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Top Line: New NHL-Olympic issues, Craig Anderson faces ban, more links

Danny Briere Danny Briere has five goals and eight assists in 26 games this season. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

• Logistics, not insurance, has emerged as the thorniest issue as negotiations attempting to ensure NHL participation in the Sochi Olympics resumed in New York Friday.

• Philly forward Danny Briere returns to the lineup Saturday after missing 10 games with a concussion. He might want to start grabbing some souvenirs. Odds are he won't be back with the Flyers next season.

• With their playoff lives on the line, the Devils battled hard Friday night. They outshot the Senators 33-11, but their inability to finish led to a 2-0 defeat that extended their losing streak to nine games.

• No word from the league yet, but Craig Anderson deserves a call from the Department of Player Safety after delivering this butt end to the face of New Jersey's Adam Henrique. That's the definition of cheap shot right there. Four or five games wouldn't be unreasonable.

P.K. Subban has shaken off any lingering effects from a delayed start to the season and emerged as the leading candidate to capture the Norris Trophy.

• Here's the question a lot of hockey fans are asking: Is Brian Elliott a good goalie or a bad goalie? Eric Duhatschek leads off a great column with the answer.

• With six of their last eight games at home, the Oilers still are in the playoff mix ... but anything short of winning out all but ends Edmonton's season.

• Here's a solid piece on the evolution of former bad boy Matt Cooke. Here's a guy who figured out how to remove the over-the-edge behavior from his game and still remain effective. Funny how a serious suspension can affect a guy, right?

• Things haven't gone as well as Jordan Staal hoped during his first season with the Hurricanes. He should probably look in the mirror when he ponders what has to change in Carolina. He simply hasn't been good enough, especially for a guy playing with Jeff Skinner on his wing.

• Tough year for Washington's Brooks Laich, who missed the first 28 games with a groin injury, then skated just nine times before a puck to the junk put him back on the sidelines. No word yet on when this key forward will return.

• A Montreal group is honoring NHLPA boss Donald Fehr as the Sports Personality of the Year, which even Fehr recognizes is pretty insane. In advance of the event, the Montreal Gazette gets him to open up a bit on what he's been up to since the lockout.

• Solid take from Mark Spector on why it's important for players to make themselves accessible to the media.

• Sorry, Leafs fans. The fancy stats say Nazem Kadri will stumble hard next season.

• Mike Heika is right. This little winning streak is a blow to the long-term hopes of the Dallas Stars franchise but it's hard not to appreciate the efforts that are making it happen. Dallas remains in the postseason race, but their remaining schedule isn't friendly.

• The Avalanche announced they would retire the number of former captain Adam Foote next season, effectively lowering the bar for future enshrinements and/or crushing the dreams of all who aspired to wear the noble No. 52 in Denver.

• Friday night's game was the last of an era between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings, two long-time divisional rivals who will be separated by realignment in 2013-14.

• It ended well for Chicago, which clinched the Central Division title with a 3-2 shootout win over Detroit.

• An impressive 4-1 win over the Blues left "a faint whiff of postseason promise" lingering in the air of Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

• Do athletes owe their autograph to fans? Of course not. Still, it was pretty weak of former Team Canada great Ken Dryden to sign for everybody else at a speaking event and leave this guy hanging.

• It's an all-Connecticut final today as Yale faces Quinnipiac for the NCAA hockey title.

Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State was named the winner of 2013 Hobey Baker Award then promptly signed a one-year free-agent deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

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