The winger's invitation to the U.S. Olympic orientation camp last month wasn't a mere courtesy. The former Notre Dame star plays an aggressive, high-tempo game that makes him an ideal replacement for the departed Bobby Ryan as Anaheim's secondary triggerman behind Corey Perry.
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT
With three key veterans—forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and defenseman Dan Boyle—in the final year of their contracts, San Jose's chances to win a Cup are running out. Another playoff flop will see McLellan follow those free agents out the door.
The blueliner succeeds Jarome Iginla as the Calgary captain. While his game is devoid of flash, it is brimming with intensity, smarts and determination. The 6-foot, 200-pound Giordano's positioning and edginess help him overcome his lack of size.
IN THE CREASE
BY PIERRE MCGUIRE
IF SPEEDY MATT FRATTIN AND young sniper Tyler Toffoli play together on one of the Kings' top three lines—and they should—then Los Angeles is going to be tough to beat. But the Kings might have as many as seven players in the Olympics, so it will be interesting to see how the team performs following the Winter Games in Sochi.... No goaltender in the division will carry as heavy a load as the Sharks' ANTTI NIEMI. San Jose, as good as the team is, just doesn't score enough goals.... A key for new Canucks coach John Tortorella will be to improve Vancouver's weak power play. The Canucks were 22nd in the league with a man advantage last season, which was inexcusable considering the offensive talent on the team.
JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES (PALMIERI)
ROCKY WIDNER/GETTY IMAGES (NIEMI)