Puck Previews: Rangers vs. Leafs; Calder Trophy debates

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.

Vancouver Canucks equipment manager and former Winnipeg Jets equipment manager Pat O'Neill stands beside a chair given to him commemorating his 50th birthday this week before the Canucks' game against the Colorado Avalanche. Meawhile, the rec room of Dave Babych is short a chair and a stool. [Getty]

Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. EST. Rangers Coach John Tortorella, on pulling Henrik Lundqvist(notes) last night against the Sabres: "I took Hank out for one reason: That I thought he was struggling, and I thought that at that point in time that we had a chance with Alex Auld(notes) to give us the best chance in that game." If it happens again at home against the Leafs, those games against the Flyers this weekend might be for pride. Watch the Game Live Via Hockey Night on Y!

Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. EST. The Jackets will have Rick Nash in the lineup against the Wings. Detroit is obviously looking at the playoff now rather than the summer, but George Malik offered a good rundown of the free-agent situation for the Wings, including the potential return of Jiri Hudler(notes). Jimmy Howard(notes) between the pipes against Columbus, as Detroit attempts to hop over idle LA for the sixth seed.

• Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games (like the ones in progress) on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page.

Evening Reading

• Great stuff from Michael Farber in his regular-season year in review, from bad coaching decisions to best and worst teams. [SI]

• USA Hockey creates the Brendan Burke Internship," which "will be given each year to a college graduate interested in pursuing a career in hockey operations." [Bruins Blog]

• How, exactly, did the Phoenix Coyotes get so damn good? [CBC Sports]

• As everyone wonders if the Mike Modano(notes) era is ending in Dallas, everyone seems to have forgotten that it will be the end of the Marty Turco(notes) era. [Defending Big D]

• No Thomas Vanek(notes) or Tim Connolly(notes) for the rest of the regular season for the Buffalo Sabres. (Ed. Note: Vanek back for Buffalo, and thanks to the comments for pointing it out.) [Sabres]

• "Nearly a third of all NHL players in 2009-10 honed their skills in college before making the leap to the pros." [Let's Play Hockey]

• The Calder Trophy debate is one of the hottest in hockey right now, as evidenced by the dust-up in our Puck Daddy Chat today. To that end, a real corker of a story: Should both Jimmy Howard and Tuukka Rask(notes) make the final cut for the Calder? [CBC Sports]

• Chris Stevenson's Calder pick: Tyler Myers(notes). [Ottawa Sun]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day:

That would be Jerk Store on the Ty Conklin(notes)/Lady Gaga admiration revelation:

+1 for the moustache

-1 for the gaga love

+100 for being the namesake for the term conkblock

Bold Prediction: St. Louis upsets Chicago on the road.

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