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Top Line: Eric Gryba's hit on Canadiens' Lars Eller stirs debate; more NHL links

Canadiens center Lars Eller left the game on a stretcher Ottawa's Eric Gryba faces a hearing for sending Lars Eller off the ice on a stretcher. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

• Canada's Sun newspaper chain has never been a paragon of journalistic virtues, but this is an execrable decision. Shame on them.

• Sean Gordon looks at the two sides of the frightening hit on Lars Eller.

• Fascinating how many former players jumped on Twitter to pin the blame for the play on Montreal defender Raphael Diaz. I like the way Witt put it best.

• Allan Maki wonders why the NHL doesn't take out the guesswork and make every incident of head contact illegal. Think you'll find this concept gaining steam in the media over the next few days, but I don't see it catching on with the league. The speed of the game conspires with uniquely sized players to make some head contact inevitable. There has to be some room for interpretation, backed up with a greater awareness of safety among players.

• Hard not to focus on Eller and his health after this one, but the Habs have to ask themselves how they failed to put this one away in a second period where they outshot the Senators 27-7.

• The defending champs are on the ropes after Jonathan Quick allowed another late goal to the Blues.

Jimmy Howard is using a positive mental attitude to get over his late-game meltdown in Detroit's 5-4 OT win over the Ducks.

• Game 1 in the Capitals-Rangers series came down to Braden Holtby getting the better of Henrik Lundqvist.

Sidney Crosby rejoined his regular linemates in practice on Thursday. That has to mean something, right?

Phil Kessel says he is fine, but his absence from practice yesterday ignited speculation that there might be a real problem lurking behind his "maintenance day."

• Boston needs another energetic effort from the Merlot Line to impose its will on its series against the Maple Leafs.

• Injuries, as much as the need for a shakeup, could lead to changes at both ends of the ice for the Maple Leafs in Game 2.

Marc Staal is inching closer to a comeback with the Rangers, but there's still no timetable for his return.

• The lines will get a shakeup, but there won't be changes in net for Vancouver in Game 2. Roberto Luongo is back between the pipes. The question now is whether Cory Scheider will be available at any point during this series.

• The difference between the Canucks and Sharks right now may be the ability of San Jose GM Doug Wilson to bring in young players who can contribute in key roles.

• Minnesota coach Mike Yeo might not emphasize the need for Zach Parise to score goals in the playoffs, but his contract sure does.

• The story of a construction worker who dropped a Canadiens puck into the foundation of a new Quebec City arena that may one day house the Nordiques continues to stir controversy in La Belle Province.

• The new downtown arena deal in Edmonton is on ice until the stakeholders decide to who will step up to solve the financing issues.

Seth Jones and Jay-Z aren't a thing. At least, not yet.

• David Staples has the numbers to prove that Jonathan Drouin is the best draft-eligible forward in the QMJHL since Sidney Crosby. Does that make him a better choice than teammate Nathan MacKinnon?

• The Hurricanes have too much money tied up in forwards and are desperate to improve their blueline. Luke DeCock wonders if dealing Jeff Skinner could solve both problems. I can only imagine how poorly this idea is being received by the population of teen girls in the Triangle.

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