Puck Daddy - NHL

Here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Puck Previews: Blackhawks visit Pens; Bourque talks suspension

The rink build continued today at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. And to fully get prepared for the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 it rained. [AP]

Preview: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET. The Devils and Rangers are separated by three points in the Eastern Conference with New Jersey looking for their fifth win in a row. The Devils will be without new franchise-leading goal scorer Patrik Elias who is sick, while Tim Erixon has been recalled for the Rangers to replace Jeff Woywitka.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m. ET. After taking a nasty hit from behind by Rene Bourque of the Calgary Flames, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will be in the lineup tonight. Craig Adams and Jordan Staal will be game-time decisions for the Penguins. Ray Emery will make his sixth straight start for the Blackhawks. He's won all six of his starts in the month of December.

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET. The Coyotes comes off a last second (literally) loss to the Rangers at home and hit the road for a two-game trip starting in South Florida against a Panther team that hasn't lost in regulation in eight games at BankAtlantic Center. Mike Smith and Jose Theodore are expected to start and Rostislav Klesla should be return to the Coyotes blueline tonight.

Preview: Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET. Minnesota has slipped all the way down to a tie for second overall in the NHL after holding the top spot through the first 30 games of the season. The Wild try to snap a four-game losing streak in Calgary and as injuries have piled up, they may get captain Mikko Koivu back tonight. The Flames will be without Rene Bourque (suspension) and Matt Stajan (ankle).

Evening reading

Puck Previews: Blackhawks visit Pens; Bourque talks suspension

• Have you noticed Peter Budaj's mask this season? Along with Ned Flanders, Budaj has added FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi to it. [In Goal Mag]

• NHL Network US will be broadcasting the World Junior Championships through the 2018 season. NHL.com will broadcast every Team USA game in the tournament beginning with their game next Monday night against Finland. [NHL.com]

• Rene Bourque on his 2-game suspension for a hit from behind on Brent Seabrook: "I thought I'd get maybe a fine or a game. But two? A little harsh maybe." [QMI via London Free Press]

Claude Giroux has been cleared to begin skating with the Flyers after missing four games due to a concussion. "His status, means just that. Giroux will eligible to play at any given moment, which could be as early as Wednesday's game at Dallas." [Flyers]

• Singer Michael Buble signed a 1-day contract with the Vancouver Canucks and participated in practice today. Make your own jokes in the comments. [Canucks]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: "GM" on Ilya Bryzgalov's very Philly-centric Winter Classic mask video:

"HBO, please, please, please have the conversation explaining the Philie [sic] Phanatic to Bryzgalov."

Seconded.

Bold prediction: Both Foligno brothers score and both leap as their dad, Mike, watches on from the ScotiaBank Place crowd.

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