By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this quiet morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• So there are rumors that Jaromir Jagr will sign with the Devils. Hey, we’ve all seen two desperate people hook up at the bar at closing time, so this wouldn’t be a surprise if it happened. It just seems like a lousy decision for at least one of them.
• Roberto Luongo has to avoid the October swoon if he hopes to get a shot at Team Canada. That kind of hot start would be a blessing for a Vancouver team that’s used to him getting out of the blocks slowly…or would it?
• Ben Kuzma lays out the road trip every Canucks fan should be on…well, short of Sochi, anyway.
• The Flyers inked Sean Couturier to a bridge deal at a rock bottom price. Nice job by GM Paul Holmgren, who still has two more key forwards to get under contract and very little money to spend.
• Now that the NHL has finally the Olympic deal, Kevin Allen has some thoughts on what Team USA could look like. Only name I disagree with is Cam Fowler. Still too unpredictable at this point in his career.
• Larry Brooks explains how the new CBA made anomalies out of the big-money contracts given to David Clarkson and Ryane Clowe before the free agent market turned stagnant. Larry overlooks the fact that there’s just not much talent out there worth spending money on, but point taken.
• With all the big names being added to the Penguins lineup last spring, it was easy to overlook the addition of free agent Eric Hartzell. The big netminder out of Quinnipiac has a chance to be the answer to the Marc-Andre Fleury problem someday after signing a new two-year deal. Here’s a look at what it was like for him hanging with the Pens down the stretch run.
• The Kings re-signed bruising forward Jordan Nolan to a new deal. Scratch one more name off the arbitration docket.
• Jonathan Willis looks at the situation of one player still headed to arbitration, Edmonton’s Sam Gagner and explains why he might be better off taking a little less to stay with the Oilers.
• Sounds like everyone is convinced the Oilers won’t trade Ales Hemsky this season, but it might just be a matter of waiting until the deadline when teams might have some room under the cap.
• The Devils have a couple of young defensemen pushing for jobs this fall. Have to believe 2010 second rounder Jon Merrill will get a really long look.
• Steve Simmons labels MLSE president Tim Leiweke a fool and throws out a few other hot sports opinions in this week’s Sunday column.
• San Diego native Chad Ruhwedel won’t go quietly in a battle for a roster spot with the Sabres.