Pre-game reading: On Wes McCauley, the NHL’s most enthusiastic referee
-- Up top, you’ve probably seen it already, but feel free to enjoy Wes McCauley’s “five minutes each for FIGHTING” call one more time.
-- TSN’s Bob McKenzie was curious if the NHL had a problem with McCauley’s call, and the answer was a resounding no. Writes McKenzie: “NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom say he had no issue with it, since McCauley’s call was an accurate and true reflection of who he is and how he officiates a game. He has a passion and a feel for it; that’s who Wes McCauley is.” McCauley, by the way, has been chosen to referee the last four Stanley Cup Finals, so clearly the league likes the job he’s doing. (TSN)
-- Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the Mike Yeo firing in Minnesota, and boy have things changed since then. Yeo is now the head coach in St. Louis, after taking over ahead of schedule from Ken Hitchcock. The Wild, meanwhile, are enjoying an outstanding season under their new bench boss, Bruce Boudreau. (The Star Tribune)
-- On Capitals winger Brett Connolly, who’s finally starting to realize the potential he showed as a star in junior. The 24-year-old signed with the Caps on July 1 for just $850,000. At the time, it was safe to say his NHL career was hanging in the balance. He’s since found chemistry with Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky on Washington’s rebuilt third line. “You’ve got to have thick skin to play this game. I’m happy I stuck with it. To be doing as well as I am now, I want to keep going.” (Sports Illustrated)
-- At 34, Henrik Lundvist is one of the oldest starting goalies in the NHL. But with a big contract that runs through 2020-21, the Rangers are hoping he’ll take a cue from Jaromir Jagr and keep playing at a high level for a while longer. Lundqvist turns 35 next month. Among regular starters, only Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, and Craig Anderson are older. (Daily News)
-- With the trade deadline looming, Sean McIndoe comes up with a ready-made list of excuses for NHL general managers who can’t find a deal. Poor Jim Benning really could’ve used this list last year in Vancouver. (Sportsnet)
Enjoy the games!