By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• Well, there goes my column for today. Dan Murphy perfectly lays out the implications of Roberto Luongo switching agents. Hard to read anything into the news other than an affirmation of his desire to get out of Vancouver. Thanks a lot, Dan.
• Or maybe this whole agent switch is all much ado about nothing. Speaking of which, see the movie. It’s pretty good.
• NHL.com is breaking down the top individual performances of 2013. They’re all pretty good.
• Steve Yzerman doesn’t seem too concerned about the possibility of skating just one left-handed defenseman for Team Canada at the Olympics. Shouldn’t he be? Just a little?
• This is amazing: The Calgary Flames have confirmed that plans are on schedule and the flood-damaged Saddledome should be ready for preseason hockey.
• Note to self: Don’t mess with Steven Stamkos. He is strong. Like, silverback gorilla strong.
• Yeah, we’ve already touched on P.K. Subban and his involvement with a foundation to help underprivileged kids afford hockey, but this interview with the Norris winner touches on a few interesting points about how he views the game and his place in it. Good read.
• Here’s an interesting take from Matt Kalman on the value of the draft and how championship-caliber teams can be built despite the occasional whiff. He stretches a bit here and there (I think it is safe to say that the Jaromir Jagr and Loui Eriksson deals get done without Lane MacDermid and Ryan Button, for example), but he makes a couple of decent points along the way.
• The bankrupt city of Detroit will still help fund the building of a new rink for the Red Wings.
• RFA Nazem Kadri still doesn’t have a new contract, but he doesn’t seem too worried about it. This is definitely a challenging deal for the Leafs. Expect a short-term bridge contract, rather than a long-term commitment for Kadri, even after his solid 2013 campaign.
• One potential Olympian’s reaction to his camp invite: “I thought at first I got traded.”
• Former Buffalo ranch hand James Patrick has been hired as an assistant coach in Dallas. Take a look at how the Sabres performed on defense and the PK under his watch and you’ll see why Stars fans are not celebrating the news.
• The NHL is seriously looking into the Pacific Northwest region as a possible site for expansion or relocation, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Put the emphasis on expansion, according to me.
• Looks like the Phoenix Coyotes are about to give Gilbert Brule another chance. Here’s hoping for the best for a player who appears to have put some personal issues behind him.
• The Swiss haven’t exactly announced a camp roster, but a photo shoot invite is pretty much the same thing, right? No surprise it leans heavily on Swiss leaguers, but 10 NHLers are getting new mug shots, including Roman Josi, Jonas Hiller and Damien Brunner.
• Fans are quick to rip athletes from other sports for their lack of hockey toughness, so let’s be sure to give one credit when he earns it. And this kid earns it.