By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• No need to worry, says new agent Pat Brisson. Roberto Luongo will go to camp. That new agent thing? That was just about getting “a new voice,” not looking for another way out. So no reason for Canucks fans to worry, right? Right?
• No surprise that Luongo’s former agent, Gilles Lupien, spoke out after their 19-year relationship ended, but the target of his venom was not the goaltender
• Here’s the thing with Bobby Lu: no matter how miserable his situation might seem, he always has fun on Twitter.
• Wondering what Roberto and the rest of the goaltenders’ union think about the NHL’s desire to reduce the size of their protective gear even further? Change is inevitable, but trying to pull it off in late July is probably unrealistic.
• Madison Square Garden is nearing the end of a three-year renovation at a cost of nearly $1 billion. So it probably didn’t come as great news that New York’s City Council essentially said that MSG has to find a new home in 10 years.
• The St. Louis Blues got the signature of goaltender Jake Allen on a new deal Thursday. The first year is two-way, meaning they can stash him in the minors, but he’ll be there only as long as it takes to make a deal that gets either Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott off the books.
• Frank Beckmann says the optics are lousy for Detroit when slashing the pensions of city employees helps to fund a new arena for the Red Wings. And that’s really the point: No matter that the money comes from a different pile, there’s no way to make this financing look kosher when the city is bankrupt.
• Helene St. James likes what the future holds for Detroit’s Joakim Andersson. So do I. He’s a smart, reliable player who fits perfectly into Detroit’s system in a depth role. Not sure that his offense will ever amount to much, but he’s one of those guys who finds a way to make himself useful.
• Doesn’t look like Damien Brunner will be joining Andersson in Detroit next season. With just 44 games of NHL experience, it sure seems as if the UFA forward is overplaying his hand. He has potential, but he still has a lot left to prove. If he wants to stay in the NHL, he’ll have to lower his expectations significantly … or he can go home, make the money he wants, and wonder if he could have really made it over here.
• Toronto GM Dave Nonis says he didn’t ask for a contraction extension, but the Maple Leafs gave him one, anyway. This isn’t sitting well in Hogtown, where fans are wondering what he’s done in his seven months on the job to earn this kind of reward, but take a look at the roster and it’s clear that he cleaned up a lot of messes left by Brian Burke.
• Taylor Hall has some seriously sick mitts.
• Aaron Ward says we could have news soon on free agent center Mikhail Grabovski. Good thing. Not sure how much longer I can hold my breath.
• Adam Kimmelman takes a look at the NHL players who’ll bolster the lineups of the Olympic dark horses. Not sure I’d consider a Swiss team coming off a silver medal at the World Championships a dark horse, though.
• Team USA has one glaring weakness.
• Alexander Mogilny has a new gig in the KHL, and he’d love to have Ilya Bryzgalov join him in scenic Vladivostok.
• Josh Harding tops NHL.com’s list of the top goalie moments of 2013. Can’t argue with that choice at all, although they left out his heroic relief effort in the first round against the Blackhawks.
• Can Zach Hamill finally prove himself worthy of being taken eighth overall in 2007? Probably not, but the Vancouver Canucks are going to give him a chance.
• The Oilers signed first-rounder Darnell Nurse to an entry-level deal. His chances of sticking with the big club next season are minimal, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. Nurse could play a big role for Team Canada at the World Juniors.