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Puck Headlines: Predicting playoff beards; Modano mum

Here are your Evening 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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• Great job by our buddy Seth Rorabaugh as he analyzes the field of candidates for the best playoff beard of the 2009 postseason; complete with the kind of in-depth analysis we expect from Empty Netters. On New Jersey Devils potential King of Beard John Madden: "A beard like this isn't something you admire for its aesthetics because frankly it resembles the hide of a diseased cat." [Empty Netters]

• Meanwhile, one of Seth's beard candidates for the New York Rangers, captain Chris Drury, is questionable for the series opener against the Washington Capitals with a mystery ailment. Well, mystery to the reporters trying to figure out what it is, at least. [Blueshirts Blog]

Alexander Ovechkin thinks Henrik Lundqvist is playing with illegal pads, and tells the media in that happy-go-lucky/"that's our Ovie!" way that defuses what would be a raging controversy for another playoff opponent. [Capitals Insider]

Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars skips questions about his NHL future as the media waited to pounce. He's previously said he hopes to return next season, and this year didn't have the feel of a victory lap for him; but the question becomes one of desire, not ability. Oh, and also one of Newlywed nagging from a celebrity wife. [Sportsnet]

• It's a cavalcade of stars on NHL.com's Celebrity Bloggers site: Thorsten Kaye for the Detroit Red Wings! William Fichtner for the Anaheim Ducks! Syd Butler for the Washington Capitals! Teddy Sears ... uh, also for the Washington Capitals! Jessica Rose ... er, also for the Anaheim Ducks! Wow! [NHL]

• Once more, with feeling (or lack there of, depending on how cold things got): Two Stations, One Cup. [850 The Buzz]

• Interesting news from the Ottawa Senators post-mortem: Chris Neil is as good as gone (so why not trade him at the deadline?) and Bryan Murray was unhappy with the play of Mike Comrie after acquiring him from the Islanders. This has seriously implications for the hot blonde celebrity girlfriends facet of the Senators offseason. [Off the Posts]

• The key to the Devils' series against the Carolina Hurricanes might be their struggling penalty kill against the howitzer known as Anton Babchuk on the Canes' power-play blueline. The last time we saw a dude named Anton with a cannon like that, he was chasing after Josh Brolin near the Rio Grande. [Fire & Ice]

• Earl Sleek provides an amazing review of the Battle of California between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, which has finally spilled over into the postseason. [BoC]

• The Pittsburgh Penguins will once again be showing games on a giant screen outside of Mellon Arena. And once again, no tickets are required, which is awesome. [Penguins]

• ESPN's 10 storylines to watch in the first round of the playoffs. The St. Louis Blues are apparently not one of them. [ESPN]

Steven Stamkos will play for Team Canada in the world championships. "Not in my wildest dreams did I think I'd get a chance to go to the world championships," he said. And no one had to the heart to tell him that all the other choices are still playing hockey this week? [Lightning Strikes]

• Finally, there isn't much scrapping in the postseason; so here's Jody Shelley and Raitis Ivanans from Saturday night dropping the mitts:

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