— Up top, Connor McDavid wants to put the whole Brandon Manning “classless” thing behind him. “It’s over now,” said McDavid. “Just trying to keep the media on their toes, and make sure you guys are still busy.” How thoughtful.
— They’re already talking about Antti Raanta in Vegas. “What [George] McPhee has to like is Raanta’s one year, $1M contract. If VGK can only commit $1M on a 40-50 game starting goalie then cap money can be spread elsewhere.” Indeed, the Rangers have no choice but to protect Henrik Lundqvist, who has a no-movement clause, in the expansion draft. That would leave Raanta exposed — unless Jeff Gorton trades him first, which is also possible. Is Jim Nill reading this? (The Sin Bin)
— The Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman puts Jets coach Paul Maurice on notice. “Now 32 games in, the only constant with this team has been inconsistency. … With the midway point of the season just around the corner, Maurice needs to get this team rolling in the right direction in a hurry. How the Jets perform over the next 25 games will go a long way toward telling us whether Maurice has what it takes to get the job done.” (Winnipeg Sun)
— SI’s profile of Panthers assistant GM Eric Joyce, one of the “army guys” down in Florida. Yes, Joyce is a big believer in analytics. But? “He’s the complete opposite of a computer guy. He’s a hockey player from Dorchester. It so happens he’s got a 50-pound brain.” And? “He fits that hockey mold – Boston, blue-collar, chip-on-his-shoulder. You listen to him, and you’re like, ‘Oh s—, this makes a lot of sense.’ He’s not one of these guys who’s pounding his chest, telling people he went to Harvard. He doesn’t strike you like a Harvard guy.” (Sports Illustrated)
— Another profile, this one on Brent Burns. Includes a story about “the time he took the RV to Colorado’s mountains and the altitude made all his bike tires blow, along with the 12 bags of ketchup and all-dressed chips he’d brought from Canada because you can’t get them in the U.S.” You’ll also learn that Burns travels with his own blender, which somehow isn’t at all surprising. (Sportsnet Magazine)
— In yesterday’s edition of Pre-Game Reading, a case was made for a play-in game between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds in each conference. What does Flyers forward Jakub Voracek think about that idea? “I think it’s stupid. A one-game playoff? I don’t think this is baseball. You have 82 games to get in the playoffs. If you’re not in, you’re out.” Fair enough. (ESPN)
Enjoy the games!