Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while everybody is literally working for the weekend right now. Loverboy, please take a bow from wherever you are in Canada!
-- The Bruins “stand on shaky ground” within the Atlantic Division right now, according to Pro Hockey Talk in an offseason overview of the division. Yes and no. Certainly they look third best behind Toronto and Tampa, and that could become an even more distant gap if the Lightning were to somehow land Erik Karlsson in the next few months.
But we’re also talking about a team that racked up 112 points last season, has a large wealth of young players and prospects and featured the best line in the NHL last season with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. They are not on shaky ground within a division that features bad teams in Ottawa, Montreal, Detroit and Buffalo, and only the Florida Panthers as the kind of team that could rise up and challenge for a playoff spot. Did they get better in the offseason? Sure they did in a very incremental way. But they still seem like a lock for the third spot in the Atlantic and a playoff team, and perhaps even more if they can swing the right deal for a goal-scoring winger at some point over the next six months or so.
-- Congrats to Jarome Iginla on an excellent Hall of Fame career as he prepares to announce his retirement at the start of next week. He was an excellent throwback kind of power forward and a rugged competitor, and was a complete gentleman off the ice during his season that I covered him in Boston. He did seem to make some poor choices on the teams he joined up with later in his career – like eschewing the Bruins for the Penguins in 2013 at the trade deadline -- in the ultimately unsuccessful quest for a Cup, but that doesn’t take away from the consistency and class that defined his NHL body of work.
-- Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz says that he’s going to keep faith in his people running the hockey organization, but it sure does feel like they need a change. Just like the Bruins needed a change from Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien a few years ago.
-- Dylan Larkin looks to improve next season after building up a solid career arc over his first four years with the Detroit Red Wings.
-- Dean Lombardi might have been in the running for a management position with the Vancouver Canucks, but his current contract with the Philadelphia Flyers precluded that from happening.
-- For something completely different: I need more stories about this video beatdown in a Vegas McDonald’s like I need air to breath. It’s the Jerry Springer show come to life.