Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Via reader Blair Jordan: "Just thought I'd share this with you guys, a good buddy of mine is in Afghanistan right now, climbed a mountain and this is the result." Our favorite thing in the world today. Thanks for sharing.
Preview: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET. His absence left a hole in the lineup, and in the hearts and minds of many hockey fans. His return was greatly anticipated. Now, finally, the moment has arrived: Welcome back from injury, Zbynek Michalek. Alas, it appears NHL.com has dedicated all of its resources to the return of Sidney Crosby. The goaltending matchup is Marc-Andre Fleury against some Swede the Penguins are going to torch.
[Y! Sports Fan Shop: Buy Sidney Crosby jerseys and other gear]
Preview: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. ET. Battle of the shutout streaks! This rivalry blood feud would have been the VERSUS game of the night, but the coverage was shifted to the Penguins game. Silver lining: Sidney Crosby has played against many of these players before, so they should all feel blessed.
Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET. Alex Semin? Healthy scratch. And yet still has two minor penalties in the box score before the game. Go figure. Fun fact: Sidney Crosby was concussed in a game against the Washington Capitals.
Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET. That other non-Crosby-having Pennsylvania team against the Hurricanes, who are trying to give Paul Maurice a stay of execution. What, no Jagr? Well, no, and no Pronger or Coburn either.
Preview: New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers, 8:15 p.m. ET. Pete Deboer against the team that fired him. Said Marty Brodeur: "Besides talking to you guys about it, he hasn't really mentioned it to us." Sidney Crosby would have. Born leader, that one.
Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET. Fun game here. The Stars try to get rolling again against the Oil and their kid-led power play of doom. Two of the NHL's most surprising goalies, Khabibulin and Lehtonen, square off. Sheldon Souray vs. his old team. It's not Sidney Crosby shift-by-shift blog fun, but it'll do.
Preview: Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET. Curtis Sanford gets the nod for the Jackets. Hey, here's an uplifting story: The Columbus City Council expedited its approval of a public purchased of Nationwide Arena "before the contract was written because the Columbus Blue Jackets' creditors feared the team would run out of money and wanted assurances that help was on the way." Silly council, let Sidney Crosby take over the debt load. He can handle it.
• Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for high sticking Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris in NHL Game No. 276 Saturday night in Buffalo, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
• San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for slashing Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas in NHL Game No. 284 Saturday night in Dallas, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
• More great stuff from Steve Lepore in his Random cities series, here interviewing Billy Jaffe. [Puck The Media]
• Does anyone want a Rick Nash, slightly used? [THN]
• The new Dallas Stars owner is a huge Dallas … Cowboys fan. [SportsDayDFW]
Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Pat on Scott Gomez. Wow:
Useless as boobs on a nun.
But more expensive.
Bold Prediction: Crosby picks up a power-play helper … and nothing else.