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Top Line: Canucks face big choice; David Letterman's hockey top-10; more links

Coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks Coach John Tortorella may have the edge if the Canucks must choose between him and their GM. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

Canucks GM Mike Gillis made one thing clear about his team's future in a shockingly frank interview on Vancouver radio yesterday: ownership needs to choose between retaining him or coach John Tortorella. Given that Torts was hired by owner Francesco Aquilini, Gillis is probably expecting that his neck will be the one in the noose.

• Whoever is left to call the shots might need to cut loose one of Gillis' mistakes.

• “It’s been long time no play; I forget I’m hockey player.” Welcome back, Pavel Datsyuk!

• A Top-10 list of David Letterman's greatest hockey moments in honor of his announcement on Thursday that he'll retire from his long-running TV talk show in 2015.

• With five losses in their past six games, the fading Philadelphia Flyers are in danger of losing their grip on a playoff spot.

• The Columbus Blue Jackets recorded a franchise first in extending Philly's misery.

• The St. Louis Blues set a record of their own on Thursday night. Naturally, coach Ken Hitchcock wasted no time popping the balloon.

• With five games to go in the regular season, Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers has his eyes on a franchise mark of his own. Hard to believe it won't be Wayne Gretzky's name he erases from the record book.

• With Jonathan Bernier's health in question, it could be up to maligned backup James Reimer to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs on a run for the ages.

• Can Maple Leafs fans really afford to be galled by getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Blue Jackets? Check out that record between the two sides and make the call yourself.

• Jason Kay watched Toronto's game against the Boston Bruins Thursday night and was struck by an idea so crazy that it just might work.

Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets better call Saul after being sued for an alleged assault in Vancouver.

Blake Wheeler might be the one bright spot to emerge from yet another disappointing season in Winnipeg.

• One of the New York Rangers' top prospects got the tough love treatment from coach Alain Vigneault.

• If Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson steps down today as expected, he leaves an unprecedented legacy of success. It'll be interesting to see what he pursues next: a front-office job in the NHL or the presidency of the IIHF.

• Paul Stewart talks about the influence of Gregory Peck and the value of quality leadership in today's column. Someone might want to pass this one on to Ovi...

Ben Bishop demonstrated that the NHL's trapezoid also punishes goalies who handle the puck like a pin-less hand grenade. Twice.

• They're finally starting to take notice of Carolina's Anton Khudobin over in Russia. Could he be up for a big gig next month?

• There's news out of Miami on the health of Roberto Luongo.

• Joe Pelletier offers up the the tale of Mattias Weinhandl, the former Islanders prospect who may have used up all of his good luck when he landed a spot alongside the Sedin Twins as a junior.

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