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.
• Round of applause for Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who realized that he made things a tad too personal in calling out NHL VP Mike Murphy(notes) last night over that blown video review and apologized first thing this morning. [Sportsnet]
UPDATE: The NHL announced that Lombardi has been fined $50,000 for his comments.
The statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman:
“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League’s Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
“People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did,” Commissioner Bettman added. “Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs – and to the game – is beyond challenge, question or debate.
“I have spoken to Dean, who has apologized to Mike Murphy and to me and has acknowledged that his comments were wrong, inappropriate and without merit,” Commissioner Bettman said.
• Saku Koivu(notes) on his return to Montreal: "It's obviously going to be a special couple days in the weekend. When the season started it was far away, end of January, it felt like I had all kinds of time for that, but now it's [here]. Obviously I think about it and I'm getting nervous about it, but it's going to be a fun one - the game and the weekend and obviously going to see a lot of friends that are close to me." [CBC Sports]
• According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the owners of the Atlanta Thrashers contend in a lawsuit that a flawed contract written by a law firm has prevented the sale of the team for six years, and that the franchise "has lost more than $130 million in operating costs since 2005." The takeaway from this? That for all the claims to the contrary, the Thrashers have in fact been for sale and not just searching for "investors." [AJC; stick-tap to Jonsandlin]
• Of all the people to bellyache about playing time ... Darcy Hordichuk(notes)? Said Florida Panthers Coach Pete DeBoer: "He's averaging for us about what he's averaged his whole career. When we got him, we weren't going to turn him from a five-minute player into a 10 or a 15 minute player." [On Frozen Pond]
• Speaking of the Panthers, a stunner from the OHL via Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net: "Star blueliner Erik Gudbranson has been stripped of his alternate captaincy and will miss a crucial game for the Kingston Frontenacs." [BTN]
• Ten suggestions for NBC on their Hockey Day In America thing; we can get behind the notion of retro jerseys, unless that waters down the Winter Classic gimmick. [Puck The Media]
• The great Tom Benjamin responds to our headshots post from the other day. [Canucks Corner]
• On Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson: "Give Howson this: Where Doug MacLean and Doug Risebrough ignored their feeder system - the Wild has nothing, nothing, in the pipeline - Howson (and assistant GM Chris MacFarland) have taken care to shore up their farm and fertilize it (rather than spray fertilizer talking about their prospects)." [Dispatch]
• The Kurtenblog presents their last picks at each position. [KB]
• How the KHL makes former NHL players look good: "So for journeymen players, the KHL is a realistic path to the NHL. It seems to make GMs forget why they didn't want to sign a player when they first had the chance. It got Nabokov an NHL job (although where that job will be, remains to be seen) plus a nice bundle of cash for his time in the KHL." [Puck Update]
• Nice "fact vs. feeling" post about the Los Angeles Kings and their getting jobbed by replay last night. [Pro Sports Blogging]
• The Peoria Rivermen are celebrated former Riverman David Backes(notes) with a canvas giveaway and discounted tickets to games in honor of his All-Star Game selection. First 1,000 fans receive Canadian scalps autographed by Inglorious himself. [Rivermen]
• VISA Canada has some kind of promotion to make Canadian fans feel better after their team loses. Yet it doesn't involve beer. [VISA]
• The Pensblog begins its series of alternate universe NHL Guardians with this one for the Montreal Canadiens: "Mr. Entitlement." Needless to say, visit the boys often for more of what should be outstanding series. [tPb]
• Interesting post on the hockey helmet and its history. [PondRocket]
• Our favorite post of the day is tangentially related to hockey: The fact that Blake Griffin's "girlfriend" is, in fact, an Internet creation. The hockey connection? It deals with some of the forums that puck bunnies frequent to spin tales about players. Oh, those puck bunnies; they'd give a kidney/to get with Sidney. [Sports By Brooks]
• Leahy was on Puck Daddy Radio today, and the Houses of the Hockey podcast as well. The man is taking over The Score. [HOTH]
• Down Goes Brown presents hockey Zodiac signs: "Sign of the Draft (June) - You're a long-term thinker who likes to plant seeds for the future and watch them grow. You have pimples, a bad haircut, a cheap suit and a disturbingly gigantic neck, and you absolutely will not put on a hat without bending it for five minutes first. You also don't hang out with Maple Leaf fans." [DGB]