Top Line: Mixed reviews for Yankee Stadium game; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Too many outdoor games? Hardly, says Larry Brooks. The NHL has seized the moment and turned what can be the grind of January into a spectacle with the expanded Stadium Series schedule.
• While the league is wrapping this one up as a gift from the hockey gods, one fan gave it a lousy review on Yelp. (Look for the review of Marty B./ stick tap to Reddit.)
• The day-after reviews were much kinder for Saturday's game at Dodger Stadium.
• When Phil Kenner's hockey dream died, the Niagara University star had to find another way to live the good life. He's accused of scamming millions from 28 individuals, including five former Buffalo Sabres.
• The commissioners of the NFL and MLB are having bold discussions to improve their games. Dejan Kovacevic argues that it's time for Gary Bettman to take a similarly aggressive step to address the NHL's top concern: the decline in goal scoring.
• Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour rank first and second on the all-time coaching wins list. One more victory will move this current bench boss into third. Chris Kuc has his story.
• Health issues may make this season the last kick at the can for another legendary coach.
• When Antoine Vermette tells his grandkids about this game years down the road, it might include tales of ankle-breaking dangles and glorious end-to-end rushes. But here's the truth behind the year's luckiest hat trick.
• Dave Isaac offers a profile of Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds that focuses on his blue-collar upbringing. It's a great piece as a whole, but it really gets interesting when Simmonds talks about the racist taunts he's had to deal with along the way.
• The heat is on in Montreal after the Canadiens turned in their worst performance of the season on Saturday night. A players-only meeting followed the game, but the men on the ice aren't the only ones under pressure as this season starts to slip away.
• What's wrong with Montreal? Jack Todd is going with the Alien Zombie Theory.
• The roster of the Avalanche has many different nationalities and native tongues, but around the rink all must speak English. Terry Frei's piece features a couple of interesting takes on this rule, particularly from goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
• Randy Sportak reviews the Flames' progress after their first 100 games under coach Bob Hartley. While no one would qualify Calgary's season as a success, Hartley has definitely improved the culture and work ethic of the club, setting it up for better days ahead.
• Russia has named a former third-overall NHL pick as an injury replacement for its team just two weeks ahead of the Olympic tournament in Sochi. • The South Korean hockey team is currently ranked 25th in the world, but the pressure is on to qualify when the Asian country hosts the Olympics in 2018. Good luck with that.