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Top Line: Pressure builds on slumping Kings; Datsyuk set for Sochi; more links

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Anze Kopitar and the Kings have been mired in a run of offensive futility. (Adam Davis/Icon SMI)

Anze Kopitar and the Kings have been mired in a run of offensive futility. (Adam Davis/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

• The pressure is mounting in Los Angeles after the Kings were shut out for the third time in five games on Saturday. The defense was magnificent, allowing just 13 shots, but even that margin of error was too large in a 2-0 loss to the Flyers.

• Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t played a game since the Winter Classic, but that won’t stop him from playing in Sochi.

• Randy Carlyle says he isn’t worried that Nazem Kadri might be suspended for suspended for his hit-from-behind on Cody Ceci. He probably should be.

• Speaking of Toronto, this guy’s collection of Maple Leafs memorabilia rivals what you’d find at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Awesome.

• The New York Rangers got into the Super Bowl spirit before practice on Saturday. This confused Henrik Lundqvist.

• At least one of Alex Ovechkin’s teammates is concerned that the star forward is spreading himself too thin ahead of the Olympics.

• Adrian Dater has a terrific piece on the obvious need for the NHL to do more for its former players. It starts off with one of the most unexpected bits of songwriting trivia I’ve ever heard. Who knew that legendary Eagles song was about a hockey player?

• Tough break for St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka, who will miss the Olympics after this happened.

• This is what the kids these days are calling a “toe drag”:

• Mike Heika says the Dallas Stars are just like the Columbia Record Club: Just when you think you’re out, they drag you back in with a magnificent performance like last night’s 2-0 win over the Ducks.

• Bruce Garrioch looks at the repercussions of Vancouver’s 2-4 skid without John Tortorella, the favorite to land Ryan Miller and reveals the deadline for Team Canada to make the call on Steven Stamkos in this week’s Sunday column.

• If the Canucks really are of a mind to shake things up with a trade, what exactly are their options?

• Old buddy Stu Hackel looks further into the Stamkos situation, and explains the inspiration for the Shakespearean quotes on Ben Scrivens’ mask in this spicy hockey potpourri column.

• Could Saku Koivu become the next 40-year-old Anaheim Duck? He’s considering playing next season, but it could come down to whether or not the team does this.

• How long until someone stands up and speaks out on the horrors of lace bite? Seriously, boys, just don’t tie ‘em up so tight.

• A fancystats guy argues that a defenseman who racks up hits and blocked shots sucks. Because, you know, #fancystats. I get the basic premise here — these events don’t occur during possession — but my problem with this argument is that no team has possession 100 percent of the time, and a player who is credited with these traditional numbers is clearly doing something that impedes the success of the opposition during their time with the puck … which would seem to be better than not doing something. But I could be wrong.

• Here’s a nice, though oddly timed, piece on the hero of Canada’s first ever World Juniors win.

• Remember that little movie about legendary Russian forward Valeri Kharlamov? It just won Best Film at Russia’s version of the Academy Awards. No word yet about North American release plans, but it should be available at some point on DVD in Canada, at the least.

  • Published On Feb 02, 2014
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