Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Cup in #ldnont Reggie and I by the pool showing his skills. Can't wait to party my ass off with family and friends pic.twitter.com/Jp4ZDnEwsA — drew doughty (@dewyy8) July 25, 2014 • Drew Doughty with his buddies Reggie and Stanley just hanging out by the pool before the day's festivities begin. [Twitter] • Earlier this week, Thomas Vanek admitted he was a witness in an investigation of an alleged Rochester-based gambling ring. This isn't the first time gambling and hockey have crossed paths. [USA Today] • Many NHL'ers learned to play the game on frozen ponds and lakes. With climate change becoming even more of a pressing issue, the NHL has launched a 'Green Initiative' to do their part in keeping future generations out on the ice. [Green Biz] • Malkin and Crosby; Getzlaf and Perry; Suter and Parise; and Toews and Kane. All dynamic duos their respective teams have spent big bucks on for the long-term. Will it pay off in the end? [SB Nation] • A common sports fan's dilemma when it comes to contracts: is your loyalty with the team or the player? [Winging It In Motown] • Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets are attempting to hammer out a new deal, and naturally there is tension between the two sides. Worries are increasing that the negativity from the negotiations will impact Johansen's attitude the following season, a la Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik. [Union and Blue] • Got an extra $500K (US) laying around? (Who doesn't?!) You too could be the owner of a brand new minor league hockey franchise in the western United States. [Phoenix Business Journal] • The Culver City Ice Arena, once used by many future and current Hockey Hall of Famers, is on the verge of demolition by the property owner if the City Council in Culver City doesn't declare it a 'city cultural resource'. [Frozen Royalty] • The loophole that allowed Justin Schultz to sign with the Oilers over the team that drafted him, the Ducks, wasn't closed in the current CBA. Are the Panthers about the next victim to it with prospect Kevin Hayes? These Blackhawk fans hope so. [Blackhawk Up] • "It may unfortunately be that the main reasons people don't talk about Doug Harvey have little to do with his performance on the ice. Often speaking out against the establishment, particularly in relation to player rights and salaries, Harvey didn't exactly make friends among the ownership ranks. Being a hockey player in that era was nowhere near as lucrative as it is now, players had far fewer rights. Doug took it upon himself to fight the establishment." [Eyes on the Prize] • It's the 20th anniversary of the Calgary Hitmen, and they're bringing back their hot pink and black sweaters. They are just ridiculous and I totally want one. [Icethetics] • Flames sign Finnish goalie Joni Ortio to a two-year deal. Ortio was 27-8 with .926 save percentage for the Abbotsford Heat last season. He'll likely end up as backup-to-the-backup this coming season with Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller already in place as the veteran starting tandem. [Flames Nation] • Craig MacTavish wants his team's fourth line to be like Chicago's fourth line, sorta. I'm sure this experiment will work out swimmingly for the Oilers. [Oilers Nation] • Oilers' prospect Darnell Nurse leads the next generation of athletes from a competitive family tree. [Color of Hockey] • The off-season for the WHL saw 10 coaching changes. The Regina Pats are the only team left without a head coach. Please submit your resume and cover letter to HR. [Buzzing the Net] • Reflections on Penguins-related thoughts by Elliotte Friedman [Pensburgh] • Jim Rutherford has a big spotlight on him as he works towards turning Pittsburgh from regular season juggernaut to post-season winner. Has he done enough so far to help his cause? [Bleacher Report] • The Rangers are looking for their next captain. Here are the top six candidates for the job. [NY Rangers Blog] • David Warsofsky signed a $600K deal with the Bruins. The defenseman joins the small army of blueliners already assembled for the Boston. [Bruins Daily] • Top 215 prospects to get you ready for your fantasy draft [Dobber Hockey] • Capitals backup-to-the-backup goalie Phillipp Grubauer has a new mask and it is a 'sequel' to his old one, "The Desolation of Grubi". David Gunnarsson, mask painter to the stars, calls it 'Atomic Breath, and enthusiastically describes it as, "... fully loaded of energy… atomic energy…so the whole design boils and is ready to erupt… all the colors from the previous design has inverted… and the atomic power is ready to spit fire, or as we call it, deliver some atomic breath! Watch out!" Got that? [Russian Machine Never Breaks] • Washington signed forward Nathan Walker, formerly of the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), to a three-year entry-level contract. Walker is the first Australian to be drafted into the NHL. [Capitals Today] • The hockey blogosphere family recently lost two members. We send our deepest sympathies to Sam Fels of The Committed Indian on the loss of his brother, Adam , and The Royal Half of The Royal Half on the loss of his father. • Finally, here's Brandon Saad reading a mean teammate Tweet:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the most intriguing team in the Eastern Conference headed into next season, if only to see what Mario Lemieux has wrought after he slammed his hand on the detonation button. We assume Sidney Crosby is on board with the hiring of Mike Johnston, or else Mike Johnston wouldn’t have been hired. Evgeni Malkin’s a different story, and Johnston clearly understands that he needs both noggins of this two-headed monster nodding in unison. So Mr. Johnston will go to Russia, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review , who explains the importance of this trip thusly: Malkin never has done anything but play, and playtime is over because the Penguins need more from their other future Hall of Fame center. Malkin must take ownership of the dressing room. A coach implored him to do that once. It was Michel Therrien, and over the next two seasons, the Penguins belonged to Malkin as much as, if not more, than Crosby. He was hockey's dominant force from January 2008 through June 2009. The Penguins won seven of eight playoff series over that span. The one they lost was the 2008 Cup Final, and Malkin melted in it until the last two games. A year later, he was the playoff MVP of a championship team. What Rossi’s saying here, obviously, is that Dan Bylsma didn’t challenge Geno in the way that Therrien did, as far as leadership goes. Is there merit to that? There’s no question that it was Crosby’s team under Bylsma, with the spotlight shared only when Sid was out of the lineup. But what Rossi is arguing is less “co-headliners” than having Malkin provide Crosby the support he hasn’t in recent years; for example, by providing some levity to the locker room: Nobody jokes better than Malkin, as wingers from Ryan Malone to James Neal learned the hard way. Malkin uses humor to disarm and distinguish himself. He can use it to help melt the cold that has crept into the room. Johnston must convince Malkin to earn his “A” as Crosby's top alternate. Malkin will do that by accepting that he needs to have Crosby's back by imposing his will — and personality — on the team. Playing for the Penguins seemed about as fun as a James Neal knee to the face in the last two seasons. And while the intangible losses of players like Max Talbot and others have been well-documented when it comes to puck possession and effectiveness in the bottom six, there’s also something lost in their comportment and personalities. Winning breeds fun, but losing doesn’t sting a locker room with camaraderie as much as it does the fractured family the Penguins had become. So be more funny, Malkin. And by that we of course mean bring gigantic fish into the locker room while going topless.