Here are your Morning 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.
• Heads Up: The Puck Daddy Hockey Rumors Chat is still on, only we're bringing the joys of Stanley Cup playoff smack talk into the mix. Please to be joining us at 1 p.m. EST for the fun.
• The Buffalo Sabres blow a big game at the Ottawa Senators, and Lindy Ruff blows a gasket in the locker room after a nine-penalty performance: "I'm embarrassed for our fans, embarrassed for the way we played the last 40 minutes. It's not acceptable this time of year." [Buffalo News]
The top sports headlines of the day
• Meanwhile, Die By The Blade is completely baffled by the Sabres' effort: "How do manage only 13 shots on goal in a game that means so much to your playoff hopes?" Darn good question, that one. [DBtB]
• There's been this raging debate in the last 24 hours about what effect the shootout has had on Brodeur's career and whether his newly minted career wins record needs an asterisk. While he has the most wins (27) of any goalie since the skills competition was implemented, Jordan Samery of The Hockey News crunches the numbers and determines that Brodeur would have needed 45 more games to catch Patrick Roy. [THN]
• New York Rangers Coach John Tortorella doesn't exactly dig the shootout: "It's a team sport for 65 minutes, then turns into an individual contest. But I don't make the rules. I just abide by them." So the dude abides? [Newsday]
• Hooks Orpik believes that it's time to shine up the Hart Trophy for the Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin. Should game-winning goals help determine an MVP, or is it a nebulous and meaningless stat like plus/minus? [PensBurgh]
• The Chicago Blackhawks are in a free-fall and Tim Sassone gives them hell of it: "This is serious hockey being played now and the Hawks are acting as if it's still December when they can wheel and deal offensively their way to wins." [Daily Herald]
• Down Goes Brown offers a hilarious collection of Toronto Maple Leafs "in the community" initiatives, like Burkie's Boys: "A local orphanage receives a donation of a nickel every time Leafs GM Brian Burke makes a media appearance." [DGB]
• From Puck Buddy Scott from Venice, it's "If the NHL Playoffs started today on NBC..."
• Detroit Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock contributes another classic for the quote book. Babs on opponents playing physical hockey against the Wings: "I think they think they're going to intimidate you or something like that. We think we're going to go on the power play." [Detroit News]
• Comedian Judah Friedlander from "30 Rock" wore a Trenton Devils jersey in "The Wrestler." On Saturday night, he's dropping the ceremonial first puck before the team's game against the Cincinnati Cyclones. In a related story, Tracy Morgan was found asleep at center ice in Albany wearing the River Rats mascot suit ... just the top half. [Devils]
• The Florida Panthers are going to be introducing a third jersey that bites off the styles of the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues sweaters. Which look awesome, of course, but is this already getting a little played out? [On Frozen Pond]
• The Peerless Prognosticator takes an in-depth look at the Washington Capitals special teams, and determines this: "Special teams -- an inability to draw penalties and an inability to kill them off -- could end up being what dooms this team." [Peerless]
• When six of the more notorious fighters in the NHL are averaging under 10 minutes a game and all have less than four points on the season, is that the ultimate argument against staged fights? [Wild Nation]
• Finally, here's a countdown of the Top 10 mid-air volley goals. Awesome, awesome stuff: