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.
• Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was invited by the Minnesota Wild to lead the crowd in the traditional "Let's Play Hockey" chant. Please witness one of the shining stars of professional football somehow stretching that phrase to five words and ignoring at least one of the mandatory ones. We want to see this man at Wrigley this season. [Randball]
• The Top 10 hockey quotes of the year. Alas, Alexander Semin's precedent-setting remarks about Sidney Crosby on this very blog rank a lowly eighth. And while it's great to have a Sean Avery quote in the mix, how can you not choose the Sean Avery quote of the year? [THN]
• ESPN's impressive respect for the NHL is evident whenever they use graphics from before the lockout. [On Frozen Blog]
Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: TSN, MSG). With only two games on the schedule after last night's hockey crack-rock, the Sabres can remain in the playoff hunt with a win. Of course, they have a 1.2 percent chance of making the postseason, so it's not so much a "hunt" as it is a dream wrapped in a wish wrapped in the complete impossibility that the Sabres are going to make the cut. But to have the season end against the Leafs ... yucky.
• Look, we don't want to say it was a lackluster finish for the Los Angeles Kings ... but putting up a story on the team Web site because two players were nominated for Phil Esposito's "Espo Awards" on XM Radio? What's next? Dustin Brown being the 91st caller for Jonas Brothers tickets? [Kings]
The top sports headlines of the day
• Why we love Florida Panthers beat writer George Richards of the Miami Herald: He writes about Panthers logos in the arena urinals, and interviews the team president about it. "Inside the urinals in the men's rooms on the lower level of the BankAtlantic Center are advertisements for a local urologist. Weak stream? I thought it was an ad for an internet company. But whatever." [On Frozen Pond]
• The St. Louis Blues finally control their own fate for the playoffs. [Hockey Guy]
• The San Jose Sharks are getting Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe back in the lineup. Slowly but surely, we're going to see the awesome power of this full armed and operation battle station by playoff time. Ya hear that, Blues? [Y! Sports]
Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. EST; TV: FSOH, CSNC). The Blue Jackets need one point to
see Rick Nash openly weep like a man-child after six seasons of hockey hell clinch a playoff berth for the first time in franchise history. The Blackhawks can clinch home ice in the first round with a victory. And if you don't think that's important, get this: Capt. Dehydration himself, Nikolai Khabibulin, is starting on back-to-back nights for the Hawks.
• Expecting too much, too soon from the Chicago Blackhawks? That's unpossible! [Sportsnet]
• Hooks Orpik looks at the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff possibilities and reminds us that if they finish in the six seed, we won't see Caps/Pens until the conference finals because of home ice. Assuming the Capitals and Bruins both win in round one, mind you. [Pensburgh]
• "Lokomotiv Yaroslavl defeated Ak Bars Kazan 3-2 Wednesday on the Snow Leopards home ice to move one win away from clinching the inaugural KHL Gagarin Cup." So that would be a speeding Lokomotiv then? [THN]
• Earl Sleek makes the case for Bobby Ryan as the Anaheim Ducks' MVP, and in the process may have provided some ample fodder for those who feel the kid deserves the Calder. [Battle of California]
• The Tampa Bay Lightning would like to add Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy to their ever-changing collection of defensemen. [Lightning Strikes]
• Finally, Capitals Kremlin took a look at the most frightening mascots in the NHL. But we're interesting in this clip they ran that features a Vancouver Canucks wedding to the gentle tones of "Who Let the Dogs Out?"