Puck Previews: Minnesota hosts Chicago; another concussion

Harrison Mooney

Here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Patrick Sharp celebrates after successfully pulling Breaking Bad's "poison tequila" trick on the San Jose Sharks.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Wild will be in tough to return to their winning ways after a loss to the streak-busting Winnipeg Jets. The Blackhawks are in town, and they've won six of eight. They've also won six of eight versus the Wild, and they're looking to pull the rare "Double Jeri Ryan" by pushing both records to seven of nine.

Preview: Boston Bruins at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET

The last time the Bruins and Senators met was a 5-3 win on the 1st of November, a victory the Bruins used as the launching point for a month without regulation loss. They'd love for the Senators to re-inspire them. Boston will be without Zdeno Chara, who has a knee injury, but Ottawa will be without Milan Michalek, who has a concussion, so both fanbases will have a readymade excuse if their team loses.

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET

Quick predictions: 1) Mike Smith will play well. He's 5-0-1 versus the Ducks lifetime. 2) The Coyotes probably won't score a goal with the man advantage. They have the league's worst powerplay and the Ducks have one of the league's best penalty kills. 3) Corey Perry will slash someone and get away with it.

Evening Reading

• The first Stanley Cup riot suspects appeared in court Wednesday. Not at the same time, of course. We've all learned a valuable lesson about what happens when this group of people is together, especially when they're going to lose. [Calgary Sun]

• Taylor Hall is back from injury and he plans to play the same way. Just once, I want a player to say he plans to go to the net more infrequently. [The Hockey News]

• Michael Farber on Matt Moulson, who has been cut more times than arts funding in the Stephen Harper era. [Sports Illustrated]

• The AHL's Syracuse Crunch have offered ex-Kardashian Kris Humphries a spot in their front office, obviously for entirely altruistic reasons. [ABC News]

• Steve Staios may be the next player felled by concussion. Good grief. We need to find the carrier of this epidemic and quick. Keep an eye out for a concussed monkey. [Newsday]

Puck Buddy comment of the Day: Cathy, on the cause of the hockey hug:

I'm sure this issue has been psychoanalyzed many times but here's my take on it. Probably the only reason that the "post-goal hug" even exists in the "manly" sport of hockey is because the guys wear so much equipment, padding and fabric that there's no chance of any direct skin or body part contact. Or it's just that a hug feels good.

Bold prediction: A Coyotes victory in Anaheim. It's not all that bold, mind you: Phoenix has won the last four meetings between the two teams.