Puck Daddy - NHL

Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Preview: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Our support was always behind "Applesauce," but it appears as though the Anaheim AHL affiliate Iowa Chops have in fact named their dance squad the "Baby Backs." Luckily, the objectification crowd has been on Avery watch so it missed women being named after meat. [Chops, and thanks to PD reader Fiona]

• Evidently, attempting to break up a minor midget hockey fight by pummeling one of the kids will earn a lineman a two-year ban from the league. The things you learn. [CBC Sports]

Preview: New York Rangers at Atlanta Thrashers (7 p.m. EST; TV: SS, MSG). The Goalie Post reports that it's Stephen Valiquette against Johan Hedberg tonight. Scotty Hockey would like to see the Rangers get into the Kyle McLaren business. The Sharks wouldn't protest. 

Preview: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals (7 p.m. EST; TV: NESN, CSN). In which Wyshynski attempts not to go "Loooooooch" while covering the game from the press box. Terrific story in the Washington Times today by Corey Masisak about Brian Pothier's long road back from "the fourth documented concussion in his professional hockey career."

• While the big news is that the NFL is trimming its staff by 10 percent in the recession, the NHL announces that it is in a hiring freeze as well. [AP]

• The Kurtenblog examines whether the Vancouver Canucks were "dirtier than a Scottish toilet" against the Nashville Predators last night. [KB]

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. EST; TV: SUN, MSG). Rick Tocchet hit back hard against Barry Melrose for calling him ownerships' puppet, and spoke with Steven Stamkos about Melrose's scathing comments about not being ready for the show. No Ryan Malone tonight. Referee Bleep-Gate is in full swing for Buffalo; wonder how the officials will react? 

Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. EST; TV: FSPI, MSG, Yahoo! Sports). Scott Clemmensen gets the nod for the Devils against Dany Sabourin. Mike Rupp is a healthy scratch for the Devils, for the second-straight game, and isn't sure when he might get out of the doghouse.

Preview: Calgary Flames at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: TSN, NHLN) And we have a Curtis McElhinney sighting! The Flames are expected to start the little-used backup against the Ty Conklin and the Red Wings this evening. Meanwhile, Mike Babcock isn't sleeping on the fact that the Flames are playing better hockey these days.

• Interesting take on how the Lightning are exploiting a salary cap loophole by allowing Radim Vrbata to leave for Europe for "personal reasons." [Puck Stops Here]

• For the doom and gloom crowd on Phoenix: "Shumway downplayed the doomsday scenario - that the Coyotes could declare bankruptcy, thus nullifying their lease and opening themselves up to sale and relocation. Team officials say the Coyotes have sold 77,000 more tickets to date than they did in 2007-08, and television ratings are up 150 percent. A new wave of young players and a highly competent general manager signal a sturdy, new beginning. The hope is that it will be in Glendale." [AZ Central]

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars (8:30 p.m. EST; TV: AZTV, FSSW). Wait, these teams make news on the ice, too? For the record, Mike Modano doesn't believe Sean Avery will play for the Stars again. Olli Jokinen should return and Ilya Bryzgalov will start for the third straight game for Phoenix.

Preview: Ottawa Senators at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. EST; TV: CSNC). We have a Martin Gerber sighting! Meanwhile, might the Blackhawks flip Martin Havlat's salary for Mats Sundin's?

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. EST; TV: FSMW, FSPT). Chris Pronger believes the Ducks have a consistency problem. "Last year it was a struggle, and this year it's been up-and-down and something obviously the coaching staff hasn't been happy with, and we as players haven't been happy, either." The solution as always? More elbows.

• Breaking News! "More kids get hurt in checking leagues than in no-contact leagues. Shock and horror surely abounded when the preliminary results of the study were released yesterday." [Two-Line Pass]

• Finally, from the NHL, the top 10 hits of last week. Gotta watch out for that Finger. No, we're not talking to you, Sakic.

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