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Top Line: Ryan Miller a goner; Alex Ovechkin mans up; more links

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His 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night may have been one of Ryan Miller's last appearances for the Sabres. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

His 3-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday may have been one of Ryan Miller’s last games with the Sabres. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

By Allan Muir

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

• So much for yesterday’s rumors. Sabres GM Tim Murray says he is “pursuing a proper trade” and that he expects to move Ryan Miller before the trade deadline. If that’s the case, last night’s win might have been his last for Buffalo. The smart play is to sit him out to reduce the chance of injury.

• Alex Ovechkin manned up about his Olympic failure and Nicklas Backstrom expressed concern about receiving his silver medal as the two Capitals stars discussed their nightmarish Olympic journeys.

• Evgeni Malkin, still angry a week after the Games, hints at what went wrong for Team Russia in Sochi.

• Joe Starkey writes that the Penguins should rip a page out of Team Canada’s playbook and refocus their efforts down the stretch.

• TSN’s insiders discuss the latest trade rumors here, and the names of a couple of Miller’s Olympic teammates are prominently featured.

• History shows that teams should loosen their grip on first-round picks if that’s the cost to obtain an impact player at the deadline.

• The Lightning are trying to manage expectations while protecting the development of Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis. As the kid pointed out himself, that 55-save performance against Canada was just one game, and he has a ways to go before he’s ready for a regular NHL gig.

• While everyone is looking at the Flames’ expiring contracts ahead of the deadline, acting GM Brian Burke says that he’s open to making hockey deals, too. That means anyone — yes, anyone – is available for the right package.

• Turns out there is a silver lining for John Tavares: the Islanders star won’t need surgery to repair the MCL injury he suffered in Sochi. Here’s what that means.

• The performance of rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper is one of Mike Russo’s four keys to the Wild making the playoffs.

• Kevin Lowe says that the Oilers will be involved in all deadline discussions, and that he has his sights set on a couple of players in particular.

• Could a two-year-old injury be what’s behind Daniel Sedin’s 19-game scoring drought?

• Canucks coach John Tortorella had an apology to make before practice on Tuesday.

• The Loui Eriksson that the Bruins traded for over the summer finally showed up in Sochi for Team Sweden. Boston is hoping he brought that 20-minute, two-way game home along with his silver medal.

• Now that Marian Gaborik is off the IR, do the Blue Jackets view the mercurial winger as trade bait or additional firepower for the stretch drive?

• Dave Bolland and Nikolai Kulemin are steaming toward free agency, but both could play significant roles for the Maple Leafs over the season’s final weeks. Toronto GM Dave Nonis has a tough call to make with the trade deadline approaching.

• Blackhawks back-up Antti Raanta likely won’t see the ice in this weekend’s Stadium Series game against Pittsburgh, so get a look now at the awesome gear he ordered up for the event. Gotta love that Ed Belfour tribute mask.

• Justin Bourne tips his cap to Lane MacDermid, the Calgary farmhand who walked away from hockey yesterday at 24.

• Heads up to the Faces In The Crowd crew: you might want to find a spot for this kid in next week’s issue of SI.

  • Published On Feb 26, 2014
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