible to pass on him with the first-overall pick.
• Sam Bennett is struggling to shake his memorable NHL Draft Combine failure. Ultimately, 91 points in 57 games should speak louder than some screw up in a gym, but this angle is hard to ignore.
• You have to feel for the goaltenders on draft day. They have no idea when they'll get picked or what it all means for their future.
• Netminders might want to bring a book...or show up late in Philadelphia for this weekend's festivities. Here are the latest mock drafts from NHL.com.