With the NHL finally in agreement with all international governing bodies on professional participation in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, nations are now free to name their coaching staffs and start the speculation on key roster decisions. The NHL will once again take a two week period off in the middle of the season to allow for the NHL to participate on the biggest stage in international competition.
Team Canada will name their coaching staff later today. It's been reported that Detroit's Mike Babcock will lead the team as the head coach, with current Dallas Stars bench boss Lindy Ruff reportedly acting as one of the assistants. He will be joined by former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock and Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins. Both Ruff and Hitchcock were part of Canada's staff under Babcock at the 2010 games in Vancouver. [TSN]
Team Canada's goaltending stable isn't what it once was, when they could throw names like Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Eddie Belfour, and Curtis Joseph at you without batting an eye. Vancouver Canucks albatross-turned-ace starting goalie Roberto Luongo is expected to get the call between the pipes for Team Canada, because... who else do they have? Mike Smith? [NESN]
Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings is expected to get the nod for the United States, and rightfully so... but there are some out there that think Detroit's Jimmy Howard might make a legitimate push for consideration. [Yahoo!]
With the NHL schedule finally released, we can all celebrate the improved travel schedule for the Dallas Stars. Turns out the San Jose Sharks are the ones most screwed by travel this time, which is a breath of fresh air for Dallas after countless seasons of being the only central time zone team in their division. [CBS]
Just about the only thing that isn't brilliant about the new schedule and new alignment is the names of the divisions. While Dallas lucks out and ends up in the Central Division (it's hard to get more centered than Texas, isn't it?), those in the former Atlantic Division are now part of the "Metropolitan" division. Because no city or region is more metropolitan than Raleigh, North Carlina. Do you think they could have come up with a better name? [CBC]
In perhaps the least important news story of the century, Justin Bieber is under fire for stepping on the logo of the Chicago Blackhawks during a photo-op in the United Center locker room. It's a widely held tradition that you never step on the logo in a hockey locker room. It's not allowed. Why Justin Bieber is allowed in a hockey locker room, I also don't understand. [Latin Post]
The Boston Bruins made sure that wouldn't happen to their iconic hub. For some reason, Justin Bieber is also invited to their locker room... They safe-guarded their crest by roping it off like a movie premier, or a line to ride at Six Flags. [Fox Sports]
Have you ever wanted to sound hip and educated with your hockey buddies? Do you aspire to pass for the Josh Lile of your company's water-cooler hockey round table? Then I have a link for you. "The Faker's Guide to Advanced Stats in the NHL." Pretty good stuff, for many reasons. [The Triangle]
Today's video... I'm sure there's some clever segue to flow from all this Justin Bieber talk to Tyler Seguin's McCartneyesque hold on young women's hearts, but I'm too tired to fish for it right now. Oy.