Gretzky follows his heart; Lombardi fights hangover; David Booth still killing things (Puck Headlines)

Harrison Mooney

• David Booth kills Falcor the Luckdragon. And ManBearPig. And Alf. And the Lorax. [Pass it to Bulis]

• Amidst the doom and gloom, Wayne Gretzky still believes the season will begin by January. He believes it in his heart. "Yeah, in my heart, I do. I think first of all you have two smart people in the commissioner and the commissioner's office leading the ownership group and of course Donald Fehr leading the NHLPA. I really believe in my heart that in '04, changing the landscape, going to a salary cap was a real big issue and a real big fight. I think this one is more of a numbers issue. I see them getting something resolved here. I think both sides want to come to a resolution. I think right now both sides are doing the best negotiating they can do. So optimistically I still believe that everyone will be back playing hockey and I sure hope so. It's a great game. It gets better every year and we have great players and great athletes and good people in our game. I know the great fans across North America right now are dearly missing the sport of hockey." [Sports Radio Interviews]

• Dean Lombardi is concerned about the Stanley Cup hangover. "I talked to a number of teams, whether it was the 49ers, Yankees, Patriots, teams that were dynasties, and wanted to know what they did after the first year they won," Lombardi told this week. "I found so many different schools of thought." [ESPN]

• Speaking of the Kings, since their Stanley Cup banner won't be hanging from the rafters any time soon, here are some alternative uses it. Why, Dustin Penner could use it as a hammock! [The Royal Half]

• CTV has had to rename lockout "Big Bang Night in Canada" after CBC claims that it would "confuse" viewers. I'll say. There's nothing more embarrassing than thinking you're in for an evening of hardcore erotica on basic cable only to get two hours of Jim Parsons bein' quirky instead. [Financial Post]

• The Buffalo Sabres will be unveiling a French Connection statue tonight in Alumni Plaza. [WGRZ]

• Manny Malhotra takes a veiled shot at the players that have basically taken the "call me when the lockout's over" approach: "If you just want to bury your head and just go to the rink and play hockey and do nothing else, you're missing a world of the behind the scenes of what really goes into a CBA, what goes into the makeup of the league, how the league operates," he said. "It's an incredible learning experience." [Sportsnet]

• Kyle Quincey has signed with the Denver Cutththroats of the Central Hockey League. [Denver Post]

• Here's what Quebec's hockey arena will look like. Hold up, said the Phoenix Coyotes, you're allowed to populate it with CGI humans? Oh man, this changes everything.

• Deryk Engelland signs in Norway. [PHT]

• Brilliantly captioned gif: "Looks like Phil Kessel gained a bit of weight during the lockout." [Reddit Hockey]

• Ellen Etchingham offers up a passionate defence of fan protests during the lockout. [Backhand Shelf]

• On sponsors are advertisers looking for contingency plans in the event of the lockout. Friends: If the advertising budget is going to waste, I am willing to sport your brands for money. [The Globe & Mail]

• Mind-blowing: keeping hockey equipment clean is the key to keeping it from smelling. In other news, you will have less tartar buildup if you brush your teeth. [Vancouver Sun]

• Cute story here about a sixth-grade hockey player born without his right hand meeting a college goaltender born without his left. [Kansas City Star]

• What makes Connor McDavid so exceptional? It's skill, isn't it? Is it skill? [The Hockey Writers]

• And finally, the legendary Ian Walker stalks the streets of Vancouver in search of hockey fans passionate about the cancelled season. Can you believe that nun doesn't care? Some hockey fan she is.