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Top Line: Capitals melt down; the sad decline of Dany Heatley; more links

Mikhail Grabovski (84) and the Capitals fell meekly to Rob Carr (2) and the Penguins. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)Mikhail Grabovski (84) and the Capitals fell meekly to Matt Niskanen (2) and the Penguins. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• No Capitals were hurt last night, which might have been the only bright spot in Washington's non-compete loss to the archrival Penguins. A bag skate might do them some good after being outshot 40-18.

Alex Ovechkin knows what it's like to go through a scoring slump, so he's heard plenty of advice on how to break out of one. What's surprising is that he'd share that advice with this guy.

• Is there a player who is providing less bang for the buck than the Wild's Dany Heatley? Here's why he's gone from being a two-time 50-goal man to the league's highest-paid fourth liner.

• Meet Stephane Waite, the man charged with bringing out the best in Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. This is a great look at the tactics of a goalie coach and the impact he can have on the success of an NHL team.

• After giving Seth Jones heavy minutes on their top pairing, the Predators decided it was best to slash the ice time of the rookie blueliner. Here's why.

• Bernie Miklasz says Blues fans need to get past the cynicism that has been brought on by past failures and simply enjoy a team that's off to the best start in franchise history.

• The NHL is looking into using new technology to ensure that it gets controversial goal calls correct.

• The Sabres tried to dodge the rules of the CBA by assigning center Mikhail Grigorenko to the AHL on a conditioning assignment. The NHL quickly nixed that plan. Now the team has to make a tough decision that could have a serious impact on the development of the 2012 first rounder.

• The strong play of Buffalo defenseman Christian Erhoff is a reminder that a first-year flop doesn't necessarily mean that a big free-agent signing won't eventually pay off.

• Eric Duhatschek looks at the twists and turns of the season's first quarter, including surprise league leaders, trades gone wrong and the problems with migration.

Nathan MacKinnon is proving that he was the right choice for the Avalanche, both as a player and as a person.

• The Hurricanes' offense has been missing its swizzle stick for nearly a month. He could be back in the lineup tonight. For a team that's struggled mightily to put the puck in the net, this could be bigger than the return of No. 1 goalie Cam Ward earlier this week.

• Losing his longtime wingman seems to have brought out the best in the Kings' Mike Richards. It's also given a promising rookie a chance to prove that he belongs in the NHL full-time.

• Has this veteran Blackhawks forward played his way onto an Olympic roster with his 11-game scoring tear?

• The Rangers' Rick Nash says the onus is on the players, and not the league, to eliminate head shots from the game.

• New York isn't actively shopping Michael Del Zotto, but if someone calls the Rangers are not exactly hanging up, either. Even now that he's back in the lineup, it seems like a matter of time before he's dealt. Wonder if tonight's opponent would be interested?

• Goalie Roberto Luongo is playing some of the best hockey of his career. So why can't the Canucks give him some run support?

• By building a personal relationship with youngsters Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, Stars coach Lindy Ruff has helped to focus their play, transforming them from frustrating underachievers into top-10 scorers.
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