By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this quiet morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• In the least stunning news (but still news) of the day, Sportsnet reports that Mike Babcock will return to coach Team Canada at Sochi. The rest of the staff looks pretty familiar as well.
• Jonathan Willis offers his take on Team Canada. A couple of curious, though not indefensible, selections. Most interesting was his decision to take one Oilers forward to the possible exclusion of another.
• Not enough roster talk for ‘ya? Here are 10 possible Team Canada rosters from the “experts” at Hockey Central. Yeah, I worked in the quotation marks there because three of them don’t include one player I think has proven himself to be essential to the team, and six have him at the wrong position. No matter who you like, though, this broad survey shows how tough it will be for Steve Yzerman and his staff to pare down the abundance of talent up front.
• In the wake of the Justin Bieber hubbub, Cathal Kelly asks the obvious question: If logos are so sacred, why are they on the floor to be stepped on in the first place? Might need to get Doug Glatt to explain it to him, eh?
• The Boston Bruins ensured that the Biebs won’t be stepping on their logo.
• UPDATE: …or maybe he can…
• Winnipeg Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff enters the spotlight uneasily this week with three critical players entering into salary arbitration. There’s still time to come up with new deals for Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian and Blake Wheeler, but if any of them are going to happen, he needs to be the one who blinks. Time to start batting those lashes, Chevy.
• Jets defenseman Zach Redmond is ready to put his near-fatal injury behind him and get back to being a hockey player.
• Erol Kahraman may be the greatest goalie in the world. Can anyone build a better case than this guy?
• The Predators avoided arbitration with Nick Spaling, signing the forward to a new one-year deal over the weekend. That deal means Nashville has 15 forwards under contract. Is that enviable depth or the precursor to a trade?
• The Penguins might have the deepest pool of high-end defensive prospects, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for Dan Bylsma’s schemes.
• Justin Bourne has a solid take on the real value of hits and blocked shots.
• Sorry I missed this over the weekend: Dirk Hoag has calculated how many miles each team will travel over the course of the 2013-14 season. Guess which team gets off the easiest .. .and which has the time to learn a new language?
• Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was in Europe when the David Perron-Magnus Paajarvi trade went down. He finally chimes in on what it means for both players.
• An undrafted free agent goalie has made a big impression at Detroit’s prospect camp, despite being limited by injury.
• There’s a hockey boom happening in Southeast Asia thanks to the passion of several Canadian ex-pats. This gives me hope that we might soon live in a world where Bob Cole has to pronounce names like Jantaphong Tengsakul and Tewin Chartsuwan.