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Top Line: Coyotes gambling with star, trade rumor mongering, more links

Mike Smith's new contract with the Coyotes is being delayed. Letting Mike Smith slide through their fingers would not be good for the Coyotes. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

A guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• "Until our ownership is resolved, we're going to table Mike's contract and hope things work out later." That's Phoenix GM Don Maloney paving the way for Mike Smith's virtually inevitable departure via free agency.

• Buried deep in this story is a rumor-mongering gem: 21 NHL front-office types were in attendance at last night's Toronto/Philly game, including the GMs of the Blues and Jets. And...go!

Rick Nash is eligible to come off IR today, but his absence from practice on Monday says that isn't happening. So when will the Rangers come clean and admit that he suffered a concussion?

• Bruce Boudreau thought his Ducks outplayed the Kings, but Anaheim's defensive zone blunders allowed the champs to hand Viktor Fasth his first NHL loss.

• Dallas Stars fans need to learn to "enjoy the chaos" that comes with following a promising, but mistake-prone, group of youngsters.

• The Blackhawks trailed entering the third period for just the third time this season, but got a tying goal from Viktor Stalberg to push their streak to 19 games, and an OT winner from Marian Hossa for good measure.

• TSN's NHL Insiders talk about playoffs under realignment, the state of officiating and Corey Perry.

• The amazing Senators beat the Habs to complete just the second sweep of a four-game homestand in franchise history.

• There's no problem with Mike Yeo's dump-and-chase system, says Zach Parise. So, that 28th-ranked offense is apparently just a fluke? Or maybe a sign of a team that has less finishing touch than expected.

• The Jets are getting maximum mileage out of top players Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler.

• The Maple Leafs applied a lesson learned from their last-minute loss to the Senators to avoid a similar collapse on Monday night against the Flyers. The win gives Toronto 12 in 20 games, making it their best start in 20 years.

• The Detroit Red Wings dare to be different and the NHL is better for it.

• There are plenty of reasons why the Florida Panthers have taken a huge step back this season, but winning is tied directly to one: the power play. Nine of their 11 power play goals have come in the five games they've won.

• Florida's slump, couple with his recent stretch of uninspired play, makes it likely that Stephen Weiss won't be rocking Panthers' red much longer.

• Ian Laperriere talks talks concussions, his new life in the Flyers' front office and his part in the Judd Apatow film, This is 40.

• I learned today that Elizabeth Banks knows her hockey. And, apparently, she's pals with Kelly Malone, the PA announcer for the Bruins. And so my love for her grows stronger.
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