By Sarah Kwak
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• The Detroit Red Wings will retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s No. 5 on March 16, 2014, when they host the Colorado Avalanche. The Red Wings would’ve done it last season, but there was that whole lockout thing.
• Technically, the Stanley Cup was in the hands of a Maple Leaf and driven through Toronto yesterday. The Blackhawks’ Cup-winning goal scorer—and then quickly traded spare part—Dave Bolland brought the Cup to his hometown/new town, and fans predictably showed up in large numbers. While Toronto mayor Rob Ford just showed up large. The Maple Leafs, it seems, just don’t believe in jinxes. At all. Neither do the papers.
• The Stanley Cup also made another unexpected appearance yesterday… In evidence hearing of the ongoing Whitey Bulger case. The notorious Boston mobster poses with Chris Nilan and the Cup in a photo brought to the court by Bulger’s defense team. Bulger standing with a guy nicknamed “Knuckles”? Come on, too easy.
• Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester signed a 5-year contract extension worth $27 million, making him a part of St. Louis’s long-term plans. The 29-year-old blueliner’s cap hit of $5.4 million per year will be down from the deal he signed in Calgary (five years at $6.6 million per) which he will play out this coming season.
• It’s a Hockey Night in Canada! But will it be for long? The CBC, exclusive spot for the NHL on Saturday nights north of the border for the last 60 years, is in danger of losing its claim.
• Speaking of losing claims to hockey, 90 percent of Canadian families surveyed (in Ontario and Nova Scotia) choose not to have their kids play the sport. NINETY PERCENT.
• Here we have chapter 4,735,896 in the unceasing debate over the value and validity of hockey analytics: A study of Corsi through a season as former Oilers defenseman and current free agent Mark Fistric.
• This interesting graphic from the New York Times didn’t include the NHL. But for the record, only three NHL venues don’t have corporate sponsor names attached: Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum and Joe Louis Arena. And one of those—the Coliseum—won’t be a venue for long.
• Last spring’s Conn Smythe winner, Chicago winger Patrick Kane, who’s traveled a rocky road to stardom, shows some emotion reflecting on his past and those that stuck with him through the hard times. All of the hard times.
• Bernie Parent gives his thoughts on next season’s Flyers… and also the Eagles, Phillies and Sixers, if you care.
• So, Ilya Kovalchuk has gone back to Russia, so naturally every Russian will leave the NHL now, right? Um … no, says Evgeni Malkin.
• Could Nassau Coliseum become the new home of the Rangers’ farm team a/k/a future New York Rangers? Every hockey fan in the metro New York area just threw up in their mouths a little bit. (h/t Puck Daddy)
• Our Brian Cazeneuve looks at the players in desperate need of a rebound year in 2013-14.
• The anti-LGBT laws in Russia continue to cloud the upcoming Sochi Games, as Russia’s sport minister Vitaly Mutko said yesterday that the new law banning “homosexual propaganda” would apply to all and those found breaking it would be held accountable.