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.

• Puck Daddy Reader Art Contest Gallery 3 coming next. Until then, please enjoy this image of Santa in a jersey that probably should have gone under the suit. [Stick tap Eric E.]

• The New Jersey Devils holiday flash card couldn't be more awkward and halfhearted. Well, at least the snowman is excited. [Devils, via Joe P.]

• NHL All-Star Game (pointless) Fan Balloting Update: Sidney Crosby(notes) (464,832), Jonathan Toews(notes) (277,418) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) (242,851) lead at forward, with Sean Avery(notes) at No. 16 (129,580). Kris Letang(notes) (342,118) and Duncan Keith(notes) (271,227) lead on defense, followed by Chris Pronger(notes) (254,500). Carey Price(notes) leads in goal (286,602) with Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) closing in (259,596). Oh, and Bryan McCabe(notes) is the only player listed on the ballot with less than 6,000 total votes (5,464). [NHL]

• It's Toni Lydman(notes) night, as the Anaheim Ducks take on the Buffalo Sabres in a game so highly anticipated that it's not on television. [Ducks Blog]

• The case of Jim Balsillie and the Twitter impostor. [FP]

• Sports Business Journal's take on the NHL's next TV deal, sounding very much like Paul Kelly on PD Radio on Monday: "The NHL has momentum as it wraps up the final year of its TV contract, and I'd be shocked if the league didn't improve on the three-year, $207.5 million deal (with an option for three more seasons) that it signed in 2005 with Versus. Don't be surprised to see the NHL sell a 'Game of the Week' package for ESPN2, including some Stanley Cup games. Under this scenario, Comcast-owned Versus would keep the bigger cable package, and Comcast-owned NBC would keep a broadcast schedule." [SBJ]

• What does Brad Richards(notes) have to do to get some MVP love up in here? [USA Today]

Dustin Byfuglien(notes) over Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) for the Norris? [SI]

• Really terrific piece by Mike Heika on why the Dallas Stars' epic turnaround isn't bigger news locally: "Bottom line, the wheel of fame is a tough thing. When you are on it, people crave attention about you, they get information about you and that feeds the fame. When you're not on it, they don't, and it's tough to get people excited about your product. The Stars are not on the wheel right now, so they have to fight extra hard to get back on." [Dallas Stars Blog]

• Providing the entertainment at the Winter Classic: Jackie Evancho, the 10-year-old singing sensation from Pittsburgh who gained notoriety for her big voice on NBC's "America's Got Talent." Evancho joins a lineup that includes Juno award-winning singer Steven Page, multi-platinum selling rock band Hinder and Pittsburgh-based rock band The Clarks. [NHL]

• On the Washington Capitals' stunning offensive struggles: "Through thirty-five games this year, the Caps have scored a grand total of 102 goals; that still works out to a fairly respectable 2.91 goals per game, 11th best in the League, but it's a number that is buoyed by a much stronger start (59 goals in the first 17 games, 43 in the last 18). And it's a far cry from the juggernaut we're accustomed to. Consider that over the same span last year the Caps had 123 goals that were much more evenly spread out and went on to finish the season with an amazing 3.82 goals per game overall." [Japers' Rink]

• Alex Semin is a game-time decision for the Capitals' impending victory over the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. [Capitals Insider]

• Why Donald Fehr and the NHLPA could mean trouble for hockey. [Puck Update]

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith(notes) is out 2-3 weeks with a "minor" knee injury. Dan Ellis(notes) will carry most of the load, but will we see Cedrick Desjardins(notes) make his presence known. [Lightning Strikes]

Steven Stamkos(notes) becomes the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 goals. [Raw Charge]

• Damn the cynics: Being a New York Rangers fan is fun again. [Blueshirt Banter]

• Down Goes Brown presents NHL letters to Santa. Well done. [DGB]

• Were Dan Carcillo(notes), James van Riemsdyk(notes) and Nik Zherdev all on the trading block for the Philadelphia Flyers? [Broad Street Hockey]

• Good piece by Chris Burton on Matthew Lombardi(notes), the Nashville Predators center that's missed a massive amount of time with a concussion: "If Matthew Lombardi doesn't play another game this season, or the next two, then that's alright with me - I'd rather he return to complete health not playing hockey, and be able to raise his children symptom-free than contribute a single second of ice time to the Nashville Predators. I'll celebrate right along with you when he's been cleared for physical activity, but we'd do well to remember that, at the end of the day, its just a game." [On The Forecheck]

Keith Yandle(notes) on Matt Cooke(notes): "Dirty player. He's got no respect." [Tribune Review]

• Please to be checking out Lambert's U.S. World Junior blog. [The Sleeping Giant]

• Finally, the waffle meme is out of the control, as fans have begun adding them in the most random of places. Like, for example, this Sidney Crosby viral Reebok clip (stick-tap to Mark F. for the clip):

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