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Top Line: Heritage Classic for Winnipeg?, Crosby likes Leafs for playoffs, more

Winnipeg hopes to host the Winter Classic in 2016. The game was last held in Philadelphia in 2011. (AP) Winnipeg hopes to host the Heritage Classic in 2016. The game was last held in Calgary in 2011. (AP)

By Allan Muir

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

• Will Winnipeg host the 2016 Heritage Classic? As long as it's held in early September, they can probably get the PA to sign off on that one.

Sidney Crosby thinks the Maple Leafs are a playoff team. Of course, that's the polite thing to say after they spend the whole night chasing you around the rink.

• The Penguins want to get Evgeni Malkin signed to an extension as soon as possible, but the new CBA could complicate matters and send his cap hit soaring.

• Gotta give Chris Kunitz full marks for integrity. Here the guy is bashing the statistical category in which he is the league leader.

• The season can begin in earnest for the Vancouver Canucks now that they've held their first closed-door players meeting.

• The Flyers had their own closed-door meeting after a listless loss to the Bruins yesterday, but coach Peter Laviolette was in charge. The message: play with more urgency. He probably should have held a meeting with GM Paul Holmgren. The message: get some competent NHL defenders.

• The great Stu Hackel and Jeff Z. Klein review a whirlwind first half of the season and take a look at what's ahead.

• The stumbling Oilers head into Chicago tonight needing to outshoot the Blackhawks if they hope to win.

• Ryan Forth has five bold predictions for the second half. Any man who agrees with my take on Tuukka Rask is clearly a formidable prognosticator.

John Tavares scored a pair of goals including the 100th of his career as the Isles clipped the Caps.

• This stat is so crazy I had to double-check it: After going 0-for-3 yesterday against Columbus, the Detroit Red Wings have still not scored a road power play goal this season.

• A couple of league execs say that anyone 21 and over on the Florida Panthers roster is available in a deal. There are some tough contracts to swallow, but I'd guess the Cats will be busy. Look for George Parros to draw a lot of interest.

• Don Cherry called out Frazer McLaren on Coach's Corner for knocking out David Dziurzynski earlier this week.

Brad Staubitz needed 35 stitches to his face after being cut by an errant skate blade and he's still not going to wear a visor. Harder for a tough guy to add one, but still...

Ryan Suter said Nashville's fans will have sore throats this morning after booing him mercilessly throughout last night's game. Hey, he only has 12 more years of this friendly treatment to look forward to!

• The Senators aren't sure whether they'll be buyers or sellers"> at the deadline. Meanwhile, a couple of Ottawa's veterans aren't happy with the NHL's new realignment plan.

• Are hockey players at the vanguard of the the next wave of style icons?

Wild coach Mike Yeo wants his players to venture into the high-traffic areas. Those who don't, like like Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikael Granlund are finding themselves a seat in the press box. Bouchard is struggling terribly and might benefit from a change of place, though the return he'd bring probably means the Wild holds onto him...for now.

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