Top Line: Cup quest resumes; Gretzky, Messier to coach Rangers?; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Patrice Bergeron getting nice and cozy with Sidney Crosby is one of five keys to Boston beating Pittsburgh, according to Stephen Harris.
• If this fight comes down to a battle of styles, can the Bruins' hard forecheck beat the Pens?
• This Bruin poses a unique challenge for Pittsburgh's forwards.
• After years of being told to look up to others, this goalie has become the measuring stick of NHL success.
• Jonathan Quick is the main reason the Kings are in the Stanley Cup mix, writes Eric Duhatschek. Might not be the most original premise, but Duhatschek is always worth reading so click it.
• I might be the last guy on earth who questions the wisdom of taking Valeri Nichushkn with a top-five pick.. Lance Hornby says he might go top three.
• Nate Silver--yes, that Nate Silver--offers a 47,000-word explanation of why Canadian teams haven't won the Cup. This will be catnip for the kids taking Advanced Hockey Metrics, but does this question really matter? There may be some Canadians who think it'd be swell if any of the seven teams won, but most are like fans everywhere else. If their team doesn't win, there is no geographical affiliation that makes them root for every other team from their country to win out.
• Now that Patrick Roy has a coaching job, it looks like every Hall of Famer is looking for a bench gig. Both Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier have thrown their hats in the ring for the New York Rangers job. That can only end well, right?
• Larry Brooks points out the hazards to be navigated by a playing legend who hopes to succeed as a coach.
• Looking for a top-three pick in this year's draft? This pick might be available.
• So might this one.
• So, apparently pretty much every top-10 pick is available. Interesting year. Everyone agrees this draft class is the best in a decade, but there are no guarantees when you're talking 18-year-olds. Makes sense for GMs to consider evey option, even if there's the element of potential regret involved.
• Impending UFA Mike Smith might be willing to take a hometown discount to stay with the Phoenix Coyotes...but don't ask him to make a leap of faith. He's not signing until he knows where the franchise stands.
• Doug Wilson isn't worried. As long as the Sharks reach the playoffs, he believes that one year everything will click and San Jose will get their chance at the Cup.Raffi Torres