Operation Team Player; keeping the balls warm; Russian super line in Sochi? (Puck Headlines)

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.

• "The Belt" is a regular-season stand-in for the Stanley Cup that's on the line in every game that they've been keeping track of over at Reddit Hockey all season. It's pretty great. Here's a quick rundown of where it's been this season since the Blackhawks opened the year with it. [Reddit Hockey]

• It's like that counterfeit jeans bust on The Simpsons! "Federal agents seized 6,121 bogus National Hockey League and other sportswear items estimated to be worth $723,377 as part of a three-month national anti-counterfeiting investigation dubbed "Operation Team Player." Way to not be a team player, counterfeiters. [Crain's Detroit]

• Picking the Canadian Olympic forwards. This is some in-depth stuff here. [Habs EOTP]

• Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin on the same line in Sochi? Yes please. [Post-Gazette]

• Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Jonas Hiller are your three stars for December. [NHL]

• Read all about the epic nightmare Mike Harrington endured in going from Buffalo to Winnipeg to cover a game. [Global News]

• Allain Muir on the David Poile apology tour: "As an emerging hockey power, Team USA is new to the delicate art of dealing with the hurt feelings and bruised egos that come with informing someone who has been among the best at what he does for most of his life that he’s just not good enough to be part of this particular team." [SI Home Ice]

• Some of hockey's worst ideas throughout history, from the glow puck to long pants. [Greatest Hockey Legends]

• Dallas Eakins isn't a fan of Ilya Bryzgalov's body language. “You have to watch your body language on the ice. What are you selling? What are you telling everyone as soon as your body language goes south? If it’s consistent, you’re certainly selling something to the other team and it’s, ‘He’s frustrated. Let’s get after him.’ We have to watch that." [Edmonton Journal]

• Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom head into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. [Washington Post]

• Jaromir Jagr is looking forward to the Devils' outdoor game, but he would prefer warmer temperatures. [North Jersey]

• Doug Lunney stands up for Winnipeg after a TSN analyst says nobody wants to play there. [Winnipeg Sun]

• Derek MacKenzie will have a hearing for the hit he laid on Oliver Ekman-Larsson last night. [Blue Jackets Xtra]

• Taylor Pyatt, on playing his first game since being waived by the Rangers against the Rangers: “It’s definitely going to be a little weird playing your old team right off the bat but I am looking forward to a fresh start and playing the old team right away and getting it out of the way.” [SNY Rangers]

• Ted Leonsis on the Capitals' biggest issue: "We have 46 points in 41 games played - half the season is now in the books. We are on a 92 point pace. We would be much better situated if we hadn't allowed 22 goals to be scored against us within 2.5 minutes of us scoring a goal." [Ted's Take]

• Sweden's World Junior team continues to destroy teams. [Buzzing the Net]

• New Van Fan remains my favourite hockey web series. It's hilarious. You don't have to be a Canucks fan to appreciate it, either. [PITB]

• The top 10 Columbus Blue Jackets' storylines of 2013. [Jackets Cannon]

• Finally, here's the most Pierre McGuire clip ever, from Wednesday's Winter Classic, as he talks about keeping linesman Scott Cherrey's balls warm and still manages to mention mentions where Cherrey played junior hockey.

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