Puck Daddy - NHL

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.

• According to Getty Images: "Florida Panthers fans Murphy Burch gets ready to throw plastics rats onto the ice to celebrate a 3-0 win against the New York Rangers at the BankAtlantic Center on January 2, 2011 in Sunrise, Florida." And really, is there nothing more beautiful than the long, passionate kiss between a man and his plastic rodent before the two part ways? [Getty]

Jonathan Toews(notes) is back for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the Los Angeles Kings, which is your VERSUS game of the night. [ESPN Chicago]

Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov(notes), Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan(notes) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Jan. 2. [NHL]

Johan Hedberg(notes) will start for the New Jersey Devils in their next game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, and the thought is that Martin Brodeur(notes) will share goaltending duties with the Moose for the rest of the season. "I don't deserve to be in there when you don't win." [NJ.com]

• No contract talks with Zach Parise(notes) and the New Jersey Devils, as Parise tells Fire & Ice. "Of course, you play in a place and you get drafted by them and you play there your whole career and you'd love to play in one spot for your whole career," he said. "So, we'll see what happens, I guess. I do like playing here and I like living here and everything. We'll see how all that stuff turns out, but ideally you'd like to stay." He'd be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2012. [Fire & Ice]

• Oh dear, this was almost a tragic one: "A Kingston-born hockey player is recovering from emergency neck surgery after a frightening incident during an NCAA Division I game on Thursday night in Alabama. Brock Higgs, a rookie forward for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers, suffered a severe cut to his neck when a teammate's skate blade accidentally clipped him. The former Kingston Kimco Voyageurs star had a three-inch gash on his neck after Chase Polacek's skate slashed his neck during a game against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers." [Whig Standard, via Murray L.]

• Former Playboy playmate and Jim Carrey mate Jenny McCarthy is reportedly dating hockey player agent Paul Krepelka, who reps Nathan Horton(notes) among other players who will be asking to discuss contracts during double-dates, going forward. [Sun Times]

• Dan Steinberg on the Winter Classic ratings in D.C.: "The highest-rated Caps game I know of was Game 7 of last year's Montreal playoff series on Comcast SportsNet. That game earned an 8.1 rating. So, in recent memory at least, the Winter Classic would rank second. The 7.6 rating equals about 177,000 households in this market." [DC Sports Bog]

• So many candidates for the most ridiculous view in this Dan Shaughnessy column about retiring the Winter Classic. Was it the hair-trigger overreaction to ending the series because of one year in the rain? Was it his contention that Pittsburgh isn't a hockey town? Was it that he's apparently oblivious to the fact that the teams have changed sides in the third period before during the Classic? So, so many choices ... [SI]

• Will the 2012 Winter Classic have its timeslot moved? Scott Burnside says it's possible: "ESPN colleague E.J. Hradek brought up the topic during a podcast in Pittsburgh leading up to the Winter Classic that next year, Jan. 1 will fall on a Sunday. The NHL has rightfully been pleased with the niche it has carved out on the crowded Jan. 1 sports calendar the past four years. But there is also little appetite to go head-to-head with the NFL on a late-season Sunday. It's a dynamic that will present itself periodically, and sources tell ESPN.com that there is already preliminary discussion about moving the game to a New Year's Eve time slot or pushing it to Jan. 2." [ESPN]

• VERSUS will air the NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft. Wouldn't it be great if the players all showed up with six packs and cigars, crossing off names on a giant whiteboard like a proper fantasy draft? [Puck The Media]

• This is apparently the final day to vote for the NHL All-Star Game. [Raw Charge]

• Another takedown of the NHL's Guardian Project, as all 30 teams are given their "hero" personalities. "The Panther: The Panther cannot be seen, only smelled. Made from bits of real panther, it works 60 percent of the time every time." [Section 303]

• PPP's tribute to Tomas Kaberle(notes). [PPP]

• The Puck Stops Here on the salary floor: "It is clear that 30 markets do not exist that can stably support NHL payrolls.  It isn't clear that we need that.  Why not break the NHL into two tiers?  One of teams that can afford elite squads and one of the lesser markets that can afford hockey at a better than AHL level, but cannot compete with the bigger markets.  These smaller market problems keep happening.  They will not go away with a couple more CBA tweaks.  Some teams cannot afford the salary floor.  These teams pull the NHL down as a whole.  Culling the weak markets makes the herd stronger." [TPSH]

• Via Puck Buddy Michael comes the Edmonton Oilers' timely 2011 calendar, featuring Sheldon Souray(notes) (demoted) and Ethan Moreau(notes) (released) and Lubomir Visnovsky(notes) (traded) and Patrick O'Sullivan(notes) (released).

• In celebration of Matt Cullen's(notes) O-FACE. [Houses of the Hockey]

Dwayne Roloson(notes) will make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut at the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. [Lightning Strikes]

• The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Deryk Engelland(notes) to a three-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero. The new contract goes into effect at the start of the 2011-12 season and will run through 2013-14. The average annual value of the deal is $566,700 over the term of the contract. Please be in the lineup and healthy when the Pens play Chicago so we can get the Engelland/John Scott(notes) fight. [Penguins]

• Good take on the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup concerns and some of the players available that could help fill them. [Hockey Independent]

• Please to be welcoming the Puck Buddys to the hockey blogosphere. "For boys who like boys who like hockey." Good stuff so far, and not just because their link to us reads "Puck Daddy (Sounds gay. Isn't)". [Puck Buddys]

• Finally, via Botta at the New York Times, Wayne Simmonds'(notes) stick takes flight into the crowd vs. the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 1. This should totally be part of the skills competition at the All-Star Game.

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