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Top Line: Fallout from Canucks-Flames line brawl, more links

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By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined during the preseason for his player selection after he kept enforcer John Scott out for a face-off following a goal. Steve Ewen argues that the Rolston precedent makes Flames coach Bob Hartley liable for the starting lineup he iced ahead of Saturday night’s brawl with the Canucks.

• Hartley is maintaining his innocence, saying he had no idea that things would get out of hand just because he started his fourth line against Vancouver.

• Calgary assistant Clint Malarchuk said he was ready to punch his old buddy John Tortorella in the face if he’d gotten to him in that hallway melee.

• It’ll be up to Colin Campbell, not Brendan Shanahan, to mete out discipline to Tortorella today.

• Dejan Kovacevic went the stream of consciousness route in working out his feelings after the donnybrook between the Flames and the Canucks. He’s not too happy with Gary Bettman, ESPN or Peter Gammons, among others.

• Cover your eyes, tree huggers. Another NHL star has come out in favor of fighting, even as he recovers from an injury suffered in a bout.

• A study by a British medical journal says that the NHL and insurers paid out $653 million to players who were sidelined by concussions during the past three seasons. If player safety isn’t already a top priority, the author says, the financial hit should force the league to get serious about reducing head trauma.

• Born within 10 months of each other in 1984 and ’85, the five players at the core of Team USA were singled out to lead the Sochi squad long before the roster was chosen.

• The Bruins are glad to have the real Brad Marchand back in the lineup. Now, where was this guy last June?

• Dave Stubbs is dead on target here: In a league where head shots and blindside hits are everyday occurrences, why are we getting bent out of shape over a player who tugs at the crest on his jersey in celebration?

• On the one-year anniversary of the return of NHL hockey, Scott Burnside looks at a league that is in a much different, and much better, place than anyone would have imagined.

• What if the Avalanche staged a remarkable turnaround season, and nobody in Denver noticed?

• An untradeable extra body early in the season, Andrei Meszaros has turned it around to become a force on the blueline for the resurgent Flyers.

• In his Monday morning column, Jim Matheson looks at three big obstacles facing the Blues, a glaring need for the Blackhawks and a star who is out of place in Philly.

• Matheson also takes a look at the slow development curve of goaltenders and wonders why teams bother to draft them in the first round.

• Whether he admits it or not, “the snot has been motivated” out of Martin St. Louis by his Olympic snub.

• Rick Nash has proved during the last week that he deserves his spot on Team Canada.

• Ken Campbell looks at the drain of a recent tournament weekend and says that minor hockey players spend too much time at the rink. My kids, who somehow were off the ice this past weekend, would respectfully disagree.

• Stars GM Jim Nill is surveying the landscape ahead of the NHL trade deadline in March and sees a very tight market. Nill has some interesting pieces — including Vern Fiddler, Ray Whitney and Erik Cole — that he could move if Dallas doesn’t quickly break out of a 1-7-1 skid.

• Jack Todd takes issue with the self-aggrandizing Hockey Day in Canada telecast, arguing that this exercise in self-reflection doesn’t spend enough time considering the problems of the game at the grassroots level.

  • Published On Jan 20, 2014
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