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Top Line: The modern captain; what’s next for Jonathan Toews; more links

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Brian Burke has been the General Manager for the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, and Toronto Maple Leafs. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Brian Burke has won a defamation lawsuit against five online commenters. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• Alan Maki writes that choosing a captain these days is more about establishing the brand and what’s best for business than a reflection of popularity in the room or leadership skills.

• With a career’s worth of accomplishments already under his belt at the tender age of 25, what’s left for Jonathan Toews as he enters the second act of his career?

• Brian Burke has quietly won a default judgment against five online commenters who were accused of defaming him. Now comes the tricky part.

• Rick Nash went through eight coaches in nine seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, so he’s embracing the fresh presence of Alain Vigneault behind the bench in New York.

• Los Angeles defender Willie Mitchell details his long road to recovery from a devastating knee injury in a fascinating oral history. This is really great stuff.

• Many young centers are moved to the wing to protect them during their adjustment to the NHL, so it says plenty about Jonathan Drouin that the Bolts have opted to play the left winger in the middle. So far, the third-overall pick looks like a natural.

• Front line experience gained during the AHL playoffs has 6-8 prospect Andrej Sustr on the verge of winning a spot on Tampa’s defense. His size is appealing, but it’s his poise under pressure that’s going to earn him a job.

• The Bolts have it all this fall, including their own Chuck Norris.

• The Vancouver Canucks haven’t quite figured out John Tortorella’s system just yet. In fact, they’ve looked pretty brutal, so it will be interesting to see how Torts handles their struggles when he steps behind the Vancouver bench for the first time tonight.

• David Staples lists 10 things that must go right for the Oilers to make the playoffs. Going by this, I’d say it’s safe to go for the early-bird discount on April tee times.

• Another piece of the Jason Pominville trade puzzle is making a big impression in Buffalo’s camp well ahead of schedule.

• First-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon has been shut down with a hip-flexor injury. That’s a tough break for a kid who can use all the exposure to action he can get before beginning a season fraught with elevated expectations.

• Alright, maybe Martin Jones blew his angle here, but this is still a pretty sweet shorthanded goal by Ryan O’Reilly.

• The Flames made the only possible choice in naming their new captain yesterday.

• Was Raffi Torres the victim of a cheap shot last night?

Going home has helped Keith Ballard get past the disappointment of being bought out by the Canucks.

• A knee injury caused by new equipment has thrown a wrench into one of hockey’s hottest training camp battles.

• Damien Cox is well aware of the long list of defensemen whose careers were damaged by being rushed too soon into the lineup by the Maple Leafs, but that doesn’t change his belief that 19-year-old Morgan Rielly should start the season in Toronto.

• If Rielly sticks, that might move the European option to the front burner for frustrated free agent Cody Franson.

• Maybe there’s hope for hybrid icing after all. The noble experiment has picked up a few supporters in the last 24 hours, including a Jack Adams winner. Here’s hoping more players see the light.

• I’m only guessing here, but it had to be the same doctors who put Steve Austen back together that cleared Patrice Bergeron to make his preseason debut tonight against the Wings. That guy must be more machine than man to be ready to play after all the damage he suffered last spring.

• Matt Moulson is saying all the right things about his expiring contract situation, but it has to be eating away at him, right? He’s proven himself a reliable performer and his chemistry with superstar John Tavares is undeniable. Every passing day has to make him wonder what the Isles really think of him.

• With all the trade rumors going around, there’s been a sense that Philly forward Matt Read was one of those guys who wasn’t as highly regarded by his own team as he was by others. Turns out the Flyers like him just fine, going by the generous extension they handed him yesterday.

• Is free agent Brenden Morrow close to signing a new deal? He refused to consider a PTO, believing that there was a real contract to be had. If there’s a team that bites, it better be a low dough, one-year offer. Morrow’s heart is as big as ever, but there’s not much left in the legs.

• Here’s hoping a little Derrick Pouliot rubs off on Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pittsburgh prospect keeps an even keel whether he’s lighting the lamp or wetting the bed.

• CBC’s “Battle of the Blades” returns Sunday, with Anson Carter, Mike Krushelnyski, Scott Thornton and Brian Savage among the ex-NHLers hoping to be paired with Shae-Lynn Bourne win the title on the popular reality show.

• Guess it’s time to figure out which channel ESPN is on now that the WWL has put college hockey back on the schedule. It’s only seven games, but the exposure is golden.

  • Published On Sep 21, 2013
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