Puck Headlines: Sean Avery thrown to wolves; should Isles bite?

Here are your Morning 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.

Sean Avery is assigned to the AHL Hartford Wolfpack, which would be the New York Rangers' affiliate and comes at a time when the Rangers have gone winless in five and getting outscored 13-2 in the last two games. He thanked Glen Sather for the chance to resurrect his career; Sather played the "he's under contract blah blah" card. [Our Sports Central]

• Avery actually returned to Dallas for medical evaluation, but had no interaction with Dallas Stars players. Mike Heika also reports that "he also supposedly is already on the practice ice in Hartford this morning, and the New York media is already there, and the Rangers PR people." [Dallas Stars Blog]

• James Duthie: "New York's plan to (perhaps) bring back Sean Avery is mid-season slump desperation at its finest." [Canada.com]

• A Fox Sports blogger makes the case for the New York Islanders to claim Sean Avery on waivers: "If Avery did prove to be a problem in the locker room, would it matter to the Islanders? They are already the worst team in the NHL - by far - so how, exactly, would fans be able to tell that Avery was having a detrimental effect on the team?" [Fox Sports]

• Huge blow for the Edmonton Oilers: Lubomir Visnovsky, done for the season. [TSN]

• Can the Detroit Red Wings keep Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa while not blowing up the team's salary structure? GM Ken Holland: "Maybe." [Detroit News, via Snapshots]

• At this point, it's rather stunning that Atlanta Thrashers season tickets aren't being inserted into McDonald's Happy Meals. [Thrashers]

• There's probably a good reason why Mike Richards, Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul are hanging why porn star Gina Lynn. Two of them, in fact. Legion of Noop! (See what we just did?) [Busted Coverage, NSFW Warning)

Thomas Vanek's injury has led to a lineup shift for the Buffalo Sabres: Derek Roy moves to right wing, playing with Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford. Any suggestions for a line name? [Sabres]

• Brian Burke continues his public assessment of the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, this time telling the world that Nik Antropov's play hasn't "merited" discussion of a contract extension. See ya, Nik. [TSN]

• The Columbus Blue Jackets are having a NASCAR-themed night this Friday, where "the first 15,000 fans in the building will receive a Blue Jackets cooler compliments of Nationwide Insurance." We're just going for the crashes. [BJs]

Martin Brodeur skates with the New Jersey Devils, but the arm is still bugging him. Rub some 'tussin in. To the bone. [Fire & Ice]

• No Viktor Kozlov on the ice today for the Washington Capitals, which means Michael Nylander skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom. [Capitals Insider]

• Dave Stubbs on the Montreal Canadiens' loss last night: "This is what the bottom of the barrel looks like." [Gazette]

• Is it time for Ray Shero to face the wrath of Pittsburgh Penguins fans? [The Confluence]

Mike Commodore states his case for the Norwegian Olympic team; remains hilarious. [Puck-rakers]

• Kudos to Cassie Campbell of CBC Sports for saying what the Canadian media has danced around admitting in its coverage of the Phoenix Coyotes: "If the Phoenix Coyotes move back to Canada it would mean full circle for the franchise that started as the Winnipeg Jets. It would also mean full circle for Wayne Gretzky." Now, will Jim Balsillie be the guy to do this? [CBC Sports]

Michael Ryder of the Boston Bruins will miss 2-3 weeks with a broken face. [Bruins Blog]

• Finally, it's a high-school "Winter Classic" featuring Lake vs. Ottawa Hills at Ottawa Park, hopefully without any ear-bleeding rendition of "Take Me Out to the Hockey Game" like we heard at Wrigley: