A notated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• Heading into Friday’s game with the Devils, the Flyers had an equal statistical chance to finish 29th overall as make the playoffs. That was until a rare shootout win took Seth Jones off their minds…at least temporarily.
• No doubt the vote of confidence GM Paul Holmgren gave coach Peter Laviolette was a great source of relief and comfort for all involved.
• Those Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings rumors don’t sit well with Eric Duhatschek.
• NHL owners will never pass on the lucre of an 82-game season, but let’s face it: this 48-game sked is pretty boss, isn’t it? The players of the Minnesota Wild seem to agree.
• Roberto Luongo reclaims the No. 1 job in Vancouver, making his third consecutive start tonight against the Red Wings. Coach Alain Vigneault has to go with the guy who is winning more games, and that’s Bobby Lu.
• If the Canucks watched the Wings Friday night, they learned it takes more than a 40-minute effort to beat them. The Oilers had the drop on them early, but the more experienced Wings stuck around long enough to capitalize on an own goal and a brilliant Pavel Datsyuk bid in OT to steal two points.
• Brent Burns has two goals in two games since being bumped from the blue line to Joe Thornton’s line. The erstwhile defender doesn’t see why a big deal is being made of the switch, but hey, versatility like that is pretty unique in the game today.
• In the midst of a disappointing season, defending Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist is working on becoming a better puck distributor to help out his struggling blue line.
• The Bruins haven’t got a goal from first-liners Nathan Horton or Milan Lucic in eight games. Both wingers look guilty of taking an extra split-second too long to make a puck decision down low, making them much easier to defend. Shoot first, ask questions later, boys.
• Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter called the rule mandating an extra minor for instigating a fight while wearing a visor “archaic”. I’m sure he would have felt the same sense of injustice if that extra minor had instead been called on San Jose during Friday’s 4-3 loss.
• Helene Elliott addresses the departure of Tim Leiweke, the president of the company that owns the Kings.
• You think Patrick Roy was stunned to learn the Buffalo Sabres were sending junior superstar Mikhail Grigorenko back to the Quebec Remparts in time for the QMJHL playoffs?
• The Flames drubbed the Predators 6-3 to earn their sixth consecutive win at the Saddledome, but until they can win on the road, they’ll remain near the conference cellar. Calgary claimed just one point over their last six games away from home.
• 2010 first-rounder Jarred Tinordi will make his NHL debut alongside Francis Boullion for the Canadiens tonight. The 6-foot-6 Tinordi is the son of former defensive stalwart Mark Tinordi and he’s expected to be a nice piece for the Habs down the road.
• The Senators have played in 10 straight one-goal games, just two off the NHL mark. Having to play hard start to finish, with multiple OT games along the way, has to take a toll on skaters already dealing with a compressed schedule.
• At last, former Maple Leaf Bob McGill has broken his silence about the Jake Gardiner controversy. Call me a skeptic, but I think I’ll take his advice with a grain of salt…at least until we can get Fred Boimistruck to back him up.
• Though they won’t have Gardiner, the Leafs will have their 2011-12 MVP, Joffrey Lupul, back in the lineup tonight. He’ll be a huge boost for a team that’s lost four straight and is on the verge of falling out of the playoff race. The Leafs dealt defensive center Dave Steckel to the Ducks, where he’ll skate for Bruce Boudreau, a coach who probably doesn’t hate him.
• The mayor of Columbus hasn’t forgotten that the NHL owes the city an All-Star Game. Don’t worry, mayor. Gary Bettman’s on top of it!
• A desire for competition keeps former NHLer Jay McKee battling in an effort to win the Allan Cup. Nice piece by Sean Fitz-Gerald.
• And finally, it sounds like a good day to be a hockey fan in Switzerland:
Best hockey day of year; all 4 Swiss QF Game-7s tonite, 4 sell-outs. Blue skies, sun, wonderful view of Alps at horizon. Parfait.—
Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) March 16, 2013
Shoot, sounds like a good day to be anything in Switzerland.