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Player: Mike Commodore

  • 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.

    • Love this fan photo from last night at the Honda Center in Anaheim. [Reddit]

    • Turns out Cory Schneider's body injury wasn't just a ploy to get him some rest after all. Roberto Luongo gets the start in Game 1 for the Canucks as that soap opera continues. [Canucks Army]

    • Nazem Kadri on the Leafs' date with the Bruins: "It's a very, very winnable series." [Toronto Star]

    • No Sidney Crosby for the Penguins in Game 1. [The Globe & Mail]

    • Marian Gaborik hopes to play for Slovakia at the Worlds, but first he's seeing an abdominal specialist. [Blue Jackets Xtra]

    • “When an NHL player comes out, we will rely on You Can Play’s expertise in this area in addition the myriad support systems that already were part of our structure and the NHLPA’s to help that player in any way we can,“ NHL spokesman John Dellapina told Reuters in an email. “Our view is that we would do as much or as little as any player needs or wants." [Toronto Sun]

    • Shocking headline: "The future of the Phoenix Coyotes 'not set in stone'". This is a surprise to me. [The Hockey News]

    • Andrew Bucholtz on CBC's Don Cherry conundrum. [Awful Announcing]

    • I sort of love that Josh Harding refused to comment on what he's overcoming to play for the Wild right now. Great stuff here from Nick Cotsonika on Harding's big night Tuesday. [Yahoo!]

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  • 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.

    Zach Galifianakis Mike Weber relaxes while being cross-checked in the sternum.

    • Start with this great piece from Eric Duhatschek on Bobby Orr, who turns 65 today. [The Globe & Mail]

    • Speaking of milestones, the great NHL 94 is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has been inducted into the Hockeywood Video Game Hall of Fame. A deserving honour. [Life in Hockeywood]

    • More love for NHL 94, this time focusing on the legend it made of Jeremy Roenick. [NHL]

    • Mike Komisarek has been placed on waivers. He has responded by waiving his no-movement clause, which makes sense. [TSN]

    • Teemu Selanne on the extensions of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf: "“If they can play eight more years, I can too. I’m in better shape than they are.” OMG Teemu forever. [Ducks]

    [Also: Lockout quality time paying off for Penguins' top line]

    • Bryan Reynolds' on Ryan Suter's Norris candidacy: "The likelihood that the vast majority of the PHWA has even watched more than one or two Wild games this season is slim. Without the knowledge to make the right choice, it is a pipe dream that Suter will win. He'll be nominated, and he may even pull a couple of votes. Unless he turns on the jets and scores more points than everyone else, the rest of his accomplishments will mean nothing." [Hockey Wilderness]

    • Steve Carell talks about that magician movie he's in, which looks lame, and also hockey, which is awesome. "I would love to do any hockey movie. In fact, I auditioned awhile ago for 'Mystery, Alaska.' It was a skating audition. You had to come out there and skate, and I already knew how to do that. I didn't get past the first round of auditions. At my age right now, I guess the only thing I could be playing is an older coach!" [ESPN]

    • Eric Selleck of the Florida Panthers may be the next player suspended for leaving the bench to start an altercation. [NHL]

    • Mike Green comes off the IR for the Washington Capitals. [Stephen Whyno]

    • Barry Trotz with some real talk after Tuesday night's loss to Columbus: “We have a good goaltender, we have to play good defensively. I know some guys are playing over their heads, some guys quite clearly can’t play at this level, that’s plain and simple, but we’re going to sort that out and go from there. Some guys, I’m not happy with their game, they have to give us more. And I can go top to bottom, there’s some guys in that locker room who can give us a lot more, and that’s the part that bothers me.” [Tennessean]

    • Rick DiPietro on trying to remain positive while riding the bus in the AHL. "I don’t think anyone relishes eight-hour bus trips, I don’t care who you are," he says. Ah, but what about this cat? [NY Times]

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  • Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

    When it comes to where the blame for this lockout ultimately lies, and where battle lines are drawn, I'm not so much pro-player as I am anti-league, and that's been reflected often throughout this lockout.

    Because Gary Bettman apparently proposed a two-week moratorium on negotiations because of whatever dumb reasons he could come up with — and apparently based entirely on hearsay — everyone even remotely sympathetic to the players in this labor strife once again took the opportunity to climb their nearest mountaintop and proclaim the man deeply and truly inept, irresponsible, and worst of all, Bad For The Game.

    [Related: Is Flyers owner Ed Snider the lockout's unlikely savior?]

    But the truth of Bettman's role in this lockout, and in the League as a whole, is far more complicated than his being the guy who brought fans three lockouts in 18 years.

    The simple fact is that when he's actually doing the day-to-day business of running the League, and not locking out the players at the slightest provocation, Bettman might be the best commissioner in sports. It's absolutely and 100 percent true. How much evidence do you need?

    (Coming Up: Claude Giroux injured; Brian Burke on Luongo trade; Tomas Kaberle thinks the lockout will end soon; Alex Radulov. Malcolm Subban and Charlie Coyle are killing it; Toews and Janssen get charitable; Kirk Muller, golfer; and the Flyers and Penguins work together to save the lockout; great spin-o-rama pass.)

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  • Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey, occasionally according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    While Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman are kicking up dust at each other on behalf of their constituents, like discontented baseball managers whose players just got tossed for arguing balls and strikes, there remains the whole business of the current collective bargaining agreement still being in effect.

    You might have noticed a little bit of an uptick in activity and rumors over the last week or so. While these are the summer doldrums, no doubt about that, some teams have been getting to work by locking up some players and exploring their options.

    Witness both the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers having recently signed restricted free agents Max Pacioretty and Wayne Simmonds to six-year extensions worth $4.5 million and $3.97 or so per year, respectively. (Though obviously that's under the current CBA and doesn't take into account any salary rollbacks, over which Fehr will engage Bettman in a knife fight if he has to.)

    Meanwhile, the Flyers also continue to kick the tires on a number of defensemen to make up for the fact that most of the ones they have under contract are either not very good or injured; or, in Andreas Lilja's case, both.

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  • Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

    Remember last season, when Corey Perry went on a ridiculous run of success and scored 25 goals in 30 games after the All-Star Game and won the Hart and the Ducks ended up finishing fourth in the West?

    People forget that the big-time Cinderella run they went on wasn't, in the end, as season-saving as history would lead us to believe. Yes, they were in 11th place on Feb. 24, but that was more like a three-way tie for ninth and, more to the point, just two points behind Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot. Before the season ended the Ducks picked up 31 points with 15 wins and an overtime loss over the next 21 games.

    So what happened this year is that the Ducks started winning in a similar fashion, and everyone started saying this was another story of the Cinderella Ducks, getting back in action.

    Which is only half-true.

    Yeah, the Ducks went on an unbelievable run from early January through to mid-February, improving from 10-22-6 to 27-25-10. Again, they played to a 17-3-4 record in 23 games, actually improving on their points-per-game pace from the streak a year ago. But the final loss right before the incredible run started came on Jan. 4, when the Ducks were 14th in the West — not tied for ninth — and 19 points back, not two.

    So the huge push has certainly improved the team's playoff chances. By the time they suffered two consecutive regulation losses for the first time since the streak began — on Feb. 27 and 29 — to Colorado and Buffalo, they'd leapfrogged just one team in the standings. And as they lost three of their last four, the one win coming against Calgary at Honda Center, where Calgary hasn't won in closing in on 2,500 days, they, not surprisingly, failed to improve upon that position.

    This morning, they sit 13th in the West, despite the absurd amount of winning. They're now at least no longer in the double digits as far as their distance from a playoff spot goes.  They're seven points behind San Jose for the final playoff spot in the West, but it seems to be breaking down.

    (Coming Up: Toews injury worries; the Jeff Carter trade is working; brilliance from Stars, Eriksson; gay players in hockey; big injuries for Flyers, Red Wings; Prust fights Lucic; Adrian Dater hypocrisy; Sabres sweep the West; Don Cherry vs. Brian Burke; and a trade that finds Cory Schneider with the Devils.)

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  • Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

    It was a while ago now, but really rack your brains and see if you can recall the Chicago Blackhawks' offseason in 2010.

    If you can remember through the mists of the past, it seems as though they signed next to no one to bolster their chances for repeating last year's Stanley Cup run. In fact, you might even vaguely recollect something about their having to sell off a number of key contributors from that Cup-winning team. Contributors that ended up being the captain for another team, or an All-Star defenseman, a legitimate starting goalie, or a promising, gifted young goalscorer.

    But perhaps you're having trouble remembering why they did that. Can't have been the team's chemistry, right? No, it feels like that was pretty good at the end there. Can't have been that they weren't performing up to the team's standards, yeah? Seems like they all played great in the playoffs.

    Oh so maybe it was because there is a thing in the National Hockey League known as the "salary cap," and had Chicago not offloaded Andrew Ladd(notes), Dustin Byfuglien(notes), Antti Niemi(notes) and Kris Versteeg(notes) among other players, they would have exceeded it by roughly a billion trillion dollars.

    But the problem, it seems, is that the Blackhawks want to keep all their good players. Forever. That's why, this weekend, they re-signed Brent Seabrook(notes) to a five-year deal reportedly worth $29 million, or a $5.8 million cap hit per season.

    (Coming Up: Eris Staal health update; the Leafs' playoff push; Brad Richards'(notes) health; Brent Sopel(notes) is thrilled to be out of Atlanta; Bruce Boudreau tempers his language; the Islander most likely to be traded; Craig Rivet(notes) to the Jackets; diagnosing Colorado's collapse; the Bryan McCabe(notes) trade; the most popular No. 8 defenseman in the NHL; welcome to Anaheim, Dan Ellis(notes); Daymond Langkow(notes) working his way back; in praise of Matt Calvert(notes); a jeer for Jon Quick; and a ridiculous Carey Price(notes) trade proposal.)

    Seabrook is a good defenseman. He might be overpaid a little, but he's more or less worth that much (although why he makes more per year than Duncan Keith(notes) is rather baffling). But with this signing, the Blackhawks will enter next season with just under $42 million invested in eight players with five restricted free agents to sign.

    There's been talk that the salary cap will once again rise this OFFSEASON, which is a good thing for Chicago. It will not, unfortunately, rise to anything near $70 million, which is what would be necessary to prevent yet another Blackhawks fire sale.

    The thing is that most of these contracts are fair. Patrick Kane(notes) and Jonathan Toews(notes) at $6.3 million? Seabrook at $5.8? Duncan Keith at $5.54? Patrick Sharp(notes) at $3.9? You take all those deals.

    The problem is the less-marginal money to more-marginal players. They have three contracts that would make any sane person say, "Really? Him?"

    Dave Bolland(notes) is getting paid $3.375 a year through 2014. Brian Campbell(notes) is making more than every defenseman not named Zdeno Chara(notes) until 2016. The Sharks rooked Chicago into giving Nicklas Hjalmarsson $3.5 million for the next three seasons. These contracts are more than a little ridiculous.

    Maybe they want to make it an annual thing though. Step right up and get your future key contributors for a relatively small amount. Everything must go... because Bowman gave so-and-so a zillion dollar contract.

    Of course, that's what made Chicago a middling Western Conference team for most of the year rather than the juggernaut they were for the entirety of last season.

    It's nice for Chicago fans that they won the Cup last year. If they keep signing guys to deals like this, they're not going to do it again for a long time.

    What We Learned

    Anaheim Ducks: This is how the Dan Ellis era began in Anaheim.

    Beat five-hole on a 50-footer from high-scoring superstar Clayton Stoner(notes)? Yup, that's the old Dan Ellis alright.

    Atlanta Thrashers: "What's wrong with the Thrashers?" Regressing toward the mean. You don't go 6-15-6 in 27 games after starting the year 19-11-5 with a mediocre team otherwise.

    Boston Bruins: I know a surprisingly large number of Bruins fans who are actually excited to see the team re-sign Sheriff Shane Hnidy(notes). He's gotta be the most popular No. 8 defenseman in the league.

    Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are going to be buyers at the deadline. Because any team with Steve Montador(notes) as a No. 3 defenseman is definitely going places in the playoffs.

    Calgary Flames: Daymond Langkow seems one step closer to playing hockey again, as he is participating in light on-ice workouts for the first time since taking a puck in the neck since March.

    Carolina Hurricanes: Even though he got clobbered with a scary hit on Friday night, Eric Staal(notes) is expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow, which is good news.

    Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago is on the lookout for a depth center and a reliable defenseman. Just like every other team in the NHL. If you had either one of those lying around you could probably get the moon in exchange for him.

    Colorado Avalanche: Here's a very astute thing literally everyone outside of Denver has been saying since last year: "The worst-case scenario is that last season's surprising showing was a complete fluke, seducing the organization into overrating its talent - and triggering panic when that became apparent." To those points: it was, they did, and that clearly happened.

    Columbus Blue Jackets: Craig Rivet, huh? Now we know for sure that Mike Commodore(notes) ran over someone's dog. I mean, the guy was a healthy scratch in Buffalo, and their defense is terrible.

    Dallas Stars: Brad Richards has missed six games, but skated on three different days without too many problems. Now they can trade him to the Rangers no problem!!!

    Detroit Red Wings: Mike Modano's(notes) back. Good thing, too. The Red Wings were really looking for someone to help them get killed at the dot.

    Edmonton Oilers: Headline -- "Goaltender Martin Gerber's less than ideal season." Rejected subheadline: "Unfortunately had to play for Oilers."

    Florida Panthers: Shrewd observation regarding Florida fans who think that team can make the playoffs vis a vis the Bryan McCabe trade: "This trade should stop the playoff talk, though it won't. Playoff teams don't trade their captain." If you believe Darcy Regier, they only put them on waivers.

    Los Angeles Kings: Check out this ugly Drew Doughty(notes) goal with 1.1 seconds to go in the second period. Laser shot, Brian Elliott(notes)-y "save."

    Minnesota Wild: Something for Wild fans to consider before Cliff Fletcher makes no moves whatsoever today: Where does Guillaume Latendresse's(notes) possible late-season return fit in?

    Montreal Canadiens: Look how glad Brent Sopel is to be out of Atlanta.