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.

• Ladies (and you select few gentlemen): Presenting Zdeno Chara's(notes) birthday suit from ESPN The Magazine's body issue. Y! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel tweeted that Chara will never live the photo down. We say everyone will be desensitized by it in about two seasons, after it's plastered along the glass of every Boston Bruins road game. Our only question: Where, exactly, does he keep his Norris Trophy? [ESPN for more promo photos]

• Big showdown on Thursday night between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, and it appears the Hawks could be without Dave Bolland(notes), Ben Eager(notes) and Troy Brouwer(notes). Oh, and Marian Hossa(notes). But you knew that. [Between the Circles]

• The Sporting News's "panel of 121 experts that includes Hall of Famers, major award winners, executives, coaches and other hockey experts" has concluded that Sidney Crosby(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the best player in the National Hockey League today. Worth a click just to see the illustrious panel and wonder how Valeri Bure and Jim Cummins ended up on it. [Penguins]

• Something just seems a little off about the San Jose Sharks. Break up the Joe Thornton(notes) line? [Puck Update]

• Despite it having been a "verified" account, T.J. Oshie(notes) of the St. Louis Blues is not actually on Twitter. Only 22,800 people took the bait. [On The Forecheck]

• Stop telling Michael Cammalleri(notes), Scott Gomez(notes) and Brian Gionta(notes) of the Montreal Canadiens that they're too small to be an effective No. 1 in the NHL. Because they will totally punch you in the shins. [Sun Media]

• Ryan Kennedy asks if we're all just expecting too much from the old war horses of the New Jersey Devils and the Dallas Stars. Because 1999-2000, it ain't. [THN]

• Teammates say Steve Bernier(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks either looks like Tom Selleck, Kevin Bieksa(notes), Nick Lachey (sort of) or Sloth from "The Goonies." If it's that last option, expect opponents to try and distract him with Baby Ruth bars. And expect Kyle Wellwood(notes) to happily thwart their plans until he gets a toothache. [Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct]

The NHL's, ahem, "partnership" with Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. If you're offended by the Ice Girls, we're not sure you could handle the wenches. [Sports Hernia]

• Please to be welcoming James Mirtle back from vacation, as he offers his take on Jim Balsillie, the Phoenix Coyotes and where the whole thing's headed next. [From The Rink]

• The National Post has an interesting, contrarian take on the whole Coyotes debacle: "Balsillie may indeed be a patriot, and he may even have a superhero's cape hanging in his closet. But he is no Captain Canada, and it is Bettman -- the cartoon villain in the Arizona bankruptcy court -- who deserves to be thanked by the Canadian public." [National Post]

• Portzline: "Huselius - Vermette - Nash" on a line for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sinister Puck Daddy Fantasy Team plan continues to play out. [@Aportzline]

• Japers with a great look at how Washington Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov(notes) turns into a sieve after giving up a few goals. Mental toughness seemed to be a hallmark of his game until Game 7 against the Penguins; but perhaps it isn't. [Japers' Rink]

• It's Toronto Maple Leafs bloggers vs. 'Malkin To The Kings!' [Pension Plan Puppets]

• Speaking of Bruce Garrioch, his take on the Leafs coach: "Is it me or does anybody else think that Ron Wilson won't _ or shouldn't _ last long as coach of the Maple Leafs. He had a total, and complete, meltdown following the 2-1 loss to the Senators Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre." The chances of Ron Wilson getting fired this season are about as good as the NHL renaming its best goalie award the "Vesa." [Off the Posts]

• The rivalry between the Houston Aeros, San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars of the AHL is officially known as ... The Lone Star Faceoff? Lame. Unless Bill Pullman is somehow involved. [AHL]

• Eager to get back to the NHL by any means necessary, Fred Brathwaite(notes) adopts a goaltending style in which he rapidly descends from the rafters Batman-style to incapacitate opponents. [Getty]

Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Boris Valabik(notes) could miss "several weeks" with an ankle injury. [AJC]

Brendan Shanahan(notes) clears waivers for the Devils. AHL, retirement ... who knows. [Fire & Ice]

Carey Price(notes) is getting his first career start in his native British Columbia against the Vancouver Canucks. Nice piece. [Globe & Mail]

• Al Cimaglia looks at the empty seats for the NHL's games in Finland, and makes the argument that these regular season neutral site games would better serve hockey if they were played on North American soil. OK, North American ice; the puck just doesn't seem to glide all that well on Kentucky bluegrass. [Hockey Independent]

Sean Avery(notes) could be back in the lineup with the New York Rangers on Thursday; but who goes? [Blueshirt Banter; UPDATE: Puck Central passes along that Avery's out until at least Sunday]

• Finally, a classic clip from the Los Angeles Kings as the Triple Crown line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer and Marcel Dionne) reveals itself as the NHL's first (and thankfully only) boy band:

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