By Allan Muir
Another extended Snowmaggedon guide to today’s must-read hockey stories:
• Sabres owner Terry Pegula might be a brilliant businessman, but he’s a joke of an owner according to several NHL insiders. A hatchet job by the Buffalo News, or a fair indictment of a man who somehow doesn’t recognize the sad state of his own affairs? It doesn’t help that his $12 million man was scratched last night.
• Wayne Gretzky called this Swede “his favorite player of the last decade.” Except what he really said was probably “favourite.”
• Bruce Garrioch has trade talk involving the Ducks, Sharks, Wild and more in his Sunday column.
• What is the price of principle? In the case of Tim Thomas, bailing on the Bruins likely cost him his shot at the Hall of Fame. I’m guessing he can live with that.
• What’s behind Patrick Kane’s hot start? The quick answer is time well spent in Switzerland during the lockout, but the real answer speaks more to his maturity. Kane is finally growing up, and that’s allowed him to find the focus that he’s lacked too often in the past.
• A big save early got Braden Holtby in the game and powered the Washington netminder to his first shutout–and first big win–of the season. The Caps also got another goal from Alex Ovechkin, who might just be getting used to that whole right wing thing.
• The craziest stat of the early season? After last night’s convincing 6-0 win in Montreal the Maple Leafs have the league’s second-best road record at 6-1.
• Martin Brodeur might be numbed by his own milestones but he was thrilled to see a teammate achieve one in a 3-1 win over the Penguins. Speaking of Marty, here’s an interesting infographic to commemorate his 1,200th game.
• The Sharks may have lost their fourth-straight contest last night, but there’s no panic in San Jose. Which is nice to say, of course, but the inability of the team to score when Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are silenced is clearly a big issue whether they’re worried or not.
• Nikolai Khabibulin suffered the loss in Detroit Saturday but for a guy playing his first game in nearly 11 months, the 40-year-old looked pretty sharp.
• This is cool. Marc-Andre Fleury personally pays to bump four students from the standing-room only section to glass seats at each Penguins game.
• So much for that “lasting and permanent damage” the league was doomed to suffer after the lockout, eh?
• The Blues have now lost four straight and Brian Elliott is reminding everyone why he was available for anyone to pick up prior to his magical 2011-12 season. Looks like he’s out of the mix for now, with rookie Jake Allen in. The Blues obviously need a different look in net. After giving up five-or-more goals just three times all of last season, they’ve done it now in each of their last four. More bad news: veteran Jamie Langenbrunner is lost for the season.
• Catching up: here’s a great read from Friday’s Toronto Star about the 90th anniversary of hockey’s first-ever play-by-play broadcast.
• When a star goalie is lost, the rest of the team is supposed to rally around the backup, not feed him to the wolves like the Flames did to Leland Irving last night in Vancouver.
• Looks like Vancouver’s Zack Kassian is in the market for a new nickname after learning there can be only one Kassassin.