An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• Rob Rossi explains what’s behind the Penguins’ lackluster 6-6-2 record since the Olympic break. Rossi’s reasons all seem like valid explanations, but they’re not quieting rumors that Pittsburgh may consider a coaching change before the playoffs.
• Dion Phaneuf and Randy Carlyle top the list of five Maple Leafs on the hot seat as the team fumbles away its playoff chances.
• Steve Simmons asks scouts to explain the lost season of Toronto’s David Clarkson, but even they can’t quite figure it out. This looks more and more like a buyout situation this summer, doesn’t it?
• Don Cherry teed off on the Maple Leafs after they signed college free agent Eric Knodel yesterday. Toronto’s management usually deserves the scorn thrown its way, but I think Grapes missed the mark on this one.
• There’s a theory out there that suggests Canadian fans have some emotional stake in a team from Canada winning the Stanley Cup. I don’t buy it, but on the off-chance that you do, Cam Cole suggests you might not want to get your hopes up. Again.
• Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers has ramped up his game since returning from Sochi, but is he really Norris Trophy material? David Satriano makes the case.
• Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos wants to remind everyone that he’s pretty good at hockey.
• “Oh my god … I just got traded for Jarome Iginla!”