Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Attention: There will be a new Puck Daddy contest starting tomorrow. Get those crayons out ...
• Thanks to the dozen or so readers who forwarded this YouTube clip of Ray Emery having a bit of a moment after getting pulled from a KHL game. No sir, he would not like to wear that hat, thank you very much:
The venerable HF Boards are hashing out what, exactly, happened in this clip; indicating that the guy Emery is roughing is either a team doctor or a team massage therapist. Which led to this classic line somewhere in the thread: "How many massage therapists rub people the wrong way?" Sens Town has as rather unsettling theory of its own. Poor Rayzor.
Preview: New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: MSG+, FSPI, Yahoo! Sports). Sidney Crosby will be back in the lineup for the Penguins; and while the Pens haven't exactly played their best hockey lately, it is clear that "their confidence is not shaken the way some might suspect after two months of mostly lackluster play." Henrik Lundqvist gets the call for the Rangers.
• Speaking of New York, it's one of a majority of NHL/NBA cities in which hoops is beating hockey on television, even if the attendance figures are close or favor puckheads. In fact, according to Steve Lepore, only three markets have hockey beating basketball in television ratings. Can you guess them? (Hint: One of them isn't Atlanta.) [Puck the Media]
• We know it's important, but mention the word "escrow" and our eyes glaze over like we're watching a Book TV feature on President Garfield. Still, Puck Money reports that "that the second half escrow percentage, which is the amount of player salaries that are held back from them in order to cover any shortfalls of the league and its clubs, will rise to 22.5% from the first half percentage of 13.5." That site has some updated figures based on that projected and based on Daniel Tolensky's original reporting this weekend on HockeyBuzz. [Puck Money]
• Remember Corey Tropp, one of the two players suspended for the season by Michigan State for that attack on Steve Kampfer of Michigan? Well, after teammate Andrew Conboy dropped out of school, Tropp has decided to return to his Tier 1 junior ice hockey team, the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede. He'll keep his scholarship and take classes online. No, the NCAA eligibility requirements aren't a joke ... why do you ask? [Argus Leader]
• Meanwhile, University of Michigan campus police have decided not to press charges against any player in the incident, but are still looking into allegations that Kampfer's assaulted someone in the Spartans' locker room after the game. [Freep]
Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Calgary Flames (8 p.m. EST; TV: TSN, NHLN). Are the Buffalo Sabres the most dangerous dark horse in the NHL this season? And if so, will management yet again prey upon the dedication of its loyal fans by changing the logo to the aforementioned dark horse for yet another new Buffalo jersey?
• Jared Leto, Kate Beckinsale and someone disguised as Mike Ilitch celebrated Henrik Zetterberg's new contract. [AP]
• Catching up with Trevor Leahy, the kid who made those goalie pads that look like the netting behind him, as he gets international attention for his innovation. [Globe]
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. EST; TV: CSNC, FSW, Yahoo! Sports). Teemu Selanne said it's "possible" he could return tonight for the Ducks, who will face Nikolai Khabibulin this evening for the Hawks. Meanwhile, defenseman Duncan Keith talks to the Fort Frances Times about pretty much everything Chicago's done this season save for The Funeral Burgers.
• If on Jan. 28 you're writing things like "back-up Brent Johnson has outplayed No. 1 goaltender Jose Theodore so far" and "Mike Green might be the most unheralded defenseman in the league," it's entirely possible that USA Today is using some sort of Mad-Libs type system to create hockey columns. [Japers' Rink]
• Congrats to the Zurich Lions, who shut out defending champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk 5-0 for the European club crown and "the right to play an NHL team in a US $1 million challenge game." Condolences on the fact that it's one million in U.S. money. [AP]
• Hockey Joe decides Bettman is less Palpatine and more Dark Helmet. [Gross Misconduct]
Preview: Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks (10:30 p.m. EST; TV: TSN, NHLN). The Forechecker is mucho excited that the Preds have decided to reunite the line of J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan to juice the offense. This game and the following game against Minnesota may not be must-wins for the Canucks; but they're "better-wins."
• Schultz presents the NHL in the Year 2020. "Kansas City finally gets an NHL franchise when the NHL expands to 50 teams." [Barry Melrose Rocks]
• Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins send well-wishes to the Steelers before their game against the Ravens. Just go back and dub in "Cardinals." No one will notice.