By Allan Muir
A guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• The Toronto Star quotes sources as saying the Maple Leafs will meet the Red Wings in Ann Arbor for the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.
• The view from Vancouver: it wasn’t even a penalty. Maybe it’s just the cynic in me, but I’m guessing that they might have felt differently about the play had it been Henrik Sedin face-down on the ice.
• No link, just a repeat of a question I asked last night: I see players drop the gloves to avenge a fallen teammate after a hard but legal hit all the time. So where were all those honor-bound Blackhawks after Hansen’s cheap shot? Pretty pathetic.
• The headline in the New York Post after Montreal beat the Rangers said it all: Z’s the Day. Nice work by the editor who came up with that gem. And nice work by quote machine John Tortorella, who described it as “Two bad teams playing and we were worse than they were.” In Montreal’s room, there was praise for the two-way play of Lars Eller.
• The Sabres turned in “a mistake-filled, passionless” performance in last night’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. The clock is ticking louder in Buffalo…
• What took him so long? Jets’ coach Claude Noel gave in and moved Dustin Byfuglien to the slot on Winnipeg’s power play.
• The surprising Maple Leafs turned in a stinker against the Lightning last night, but fight fans were rewarded with the long-awaited Aulie-Fraser battle. The rematch is set for Manila.
• At least one team is reported to have contacted the Maple Leafs about the services of Brian Burke. Toronto’s former GM remains under contract to the organization in an advisory role.
• Have the defending champs finally found their footing? The Kings have now won three of four after dumping the Oilers, 3-1. It was a tough loss for Edmonton, where the clock already is ticking on their playoff chances.
• The Flames will dress just one player drafted during the Darryl Sutter era when they take on Sutter and the Kings tonight.
• Connor McDavid, the 16-year-old OHL whiz kid, apparently has “a keen eye for the game’s finer points.”
• It looks like all things are possible for Ottawa as long as Craig Anderson is in goal. He had another spectacular night, propelling the injury-riddled Sens to a 3-1 win over the Islanders. At the other end of the ice, Rick DiPietro didn’t do enough to backstop a strong effort from his teammates.
• Jordin Tootoo scored his first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough as the Wings fell 4-3 to Nashville. The game wasn’t all that Detroit lost — starting goalie Jimmy Howard left during the first period after experiencing blurry vision.
• The wallet of Calgary blueliner Mark Giordano is $10,000 lighter after he was fined for his slew-foot of Dallas’ Antoine Roussel.
• For once, the 2:00 a.m. call was good news: Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen finally has his work visa and will meet the Blue Jackets tonight in Detroit.
• After news of a letter sent by the Senators to their season-ticket holders came to light last week, the dogged sleuths at Down Goes Brown tracked down several missives sent by other teams to their beleaguered fan bases.