Top Line: Time running out on Ryan Miller; Saddledome miracle; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Ryan Miller comes into this season knowing he has plenty to prove, both to the Sabres and to Team USA's management. But as one of the oldest players at camp this week, his time may have already passed.
• Ilya Kovalchuk says he didn't return to Russia to kill time before the Olympics, and he expects to test the limits of his abilities in the KHL.
• With repairs on schedule, it looks as though Calgary's flood-damaged Saddledome will be ready for the start of the season. Amazing. I need to get those guys to take a look at my roof.
• After weeks of speaking bluntly about his contract situation, Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri hit the mute button at a skate on Thursday. Does that mean a deal is close . . . or that a holdout is inevitable?
• Minor-league vet Mike Kostka thought he had shown himself to be a useful addition to Toronto's back end, but the team cut him loose after the season. Now he has to prove himself all over again, this time with the defending Stanley Cup champs.
• Tony Gallagher writes that, contrary to widely held opinion, the first three months of the season will probably be meaningless when Team Canada makes its final selections for Sochi -- at least, they should be meaningless if management hopes to build the right kind of team.
• Team USA's centers look like a bunch of frat party types compared to Canada's Hall of Fame-caliber crew, but Kevin Allen says that match-ups won't be a problem for the Americans.
• At least one group of Olympic hopefuls hit the ice for training this week.
• Jeremy Rutherford writes that Max Lapierre will be the ultimate "we love him now that he's in our sweater" guy in St. Louis.
• Beat writer Mike Russo answers all of your pressing questions about the Wild while sweating it out at the Minnesota State Fair. Thanks for your courage, Mike!
• The Yahoo fantasy guys have released their top-100 hockey pool picks for the 2013-14 season. You can only hope the other guys in your league use it as their bible.• The Coyotes' Mikkel Boedker and Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg top nhl.com's list of fantasy hockey sleepers.