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NHL CBA blame games; USA hockey will never catch Canada (Puck Headlines)

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Nicklas Backstrom joins hands with teammate Alex Ovechkin in celebration of having well-compensating jobs. [@plysenkov via alexovetjkin]

• Great stuff from professor James Mirtle on the NHLPA offers and how they attempt to approach 50/50. (Note: His post doesn't contain the third offer, which may or may not have been written on a cocktail napkin.) [Globe & Mail]

• Mark Spector drops the hammer on Gary Bettman: "Bettman, however, has reached critical mass as the owners' emissary. It was under him that the pendulum swung so far to the players' side that a year-long lockout was required. And even with a step that drastic, it's taking a third consecutive stoppage to get that pendulum back to 50/50. That's why he looks so tired. Why Bettman couldn't even muster up the stage presence to entertain the NHLPA offer over night before countering." [Sportsnet]

• Frank Seravalli on the lockout: "I can get behind the players' wanting every dollar of signed deals to be honored. Otherwise, owners who signed players to mega-deals this summer would not have been bargaining in good faith, knowing that they would be asking for a reduction in revenue sharing." [Philly.com]

• Shawn Horcoff doesn't believe the owners were negotiating in good faith: "There was no talk whatsoever, not even any communication among their own people in the room, among the owners. It was that quick. It didn't really matter what we had to say. Unless we totally accepted their deal, they weren't going to take it. Right away you could tell they're not serious."  [QMI]

• Check out the awesome check from Pat Sieloff in the OHL last night. [Buzzing The Net]

• The AHL is feeling pretty good about the lockout, with attendance up 5 percent. Said President Dave Andrews: "Clearly, we've had far more exposure than we normally have from the main-stream hockey media and, if the quality of your league in enhanced, more people attend the games," said Andrews. "There's about 100 players in our league now who would have been on an NHL roster at the start of the season." [Canada.com]

• Stack.com presents six reasons why USA Hockey will never catch Canada, including "Passion and Pressure": "Canada is expected to win at hockey, no matter whom they play. At the World Junior Championships in Buffalo in 2010, Canadians were lined up for miles to cross the border to watch their country play. During the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of the Canadian population watched the Gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. In America, the two biggest games in USA hockey history—the 2010 Gold medal game against Canada and the 1980 semi-final game against the Soviet Union—were not even aired live on a major TV network. In 2010,  NBC showed ice dancing over hockey." [Stack]

• Ellen Etchingham's feeling the expansion blues: "… if you're in one of those fortunate places where tickets are cheap and plentiful and you can't imagine life without going to NHL games multiple times a week, if you believe that NHL hockey should be brought to more people even if the product is barely worthy of the name, then riddle me this: where does it end? If two more teams is good, would not four more teams be better? If we want to keep the NHL in Phoenix and Nashville and Sunrise and Columbus, and have it also in Markham and Quebec, why not Hamilton and Seattle and Kansas City? Why not Tulsa? Hell, think big my friends, why not Honolulu? Why not just absorb the AHL in its entirety and have NHL hockey everywhere? If talent dilution is not a problem at 30 teams, and not at 32 teams, then when does it become one?" [Backhand Shelf]

• Kudos to the NHL for going purple on Spirit Day. [NHL.com]

• Connor McDavid is pretty good. [Hockey Primetime]

• The KHL is good hockey and bad business, which we believe automatically qualifies them for NHL revenue sharing. [National Post]

• Another good one from Backhand Shelf as 67Sound proposes a "make-whole" salary cap. [BS]

• Craig Conroy will get his number retired by Clarkson University. [Flames]

• Congrats to Scott Niedermayer for getting into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Now, name-check Tom Kurvers in the acceptance speech … [NHL.com]

• Finally, we give to you this Montreal hockey brawl, and at one point turns into a crazy pile-on. As opposed to a crazy pylon, which is Dion Phaneuf:

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