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Top Line: Will Ryan Miller have Hart?; Crunch time for Sochi rosters; more links

His Sabres are down, but Ryan Miller's game has risen to its former Olympic level. (Keith Hamilton/Icon SMI)

Goaltender Ryan Miller will likely start for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics.

By John Rolfe

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

• Time has likely run out for a bunch of players who are hoping to make Team USA's Olympic roster, but Ryan Miller has locked down a spot and, if the Sabres don't trade him, he could end up making NHL goaltending history.

Kings netminder Jonathan Quick is closing in on his return from a groin injury, just in time to secure his place on Team USA.

• Things are looking good for Detroit's Jimmy Howard, too.

• Jim Matheson thinks Team USA can easily take on that golden glow.

Claude Giroux's season started horribly with a freak injury, followed by a horrendous slump through his first 15 games. The Flyers followed suit at 4-10-1. But their captain has turned it around and so has the team. Giroux now has his sights set on making good on his vow of a postseason berth for Philly ... and earning a spot on Team Canada in Sochi.

• Eric Duhatschek says Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman is facing a crunch of his own, trying to figure out how to make room for 14 worthy forwards on his 25-man roster without leaving himself open to second guessing.

• Life has been all right for Alex Ovechkin since his position switch, but Capitals coach Adam Oates thinks Russia will move the sniper back to left wing in Sochi.

• You can expect the production for Wednesday's Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich., to be almost as big as The Big House itself. And if you like a little snow with your hockey, Mother Nature may just cooperate. Sunshine, on the other hand, is proving to be the bane of outdoor games.

• The Red Wings' and Maple Leafs' goalies will be decked out in special gear for the big game ... and all four are hoping they get a chance to show it off. Only two netminders can start, of course, and Toronto's Jonathan Bernier looks like a good bet.

• The NHL may be in danger of overdoing it with outdoor games, but Tal Pinchevsky says the trend has helped a new generation discover the joys of playing on frozen ponds.

After routing Germany, 8-0 on Sunday, Team USA is on track to clinch the top spot in Group A at the World Junior Championship. Having a little NHL experience on the roster hasn't hurt the Americans.

• A loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday, coupled with the victory by the U.S., put Canada in the tough position of needing regulation-time victories over Slovakia today and Team USA on Tuesday to finish first in Group A. Toward that end, Team Canada coach Brent Sutter is making a change in net, and is keeping the faith in 16-year-old phenom Connor McDavid.

• Speaking of the WJC: In case you missed it on Saturday, here's one of the more entertaining goal calls you'll ever hear, and you don't even have to speak Czech to appreciate it.

• It was a long time coming for Sharks forward Bracken Kearns, who finally scored his first NHL goal at the ripe old age of 32 to help San Jose snap the Ducks' 10-game win streak.

• The Wild's death spiral continued with a loss to the woeful Islanders that left coach Mike Yeo at a loss for words. Mike Russo says the scary thing is that no one in the room has a clue about how to fix what's wrong with the team.

• The inimitable Adrian Dater says the skidding Avalanche will be looking forward to their next meeting with the Jets after Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien delivered a cheap shot to goalie Semyon Varlamov during Colorado's loss in overtime on Sunday.

• Avs coach Patrick Roy was already in a bad mood because of his beef with the NHL's schedule-maker.

• Are the Maple Leafs about to overpay defenseman Dion Phaneuf? Damien Cox argues that Toronto GM Dave Nonis does not have much choice.

The Sporting News

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