Puck Headlines: Opening night Versus ratings; Halak’s pads

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.

Together, St. Louis Blues' netminder Jaroslav Halak's left and right pads form St. Louis's Gateway Arch. And, if you can get four into a room with Milla Jovovich, you can summon the Divine Light. [Jeremy Rutherford]

The numbers are in from Thursday's night season-opening doubleheader, and they're not too shabby. The Bruins/Flyers opener drew 874,00 viewers, the best regular-season numbers ever for Versus and over 140,000 more than last year's opening night. The Penguins/Canucks late game, however, only drew 342,000, about 90,000 less than last year's opening night late game. Is that due to Sidney Crosby's absence, the presence of the Canucks, or both? [Puck the Media]

This infographic on hockey fights is really well done. [Hockey Monkey]

• If you feel like having your heart broken, this story on the late Josef Vasicek's relationship with Nathan and Skyler Catling, two boys suffering from muscular dystrophy, will probably do it: Nathan Catling will be at the RBC Center on Friday when the Hurricanes honor Vasicek, who died in a plane crash in Russia on Sept. 7. He was 30. Four days after the crash, in Sault Ste. Marie, Skyler Catling's heart gave out. He was 21. [News Observer]

The difference between Crosby and Ovechkin commercials: the theme of most Crosby commercials is Crosby's wow factor, whereas the theme in most Ovechkin commercials is Ovechkin's weird factor. [Backhand Shelf]

Stephen Harper, the prime minister of my daffy home country of Canada, has weighed in on the nation's hottest debate: is it called a hockey "jersey" or a hockey "sweater"? PM says 'jersey,' " Harper's associate director of communications, Andrew Mac-Dougall, said Thursday, in an email to the Ottawa Citizen. "As PM notes, they used to be actual sweaters and so it was appropriate to refer to them that way, but it is now accurate to say 'jersey,' " Mac-Dougall wrote. No word yet on how this has impacted Harper's approval rating in a country that clearly needs to get its priorities straight. [Montreal Gazette]

If that wasn't embarrassing enough, Harper -- again, the prime minster of Canada -- requested 14 tickets to the Winnipeg Jets' opener, and was only given 2. [Winnipeg Free Press]

• Elliotte Friedman talks advanced stats with Thomas Drance. He says many neglect the "heart" element. You know who never underestimates the power of heart? Captain Planet. [Canucks Army]

The Phoenix Coyotes season slogan is "Hockey the Hard Way", which should elicit tittering aplenty, if their landing page from this morning is any indication:

I'm not even sure there's another way to take this. [Phoenix Coyotes]

Ottawa Senators' GM Bryan Murray: "I expect us to be competitive." Of course, the question was, "How close do you think you are to the first overall pick?" [Ottawa Citizen]

Meanwhile, Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk is ensuring that, win or lose, the Senators will have unlimited money until the end of time by developing a nasal spray to treat anorgasmia. [Barstool Sports]

Previewing the New York Islanders' forward lines, which will feature Nino Neiderreiter on line 1, so get used to hearing his name. Get used to saying it, too. [Hockey Independent]

Country star Paul Brandt will be penning the theme song for the IIHF World Juniors in Alberts this December. Seems odd to me that they'd commission a new song when "Children Are Our Future" is just sitting there. [Calgary Herald]

The Saskatoon Renegades, a midget hockey team, will track all hits received by its players this season in an effort to monitor the effects of head contact. [The Star Phoenix]

Matthew Lombardi scoring the game-winner Thursday night in Toronto is one of this season's early feel-good stories. Matt Cooke scoring two in Vancouver, on the other hand, was more of a feel-gross moment. [Sportsnet]

NHL helmets now have numbers on the top of them, and SB Nation wants to know if you are for this, against this or indifferent. It's a shame they don't have a "super duper don't care" option for people like myself who think the aesthetic difference is so minimal this doesn't even deserve a poll. Now if the numbers were elsewhere on the helmets, like, say, the front of the visors, effectively blinding the players, that would be different. I'd be for that, on comedic grounds. [SB Nation]

The naked Kesler baseball card would make the spokes of your bike blush. [PITB]

And finally, this will never happen again in the history of the NHL. [Reddit Hockey]

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