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Greg Wyshynski

Puck Headlines: NHL ticket prices rise; debating contraction

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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• Via the annual Team Marketing Report, NHL ticket prices and the Fan Cost Index have both risen by 4.4 percent since last season: "While 11 of the NHL's 30 teams cut or kept their average prices unchanged, the league average included increases of 24.2 percent by the Washington Capitals and 18.4 percent by defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, according to Team Marketing Report, which tracks ticket costs in the major North American sports leagues." [Reuters]

BREAKING: Helene Elliott reports there will be no suspension or fine for Dustin Brown(notes) on that blindside hit on Antti Mietinnen last night.

Edmonton Oilers loaner/Hershey Bears defenseman/rocket scientist Sheldon Souray(notes) breaks his hand in an AHL fight. [Edmonton Sun]

• Dobber on some of the early fantasy hockey "stumblers," like Taylor Hall(notes), Saku Koivu(notes), Mike Knuble(notes) and Kris Versteeg(notes). [THN]

• Why couldn't the Dallas Stars move up their Saturday night game against the Buffalo Sabres to avoid a conflict with the Texas Rangers' World Series game? Mike Heika knows: "They did try, and even got Ch. 21 to agree to the move, but Buffalo plays in Atlanta on Friday and the league will not allow a day game for a team that had to travel the night before. To be fair to the Sabres, that is a pretty tough turnaround." [Dallas Stars Blog]

Brian Campbell(notes) could be back for the Chicago Blackhawks by Saturday's game in Minnesota. [Sun Times]

• We contribute to the USA Today power rankings for teams and players, and here's the latest, with the Detroit Red Wings on top, the Edmonton Oilers on the bottom and Steven Stamkos(notes) leading the Hart Trophy race. [USA Today]

• Great find by Jfavreau on Twitter: The Sports Fan Graph social media rankings for NHL teams, allegedly tracking over 6 million hockey fans' activity on Facebook and Twitter. The Montreal Canadiens have the most active fans, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins; the bottom three are the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers. [SportsFanGraph.com]

• Helene Elliott makes the case that Gary Bettman should be considering contraction like the NBA might be: "There's enough of an argument here for Bettman to put contraction on the table. Owners of prosperous teams would love it: they wouldn't have to subsidize small-market teams and could keep greater shares of TV and advertising dollars. It would also put Donald Fehr, the incoming executive director of the NHL Players Assn., in a tough spot. Should he fight to keep jobs or for overall stability? Or can both exist?" [LA Times]

• The repellent dispute between Fox and DISH Network is getting worse, as Fox is blacking out Florida Panthers games in South Florida on Center Ice. Jeepers. [On Frozen Pond]

• The Kurtenbloggers make the argument that Henrik Sedin(notes) of the Vancuver Canucks is the best playmaker in hockey: "All those great candidates aside, Henrik boasts the best numbers, at least of late. His 83 assists in 2009-10 led the league by a wide margin, and he hasn't let up to start 2010-11. It's not a simple statistical argument either. There just aren't many players that provide fans with the sense of anticipation that Henrik does when he gets the puck, be it on the rush, setting up on the sideboards or coming out of the corner off the cycle. Opponents might use a different word for anticipation: dread." [KB]

• A 20th anniversary tribute to San Jose Sharks fans. Subtitle: "A Salute to Gluttons for Punishment." [Sharks]

• Cam Neely on his being called Sea Bass: "I hear that a lot, actually. The younger generation know me more for that than hockey. I never understood how big it would become. Dumb & Dumber is the current generation's Caddyshack, I guess. I had a lot of fun doing it, but never imagined Seabass would live on and on and on. [Gross Misconduct]

• The 10,000th floating of a Jeff Carter(notes) trade idea for the Philadelphia Flyers. [Broad Street Bull]

• "Early stats show Kovalchuk not worth it." Looks like someone brought their Jump To Conclusions mat to an editorial meeting at ESPN New York. [ESPN]

• Thanks to Puck Buddy Stephen for the best we're going to get on that Michael Nylander(notes) broken neck video.

• Craig Ramsey with words of praise for Dustin Byfuglien(notes), after Buff wore the ‘A' in a game over the weekend: "I thought he's really tried to make a difference in each and every game that he's played. I talked about rotating [the alternates] and we haven't made a change yet ... but he earned a chance to have an ‘A' on his sweater and to be one of our leaders. Most guys are going to have a shot at it and it's going to be fun. When you put it on for the night, you should enjoy that and recognize that the coaching staff is recognizing you for a big effort." [AJC]

• In praise of Mark Recchi(notes), one of a few players from the 1980s still competing in professional sports and, undoubtedly, upset that the flying cars he was promised as a rookie have not been invented yet. [FanHouse]

• Your Final Four for "Battle of the Blades": Kelly Chase, Valeri Bure, Todd Warriner and Theo Fleury(notes). [Blues]

• From Capitals Insider, on the Washington Capitals' goaltending situation: "Boudreau said he expects to start Michal Neuvirth(notes) against the Hurricanes Wednesday, but that there haven't been any decisions made on which goaltender will play against either the Wild or Flames on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. " [Capitals Insider]

• Chatting with the co-author of the new Bob Probert autobiography, who also co-authored that Theo Fleury book as well. [Chicks Who Give a Puck, via A2Y]

Marian Gaborik(notes) is moving in the right direction for the New York Rangers. We assume that means "not straight down, clutching his groin." [NYDN]

• Adam Proteau talks hockey with Tom Green. UNLEASH THE FURY! [THN]

• Finally ... how does a puck glide on the ice so fast?

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