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Top Line: NHL to pass on 2018 Olympics?; Flyers owner off base; more links

Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay LightningMartin St. Louis's Olympic selection has coach Mike Babcock responding to criticism. ( Graig Abel/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• In a radio appearance on Friday, TSN analyst Darren Dreger said he does not believe the NHL will participate in the 2018 Olympics. We'll probably hear a lot of talk like that over the next three weeks, but keep in mind that we're still a long way from that decision actually being discussed by the powers-that-be and, more important, there are two sides that will be involved. The owners are, for the most part, united in their opposition to Olympic participation, but until the players say they don't want to go, it's a little premature to make any pronouncements.

• Not sure that Ed Snider's comments about the selection of Martin St. Louis over Claude Giroux deserved a rebuttal from anyone involved with Team Canada, but coach Mike Babcock stood up and delivered one anyway.

• Sweden's director of hockey development offers some fascinating insight into how his country changed its approach on the way to becoming the top-ranked nation in the world, and explains why Canada can't follow its lead.

• After sitting out his week's action, Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis pronounced himself 100 percent healthy and ready to go to Sochi to play for Team Canada.

• Team USA GM David Poile had to delay his trip to Sochi after undergoing multiple surgeries after taking a puck in the face at Nashville's practice earlier this week.

Shea Weber has never won a Norris Trophy, but is this the year he claims an even bigger prize?

Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom are health risks. Darcy Kuemper is a rookie. Do the Minnesota Wild need to address their goaltending with a playoff berth on the line?

• Columbus won't be in the Ryan Callahan hunt before the deadline. In fact, the Jackets might be in sell mode if there's a team interested in picking up Marian Gaborik. Not sure that's the best message for the team's long-suffering fans, but Jarmo Kekalainen is playing the long game here.

• David Staples wonders why the Oilers would be in a hurry to move Sam Gagner if the best part of the return is Kyle Clifford.

• Remember, kids: watch the man, not the puck.

• Joe Nieuwendyk may be Forever A Flame, but the next Calgary GM? He says no, thanks.

• Here's Jiri Hudler taking part in practice. Check that, here's Jiri Hudler taking part in practice with the Los Angeles Lakers.

• The Devils not only ended a streak of blowing leads with the opposing goalie pulled at three, but they actually won a game that lasted longer than 60 minutes.

• The worst part about the NHL shutting down for the next couple weeks? No audio gold from John Tortorella. So to tide you over, here's a compilation of his greatest hits. We'll miss you, Torts.

• The Phoenix Coyotes honored the 1980 U.S. Olympic team before last night's game. Hey, free trip to Phoenix in February? Nice!

• Here's another outdoor game rumor, this one suggesting the Bruins will play host at Foxboro Stadium at some point over the next two years. Considering the revenues that facility could generate, it makes sense, doesn't it?

• How bad is the scene in the stands at Ontario Minor Hockey League games that parents are being forced to take a course on how to act at the rink?

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