Canucks fans will welcome their coach back tonight and hope he rescues their sliding team. (Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• John Tortorella can return to work this morning, but with the Canucks in a 2-4 tailspin since he was banished 15 days ago, he’s not expected to be in a good mood.
• Plenty of teams are interested in the services of Ryan Callahan. The problem for the Rangers is that the club is working on an accelerated timetable. New York GM Glen Sather set the Olympic roster freeze as his deadline to make a deal … and by doing so, may have hamstrung himself. Waiting until the Rangers’ captain hits free agency works just fine for Callahan’s suitors, and it dilutes Sather’s bargaining power.
• Dylan St. Cyr is viewed as one of the most promising American-born goaltenders in the game today. The kid comes by it naturally … considering who his mom happens to be.
• With a spot yet to be filled on Sweden’s Olympic roster, Gustav Nyquist picked an ideal time to score his first career hat trick. His recent hot streak comes at a fortuitous time for the Red Wings as well, with Pavel Datsyuk not expected back in the lineup this week.
• You know, it might not be such a bad thing if Detroit misses the playoffs after all.
• Doesn’t matter whether you’re a vet like Daniel Alfredsson or a first-timer like Tomas Jurco. It’s impossible the hide the excitement with the Sochi games fast approaching.
• Steve Mason has regained his mojo just in time for a Flyers team that’s in the midst of a harsh test out west.
• Phil Kessel is on track to become the first Maple Leafs sniper since Mats Sundin to score 40 goals in a season, and he’s also on the verge of a new personal best in assists. Kessel may never be truly beloved in Toronto, but he’s emerged as the team’s best player … and he’s only getting better.
• Ed Tait says the reports of the demise of the Jets appear to have been greatly exaggerated. With an 8-2 mark in their past 10 games, they’ve ripped off the toe tag and leapt back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Amazing.
• Dmitry Kulikov enjoyed his time in the KHL during the NHL lockout, but the pending free agent says he has no interest in returning to Russia. Is that denial a prelude to a new deal with the Panthers, or is it a well-placed hint to enhance his value ahead of the trade deadline?
• A little-known CBA stipulation means that the Sharks have to play back-up goalie Alex Stalock heavily down the stretch or risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent.
• James Neal is mired in a scoring drought, but it’s not for lack of trying.
• Marriage proposals, parody Twitter accounts, and spying your name on the back of fan jerseys are just part of the process when you’re growing up in the NHL.
• No longer The International Man of Mystery, Carl Soderberg is revealing himself to be “a darn good hockey player” for the Bruins.
• The Boston University Terriers have won a record 29 Beanpot championships and boast 26 title game appearances in the last 30 seasons. But the No. 2 ranked Boston College Eagles have won the last four titles and are on the verge of denying another BU senior class a chance to win college hockey’s most prestigious tournament. The two rivals meet today in the tourney semi-final.
• Justin Schultz is learning the hard way how to become a quality NHL defenseman.