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.
• The Detroit Red Wings (or at least their public relations department) have declared "here we grow again" (and here, we groan again) as the time for playoff beard growth is nearly upon us. Better still is the fact that fans will be able to send in their postseason facial messes to be posted on the team's official Web site, and will be able to vote on which Red Wing has the best playoff beard. Our money would be on Kris Draper, but honestly: How much can that dude grow before the end of the first round? (/Irbe'd!) [Snapshots]
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. EST; TV: RSW, KSTC). The Canucks begin the night tied with the Chicago Blackhawks (who are playing the Montreal Canadiens this evening) with 91 points; the Wild have 80 points, three in back of idle St. Louis. More importantly, the Canucks can move into first place in the Northwest Division with a win. Rick Rypien is back for Vancouver after being out since the fifth game of the season; great new for anyone who loves this sort of thing.
The top sports headlines of the day
• This would be Mike Myers at the "Dressed To Kilt" charity fashion show in New York. If only "The Love Guru" had been half this entertaining. [Celebuzz]
• Very interesting take in a Bettman-bashing world: Did the NHL lockout actually help reinforce the League to the point where attendance is surging and business is booming during the recession? [DC Pro Sports Report]
• CBC Sports has a poll asking fans for the greatest "turtle moment" in NHL history. We don't want to give away he's leading the voting, but his name rhymes with Flaud Schmushieux. [CBC Sports]
Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. EST; TV: KDOC, RSW). We've said all we need to say about this game, so please do check out Earl Sleek (Prediction: "Pronger gets booed") and Cult of Hockey, who has some analysis of former Oiler Todd Marchant's words about the "fishbowl" of Edmonton.
• Mirtle blogs about a few more ECHL teams folding thanks to our crap-tastic economy. [From The Rink]
• Star Ledger beat writer Rich Chere busts out the five ways the New Jersey Devils can snap out of their slump, which alternate from the whimsical (change the locker room music) to the practical (break up the line of Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner) to the frightening (have Lou Lamoriello come to the locker room to remind them all that, yes, he could be the coach at any moment). [Star Ledger]
• The Hockey Hall of Fame opens up its voting rules in order to allow more women in the Hall, telling voters they can nominate up to four men and two women every year. Ken Linseman and Mike Ricci wait patiently for rules regarding rodents to be amended. [Toronto Star]
Preview: Dallas Stars at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. EST; TV: KDFI, FSW). A great story for the Los Angeles Kings comes to an end for the moment: Kyle Qunicey is done for the season with back surgery. The Stars are in the weird twilight zone where they should be playing the younger guys but aren't officially "out" yet. Eh, just give Turco a few more starts. It'll take care of itself.
• Razor with some alternate universe fun for the Dallas Stars: "What if the Stars had remained healthy, kept Hagman and not signed Sean Avery, and not lost a young improving winger on waivers. What would their roster/lineup look like today - with 5 games to go in the regular season - and what would their record be?" [Razor With an Edge]