Puck Headlines: McDonald explains Ovechkin critique; does the NHL have an image problem?

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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.

Head To The Net with the two-for-one hilarity, taking aim at the absurdities of both the Alex Ovechkin and Tim Thomas controversies this week. This is the Ovechkin "statement" that came and went on NHL.com. (Note the date, in case you thought this was real.)

• Andy McDonald of the St. Louis Blues explains why he called Ovechkin "classless for pulling out of the All-Star Game: "I think it's disappointing for the fans," said McDonald, when reached by the Post-Dispatch. "The all-star game is about the fans, a chance for them to see the league's best players showcase their skills. He's one of the premier players in the league. There will be a lot of disappointed fans not to see that at the all-star game and the skills competition." [P-D]

• Why it's OK that Alex Ovechkin is skipping the All-Star Game: "The reality is that he's doing what any number of players have done leading up to this game and turn down the League. For all the talk about Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom (and the much more forgiving reception they've received), we actually don't know how many players asked privately not to even be considered. Selanne and Lidstrom's reasons for not being included were likely only made public after the uproar at two living legends being 'snubbed', but there's no way to tell how many got the right to do the same without any fanfare. Ovechkin didn't ask not to be included, and he was going to go even if it was a surprise — even to him — that he was invited at all." [Japers' Rink]

• Which NHL All-Star will be humiliated this weekend? [Grantland]

• #PickPhilPhirst [PPP]

• The Sedins would really like Daniel Alfredsson to help a Swedish brother(s) out and draft them both. Yeah, because Chara would take either … [Canucks]

• If the Boston Bruins really did have to trade Tim Thomas after his White House fiasco, could they even find a taker? [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

• Gov. Deval Patrick on Thomas: The snub exhibited a loss of "basic courtesy and grace" in the U.S. [NHL]

• Brian Finkel of Bloomberg Business Week believes the NHL has an identity crisis: "The NHL's two biggest stars register a low 7 percent total 'Awareness,' an E-Poll Market Research measurement that averages name and face recognition. The most recognizable pro players? Kobe Bryant, with a 57 percent Awareness score, Peyton Manning (46 percent), and Derek Jeter (45 percent)." Here's the NHL's identity then: It's the logo on the front. [Business Week]

• Does anyone else find it inexplicable that stories about Todd McLellan's job status with the San Jose Sharks are being written in January? [Mercury News]

• Dirty Dangle has your unofficial NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft drinking game. [Dirty Dangle]

• Al Montoya worked the Fisherman into his New York Islanders mask design. [Backhand Shelf]

• BREAKING: The Florida Panthers trade Tim Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Sean Sullivan is a deal what would seem a lot more important had we just printed last names.

• They found a mysterious ivory elephant inside a 1931 time capsule at Maple Leaf Gardens. How Wellwood got in there is anyone's guess. [CP]

• Damien Cox on Sid and Ovie. [Cox]

• NBC's "The Science of Hockey" is pretty cool. Is there a way to mathematically prove that when we scream "SHOOOOT!" during a power play it helps create more goals? [NY Times]

• Great stuff from Sean Fitz-Gerald on Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke holding court at the University of Toronto. Said Burke: "We traded Donald Brashear for Jan Hlavac and a pick. Jan Hlavac. Exactly. Now, Jan Hlavac is a great kid; actually played a couple hundred NHL games, but didn't work out in Vancouver. But we flipped Jan Hlavac for Marek Malik, who played six years for us and was Ed Jovanovski's defence partner. A 6-foot-6 defenceman taken in the '93 draft, one round after Chris Pronger … so we fixed the mistake." [National Post]

• If the Tampa Bay Lightning aren't a playoff team, at least they can be spoilers. [Raw Charge]

• Check out the charitable efforts by The Checking Line, as they give away a hockey puck autographed by Flyers legends Bernie Parent and Dave "The Hammer" Schultz. [The Checking Line]

• The hottest team at the All-Star Break? Hint: Their goalie's named Pekka. [The Puck Stops Here]

• If Russia is planning on having a 40th anniversary Summit Series game in Red Square, they may want to tell Paul Henderson about it. [CP]

• EchoStor Technologies is doing this: "Listen for Jack Edwards on WEEI and win! Like us on Facebook for your chance to win a ride on the EchoStor Zamboni and two tickets to the Boston Bruins game on April 7, 2012 and a visit to the NESN broadcast booth to meet Jack Edwards." Here's the contest.

• Finally, the Vancouver Canucks have helped develop a website called Mindcheck.ca, which helps people suffering from depression get the help they need. Here's the PSA:

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