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.
• In a translated Russian interview after the Pittsburgh Penguins' loss to the San Jose Sharks, star Evgeni Malkin makes it clear that something is just off about his team this season: "To compare with the league favorites we are considerably behind: we lost to the Rangers and the Sharks. We have enough problems. The only excuse we have is that we have a lot of injured players. But we have to play well even without them." [FanHouse]
• Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has signed a four-year, $22 million deal that includes a no-movement clause, according to the Ottawa Sun; a deal that virtually ensures that Alfredsson will spend the rest of his playoff disappointments with the Senators. [Off the Posts]
• David Singer of HockeyFights.com advocates renaming the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. He'd have to retire first, but would anyone find it blasphemous if a goal, an assist and a fight became the Jarome Iginla Hat Trick? [Hockey Fights]
• It's Tampa Bay Rays Appreciation Night for the Lightning and Senators this weekend in Tampa. Any fan wearing Rays gear gets a 50 percent (!) discount on tickets for that game, which will end in the second period and finish up on Monday. [Lightning Strikes]
• Well, this is interesting: Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith claims that he's the one who went to Oren Koules and asked to do a "Halloween helmet" with a "Saw" theme. For a movie that just-so-happened to be produced by the owner, and just-so-happened to come out that month. Uh-huh ... and Melrose shops at Wal-Mart. [THN]
The top sports headlines of the day
• Our new best friend Kevin Smith and daughter Harley at an Anaheim Ducks game where ... hey, where the %$#@ is the NJD swag, sir? Jersey represent! What is this, sympathy for 2003?
• With the team losing, attendance down and Rick Nash centering the top line, the spirits of Columbus Blue Jackets fans have never been lower. Ditto Blue Jackets beat writers, evidently. [Puck-rackers]
• Celebrating Semin. [CBC Sports]
• Really interesting college hockey story from James Murphy: College Hockey America may not survive as an NCAA conference because the seven-team conference is now down to four schools: Robert Morris, Bemidji State, Alabama-Huntsville and Niagara. This after Wayne State decided to drop its hockey program. The conference needs six teams for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but there are costly exceptions. [NHL.com]