PUT ON YOUR JACKET:: Since Columbus went out and landed Jeff Carter from Philadelphia to finally get itself a top-line center, the All-Star has been quiet and seemingly avoiding his new home. At this point, he is yet to speak to GM Scott Howson, team officials or the media. Because of all that, fans are starting to worry that it could be another situation of a prized player coming to town and wanting out before he ever gets in. Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch stresses the importance for the franchise and its fans that Carter get on board the C-bus.
Penguins POWER: One of the factors that brought down the Pittsburgh Penguins last season -- besides the injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- was an abysmal power play. In the first-round playoff exit to Tampa Bay, for example, the Pens were just 1 of 35 with the man advantage. You don't need me to tell you that's beyond dreadful. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Dejan Kovacevic says Dan Bylsma knows as much, too, and he is already planning on multiple looks to find success. Kovacevic offers some of his own ideas, including a four-forward umbrella look.
WHO WANTS THE Coyotes?: The Coyotes, the city of Glendale, Ariz., and the NHL are still looking for a buyer to keep the team in the desert, but they have had more problems selling than Wile E. had chasing the Roadrunner. Matthew Hulsizer was close to acquiring the team in the past, and he's still in the mix. And, according to the Phoenix Business Journal so are Jerry Reinsdorf (who had seemingly withdrawn from the process) and an unknown third party. The two-year sales saga is far from over.
TWO FOR ONE: Hot on the heels of the NHL returning to Winnipeg, there is already talk of another team coming to town. The Calgary Sun suggests the idea of adding a Western Hockey League team to Winnipeg makes a lot of sense, noting that the WHL has long wanted to get back into the 'Peg and the two-team look has worked very well in Calgary and Edmonton.
WELCOME BACK: Ryan Smyth is now officially back with the Oilers and while he doesn't have his position on the team defined yet -- second or third line? right wing or left? -- GM Steve Tambellini knows what role Smyth will fill. Edmonton is expecting Smyth to come in and play the mentor role, teaching and leading by example, something Tambellini wanted to find for his young team. "I can't see any reason why Ryan won’t be a huge part of that. He's experienced. He understands this community. He understands where we are as an organization right now," Tambellini said.
SAND STAR: Tim Thomas has reached icon status in New England to the point people are making sculptures out of the guy ... in sand, that is. Check out this photo from the Master Sand Sculpting Competition of Thomas protecting the cage. It's no wonder he was almost unbeatable all year, look how big he is in the net.
-- Brian Stubits