Top Line: Loaded Pens, Jacobs vents at NHLPA, more links

Monday January 21st, 2013

Pittsburgh Penguins After only two games, the Penguins look like the class of the league. (Will Schneekloth/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

The parade goes through Pittsburgh. Road wins over the Flyers and Rangers have me feeling pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good about picking the Penguins as my Stanley Cup favorites. And they managed the sweep without a goal from Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The man behind the curtain. Forget about dumping Gary Bettman. Until the NHL Board of Governors gets out from under the bitter, svengali-like influence of Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs, we're just killing time until the next lockout.

Here he can watch the ice instead of his back. Columbus' roster might be just a step up from a second-year expansion side, but Todd Richards and a revamped coaching staff bring the Blue Jackets a step closer to respectability ahead of tonight's home opener vs. the Red Wings. I think this is the first time I've seen the loudly whispered rumors of Martin Havlat's Wild dressing room subterfuge in print, which serves as a gentle reminder that Dany Heatley could play Sit 'N' Spin on the bench and that deal will always be a winner for Minnesota.

Maybe they can bring their moms on the next roadie. After a lethargic performance in their home opener, the Jets got in touch with their feelings about their inability to win on the road last season ahead of today's matinee in Boston. Has to be nice for Winnipeg fans to hear Bryan Little talk about the team being intimidated when they leave the friendly confines of the MTS Centre.

Blink and you missed him. Nazem Kadri earned rave reviews for his performance in Toronto's opener, but with just 9:53 of ice time it was barely a supporting role. He's got some work to do. • Temper, temper! Mike Smith does not wear frustration well. He kept his cool through the first nine goals he allowed this season, but the 10th sent him into a stick-smashing rage.

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