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Top Line: Kings injury scare; Rangers believe; Simpsons-NHL logos; more

Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings The Cup final has yet to begin, but Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is already off to a rough start. (Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

• How about a side of injury drama ahead of tonight's Stanley Cup opener? Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick left practice early yesterday after taking a Kyle Clifford shot to the throat area. Late word out of Los Angeles suggested that Quick was OK, but we'll update this morning when we know more.

• Despite their reputation as the league's best defensive team, the Kings are forcing Quick not only to make more saves, but higher quality stops, too. And he's had their backs every step of the way.

• Steve Simmons thinks that Drew Doughty might be the best player in hockey. Given the evidence of the past six weeks, he's got a pretty decent case.

• The New York Rangers have decided  that they'd like to put off accepting their participant's ribbons and actually play out this Stanley Final series. In fact, they think they can actually win the whole shebang.

• And this will be the key to the Rangers' plan to topple the Kings.

• The 1994 Stanley Cup champion Rangers reveal that there's no better place to win than in New York.

Brad Richards has done everything the Rangers have asked of him this season. He may even hoist the Cup in a matter of days. But that probably won't stop the team from buying him out this summer.

• This New York-Los Angeles Stanley Cup Final might not be the dream matchup that many are claiming it will be.

• It's not all that surprising that Norway has fallen in love with the NHL but it's interesting to hear that the folks over there think Mats Zuccarello-Aasen is a cool name, too.

• Someone decided to create anagrams for everyone on the Rangers and Kings rosters. Because its the internet.

And then someone decided to mix The Simpsons with NHL logos. Because...well, you know.

• The Stanley Cup Final always brings out the forced narrative, but this might be the most forced ever.

• This had to be the most shocking statistic anyone came up with yesterday. Really says it all about the greatness of Kings GM Dean Lombardi.

• Maybe this will help San Jose fans get past the fact that two men who were not good enough for their team have guided the Kings to another berth in the Cup final. But probably not.

Rangers GM Glen Sather is rarely off the leash, but he roamed free at Tuesday's media day just long enough to remind everyone how entertaining he can be.

• Of course, it's easier to put yourself out there when everyone is calling you a genius.

• Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says re-signing these two players will be his top priority during the offseason.

Thomas Vanek will consider an offer from the Canadiens, but he still plans on hitting the market on July 1. He shouldn't have any trouble finding a ride to Trudeau airport.

• Sounds like Ales Hemsky will be up for grabs, too. Reports out of Ottawa indicate Hemsky is looking for an offer that seems incredibly generous given his track record. He might find some team that is willing to pony up, but I'd bet he has to come down from his expectations before he finds a new home.

Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference is doing his part to create a more accepting environment for all players regardless of their orientation.

• The Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly looking at a recently unemployed GM to fill their vacant position. Not sure this one makes a lot of sense, though I could definitely see this long-time executive stepping in to fill an advisory or other senior role.

• Are the Toronto Maple Leafs trying to pry the first-overall pick away from the Florida Panthers? That'd be one way to invigorate a frustrated fan base, but the cost to a team with less organizational depth than it likes to believe would be painfully high.

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