Top Line: Jack Parker's complicated legacy, NHL's hottest team, more links
By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• There were plenty of glowing tributes written in the wake of Jack Parker's retirement announcement. But the legacy of the legendary Boston University coach is complicated by a series of off-ice transgressions by his players in recent years. For a balanced look into Parker and his history, I highly recommend these pieces by Arielle Aronson and Ryan Lambert.
• The hottest team in the NHL? Of course you knew it was Columbus, right? The Jackets put their five-game winning streak on the line tonight against Vancouver.
• Sam Gagner's strong season may force the Oilers to hang up the For Sale sign ahead of the trade deadline. Makes sense from a financial perspective...but does anyone in Edmonton feel good about Steve Tambellini being the one to make the deal?
• It took Montreal 45 games to win their 17th last season. This year, it took just 26. The turnaround of the Canadiens is one of the year's best stories. Love 'em or hate 'em, a vibrant franchise in Montreal makes this game a whole lot better.
• The Predators have suffered a league-worst five losses in the shootout. The main reason? Pekka Rinne's .556 save percentage. He's clearly feeling uncomfortable in the situation. It can't help knowing that the team's shooters don't allow him much of a margin for error.
• The Sharks start their second half tonight knowing they need to convert shootout and OT losses to wins if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. A little run support for Antti Niemi would be a good place to start. Only Nashville in the West has scored fewer than San Jose's 56 goals.
• Among the many salient points made in Ken Campbell's latest column: Not enough is being made of Eric Staal and his amazing season.
• Nine teams had scouts at the Flames-Kings game Monday night. They might have been there to enjoy the lovely Southern California weather, but they were probably hoping to pick what little flesh is left on the bones of the NHL's worst team.
• The Penguins have been drafting wingers for years with the hope they would click with Sid or Geno. Bean Bennett may may finally be the one. • It only seems like every goal that Jonathan Drouin scores is suitable for the highlight reels, right? Here's his 40th of the season.