By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• The NHLPA refuses to agree to a common sense rule mandating the use of visors for its members, but the demands of insurance companies may take the issue out of their hands. Visors will be among the agenda items when the NHL’s general managers meet Wednesday in Toronto.
• Marc Staal’s lingering eye injury means tonight’s Hurricanes-Rangers matchup won’t be the first three Staal game in NHL history.
• The Penguins held on to beat the Bruins in Sunday’s nationally televised game, but lost defenseman Kris Letang. The Pens don’t skate today, so we may not know until Tuesday the nature and severity of his ailment. If it’s for any kind of term, Boston’s domination of the second and third periods suggests that Pittsburgh will need to look into a replacement. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin skated Sunday, but his availability for Tuesday remains TBD.
• Dejan Kovacevic breaks down how all hands have been on deck during Pittsburgh’s nine-game winning streak.
• No word yet on the status of David Krejci. Boston’s top center took the full force of a Johnny Boychuk point blast off the top of his knee in Sunday’s loss. Krejci was seen walking to the bus, albeit gingerly, so there’s hope that it’s just a deep (and probably very painful) bruise.
• Kevin Allen examines the sign or trade options facing top free agents-to-be.
• Is it time for the Winnipeg Jets to free first-rounder Alex Burmistrov from his press-box exile?
• Progressing contract talks could pull the names of Islanders’ veterans Mark Streit, Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky out of the rumor mill.
• It took Ryan Suter 10 games to get comfortable in his new surroundings, but he’s catapulted himself back into Norris contention with a tremendous stretch of hockey over the last six weeks.
• “I don’t want to be the guy that crashes Terry’s car.” Check out this behind-the-scenes look at the parent/mentor trip the Buffalo Sabres put on this season. Guess it wouldn’t suck to be an NHL player after all.
• The return of Ryan O’Reilly is bringing out the best in Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog. Meanwhile, Bob McKenzie tweeted that 2010 first rounder Joey Hishon is set to play his first game in nearly two years after suffering a concussion in the 2011 Memorial Cup.
• Jason Chimera snapped a 27-game scoring drought and Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson tallied in a six-minute span as the Caps kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a win over the Sabres. Now they face a life-or-death stretch with seven-of-eight on the road as the circus and NCAA Tournament take over the Verizon Center.
• Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi is preaching patience after Saturday night’s devastating 8-1 home loss to the Blackhawks.
• The Flames will go with Joey MacDonald tonight in Dallas, with Miikka Kiprusoff remaining in Calgary for the birth of his second child. Randy Sportak has five questions for the Flames as they head out on a crucial three-game roadie.
• Kimmo Timonen will become just just the sixth Finn to play 1,000 NHL games when the Flyers take on the Lightning in Tampa tonight. It’s getting to be must-win time for Philly, which is a miserable 4-11 on the road this season.
• Ken Hitchcock told Chris Stewart to commit to a competitive game and the points would take care of themselves. Hitch is a good coach.
• Injuries may force the Canucks to recall 2011 first-rounder Nicklas Jensen ahead of schedule. A battered roster is just one of many reasons for Vancouver’s 5-6-4 swoon.
• And finally: Fun with stock photography!