By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• It hasn’t skipped the attention of the Ottawa Senators that Matt Cooke will be in town tonight. Now, they say they need to focus on winning the game, but everyone knows there’s money on the board.
• Maybe Cooke shouldn’t be too worried. At least not as long as Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero is around to defend his good name.
• John Tavares needed to address these two weaknesses before he could become an MVP candidate.
• With 18 goals in its last three games, the New York Rangers’ offense is clicking at just the right time. Have to give Brad Richards most of the credit. When’s he’s on his game, the Blueshirts are a much more dangerous team.
• The Rangers needed two points yesterday. If they came at the expense of the hated Devils, and eliminated their rivals from playoff contention in the process, well, so much the better.
• The response from New Jersey: “Those were the Rangers? Yeah, we didn’t even notice.”
• The Boston Bruins got a bounce-back effort from Tuukka Rask and snapped their four-game winless skid with a 3-0 win over the Panthers. The victory moved them into first in the Northeast, but alleviated the concerns of only the most casual of fans.
• You know things are going bad for Milan Lucic when he is described as going his usual 0-0-0.
• The Bruins typically hand their sweaters over to season-ticket holders on Shirt Off Our Backs night. This year, the team had a better idea.
• Good thing the Flyers picked up Steve Mason at the deadline. He can show them the ropes on how to get the best tee times in early May and all those other things he learned playing for a non-playoff team in Columbus.
• One Flyer who has stepped up as the season’s wound down is youngster Luke Schenn…which should help the Flyers feel a bit better about sending James van Riemsdyk to the playoff-bound Leafs.
• With that spot sewn up, coach Randy Carlyle has a rare choice to make in Toronto: give key players a rest or go for the best possible seed.
• Only Toronto has been away from the postseason so long that doing a Where Are They Now? feature on the members of their last playoff team makes sense.