Top Line: Roberto Luongo to make history?; Greedy Leafs; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The Maple Leafs are pushing ahead with plans to host all of hockey's major events—including the Winter Classic, the All-Star Game, and the NHL Draft—in conjunction with their upcoming 100th anniversary. Greedy, sure, but given what the franchise means to the league's bottom line, it's probably a good idea to let Toronto have its way.
• Here's another fascinating piece from Icethetics on logo/jersey designs from the 1990s, including a look at a proposal that would have had the Panthers debut in black and teal to match baseball's Marlins.
• Dave Staples does a nice job exposing the flaws of Corsi, the buzz stat promoted by the acolytes of analytics. In doing so he reveals the problems with all the modern stats that have been created to help us understand a team game. Brave man. I suspect his inbox was clogged with more than just spam this morning.
• Mike Babcock would like to get a new contract signed before he kicks off his 10th season behind the Red Wings' bench, but he is willing to wait if there's no deal done by the time 2014–15 begins. Babcock says that he won't negotiate during the season, which seems perfectly reasonable ... but it doesn't mean his situation will disappear as a topic of conversation.
• It's nowhere near as brilliant as the legendary “I'm Coming Back” video produced last summer to announce Teemu Selanne's final season, but give the Ducks credit for having some video fun with the addition of center Ryan Kesler:
• Anyone know an easygoing landlord with a spare room somewhere near the Bell Centre? If so, please contact Brendan Gallagher.
• The Sabres have an astonishing 12 first- or second-round picks on the ice at their development camp, but all eyes are on Sam Reinhart. The second pick in this year's draft made an immediate impression on his fellow campers.
• Recently acquired forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas lacks the profile of Buffalo's top prospect, but the promising winger has a real chance to start with Reinhart next season. Mike Harrington says that Samuels-Thomas has one quality in particular that the Sabres need.
• By coming to terms with restricted free agent Matt Bartkowski, the Bruins have essentially committed to moving at least one of their blueliners. Speculation now centers around Johnny Boychuk, but it could be Bartkowski who will be moving on. Stephen Harris looks at Boston's options, and talks about the early buzz surrounding 2014 first rounder David Pastrnak.
• There are scouts who say that Patrik Laine could be the best Finnish prospect since Teemu Selanne. We'll see if that heady praise holds up this season as the raw-boned sniper looks to make his mark as a 16-year-old (!) in the SM-Liiga.
• Looks like we might have the next Patrick Kane on our hands.
• The Oilers hit a milestone yesterday when they signed up their 300,000th follower on Twitter. Where does that rank among the NHL's leaders in social media fan engagement? Let's just say they have a long way to go to compete with the Canadiens.
• I always like hearing what guys do with their spare time during the off-season. Turns out that even officials know how to make the most of summer.