Top Line: Sidney Crosby's Gretzky-like year, NHL trade rumors, more links
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• The numbers aren't quite as spectacular, but in terms of overall play Sidney Crosby is making an impact like Wayne Gretzky at his finest.
• Speaking of Sid, Kevin Weekes breaks down his abilities in comparison to other major athletes.
• Is former Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff the front-runner for the head coaching job in Tampa? His connections to Steve Yzerman from Team Canada make him an obvious choice, but I wonder if Lindy might wait until the off-season to see if there's a fit he likes better.
• Larry Brooks laughs off the NHL's video explanation for not suspending Rick Nash and wonders when the league will decide that protecting victims is more important than finding reasons not to suspend assailants.
• So what's the official waiting period between last NHL game and first NHL oldtimers game? Apparently about two days. Alex Kovalev is suiting up with a bunch of ex-Habs to take on an Eric Lindros-led group in a charity match today at the Bell Centre.
• Lots of good stuff last night on Hockey Night in Canada. Check out Jarome Iginla trade talk on Hot Stove and Don Cherry on tough guys wearing visors.
• It wasn't a hot goaltender that cost the Kings two points on Saturday. Los Angeles was shut out for the second game in a row because they didn't get enough pucks on the net, particularly on the power play.
• George Malik sets up tonight's Detroit-Anaheim re-match. Should be a good one after the Wings snapped the Ducks' 12-game home winning streak on Friday.
• Carlo Coliaicovo has been cleared to return to action for the Red Wings. Could he have a little competition for his job from coveted college free agent Danny DeKeyser soon? DeKeyser has plenty of choices, but all indications suggest he's leaning toward Detroit. We'll see.
• The Calgary Flames do not deserve the benefit of the doubt that they can turn around their fortunes in the season's final 19 games. And so it's time for management to do what it gets paid to do says Randy Sportak.
• Frans Nielsen is thriving now that the Islanders have redefined his role. Strong player, but he didn't have the tools to be an effective No. 2 center. Good to see him put in a position to succeed.
• Oilers were booed off the ice by their home fans after a weak effort Saturday night. That 3-0 loss to the Blues highlighted how many holes this team still has to fill before it is a legitimate playoff contender.
• If the city of Glendale votes this week not to retain a pricey consulting firm, then it's pretty much time to start loading up the moving vans in Phoenix.
• Rookie Taylor Beck scored his first NHL goal and the Predators edged closer to becoming buyers at the deadline with a convincing win over the Blue Jackets. • The Boston Blades beat the Montreal Stars yesterday to claim their first Clarkson Cup. If you don't know what the Clarkson Cup is, you've got some homework to do this weekend.