Top Line: Patrick Kane the face of Team USA?; Staal health updates; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Has Patrick Kane become the face of American hockey? And if he has . . . is that a good thing?
• Not sure that Herb Brooks would have liked this angle, but 14 players at Team USA's camp were from Minnesota. And apparently, the guys were pretty proud of that fact.
• No one has forgotten what Ryan Miller did in Vancouver, but history doesn't count for much now, so the 2010 Olympic hero desperately needs a hot start this season to ensure that he isn't the odd goalie out when the U.S. roster is finalized.
• USA Hockey is well aware of its failure to medal when the Games have been held outside North America. A new approach to team building has the Americans liking their chances this time around.
• The TSN staff projected Team Canada's roster. The appropriate reaction to the result is: Have these guys ever actually watched a game of hockey in their lives?
• Three Staals are in the running for spots on Team Canada. And two of 'em have to prove they're healthy first. Here's the latest on Marc's eye and Eric's knee.
• Babcock also said that the first three months of the NHL season should make it clear who will man his net at Sochi. "One of these goalies will step up — no question. One of these goalies will be hot going in, so everyone will know who is playing in goal for Canada." Not sure the rest of the nation shares his confidence...
• It's a pretty good time to be a lefthanded-shooting defenseman, or a natural winger, in Canada.
• Andrew Ladd might be seen by some as a long shot to make Team Canada, but Gary Lawless thinks that he brings a unique set of skills that could be a good fit for the team. I'm right there with him. Ladd is a natural winger with size, pugnacity, scoring touch, leadership and international experience. I think he's a very good bet to make the cut.
• While the Canadians were running drills on the floor, the Americans took in a ball game. What's that tell you?
• Could two of the NHL's top young players be heading toward holdouts? "I don't expect either side expects me not to be [at camp]," says Rangers center Derek Stepan. Meanwhile, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo says that he's not thinking along those lines.
• Which team has the best general manager/coach combo? A ranking on CSN Philly suggests -- surprise! -- that it's the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. John Boruk breaks down the rest, from 1-30 (and yes, he might have slotted the hometown Flyers a little too high).
• Speaking of Philadelphia, the Flyers get the 30-in-30 treatment today on nhl.com. And would you believe that their scribe thinks goaltending is a question mark in Philly? Crazy, eh?
• Jarome Iginla hit the ice for the first time with a few of his new teammates in Boston yesterday. And while his focus is on fitting in with the Bruins, he still has hopes of catching Steve Yzerman's eye for a shot at Sochi.
• After missing Canada's world junior camp over the summer with a foot injury, will third-overall pick Jonathan Drouin of the Lightning be ready for camp?
• Potential Canucs backup Eddie Lack is a throwback to the days of goofy, flaky netminders. As long as the guy can stop some pucks every fifth game or so, there's nothing wrong with a bit of color.
• Sure, he blew off a few preseason games, but that didn't stop CSKA from handing Ilya Kovalchuk the C.
• Has Edmonton decided on a new captain? If the team has, as one report suggests, expect the unexpected.
• Saying his "dream is to play in the NHL," spin-master Linus Omark has returned from his one-year exile in Switzerland and re-signed with the Oilers. It's a nice depth add, but where exactly does he think he fits in on that squad?Devils Ben Johnson shows stunning insensitivity to the proceedings.