Top Line: Carolina Hurricanes' wind of change; Injury alters West; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford knows when the gettin' is good. With his team on the verge of yet another playoff DNQ, Rutherford is rumored to be stepping down at season's end after 20 years on the job. It looks as though his successor will come from within the organization and more change may be on the way.
• Luke DeCock writes that, even though his teams have missed the playoffs in seven of the past eight years, Rutherford deserves credit for his past successes rather than blame for recent struggles. Not to dismiss DeCock's sentiments out of hand, but Rutherford needs to be held accountable for his team's long-term failures. Past glories only get you so far. It's time for a new hand on the wheel.
• James Mirtle considers where it all went wrong for the Toronto Maple Leafs. No, this will not take all day to read.
• Elliotte Friedman suggests that Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer look to Mike Cammalleri for inspiration. Friedman also updates the QMJHL's push for Jack Eichel in this week's 30 Thoughts column. Lots of great insight, as always.
• Geezers came up big as the Montreal Canadiens derailed Boston's 12-game winning streak on Monday night. What a gem. Here's hoping this one was a prologue to seven more such games this spring.
• Not satisfied with his sticky on-ice revenge, Lucic had some choice words for Alexei Emelin after the game.
• Forget the Lucic cup check. This is about as painful an injury as you're likely to see:
• Jim Corsi hasn't had any time to mess with advanced stats since the Ryan Miller trade. The Buffalo Sabres' assistant coach has been too busy helping goalies on and off the carousel over the past couple weeks.
• Is this Olympic keeper a legitimate contender for the Vezina Trophy? Adrian Dater thinks so.
• A new Penguin explains why playing with Sidney Crosby isn't as easy as it seems.
• Hard to believe taht the Capitals have taken nine points out of their past five games when you consider the horror of this stat. And no, you won't need an advanced degree in math to understand this one.
• Forbes writer Karl Moore is working up a series on the effectiveness of the quiet leader. This piece focuses on the second-longest serving captain in Montreal Canadiens history: Saku Koivu.
• Sadly, Sean Avery did not sufficiently ignite his hips, and thus brought shame onto the hockey world.
• They're playing with heavy hearts in the wake of teammate Terry Trafford's death, but the Saginaw Spirit refuse to let tragedy define them.
• The KHL team SKA St. Petersburg is looking to cut its financial reliance on oil giant Gazprom. Considering the economics of Russian hockey, this is a bit of a head scratcher, and raises questions about how it will operate in the future ... and how it will pay for off-the-books contracts like the one given last summer to Ilya Kovalchuk.
• Funniest unsportsmanlike conduct penalty ever?