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Top Line: Leafs lose, Bowe fumes; GM McPhee on last legs; more links

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James van Riemsdyk and the Maple Leafs have fallen both on the ice and in the standings. (Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)

James van Riemsdyk and the Maple Leafs have fallen both on the ice and in the standings. (Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

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

• Here's Chris Johnston's take on why Toronto's season-defining free-fall has reached seven games.

• Let's all bow our heads and say a prayer for Randy Carlyle. Funny how the Twitter gods work, eh? They take away Roberto Luongo and give us Riddick Bowe.

• Here's a Q & A with Bowe, where he explains his love of hockey and offers some advice to his favorite team.

• Mike Wise isn't calling for the end of George McPhee's tenure in Washington, but he knows the numbers are stacked against him returning as GM if the Caps can't get it together down the stretch for a decent playoff run.

• Most hockey games don't feature protestors shouting anti-Obama slogans. Then again, most aren't played in front of the White House.

• Rich Peverley spoke to the media before the game and made a surprising revelation.

• Charles Wang throws cold water on rumors that he's moving forward on selling the Islanders. Must be a lot of smoke for him to do that, eh?

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• Ottawa coach Paul MacLean might want to think twice before taking on any long-term leases this offseason.

• You know a team is finished when its star players start talking about the World Championships.

• Stephen Whyno writes that time is finally putting the career of Dominik Hasek into the proper perspective. Honestly, has there ever been a better goalie than Hasek during his dominating seasons of '93-94 through '98-99?

• With their lead over the eighth-place Coyotes down to a single point, tonight's game in Phoenix is a must-win for the slumping Wild.

• There's a reason they call P.K. Subban "Big Papi." Whatever it is, it clearly doesn't have anything to do with baseball:

• Note to Tomas Tatar: Those exhortations to "make some noise" apply to Joe Louis Arena only and not your apartment.

Anze Kopitar's second-language struggles earned him some airtime on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Honestly, he's talking about a shootout goal here.

• Don Brennan says the NHL needs to create a new award to recognize an offensively talented defenseman who doesn't pay enough attention to his own zone to qualify for the Norris. You know, someone like Erik Karlsson.

• Mike Heika is at it again, this time creating superhero alter-egos for various players to explain last night's surprising 7-3 win for the Stars.

dominate at five-on-five?