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Top Line: Time to end the shootout?, new Bryzgalov issue, more links

Tyler Bozak tries to score on Henrik Lundqvist in a shootoutHenrik Lundqvist of the Rangers knows the downside of deciding playoff spots with the shootout. (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• Gregg Kruppa of The Detroit News says it's time to end the shootout. He's not alone in that line of thought...but that doesn't make him any less wrong. Think I might have to chime in on this one soon.

• So, did the Flyers finally give starter Ilya Bryzgalov a break on Tuesday after 22 straight starts or was he benched after either falling asleep or pretending to fall asleep during a team meeting? It's always something with Philly, isn't it?

• The Maple Leafs have tightened their grasp on a playoff spot by grabbing points in games decided by one goal, but there are concerns about Nazem Kadri as his hot hands have suddenly gone cold.

• Here's a solid take on what Roberto Luongo's 40-save performance against the Flames meant to his teammates and to himself.

• The Penguins want Jarome Iginla to start shooting more often. Hard to believe that a 500-goal scorer feels like he needs to defer to anyone, but that's what's been happening too often in Pittsburgh.

• If a fourth straight loss doesn't put an end to Edmonton's playoff aspirations, the possibility of losing Taylor Hall to yet another suspension might do the trick. That two-handed slash should earn him a call from Sheriff Shanahan.

• The problem in Edmonton? A lack of reliable support personnel. Pretty clear where GM Steve Tambellini needs to set his sights this summer.

• Their 21-year string of playoff appearances hasn't been broken yet, but the attention being paid to it indicates that the postseason is no longer being taken for granted in Detroit.

• A stint on the sidelines is all part of the learning process for promising defender Brendan Smith. He's expected back in the lineup for the Red Wings tonight against the Sharks.

• The calls for Joe Sacco to be fired are getting louder in Denver. Honestly, I'm not sure Scotty Bowman could get a team that relies on this defense into the playoffs, but something has to give.

• I don't think a "put-up" performance from J-S Giguere or one impressive team effort against the Ducks changes that.

• A key member of last year's Cup-winning squad could be back in the Kings' lineup just in time to help defend the crown. Matt Greene, out since Game 1, is set for contact drills in Thursday's practice.

• The good news in Boston? Patrice Bergeron is making progress after suffering a concussion two weeks back. The bad? Linemate Brad Marchand is joining him on the sidelines after likely being concussed by a brutal elbow from New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov.

• The reality of a rapidly approaching offseason is starting to hit home in New Jersey after the Devils suffered their eighth straight loss Wednesday night.

• Figuring out how to play in the third period has transformed the Islanders from doormats into playoff contenders. Is this the under-reported story of the season?

• President Ted Black says the Sabres "are closer to building the roster that will win the Stanley Cup" and that patience will eventually see a payoff in Buffalo.

• New Canadien Davis Drewiske was a three-sport star who didn't play hockey full-time until turning 18. Think I'll be forwarding this article to a few overly zealous hockey parents I know.

• Nice to see Montreal Canadiens backup Peter Budaj get a two-year extension on Wednesday. His steadying presence has played a key role in Montreal's rise from worst to (almost) first.

• Less than seven years ago, the Quinnipiac Bobcats were playing in a small town rink. A win tonight puts them into college hockey's national championship game. There's probably a movie here starring Sean Astin.

• The 2013 World Championships will look much different after this lockout-shortened season than they did after the previous one in 2005. You can thank the KHL for that.

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