Top Line: Blackhawks get wake-up call; 2013 NHL Draft revisited; more links

Tuesday April 1st, 2014

Marian Hossa of the Chicago BlackhawksMarian Hossa is worried about how the Blackhawks are sleepwalking toward the playoffs. (Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

Marian Hossa says that the Blackhawks' losing streak is "a wake-up call." That can be a valuable thing at this time of year, provided that a team is willing to listen. That's no sure thing considering the way Chicago has routinely ignored such calls this season.

• There are ways the Avalanche can beat the Blackhawks in the playoffs, but doing so became a whole lot tougher when Matt Duchene was lost to injury.

• Pro scouts have an easy solution to the Maple Leafs' woes: strip the C off of Dion Phaneuf's sweater. It's probably a good place to start, but acquiring one or two physical, defensive-minded blueliners would have a greater impact.

• Michael Traikos needs two hands to point fingers at everyone who deserves blame for the mess in Toronto.

• I'm a sucker for re-draft talk, so even if Brian Costello's look back at the 2013 NHL draft class is a bit early, it still makes for fascinating reading. Makes the Jets look pretty good, too.

• The Bruins' roster is going to go see some changes ahead of the playoffs.

• Want a free Jarome Iginla sweater and a year's subscription to NHL Center Ice? Just be willing to do what this lifelong Canucks fan did.

John Tortorella has been charming with the media in Vancouver, but his charm hasn't gone over so well on the Canucks' bench, which is where it actually matters. That's why Larry Brooks expects his old nemesis will be fired after this season.

• Bill Hoppe explains why the Sabres love playing for Ted Nolan. Funny how well an approach like that works, eh?

• Now that the coaching situation is settled, here's the next step to take in Buffalo.

• Big night for the Wild, who authored their second consecutive third-period comeback victory to tighten their grip on the first wild-card berth in the West. Minnesota then signed UMass Lowell defenseman Christian Folin, the top free agent in college hockey. Wild fans should get a good look at Folin's heavy shot before the regular season is out.

• If that wasn't enough excitement for Minnesota, then how about the fifth-leading scorer in franchise history tending the twine at practice on Monday? Fortunately, the Wild were able to find someone a little more qualified to play goalie for the actual game against the Kings. Rob Laurie made his third career appearance as an emergency back-up. One of these days he's actually going to get into a game, right?

• The action was equally thrilling in Anaheim, where the Ducks set two franchise records in their stunning comeback win over Winnipeg.

• This old trick actually worked last night:

• The Mounties had to be called in to break up a minor league hockey brawl after a linesman was assaulted on the ice.

• No one should begrudge Martin Brodeur's desire to play one more NHL season, but someone might need to talk some sense into him if he really thinks he can still be a starter in this league.

• Dan Rosen really wants to get Pierre McGuire's opinion on advanced stats. Pierre ain't bitin'.

• There isn't much that I love more than seeing a guy who has paid his dues finally get his chance in The Show. Here's 30-year-old Mark Van Guilder talking about his NHL debut with the Predators.

• Does anyone cut to the quick quite like an editorial cartoonist? Here's a succinct jab at the forever rebuilding Oilers.

Daryl Reaugh to appreciate this .
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