By amuir29
October 02, 2013

Chicago Blackhawks carry their 2013 Stanley Cup banner, It was a banner night in Chicago as the Blackhawks launched their Stanley Cup defense. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• The good folks over at Kukla's Korner posted the video of last night's banner-raising ceremony in Chicago. Love 'em or hate 'em, you gotta admit the Hawks did it up right.

• Here's Nick Cotsonika on a night to be treasured in Chicago. I'd forgotten about the business card bit. It's a good reminder of how quickly the Hawks have risen from irrelevancy to the status of cultural treasure in that town.

• An injury to Montreal's new enforcer George Parros cast a pall over opening night. We'll have more on this later today.

• Amalie Benjamin is relatively new to the Bruins beat, but she's just written a cracker of a story about Jarome Iginla's quest for the Cup in Boston. It's a must read.

• Here's an equally compelling read about Carolina analyst Tripp Tracy and his efforts to free his brother after he'd been arrested for spying in Venezuela. The story is only peripherally about hockey, but it's well worth your time.

• Adrian Dater is at his best, offering up an inside look into the life of a hockey beat writer. AD promises it will be a continuing series, so I'm really looking forward to his entry on sportswriter groupies.

• In the first "Coach's Corner" of the season, Don Cherry sounds off on John Scott's bullying act and hybrid icing. Glad to have you back, Grapes.

• Lots of great angles out of Washington this morning. How about Mikhail Grabovski's hat trick in his debut with the Caps?

• If this head coaching thing doesn't work out for Adam Oates, he probably has a nice fallback career as a stick whisperer. I always knew it was a bad lie, not bad hands, that made me such a duster. Wonder if Oatsie gives private consultations?

Alex Ovechkin said he "supports everybody" when asked about gay rights in Russia on NPR Tuesday morning. We can keep asking him all we want, guys. He's ain't comin' down from the fence.

• Here's a Washington Post piece on Gary Bettman, a man at the top of his game. It's a balanced read, although I can't believe the writer resisted the urge to place a winking emoji at the end of the quote where Bettman says the league "doesn't take our fans for granted."

• Where were these Jets during the preseason? Winnipeg got a pair of goals from newcomer Michal Frolik to lead them over the Oilers in a come-from-behind thriller.

• Elliotte Friedman touches on the soundness of Phil Kessel's contract, David Perron's hot hands and Boston's failed trade bid in his weekly 30 Thoughts column.

• Nashville coach Barry Trotz had no doubts about keeping Seth Jones in the NHL this season. That it goes against everything the organization preaches about player development says it all about Jones and where his game is at.

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• After a season that demanded seven moves in 11 months, Jason Pominville is settling in and feeling at home in Minnesota.

• Though the Penguins have come down with a serious case of Pirates fever, it's expected they'll be able to ice a full lineup for tonight's season opener against the Devils.

• Much like the Sabres, the Lightning had two great options to serve as team captain this season. Unlike the Sabres, they managed to pick just one. Looks like they made the right choice here.

• Awful Announcing wonders if Chris Chelios can be a credible NHL analyst for Fox Sports 1 while he's working in Detroit's front office. Might help if he stopped referring to the Wings as "we."

• No one in Columbus is expecting a miracle turnaround for a power play that ranked 28th last season. They're just hoping that this year's unit creates more energy than it drains.

• The Rangers will be without a key player when they open their season against Phoenix on Thursday night.

• Well, this sucks. Three days after being unveiled in his hometown of Brantford, Ont., a pair of statues honoring Wayne Gretzky were vandalized. On the bright side, they fared better than Jebidiah Springfield.

Jeff Skinner is saying all the right things about two-way hockey, but the fact that he's playing on Carolina's third line beside Drayson Bowman and Riley Nash speaks volumes about where his game is at right now. Not many teams hide a $5.725 million cap hit on the checking line, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

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• Hoping to get tickets to one of the two Red Wings-Maple Leafs alumni games scheduled as part of the Winter Classic festivities? Unless you're a season-ticket holder in Detroit or Toronto, you're probably out of luck.

• The declining ice time -- and production -- of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle is impossible to ignore in San Jose. Although there seems to be good intentions to extend all three before their contracts expire at the end of the season, this might be the last hurrah for these veteran Sharks.

What's it take to make it to the NHL? Mark Zwolinski talked with five Maple Leafs about the pivotal people, moments and characteristics that earned them a spot on Toronto's opening night roster.

• Sean Gentile compiled a list of the 30 storylines for the 2013-14 season we'll all be sick of soon enough.

• Their season hasn't even started yet and they're already pondering the impact of a veteran sell-off in Calgary.

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