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Puck Headlines: Fleury retires; NHL desperate over DirecTV/Versus, calls fans to action

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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.

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• Over the weekend, we reported on Gary Bettman's aggressive call-to-action for hockey fans caught in the DirecTV/Versus contract dispute. Today, NHL.com reinforces that call with an "open letter" to fans, encouraging them to contact DirecTV en masse in order to pressure it into a settlement. Which should tell you all you need to know about how these negotiations are going. If you have cable and there's a Colorado Avalanche fan in your town with DirecTV, why not invite him or her over for a Sakic retirement viewing party, eh? [NHL.com, and coverage plans for the Sakic ceremony via local cable in Denver.]

Peter Forsberg(notes) looks like Peter Forsberg again. And yet no mention of crutches. [All Things Avs]

Theo Fleury(notes) retires with the Calgary Flames. As Leahy said, there's no question his journey back from personal demons was an inspiration and should be lauded. But this "I could not sign with another team ... I retire a Calgary Flame" business sounds a lot like "other NHL teams aren't biting, toiling in the AHL is beneath me and this tryout has kick-started my post-hockey career opportunities." But that's just the cynic talking. [CP]

• The Hockey News jersey tournament is down to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux of the WCHA against the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL. Winning tribe gets a trophy to display at their casino of choice. [THN]

• The Tampa Bay Lightning place right wing Adam Hall(notes), right wing Brandon Bochenski(notes) and center Ryan Craig(notes) on waivers, while releasing Sidney sparring partner Brett McLean(notes). Hopefully, this will give management the flexibility to sign 20 more defensemen. [Lightning Strikes]

• Five reasons the Atlanta Thrashers will make the playoffs. Seriously. [THW]

• Chatting with Mark Messier about fighting: "Fighting has always been a part of hockey, and I personally believe that it will continue to be one aspect of our game." Was McSorley guarding his words during this exchange? [NHL Digest]

• There seriously is a kid named Wheaton King playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Salmon King, where art thou? [The Score, via Deadspin]

• Razor makes the case that the preseason is so meaningless that the NHL should do goofy experiments like two-minute majors and orange pucks. As usually, dude's got a point. [Razor With An Edge]

• Big day for the NHLPA. No, not the Gary Bettman darts tournament; a huge conference call that could clear up or ignite the internal battles over the firing of Paul Kelly as executive director. [CBC Sports]

• Larry Brooks spells out some nightmare scenarios for the NHLPA, including a 30-percent rollback on salaries in the next CBA negotiation. Oh joy. [NY Post]

• The late Fred Cusik to be honored at the Boston Bruins' game this weekend. [Bruins Blog]

• Speaking of Boston, in a roundabout way: Chris Bourque(notes) has made the cut with the Washington Capitals, who open in Beantown this week. [On Frozen Blog]

Matt Duchene's(notes) attempt to Schenn his way into the Colorado Avalanche lineup continues, as he makes the cut for the regular season. [CBC]

• So what happens to the unicorn at the circus if no one wants to see it anymore? [Dallas Stars Blog]

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• From Puck Buddy Stefan: "I'd say the Thrashers on Sept. 21 could give PHX a run for their money in terms of attendance...I don't know if the record-setting flooding had anything to do with this though." Well, yeah ...

• Grading the Calgary Flames in the preseason. B actually is for Bouwmeester ... go figure. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]

• NOT HOCKEY: The Washington Post's social media guidelines makes us think that Washington Post employees don't exactly make good Facebook friends. [Paid Content]

• Are Blair Betts(notes), James van Riemsdyk(notes) and Mika Pyorala(notes) all going to make the cut for the Philadelphia Flyers? [CSN Philly]

Brian McGrattan(notes) would like to lead the NHL in fighting majors this season. Well, it's good to have goals, right? [Calgary Herald]

• Damien Cox believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could very well be a playoff team this season. We'll do no better than Down Goes Brown's line on Twitter: "Not sure what's wrong with Damien Cox, and hope he gets well soon. But I am enjoying whoever is ghostwriting for him." [The Spin]

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• So Nikita Filatov's(notes) Twitter verified account is either a fake and incredibly candid. [@NikitaFilatov]

Sergei Kostitsyn(notes) has some growing up to do. [TFP]

Jannik Hansen(notes) pretty much has a spot on the Vancouver Canucks clinched, and then he goes and breaks his hand in a fight with Gilbert Brule(notes), who evidently has found a way to make others' careers disappointing as well. [Nucks Misconduct]

• AFROGATOR ON THE LOOSE IN SWEDEN! RUN TO THE NEAREST LINGONBERRY ORCHARD FOR SAFETY! [Snapshots]

• BD's latest on the New York Islanders/Lighthouse tension has probably the greatest opening image you're going to see today. [Islanders Independent]

• Finally, Patrick Sharp(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks is doing some Vlogging overseas as the NHL starts its season in anonymity.

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