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.
A slow start has turned into the Red Wings grabbing a point in each of their last eight games and putting up a 5-1-3 record in that span. Defenseman Brian Rafalski(notes) is expected to return after battling swine flu while Jonathan Ericsson(notes) is still questionable. San Jose, winners of six in a row and the NHL's highest scoring team, will have to best Chris Osgood(notes) who's won his last two starts and stopped 49 of 50 shots.
‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews(notes) will miss his fifth game in a row after a concussion at the hands of Vancouver's Willie Mitchell(notes). With their dads in tow, the Blackhawks will be looking for their seventh straight win over the Coyotes and to pad the attendance numbers at Jobing.com Arena.
Oilers assistant coach Tom Renney on facing his former team: "It's not quite the same unit, but I'm going to have a hard time looking at the logo and not identifying with it. I'm going to see faces, familiar faces, and be happy to see them again and all that kind of stuff. And I want to beat them."
Check out the Y! Sports scores and schedule page for previews of the other seven games tonight.
-Bob Hartley has told RDS that Peter Forsberg(notes) has agreed with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL. That's a quick turnaround after what Ak Bars Kazan VP Ravil Shavaleev said about Russian reports yesterday that Forsberg was signed: “I read that we have supposedly agreed with Forsberg. However, we have conducted no negotiations with him, and I’ll tell you more: We haven’t even thought about inviting him.” [Slap Shots]
-Whoa. "The Columbus Blue Jackets could leave central Ohio if the team can't fix an economic model that is causing losses of $12 million a year, according to a report issued today by the Columbus Chamber. But a deal to keep the hockey team here and the Arena District alive -- the team and the district generated $30 million in taxes last year -- probably will include asking for public dollars, and soon." [Dispatch]
-Not long after calling out Nashville Predators fans for low attendance numbers, Denver Post columnist calls out his constituency about their failure to fill the Pepsi Center last night against Phoenix. [All Things Avs]
-Will Wayne Gretzky make an appearance in Toronto this weekend during the Hall of Fame inductions? [Globe & Mail]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: From Tom who is being sarcastic or has questionable taste in hockey jersey designs:
"The Oilers "Spawn" jersey is hands down the best third jersey ever created!!!!"
Bold Prediction: Phoenix will break 7,500 in attendance tonight, but lose to Chicago.
- Ak Bars Kazan