An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• Here’s one for the #fancystats crowd: using score-adjusted Fenwick to determine which team has the toughest schedule the rest of the way. Spoiler alert: there’s smooth sailing ahead for Tampa Bay.
• This year’s Winter Classic set a very high financial bar for the NHL’s future outdoor events to live up to. Anyone know of any other 100,000-seat venues that are available on New Year’s Day?
• With debts paid and fences mended, Wayne Gretzky is finally back where he belongs.
• Ilya Kovalchuk has no regrets about running out on the Devils. He says he’s loving life in Mother Russia.
• New Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice picked up a memento to go along with a win in his debut with the Jets.
• Now that GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has taken care of one pressing matter, it’s time for him to address Winnipeg’s biggest problem.
• Elliotte Friedman looks at the challenges Maurice is facing down the stretch, the potential for trades involving Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, and how to soothe the hurt feelings of Martin St. Louis in this week’s 30 Thoughts column.
• Shane Doan says the Phoenix Coyotes “haven’t been very good” for some time now, which seems like a fairly generous appraisal of a season that’s going horribly wrong. Although Doan doesn’t mention Mike Smith by name, the goalie’s sub-par play has been a big part of the problem. Could Smith’s selection by Steve Yzerman come back to haunt Team Canada?