Top Line: How to stop Alex Ovechkin; Stamkos nearing return; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• A pair of Penguins (and future Team USA defense partners) discuss the secrets to shutting the door on Alex Ovechkin. Some interesting insights here ahead of the Wednesday Night Rivalry game between Pittsburgh and the Capitals.
• The Penguins will set a new club record with a win tonight.
• Washington's much-maligned defense has turned a corner, allowing two goals or fewer in three straight games. Problem is, that success has come at the expense of the team's offense.
• Capitals coach Adam Oates isn't really comparing Tom Wilson to Joe Thornton, is he?
• Palm trees, a beach volleyball court,
a blonde in a red one-piece running in slow motion ... oh yeah, and an NHL-quality ice surface stretching from first to third. Those are just a few of the highlights confirmed yesterday for the upcoming outdoor game at Dodger Stadium.
• No, that wasn't another polar vortex air mass. That was a massive sigh of relief from across Canada after the Ducks confirmed that Ryan Getzlaf should be good to go after taking a shot in the foot on Saturday.
• Man, Jhonas Enroth is a battler:
• Ryan Murray's coach says that he has no flash and no speed, and that he won't put up any numbers, but nevertheless insists that the Blue Jackets' defenseman deserves consideration for the Calder Trophy. "Murray is best appreciated if you see him every day," writes Michael Arace. "A picture develops. Every little play he makes is a pixel and, at the end of each game, there is a photograph, in black and white, perfectly framed and sharply focused." Good stuff.
• TSN's Craig Button offers up his midseason draft rankings and he's not quite as high as Central Scouting on Leon Draisatl. I'm right there with him -- make all the excuses you want about new teammates and a new system, but the German forward's performance at the World Juniors had to have hurt his stock.
• Gare Joyce isn't buying Central Scouting's decision to rank Sam Bennett at No. 1.
• Six of the players who will take part in tonight's CHL Top Prospects game have an advantage over the others.
• Smart call by Team Russia in naming its Olympic captain this morning.
• And finally, this: