Puck Headlines: Can Balsillie still steal the Preds from Nashville?

Here are yourMorning 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.

• Boy, it would be nice if Nashville Predators fans didn't have to deal with this crap every few weeks. The Predators ownership group has bid for disgraced former partner "Boots" Del Biaggio's 27-percent share of the team, currently controlled by a U.S. Bankruptcy Count. There are rumors swirling in the NHL that billionaire Jim Balsillie will make another play for the team; and the U.S. economy could hasten relocation to Hamilton. The sticking point: Does owning Del Biaggio's share mean also owning the out-clauses that could allow the Predators to leave Nashville? [Globe & Mail]

• Optimism is running a little too high for the New Jersey Devils. President's Trophy? Seriously? [NY Post]

• In Round 1,967,000 of the Alexander Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby Wars, Japers doesn't agree that the Pittsburgh Penguins star should be drafted ahead of the Washington Capitals star in fantasy hockey. Meh, we'd take Stortini over both those bums. [Japers Rink]

• Coach Craig MacTavish calls the performance of his Edmonton Oilers "dismal" as they're run out of the building by the rival Calgary Flames. A shutout with no Miikka Kiprusoff? Ouchy. [Sun Media]

• The rumor about an Atlanta Thrashers new third jersey: "The Thrashers will don maroon with their name arched across the front of the sweater above the player's number - a lot like the Stars." Are third jerseys getting a little cookie-cutter, or is it just us? [Icethetics]

• A classic rock station in Lubbock is trying to save Texas Tech's club hockey team after the city council voted to shut down their rink. This is like the best episode of "WKRP" never filmed. [KCBD]

• Terrific interview by Craig Custance of The Sporting News today with Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke. Two bombshells: The Ducks will start locking up their incredible number of UFAs during the season (always dicey); but more importantly, Burke said he has no contact with the Toronto Maples Leafs as Ducks GM. "All discussions with Toronto are done by (senior vice president of hockey operations) Bobby Murray." [Sporting News]

• After the Ducks trade defenseman Sean O'Donnell to the Los Angeles Kings, Mike Heika wonders if the Anaheim defense is still good enough to win. [Dallas Stars Blog]

• The New York Rangers are lugging some 6,800 pounds of gear across Europe to start the season. At least two thirds of that have to be Lundqvist's pads. [Journal News]

Rick DiPietro could be back in practice for the New York Islanders by the end of the week. Sure would be dandy if he could stay healthy for more than 63 games this season. [Newsday]

• Chronicling the biggest draft busts who have a chance for redemption this season. Sorry, but Kari Lehtonen and Stephen Weiss don't belong in the same newspaper, let alone story, as Gilbert Brule when it comes to busts. [Vancouver Sun]

• Joe Pelletier takes a look at Roberto Luongo being named captain of the Vancouver Canucks and the history of NHL Rule 14-D, which bans goalies from wearing the ‘C.' "Some may say the captain's "C" is largely ceremonial, but realistically do you want your goalie losing focus while debating an illegal line change or the location of a faceoff?" Billy Smith and Ron Hextall laugh at your censorship. [Greatest Hockey Legends]

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Claude Giroux will likely start his season with the AHL Phantoms. [Philly.com]

• The Columbus Blue Jackets are dealing with the loss of Raffi Torres, who injured his shoulder in a fight with Ben Eager and will miss six weeks. Does this open the door for Nikita Filatov to make the roster? [Columbus Dispatch]

• Finally, despite some scheduling conflicts, President Bush is determined to have friend Mike Ilitch and the champion Detroit Red Wings visit the White House before his term ends. Might want to keep it on the down-low that Obama and Biden are now on the roster. Man, can't believe they gave away Justin Abdelkader's number like that:

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