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Top Line: Claude Giroux has Hart shot; Las Vegas bad bet for NHL; more links

Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago BlackhawksClaude Giroux (28) and the Flyers have made an impressive comeback from a slow start to the season. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• Who needs a hot start when all anyone remembers is a hot finish? The way Claude Giroux has been playing these past couple of months, he might just force his way into the Hart Trophy discussion before this season is over.

• Adam Proteau says that an NHL expansion team in Las Vegas would be a lousy bet. (See what I did there?)

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought the 4-0 thumping that St. Louis took from the Blackhawks on Wednesday night was a good wake-up call. What else can he say, right? It was a big game for both teams, and the Blues were embarrassed.

• Early word suggests that Patrick Kane will miss three weeks -- roughly the rest of the regular season -- after suffering a leg injury in the game against St. Louis.

• The Sharks have posted a new video of Sam Tageson's day with the team earlier this week. Plenty of feels in this one, too.

• Speaking of the feels, here's former NHL first-round pick Jared Aulin, now playing in Sweden, overwhelmed by the support he is receiving as his mother battles cancer. It's a Swedish site, but the interview with Aulin is in English.

• More good news, this time from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon has emerged from his coma and appears to be over the worst of his battle with meningitis.

• A fan decided to compare the perks he gets as an NHL season-ticket holder in Ottawa to what other teams around the NHL offer. Here's what he found.

• The Maple Leafs' playoff hopes are in jeopardy due to their full-on defensive swoon, which should surprise no one who has spent more than a minute or two watching them this season.

• After hearing Randy Carlyle's postgame comments about James Reimer on Tuesday, you can't blame the goalie for wanting to ask out. After watching Reimer sleepwalk through a couple of Lightning goals on Wednesday, Toronto might happily oblige him.

• The Leafs might want to consider signing this guy up. At least he knows which end of the rink Toronto defends.

Maple Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger is in stable condition after taking this brutal hit from behind from Alex Killorn.

• Check out the crazy patience by the Jets' Blake Wheeler on this OT winner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnlT7wFazWI

Zach Parise hopes that Devils fans have forgotten about the whole being ditched for Minnesota thing. Sure it won't even cross their minds as he makes his first visit to New Jersey as a member of the Wild.

• The mountain that the Devils must climb to make the playoffs is this high. No shame in looking into tee times, boys.

Ranger Rick Nash says he still roots for the Blue Jackets, and that he can't wait for his return to Columbus on Friday night.

• Great piece by Justin Bourne on the pointless glorification of penalty minute totals.

Predators coach Barry Trotz isn't happy with Michael Del Zotto's defensive effort. Who saw that coming?

• Robby Fabbri is the big mover in the latest Red Line Report 2014 NHL draft rankings. I think his size might drop him lower than RLR has him, but no doubt there's been a lot of buzz about the dangerous forward over the past six weeks or so.

• The OHL released the results of its coaches' prospects poll yesterday and Fabbri earned a couple of nods. So did Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett and 2015-eligible Connor McDavid.

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