Puck Daddy - NHL

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.

Puck Previews: Boudreau on rift; suspension outrages Pacioretty

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. This is going to be a surreal night in D.C., as Capitals legend Dale Hunter makes his coaching debut following the firing of Bruce Boudreau. The team has lost 5 of 7. His number hangs from the rafters. He owns one suit. His practical jokes are legendary. He will have, as he said on Monday, butterflies in his tummy. Alex Pietrangelo(notes) is out with the flu for the Blues. Caps killer Jaroslav Halak(notes) is between the pipes. Jason Arnott(notes) returns to DC after a stint with Washington last season. Follow Yahoo! Sports NHL columnist Nick Cotsonika as he watches the game from DC.

Preview: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. Kirk Muller makes his debut for the Canes against division-leading Florida and his former teammate Kevin Dineen.

Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m. The Pens have Robert Bortuzzo(notes) and Alexandre Picard from their farm team in Wilkes-Barre, as Kris Letang didn't take part in the gameday skate. Here are some keys to the game from Blueshirt Banter.

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. Great battle tonight between the Coyotes' penalty kill (fourth in the League) and a Blackhawks power play that's been a buzz saw lately. Meanwhile, Dan Carcillo(notes) is back after being a healthy scratch and, also, is going to host his own weekly music show on WGN called "The Bomb Shelter." All Neil Diamond. Just a guess.

Preview: Nashville Predators at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m. It's Brian McGrattan night! Should the Calgary Flames trade Jarome Iginla? Here's a great post that examines a Malkin To The Kings Iginla rumor, and a trade to Dallas.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading

• Bruce Boudreau on an alleged rift with Alex Ovechkin(notes): "It's so far from the truth," Boudreau said. "We got along, I think, famously." [ESPN]

Max Pacioretty(notes) disagrees with the NHL's 3-game suspension for his hit on Kris Letang(notes), as well as with the NHL relating it to the Cooke/Savard affair. Furthermore: "I haven't been hitting very much at all this season because I never know what the outcome is going to be," continued Pacioretty who leads the team in goals with 10 so far in 2011-12. "To be completely honest with you, I'm afraid to throw a hit because when you're on the forecheck, the defenseman turns his back to you and puts himself in a vulnerable position. It's hard for a player when people are expecting you to finish your checks." [Canadiens]

• Red Fisher rips the Penguins for allowing Letang to return to the game. [Gazette]

Sidney Crosby(notes) would like to put the brakes on any "feud" with Bryan Murray: "It's ridiculous. It's a play that happens in every game. I guess that it's me, it's dissected and analyzed a hundred times more. I really think they're making something out of nothing. If they want to keep beating it around, they can. I don't have anything else to say about it. I think it's ridiculous we're still talking about it three days later, to be honest with you." [National Post]

• Is Roberto Luongo(notes) a backup goalie? [Globe & Mail]

• The Rangers have kicked the tires on Bobby Ryan(notes) reports the NY Post. As have roughly 28 other teams, and parts of Europe.  [SI]

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Patrick on Jeremy Yablonski, banned for the year by the KHL:

This guy doesn't even deserve to be on any ice on this planet and that goes for the rest of them. I understand that you need someone that knows how to fight when your guys are getting nailed on the ice, but these guys are just out there to fight anyone and everyone. I am all for fights in NHL, but when its like this, its just pathetic and should be charged with who knows what. They are looking to kill someone and if they kill someone they will just hide behind the skates and say it was an accident and get away with it and make the rest of the hockey leagues around the world look bad.

We're pro-fighting and anti-death, for the record.

Bold Prediction: Jaroslav Halak spoils Dale Hunter's debut in Washington.

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