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From the Branches: Hello Ottawa

The Leafs visit Dion today. Who will he pick to fight this time?

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey News

Breaking barriers all in a day’s work for Maple Leafs’ Soshnikov | Sportsnet
Soshnikov perks up after learning that I’ve visited Russia on a couple occasions, immediately wanting to know where. Before I can finish saying “Moscow, Yaroslavl, Mytishchi and Sochi,” he’s chuckling. “You’ve only been to the nice cities!” he says.

Leafs' Milan Michalek a mentor, maybe | Toronto Sun
"The Leafs certainly wouldn't mind if Michalek turns it up next season. With a $4-million salary cap hit, management would like some return on the investment, and if Michalek performs well, he would become an asset at the trade deadline."

Maple Leafs’ Hyman latest NHL player from University of Michigan | Sportsnet
"The Toronto Maple Leafs rookie expected to do his post-secondary education at Princeton only to see those plans go out the window at the last minute when the coach he committed to got another job at Penn State. In reconsidering his options, Hyman visited a number of U.S. schools on the East Coast, and Michigan piqued his interest."

Marc Crawford leaves Zurich, hopes for NHL job | Sportsnet
"Crawford, 55, guided 18-year-old Matthews and the Lions to the NLA’s best regular-season record (31-12-1) this season, but Zurich was upset Thursday in its first-round playoff series, swept by the eighth-ranked SC Bern (21-20-4)."

Justin Holl latest Marlie hoping to land NHL gig | Sportsnet
“On defence I would say that the biggest surprise has been Justin Holl, who we signed in the offseason right in early July,” Dubas explained. “He’s got good size, right shot, but an excellent skater and very, very confident with the puck, and able to make plays up the ice.”

Tigers’ Schneider leads short list of WHL goaltenders with NHL ties | Hockey's Future
"Frankly, the 2015-16 WHL season has resulted in almost complete carnage among the goaltending fraternity. Injuries seem to have ruled the day, resulting in trades and then further injuries resulting in more deals. Being a productive 20-year-old goalie is not a rarity in the WHL, but there is little security for these overagers."

Dennis Wideman decision seems deliberately contradictory | ESPN
"That means the league could decide to take this matter to federal court or fire Oldham and bring in a new arbitrator. According to a legal expert, the chances that a judge would disrupt the decision of an arbitrator are slim."

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask rips NHL's new overtime format | Fox Sports
"I mean, I’ve had it with these 3-on-3 overtimes,” Rask said. “It’s just scoring chance after scoring chance."

Gary Bettman: Decline In Fighting Is Part Of How NHL Game Is Evolving | NESN
"If the 2015-16 projections above come to fruition, 352 fights would be the lowest single-season total of the last 15 years, excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. In fact, only one of the previous 13 non-lockout seasons had fewer than 400 fights, and that was 2014-15. Having 23.37 percent of games include at least one fight also would be the lowest of the century."