Semin homecoming; Wisniewski breaks foot; Mike Smith contract update (Puck Headlines)

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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.

• Via Leahy, here’s a classic shot of Brett Hull at St. Louis Blues casino night, because this is how you eventually become some team’s Ambassador of Fun, right Dallas?

• Dallas Stars MVP candidate Kari Lehtonen on his progress back from an injury: ““I was probably 75 percent yesterday, I am 85 percent today, I’ll be 95 percent tomorrow and then 105 on Thursday.” [Dallas Stars Blog]

• Don Maloney said the Phoenix Coyotes won’t talk contract with Mike Smith during the season because no one owns the team yet. Sigh … [FS Arizona]

• The good news: Rene Bourque does not have the flu. The bad news: Rene Bourque has a concussion. OK, make that the karmic news. [Hockey Inside Out]

• James Wisniewski has a broken foot, joining Jack Johnson in the infirmary and leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets’ blueline rather thin. [Puck-Rakers]

• Peter Laviolette does not believe that practice makes perfect. [Daily News]

• Becca on the return of Alex Semin to Washington: “There's no doubt that when he does so, he'll be facing a decade of memories - and so will we. Gauging the reaction of the hometown crowd when a longtime Cap returns for the first time is tough to do, but the hope is that there will be at least some sort of positive response, a warm reception, some acknowledgement of the great hockey we were privileged to see while The Other Alex roamed these streets.” [Japers’ Rink]

• The PuckBuddys on the return of Sasha: “But I predict the Verizon faithful are going to let him have it, with a few scattered apologists wailing, ‘Guys, but that wrister!’ He’s been an alright pickup for the Hurricanes with three goals on the season. Or, differently, as many as Ovechkin had in his last game. And speaking of Ovechkin, my God, we might get to see Ovi absolutely train track Sasha in the open ice. Think about that, and salivate over it. I need to go change.” [RMNB]

• Pierre LeBrun on the Anaheim Ducks’ goaltending: “I don’t believe there’s any chance Anaheim would move Hiller this season, not with the small yet impressive body of NHL work it has gotten from Fasth. Hiller at least finishes the year in Anaheim.” [ESPN]

• “In which Randy Carlyle encourages idiocy,” by Ryan Lambert. [Two-Line Pass]

• “A defenceman for the Nipissing University hockey team is under investigation after a video shows him punching a linesman in a weekend game.” Not just a punch, but an upper cut. [Slam]

• Cal Clutterbuck is placed on the IR by the Minnesota Wild. [FS North]

• Anders Lindback sits in favor of Mathieu Garon for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Said Guy Boucher: “[It’s] breathing time. I’m sure he’s like everybody else. He’s a little tired playing that many games, and now he’s going to get a bit more practice time not playing tonight.” [Lightning Strikes]

• Ben Affleck had the nerve to diminish Canada’s role in “Argo”, so now he thinks Wayne Gretzky is from Standish, Massachusetts too. [National Post]

• Karl Alzner of the Washington Capitals on playing for three coaches in a year: “"I never really expected anything like that to ever happen. You don’t love that, because it means usually that something is going wrong and we’re not playing good enough. That’s never a good feeling for a player. It has been cool from the standpoint of it has been three different systems and three different personalities. You get to learn how coaches tick, and you get to learn from a lot of great hockey minds. There has been some good, but it has also been some bad. I think we’ve got a really good one right now." [NHL]

• Pass It To Bulis on realignment for the Vancouver Canucks: “Finally — and this is the reason you should be excited about this realignment plan, short-term headaches notwithstanding — the Canucks will be making more California road trips. This means you have the option of making more California road trips. Great, cheap hockey, a highway littered with rows upon rows of orange trees, gorgeous grassy hills and In-N-Outs as far as the eye can see?” [PiTB]

• NHL Referees on pace to call over 650 more interference penalties this season than in 2011-12. [Backhand Shelf]

• Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi on his game: “I’ve been playing the same ugly but effective game since I was 18. If you pulled up college video of me, you’d be seeing me doing the same exact thing.” [LA Kings]

• Finally, here are some Montreal Canadiens fans getting ejected from a Tampa Bay Lightning game. “Here are some drunk montreal fans getting kicked out, the girl was trashed running to other section yelling at people they cut her off from drinks and she then took her husbands hat and threw it down where the Photographer is.”

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