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Top Line: Kovalev on KHL defections; Olympic concerns; more links

Former player Alexei Kovalev says the KHL is in competition with the NHL. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) Former player Alexei Kovalev says the KHL is in competition with the NHL. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• Alexei Kovalev says the KHL is in direct competition now with the NHL and the league will do whatever it takes to bring the best hockey to Russia.

• If you're wondering why the NHL appears to be dragging its feet on the Olympics, this article might reveal the answers.

• The Habs made one free-agent signing on Sunday, but it wasn't Brenden Morrow or Jaromir Jagr. Sounds like Montreal is out on the two veteran wingers. So are the Bruins.

• It took nine months for the Coyotes to come to terms with 2012 top pick Henrik Samuelsson, but less than two weeks to get 2013 first rounder Max Domi under contract. Expect him to get a good, long look in training camp.

• Here's an interesting look at Jimmy Howard's season by the numbers.

• The Bruins felt like a team of destiny in 2013. Funny thing, destiny.

Wade Redden is out and the kids are in as Boston looks ahead to next year's defense corps. Peter Chiarelli liked what he saw of Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski and plans on letting those three compete for the two jobs that are available.

One goaltender is out, and another is in, almost, in Florida.

Alec Martinez avoided getting his feelings hurt by signing a new deal with the Kings prior to arbitration.

• Less than a week after Tuukka Rask signed an eight-year, $56 million deal with Boston, the player sent to Toronto in the lopsided deal to acquire him inked a deal with Bjorkloven of Sweden's second division. A reminder that sometimes the best trades you make are those you don't, eh?

• Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish says he's "ready to turn this group over to the coaches and see how good we are." I'm guessing that will leave Edmonton fans wondering what happened to all those promises of bold action.

• New coach Bob Hartley revealed his top off-season priority for the Calgary Flames.

• New Maple Leaf Dave Bolland used to hear the Indy cars racing from his house in suburban Toronto. Now he's the Grand Marshall for the event.

• A mid-round pick is generating controversy in Philadelphia, leading Bill Meltzer to ponder the wisdom of low-ceiling drafting.

• Philly owner Ed Snider says the Flyers are the most-improved team in the division. We'll check back with you later on that one, Ed.

• Dig down deep into this piece and you'll see speculation that the Flyers might need to trade Andrej Meszaros to clear space under the cap and on the blueline.

• Wayne Gretzky's son, Trevor, is aiming for a different kind of Show

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