Top Line: Ryan Miller struggles; Is St. Louis best pick for Canada?; more links

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Ryan Miler of the Buffalo Sabres

It’s now likely that Ryan Miller will sit in Sochi, at least early on. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• Team USA’s Ryan Miller picked a lousy time to allow 10 goals in five periods. He hasn’t had much help from the Sabres’ tissue-paper defense, but he hasn’t been sharp, either. It’s now looking more likely that Jonathan Quick will get the first two starts in Sochi.

• Lightning fans were hoping that Martin St. Louis gets the call to replace his injured teammate. They got their wish.

• Ken Campbell says that this player, not St. Louis, is the right choice for Canada.

• There’s no sugar-coating it, writes Mark Spector. The loss of Steven Stamkos is a disaster for Team Canada.

• It turns out that Team Canada won’t be sleeping three to a room in Sochi after all.

• Finland is still waiting for word on the availability of Mikko Koivu. The Wild’s captain won’t receive medical clearance in time to join Minnesota for its pre-Olympic finale tonight, but Patrick Reusse says that shouldn’t stop Koivu from competing for his homeland.

• The American women’s team had a VIP interaction yesterday in Sochi. No, it wasn’t with Rob Ford.

• Not everyone is in love with the idea of shutting down the NHL for the Olympic Games.

• Teammates say that a more mature Alex Ovechkin is managing the twin pressures of being the face of Russia for the Olympic Games and keeping the Capitals in playoff contention.

• Canada’s women’s team is a mess heading into the Sochi tournament, but former captain Hayley Wickenheiser could still make her sixth trip to the Games her best one yet.

• If you went to bed early, you missed a heck of a game between the NHL’s two top clubs. Maybe this will be the moment that turns the season around for a Blackhawks team that has looked a bit uninspired of late.

• The decision of a football-playing father to forbid his son from following in his athletic footsteps is paying off for this Wild rookie.

• David Krejci has been the leading playoff scorer in two of the last three years, but only this season has he figured out how to become an 82-game player.

• Kevin Dupont says that the absence of this vital quality could keep the Bruins from being a true Stanley Cup contender.

• Nikolai Kulemin has no interest in leaving the Maple Leafs, but the UFA could be on the move ahead of the trade deadline just the same.

• Check out Flames prospect Emile Poirier absolutely posterizing Carl Neill with one of the sweetest double dekes you’ll see this year:

• The Coyotes will have to deal with a trademark squatter before they can change their team name next season.

• The end of parity between the U.S. and Canadian dollars could have a dramatic effect on the way the NHL’s Canadian teams operate in the future.

John Tortorella’s job is safe … for now, anyway.

• Better hide this one from the #fancystats kids: Calgary is blocking more shots than any team other than the Canadiens, a sure sign of their improvement.

• According to the fine folks at TMZ, this is what a retired hockey player spent half a million bucks on.

  • Published On Feb 06, 2014