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Top Line: Linesman KO'd by punch; GMs target fighting at meetings; more links

By Allan Muir

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

• Canada's Junior A leagues voted two weeks ago to impose automatic game misconducts for fighting, beginning next season. That's a little too late for BCHL official Ryan Dawson, who was one-punched while trying to break up a tilt on Saturday night.

• Eric Duhatschek says fighting will top the agenda at Tuesday's meeting of the NHL's general managers and explains why some of those GMs will remain in Toronto for some additional, high-level discussions.

Josh Harding doesn't want to speak about living with MS, but he may not have a choice much longer. His red-hot start has made him one of the league's top stories this season, and his battle with the horrible disease is becoming an inspiration to its many sufferers.

• The Ducks were down a Hart Trophy candidate center and their No. 1 goalie, but were still too much for the Canucks. Be sure to check out the mention of Dustin Penner's amazing stat at the end.

• Penner says his new "lightweight equipment" is key to his early success. Funny guy.

• San Jose managed to pull a point out of Winnipeg, but that OT loss makes it five in a row for the struggling Sharks. Take a look at Antti Niemi's numbers for one possible reason why: he's allowed four goals four times in that stretch.

• The shoes continue to drop in Florida. This time it was a goalie taking the fall . . . and you have to wonder how close the Panthers are getting to the point of no return with this one-time bright prospect.

Wayne Simmonds reads all the trade rumors, but he doesn't let them bother him . . . even when he's in the middle of 'em. A guy with his skill set is always going to be coveted by other teams, so it's no surprise that his name gets bandied around. Still, as one of the few Flyers who is playing well lately, it's hard to believe they'd be willing to part with him at this point.

• Former NHL referee Paul Stewart shares a powerful story of Fred Shero's impact on his life and career here. If you've got time for one article today, make it this one.

• Brendan Shanahan likes to believe that his father understood that Brendan played in the NHL, but he'll never know for certain. Here's a heart-wrenching look at how he dealt with Donal Shanahan's battle with Alzheimer's, and his memories of his dad ahead of his induction today into the Hall of Fame.

• Is this season already in danger of being worse than the seven non-playoff campaigns that preceded it for the woeful Edmonton Oilers? Damien Cox says last night's loss in Chicago may have been rock bottom.

Jason Spezza is making the Steve Yzerman Adjustment to his game this season. Here's what that means and how he and coach Paul MacLean see it panning out.

• And while Spezza is doing his thing, another line has emerged as Ottawa's top offensive threat.

• Terry Frei has a look at Nathan MacKinnon's rookie season, including a peek into how he spent some down time the other night.

• MacKinnon's buddy Seth Jones isn't just off to a great start in Nashville. He's playing himself into serious consideration for the American Olympic team. The U.S. would seem to have plenty of depth at the position, but it's easy to see that Jones' poise and skating making him an appealing depth option.

• While North American teams are limited to talking about Olympic roster possibilities, European sides are getting a head start on Sochi with the Euro Hockey Tour. One gold medal contender picked up a couple of big wins over the weekend.

• It was a milestone night for Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur, but the spotlight in Newark was reserved for an unlikely scoring star.

• There was a scary moment for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals during last night's loss in Denver.

Steven Stamkos is off to another great start, but he's not the main reason for Tampa Bay's unexpected perch atop the Eastern Conference standings.

• Don't worry about that losing skid, Detroit fans. GM Ken Holland says his team is still getting used to the Eastern Conference. Apparently realignment, not a steady stream of turnovers, is the big issue in Motown.

• James Mirtle looks at the spiraling costs of playing minor hockey in Canada and how they are destroying the game at the grassroots level. Not to belittle his point, but I'm guessing more than a few American parents will look at these costs with envy.

• Chris Johnston takes a look at the NHL's quiet room concussion protocol and how it reflects a change in the sport's culture regarding head injuries. Interesting stuff.

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