Puck Daddy - NHL

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.

• If you are a disgruntled DirecTV subscriber because of the Versus mess, Mike Chen has your guide to acquiring free stuff from a customer service rep. [Chen]

• Waiver craziness through the NHL today! Among those placed on waivers: Chris Bourque(notes) by the Washington Capitals (wow, that's gotta hurt for a kid that was getting solid press coverage before the team's game in Ray Bourque's old stomping grounds); Jay Leach and Rob Davison by the Devils; Brad Lukowich(notes) by the Vancouver Canucks; Joey MacDonald(notes) by the Toronto Maple Leafs; Christoph Schubert(notes) by the Ottawa Senators; Mike Lashoff and Mike Lundin(notes) by the Tampa Bay Lightning; according to Kevin Allen, Atlanta's Nathan Oystrick(notes), Phoenix's Ryan Hollweg(notes) and Pittsburgh's Ryan Bayda(notes) have been put on waivers as well. 

• Wow: Martin Skoula(notes) signs a free-agent deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. [The Confluence]

Rob Schremp(notes) was claimed on waivers by the New York Islanders, which is actually a wonderful place for an underwhelming young talent to prove himself. [TSN]

• The biggest stunner of the day: Vancouver Canucks Calder Trophy contender Cody Hodgson(notes) has been sent back to the OHL after struggling in the preseason. And several hundred fantasy teams make a roster move ... [Vancouver Sun]

• Great look at John Tavares(notes) from Chris Botta, collecting a wide range of opinions (including yours truly) about how the Islanders prospect's fortunes this season. [FanHouse]

• ESPN's preseason power rankings are out. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 10th-best team in the NHL. There are 22 teams better than the Columbus Blue Jackets. We have no idea how much beer hallucinogens time it took to compile this list. [ESPN]

• The Montreal Canadiens, tasting the local nightlife? No way. [25 Stanley]

• Part of the Nashville Predators' new ad campaign: "Welcome To Smashville." As in: "Simply put, Smashville is the raw ingredient of the ‘IT' in ‘IT STAYS WITH YOU.'" If these "Smashville" commercials don't involve moonshine, we're going to be very upset. [On The Forecheck]

• The Florida Panthers meet a deadline with top prospect and first-rounder Dmitry Kulikov(notes). [On Frozen Pond]

• Is it time for Eric Staal(notes) to become a super-duper mega star? [Canes Country]

• What life is like when you lose your job to Andrew Raycroft(notes). [Slam! Sports]

Chris Pronger(notes) on expectations from Philadelphia Flyers fans about this year's team: "June is a long ways off. To play under that scrutiny and that pressure each and every day is exhausting." [CSN Philly]

• It never ceases to amaze us that when Canadian pundits like Associate Dean Powers rail against Bettman as a failure with a failed strategy, they usually (a) fail to understand that any expansion strategy was approved by the owners who employ him, and hence the excrement is on all of their hands; and (b) fail to mention Bettman's role over the last decade in solidifying the Canadian franchises that at one point were looking as portable as Phoenix. [Toronto Sun]

Theo Fleury(notes): Hall of Famer? [Sun]

• Wayne Gretzky, back to the Kings? [National Post]

Maxim Afinogenov(notes) has earned a spot on the Atlanta Thrashers, via Bob McKenzie. [TSN]

• Finally, check out the top plays of last season, via SoprtsCentre

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