Puck Headlines: Heatley hits Edmonton; NHL attendance OK

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 Edmonton Oilers players who twisted in the wind during the Dany Heatley(notes) trade drama during the summer (like Andrew Cogliano(notes), pictured angrily above) speak out as the San Jose Sharks visit Alberta this evening ... while the Edmonton media cranks up the rancor: "This is like running into an ex-girfriend (sic) a month after she dumps you - she's holding hands with a Tom Cruise-looking fighter pilot and you're asking if they'd like fries with that." [Edmonton Sun, and CBC Sports]

• Chris Botta talks with Sherry Ross about being the first female play-by-play voice for an NHL team, even if for one night with the New Jersey Devils. (For the record, Cassie Campbell was a color commentator for HNIC back in 2006 -- not play by play.) [FanHouse]

• According to Sportsnet, the Leafs will retire Carlton the Bear. Among the proposed new mascots: Angry the Fist and Ian White(notes). [Sportsnet ... UPDATE: This tweet calls B.S.]

• Kevin Allen reports that the NHL is only experiencing an attendance decrease of less than 2 percent this season. Which is what happens when a business protects its popularity by allowing franchises to paper arenas with free or steeply discounted tickets while reporting gate numbers based on tickets distributed rather than turnstile counts. Anyone with functioning retina knows attendance is down more than 2 percent this season. It's not the NHL's fault, necessarily; the economy is just not one in which the purchase of hockey tickets in October or November is a priority. But that's reality -- not the number in the box score. [USA Today]

• With Hossa in and that win over the Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks are now being called an elite team and a measuring stick for the rest of the NHL. [Between The Circles]

• That being said, is every team on which Marian Hossa(notes) plays doomed for failure? [THN]

• Hockey Wilderness called for Alex Ovechkin(notes) to be suspended for his hit on Patrick Kaleta(notes) of the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night, but Tarik El-Bashir said there's no supplemental discipline coming his way for the hit. HW is right and wrong: The NHL made the right call here, but that's not saying Ovechkin doesn't get away with more borderline calls than most physical players. Because he does. [Hockey Wilderness]

• Boy, imagine how sexy these women would be if they weren't wearing Habs gear? [Eyes On the Prize ... indeed]

Niklas Hagman(notes) is getting a lot of trade interest, which is great news for the Toronto Maple Leafs and our fantasy team. [Sun Media]

• Leahy noted on the Florida Panthers third jersey pass/fail that "blue is the new black," and The Hockey News's Edward Fraser picks up the theme in a column about jerseys color changes. [THN]

• Speaking of which, the Nashville Predators are ready to debut their new alternate sweater tonight: a classy blue jersey that, one expects, could easily become their primary home duds in the near future. Shea Weber(notes) believes they've come a long way since their other third jerseys ... which is to say these don't resemble the color of baby diarrhea. [The Tennessean]

• A nasty hit by Victor Oreskovich(notes) of the Florida Panthers puts Wade Redden(notes) in the press box for about a week. [Blueshirt Batner]

Brayden Schenn(notes) played his game for the Los Angeles Kings, and is now headed back to Canada. [LA Kings Insider]

• Toronto Maple Leafs emperor Brian Burke answers some tough questions about turning what continues to look like a high lottery pick into Phil Kessel(notes): "For a 21-year-old who has scored 36 goals, my analysis is that it's a fair price ... You hope that any player you take in the first round will have an impact and Phil's done (that) for us." [Sun Media]

• Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek(notes) could be back in the lineup again next week, just in time to face the Montreal Canadiens. [Leafs]

• Phish: The official jam band of Pierre McGuire. [The 700 Level]

Ray Emery(notes) was expected to get the start today for the Philadelphia Flyers, with Brian Boucher(notes) giving him a huge push from the backup role lately. [Philly.com]

• Really great feature on Steve Stotland, the Montreal businessman who wants to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes. We still can't tell if his enthusiasm is industrial moxie or Ed Wood delusions of grandeur; we do know it's infectious, however. [Gazette]

Jamie Langenbrunner's(notes) pitch for the U.S. Olympic team. [Star Ledger]

• Mirtle looks at the best defensive forwards in the NHL thus far and finds that Brandon Crombeen of the St. Louis Blues and Kris Versteeg(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks lead the pack. Some interesting names not on the list so far; like, for example, anyone nominated for a Selke last season. [From The Rink]

• George Malik respects Johan Franzen's(notes) drive to compete in the Olympics, but doesn't see the injured Detroit Red Wings forward getting healthy in time: "I understand that Franzen wants to make the most of his best chance to play in the Olympics for Team Sweden, but I'm having a very, very hard time imagining that the Red Wings' ever-cautious medical staff will allow him to return in late January." [Snapshots]

• Is Todd Bertuzzi(notes) too R.P. McMurphy, post-op, to become a factor for the Red Wings? [A2Y]

• Alas, there were no waiver takers for Ville Koistinen(notes). [On Frozen Pond]

• Confusing times for the St. Louis Blues on television. [St. Louis Dispatch]

• Finally, Binghamton Senators pugilist Jeremy Yablonski(notes) has some of the best hair for a hockey fighter we've seen recently, and the fists to back it up. How'd that fight treat you, Matt Clackson(notes)? [Hockey Fights]

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