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Top Line: Pavel Datsyuk out for Sochi?; Malkin's tale of triumph; more links

Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red WingsPavel Datsyuk may not appear with Russia in the Olympics after all. [Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]
By Allan Muir

• Pavel Datsyuk is on his way to Sochi for the Olympics, but will he get the chance to skate for Team Russia? Coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov says Datsyuk will be replaced on the roster if he is not 100 percent healthy. Given that he played just one game after missing a month of action, and didn't look anywhere close to top condition, there's a real chance the Russian captain could be sidelined.

• His absence would be a huge blow for Team Russia, which is beginning to feel the full weight of expectations to win gold at home.

• Here's a great read on Evgeni Malkin's early days in Russia and the incredibly hard life he left behind.

• Terrific piece here from Charlie Gillis, who says that owners like Ed Snider are whining about the Olympics because this is the one party they can't control. Despite the growing perception that the NHL won't be going to South Korea in 2018, I'll stick with my theory that they're going until the players say they don't want to go.

• I think my ol' buddy Adrian Dater must have smacked his head on a door frame again. He argues that Snider is on the money with his Olympic opposition.

• Team USA's Max Pacioretty was injured in last night's game against the Hurricanes. What does this mean for Sochi?

• What is Roberto Luongo most looking forward to in Sochi? The toilets. Bob's spending way too much time on Twitter, I'm thinking.

• The secret to Matt Duchene's success? Courage, blood loss and a bug hat.

• Bruce Garrioch ladles out the trade rumors in his weekly column, with all the buzz surrounding Martin Brodeur, Ryan Miller, Mike Cammalleri and more. Oh, and if Buffalo is holding out for Charlie Coyle in a Miller swap, I'm thinking they can afford to step away from the phone for a bit. They're not getting a call back.

• Is moving Miller the right move for the rebuilding Sabres? Mike Harrington says re-signing the keeper sends the message that this team wants to turn things around quickly. John Vogl argues that the diminishing returns afforded by an aging goalie makes it imperative they deal Miller while his value is still high. Ultimately, this comes down to whether Miller wants to stay or not, but it makes for an interesting view into what GM Tim Murray has to contend with as he tries to move forward with this team.

Carey Price's Team Canada mask. Nice.

• Of course, there's more to a goalie mask than a sweet paint job. Fluto Shinazawa takes a look into how the masks are built to protect the men wearing them, and offers thoughts on Taylor Hall, Martin St. Louis and the declining trade value of Chris Phillips in his Sunday column.

• The NHL's PR department put together a concise synopsis of the league at the Olympic break. Some cool facts and figures to be found here.

• You know things are improving in a hurry in Colorado when the New York Times takes note. Pat Pickens credits Patrick Roy for making the game fun for his young team with their burgeoning success.

• While many of their Detroit teammates are looking forward to a couple weeks of rest, several of the team's top young players have other plans during the Olympic break.

• John Parks was a 46-year-old pharmaceutical salesman one minute and an AHL backup goalie the next. Gotta love stories like this, right?

• There's still a lot of hockey to be played, but the optimism generated by heading into the Olympic break with a playoff position in hand is exactly what the young Dallas Stars needed.

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