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.
• Tampa Bay Coach Rick Tocchet may have been speaking in general terms, but he basically wrote "War and Peace" between the lines regarding what was wrong with the team under Barry Melrose. Tocchet, to Damian Cristodero: "Guys will know what is expected and what their role is, and once they hit the ice, that's all they'll have to worry about is their play. They don't have to worry about where am I going, I don't know what I'm doing. They're going to have a ton of information." [Lightning Strikes]
• Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail endorses voter fraud and thinks it would be dandy if six Montreal players started the all-star game. We're sure he, and every other Canadian journalist, would write the same thing if this were six Atlanta Thrashers robo-voting their way to the midseason classic. Uh-huh. [Globe & Mail]
Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. EST; TV: TSN, RDS). The Canes' offense has gone from poor to pathetic over the last six games, scoring just 1.83 goals per game and winning only two of them. Meanwhile, the Habs have put out an Amber Alert for the League's best power play last season.
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. EST; TV: VS). OMG! Dueling live blogs tonight on Melt Your Face Off and Puck the Media! That's two great places to talk about how Marc-Andre Fleury's is now officially choking the last breaths out of the Puck Daddy fantasy hockey team.
• Craig Hartsburg would like to keep his job, so he had reunited the Pizza Line of Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson. [TSN]
• We're not going to do it any better than Paul's headline: "Claude Lemieux Signs With Sharks, China Sharks." Ni hao, Pepe! [Kuklas]
Preview: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: None). Let's forget about all the Melrose/Tocchet/Stamkos/Koules hullaballoo for a moment and focus on the real issue at hand: A battle between division rivals who reside in the same state is not going to be televised this evening. Good lord.
Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. EST; TV: RSW). Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal sets the scene: "Dustin Penner is in, Fernando Pisani is on crutches, and Mathieu Garon is in limbo for the Edmonton Oilers' game tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets." The MLS Columbus Crew will be honored before the game for winning the Eastern Conference and facing New York in the championship round. (Yeah, we're confused, too.) That would be the New York Red Bulls. Not to be confused with the late, great New Jersey Red Dogs of Arena Football, named after really awful beer.
• Eric McErlain on whether Gary Bettman knew about loans from NHL owners to prop up 'Boots' Del Biaggio's bid for the Nashville Predators, and whether they would be any repercussions if he did. [FanHouse]
• Alexander Semin is practicing again for the Washington Capitals, but he's doubtful for the team's first game of a West Coast swing. [Capitals Insider]
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames (9:30 p.m. EST; TV: ALT2, RSW, Yahoo! Sports). Who the hell would have guessed the Avs would have the advantage in this goaltending matchup, based on November's numbers? That said, Miikka Kiprusoff has played very well against Colorado and won't have Joe Sakic pestering him this evening.
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes (9:30 p.m. EST; TV: CSNC, FSAZ). Chicago begins a six-game, 11-day road trip in Phoenix, and Coach Q is happy the Hawks are hitting the road. Did you know only six Coyotes players have more than one goal this season?
• Markus Naslund prepares to meet his old mates with the Vancouver Canucks. "I envisioned myself retiring as a Canuck. But things happen, and more and more I was uncertain about the future at the end of last year, and after the season I thought that most likely I wouldn't be there." [Blueshirts Blog]
• Finally, With Leather linked up a "bears playing hockey" video, which is the green light for us to present to you: Bears. Playing. Hockey.