An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• The Hockey News teased its upcoming interview with Gary Bettman in which the NHL’s Commissioner discussed the possibility of ejection for fighting and what the league is doing for retired players. As far as teases go, this one is pretty good.
• The salary cap, player safety, and updates on Sochi will be on the agenda of today’s NHL Board of Governors meeting in Florida. Bettman is expected to ballpark what the cap will be next season in order to give general managers a chance to do some planning. Look for a number around $70 million.
• Is it still considered a “staged fight” if the two participants genuinely don’t like one another? We might find out Tuesday night in Dallas.
• This could get awkward for Team Canada. Bruins coach Claude Julien had some harsh words for James Neal after the Pittsburgh winger said he didn’t notice Brad Marchand lying defenseless on the ice before delivering a knee to the Boston pest’s head on Saturday night. Not sure anyone’s buying Neal’s “I didn’t see him!” excuse.
• Steve Buffery says the shameful behavior in Boston on Saturday had nothing to do with fighting. Hard to believe that point needs to be made, but clearly it does based on all the anti-fighting diatribes that sprang up in the aftermath of the Shawn Thornton/James Neal escapades.
• Any joy the Blackhawks felt after snapping a three-game losing skid last night against Florida was tempered by an injury to goaltender Corey Crawford. Coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t seem too concerned, but the Hawks mirror the general mood around Columbus right after Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky suffered a little tweak that’s now on course to become a month-long stint on the IR. Rookie Antti Raanta is the go-to guy for Chicago if Crawford is out.