Britney Spears buys Russ Courtnall’s mansion; Sidney Crosby discouraged with lockout talks (Puck Headlines)

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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.

• So Britney Spears has purchased a California mansion from Russ Courtnall. WAIT WHAT? [Calgary Herald]

• The latest on the lockout nonsense. [TSN]

• Sidney Crosby on the lockout talks: "It is discouraging. For me, it just doesn't make any sense. Why can't they get in the room and keep talking? I don't know what that mindset is or how that's going to help things progress." [Tribune]

• Nick Cotsonika on the NHL potentially setting an end-game deadline on the CBA talks: "Here is why it doesn't make sense to announce a drop-dead date now: It would confirm what the NHLPA has suspected — that the owners have had a 'date' in mind all along — and it would give the league no flexibility." [Y! Sports]

• Adrian Dater with a blind quote on setting a deadline: "It's a game he wants to play. It's the game he's told his constituents forever that he wants to play, and he has a date in mind," said one NHL exec, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We have a (bleep) date in mind too. But until (last week), we hadn't even thought about canceling games again. Guys were so consumed with getting a deal done, that until (last week) we were like 'Holy (bleep), we've only canceled through Dec. 14.'" [Denver Post]

• Kevin Allen has a playoff plan for the shortened NHL season that's a little more limited than our "Make All 30 Teams Playoff Teams" idea: "If we play a 48-game season, my suggestion would be to increase the playoff pool from 16 to 24 teams. It would be a conference-only format, and the top four teams in each conference would draw a first-round bye, and then teams ranked fifth to 12th would play in a best-of-three play-in round. No. 5 would play No. 12. No. 6 would play No. 11, and so on." [USA Today]

• Not strictly hockey, but interesting: Should writers vote on the Hall of Fame and other awards? [Sherman Report]

• Jordin Tootoo is using the blood of children to stay fit during the lockout. Whoops, wait, read that wrong: He's instructing at a youth hockey camp. [Nunatsiaq Online]

• ECHL MVP Chad Costello scores a shorthanded hat trick. [Eye On Hockey]

• Tony Gallagher looks back at 20 years of Gary Bettman. [The Province]

• If Patrick Kane goes back to Switzerland, he's totally taking his girlfriend. [CSN Chicago]

• Elliotte Friedman on the NHL season on the brink: "Do you want to be Thelma to Fehr's Louise as the car heads to the cliff? (If you haven't seen the ending, I can send you the DVD). Do your sponsors want that? Does anyone, besides the hardest of hardliners?" [CBC Sports]

• Adam Proteau with an NHL lockout quiz that includes a "Call The Union" shoutout! [Hockey News]

• ESPN's Lynn Hoppes on the NHL lockout. Or just read Wikipedia. [ESPN]

• PHT offers some holiday hockey books. [PHT]

• Finally, the lockout has robbed us all of so much hockey. But it hasn't taken away Kitty Noodle Hockey. Nothing can. OK, maybe a large, murderous dog could. Or intense sunlight the melts the ice. Or a combination of the two.

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