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.

• This genius ran on the field during the 8th inning of Opening Day for the Texas Rangers against the Toronto Blue Jays -- rocking a Nashville Predators T-shirt, no less. As our Big League Stew buddy the 'Duk said: "If that's not the most random thing in the world, I don't know what is." Sadly, it appears the Preds shirt does nothing to protect the fan from Paul Blart attempting a Vulcan mind meld on his belly. [Getty]

• We should have a fresh edition of Puck Tracks up ASAP, featuring a much-requested participant: ConkBlock.

• Elliotte Friedman on why Winnipeg is an option for NHL relocation, but why it may only be Option C. Also of note: "Remember that seven-year, no-movement agreement Balsillie wanted no part of in Pittsburgh? Atlanta's runs out on March 31, 2011. Looking around the league, you'd think that would be the only potential dance partner at this point." [CBC Sports]

• ESPN's Pierre LeBrun breaks down the hottest teams in the second half of the season and since the Olympic break, writing that "more often than not, the teams with the better second-half records have good playoff runs, which is why you should be wary, in some cases, of the final standings." [ESPN]

• Oh, but not everyone agrees with that thesis. Behind The Net crunches the numbers and concludes: "Betting against teams that looked like they got worse in the 2nd half has not been the best strategy." Tyler Dellow also offers his dissent on the trend. [Behind The Net]

• Strong take on Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) upon his return to Atlanta as a member of the New Jersey Devils tonight: "The NHL is a very unforgiving place for those who are just beginning to learn defense." [Bird Watchers Anonymous]

• To boo or not to boo Kovalchuk in Atlanta? Blueland Chronicle has two good posts on the subject. [Blueland Chronicle]

Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, which is always a good time but an essentially meaningless game for the Caps. Outside of sweeping Pittsburgh for the first time in franchise history, that is. [Sportsnet]

• How in the hell does South Dakota Senator John Thune know the Capitals will be playing the Boston Bruins on April 15? [Japers' Rink]

• Since the break: Client Jaroslav Halak(notes) of the Montreal Canadiens and Tuukka Rask(notes) of the Boston Bruins are your best goaltenders, via The Puck Stops Here. [TPSH]

• The Dallas Stars face some significant cap decisions this summer. In the sense that they've budgeted about $37 in salary for defensemen not named Stephane Robidas(notes) [Dallas Stars Blog]

Mike Modano(notes) poops on those Gretzky co-ownership rumors, but the fact remains that he appears to be on a path to co-owning the Stars after retirement. [Puck Update]

• "Four men in black, and white will officiate their final NHL regular-season games in April.  Veteran referees Kerry Fraser and Dan Marouelli and linesmen Mark Paré and Lyle Seitz will retire from active duty after the conclusion of the 2009-10 season, the National Hockey League announced today." An NHL without Kerry Fraser is an NHL without perfectly sculpted hair. [NHL]

• Biggest concern for the Vancouver Canucks heading into the playoffs: That would be defense. [Nucks Misconduct]

Peter Mueller(notes) will miss the last week of the regular season with a concussion for the Colorado Avalanche. [Y! Sports]

• Catching up with women's hockey icon Manon Rheaume, and not a single question about Shannon Szabados, which is a shame. [NHL.com]

• Attention iPhone users desperate to play a 3-D hockey game with an "arcadey feel": There's an app for that. [Touch Arcade]

• New blog Blades of Funny, out of the gate strong. [Blades of Funny]

• More baseball-meets-hockey, as Patrick Kane(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks rocks the silver medal for Chicago White Sox Opening Day. Incidentally, this pose is often the last thing a cabbie sees before ... [AP, vai Paul M.]

Jason Arnott(notes) is nearly back from his latest concussion for the Nashville Predators. Dangerous team, that one. [Tennessean]

• Mirtle offers his breakdown of the best defensive forwards in hockey, excluding a few candidates like Pavel Datsyuk(notes) to focus on those who log significant penalty killing time. [Globe & Mail]

Jordan Staal(notes) for Selke! [Pensburgh]

• Mark Everson buries the lede in his Kovalchuk contract piece: "There is trouble in Devils' paradise. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) was "rested" by coach Jacques Lemaire in their 4-0 victory in Carolina on Saturday, and when he returned to practice yesterday, found himself patrolling right wing on an unfamiliar line with left wing Brian Rolston(notes) and center Rob Niedermayer(notes). Langenbrunner vacated the locker room before the press arrived and left word through an intermediary that he didn't want to talk." [NY Post]

• The road to the second seed in the East. [Bangin Panger]

• Via USA Hockey, on the Frozen Four: "78 of the 102 players on the rosters of Boston College, Miami University, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin have developmental roots in the United States." [USA Hockey]

• Your rosters for the 2010 ECHL Kelly Cup. Play "find the ex-junior and/or college player" or simply seek out your favorite hockey name (Dinos Stamoulis, FTW). [ECHL]

• Having lost 500 man-games in injury this season, the Edmonton Oilers intend to study they're so F-R-A-G-I-L-E. Also, from QMI: "The Oilers don't employ an enforcer, which some people believe leads to opponents playing them harder." Somewhere, Zack Stortini(notes) weeps silently ... [QMI]

• Really nice work by Lowetide in breaking down Linus Omark's arrival with the Oil. [Lowetide]

• Can the Los Angeles Kings gain playoff experience through osmosis? [LA Times]

• Finally, by request from Puck Buddy commenter "Bleys" and in honor of baseball season, the YouTube classic (circa 2007) "Clark, The Canadian Hockey Goalie." Forgot how brilliant this was: "The term 'hoser' comes from the pre-Zamboni days..."

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