Here are your 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.
• As per the NHL's agreement with the buck huntin'/cage fightin'/occasional hockey channel Versus, any game that feature non-Canadian team scheduled for prime time on Monday or Tuesday nights can only be televised by the "Show Us Your V" network. Since the channel is showing the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils tonight, that meant a huge game between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes was in danger of being kept off the air even for local fans. The NHL has lifted the ban for the Southeast showdown ... and provided you have Center Ice PPV, you can watch it. As Bubba wrote: "Give Versus the first choice to select any game they want, and then allow the teams not selected to operate as usual. Is that too difficult of a concept to grasp?" [Canes Country]
• Jeremy Roenick believes that Sidney Crosby is the hockey equivalent of a rice cake in an interview: "I think he's too quiet, too hum-drum, too cliched. I love the kid as a hockey player, but I think he can be more spectacular if he steps up and shows a little personality." In other words: Make Gretzky's head bleed, son. [Sun Media]
The top sports headlines of the day
• After a season of rumors, signs are pointing to George Gillett finally putting the Montreal Canadiens on the selling block. We always suspected Bob Gainey was losing on purpose in a "Major League"/Rachel Phelps scheme to make the price more manageable. Can't wait until Jim Ballsillie puts in his bid and starts selling Hamilton Habs season tickets before he actually owns them. [Times Online]
• For the college hockey fans all geeked up over the NCAA tournament bracket: An interview with selection committee chair Steve Cady and some analysis on where critical teams fell in the bracket draw. [Western College Hockey]
• As we said to an e-mailer over the weekend: Alexander Ovechkin had more assists in his rookie season with the Washington Capitals than Brett Hull had in any season of his career. So knock off the "he shoots too much!" nonsense. It's sort of what he's paid to do, you know? [Sun Media]
• In an article about the Buffalo Sabres' playoff bubble nearing its popping point, The Puck Stops Here writes about Ryan Miller: "He has never had a Vezina calibre season or anything." We maintain he was having one this season, and the Sabres' collapse without him is indicative of that. [TPSH]
• James Duthie on Evegni Malkin playing in the shadows of Crosby and Ovechkin: "That contrast was clear at an after-party at the NHL All-Star weekend in Montreal. Ovechkin danced madly atop a couch in a VIP area overlooking the club, four girls in tow, several more climbing over one another looking for a chance to... umm... play on his line. Meanwhile, 30 feet away, Malkin sat quietly with a couple of friends, unnoticed, and seemingly content that way." Is "play on his line" a suitable euphemism for intercourse when discussing a hockey player? [TSN]
• Mirtle breaks down the (inferior) ESPN attendance numbers from last year to this year, and discovers that the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are among the teams who've suffered a decline at the gate. The Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues have seen increases. At least one of those teams has been doing some slight discounting. [From The Rink]
"I am watching you, Focker. You step out of line, and I'm taking you down. Down to Chinatown."
• Larry Brooks makes the claim that the draft lottery encourages tanking, but also makes this interesting point: "By the way. Gary Bettman lost whatever authority he might attempt to impose on teams to ensure they play their strongest 'anti-tank' lineups when he allowed teams to send home and sit out players leading up to the trade deadline." [NY Post]
• Manchester Monarchs rookie Jonathan Bernier thrives thanks to selective amnesia. [NHL]
• R.I.P. Walt Poddubny. [Globe & Mail]