Puck Headlines: NHL steps in to save Phoenix Coyotes

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.

• Here's some coal in your stockings, Coyotes fans: Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks the news that the NHL is working with Phoenix to "find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any 'significant' financial decisions the team makes." For the most part, it sounds like the NHL is working hard to renegotiate the team's lease with the city to ease the financial strain. But this line is rather scary: "No one knows for certain if the Coyotes can finish out the season under the current financial climate, and at some point the specter of bankruptcy looms large." Sort of sucks the fun out of that all-you-can-eat package. Good luck, 'Yotes fans; try to avoid reading the Globe & Mail for the rest of the month. [ESPN]

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. EST; TV: AZTV, ALT2). Anyhoo, the Coyotes are still playing, which means we'll get Ilya Bryzgalov against Andrew Raycroft, who gets the nod after playing well during a recent road trip. Hello, goalie controversy. We've missed you in Denver. 

Preview: Boston Bruins at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. EST; TV: VS). There probably was a time when watching the Bruins and Devils on VS would have been the hockey equivalent of shooting NyQuil during a Merchant-Ivory film festival. Well, we know the Bruins are fun; and Tom Mantzouranis makes the case that these aren't your old, boring Devils, either. Please to be enjoying our guest preview on Cornelius Hardenbergh.

Preview: Atlanta Thrashers at New York Islanders (7 p.m. EST; TV: MSG). Chris Botta pens a terrific "suck it up, enough with the crying over injuries and just win the damn game"-type piece on Point Blank today. It'd totally be locker room material, if most of the healthy Islanders were old enough to read.

Preview: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (7 p.m. EST; TV: MSG, CSN). The Caps will be missing Sergei Fedorov, Mike Green, Tom Poti, Alexander Semin, Jeff Schultz, Chris Clark, John Erskine and Donald Brashear tonight, and Capitals Insider adds that Brent Johnson will ride the pine in favor of Jose Theodore due to illness. Thanks to Mark Teixeira, the Rangers could win this game 167-0 and still not make the back page of the NY papers on Wednesday.

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• The 10 top stupidest hockey stories of 2008. The list so nice Sean Avery made it twice. [Two-Line Pass]

• Inspired by last night's overtime controversy, a Buffalo Sabres writer comes up with several rules changes to get rid of "grey areas" in the NHL. If it's grey areas were talking about, then we're starting with Niedermayer's playoff beard, for sure. [Let's Go Sabres]

Preview: Los Angeles Kings at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. EST; TV: FSW, FSOH). Jonathan Quick gets the call against Steve Mason. You're the Blue Jackets. Your hotshot offensive rookie just went down for the season. You're desperate to make the postseason. Do you move Pascal Leclaire, and will anyone take him?

Preview: Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. EST; TV: RSN, CSP). No Filip Kuba tonight, but Daniel Alfredsson will play for the Senators as they begin their super-duper mega-important road trip from hell. Danny Briere will travel with the Flyers on their upcoming road trip. Until he hurts himself carrying their luggage or something.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: KDFI, RSN). Vesa Toskala could return, but the Leafs are being coy about their starter tonight. The Stars could have Brian Sutherby in the lineup. Not to put too fine a point in its struggles this season, but Dallas is the underdog in this game based on their records. Goodness.

Preview: Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: FSS, FSFL). Tomas Vokoun against his old team, and Pekka Rinne gets the nod for the Preds. George Richards seems pretty upset about some billboard in front of the Panthers' arena; any Florida readers know what that's about?

• The caption reads: "The club mascot of Hannover during the DEL ice hockey match between Hannover Scorpions and Augsburger Panther at the TUI Arena on December 21, 2008 in Hanover, Germany." We say: NIGHTMARE SCORPION!

• For the NCAA geeks in our readership, here's a preview of holiday tournaments around the U.S. for college hockey. [The College Hockey Blog]

• We're just about in love with his idea to increase attendance downstairs: "Make the lower bowl seats the 'cheap seats'. Renovate the upper bowl, making the seats and aisles wider. Provide wait staff in the upper bowl, so that fans in the rarefied air only need leave their seats to go to the restroom or home. In your advertising, emphasize the fact that the upper bowl actually affords a better view of the game (which would be an all-too-rare occurrence of "truth in advertising")." [OGA blog]

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: SUN, FSPI). Ryan Whitney returns to the lineup for the Penguins. It's about time we get to see the power of that fully armed and operational battle station called the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: FSMW, FSD). According to Goalie Post, we should see Ty Conklin against Manny Legace in this one. How will the Blues react to Coach Andy Murray's scathing comments?

Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. EST; TV: FSS, KSTC). Crazy: There's been a string of car robberies during Wild games, and police are claiming that it's because of out-of-the-area fans who are dumb enough to, like, leave a laptop on their front seat.

Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames (9 p.m. EST; TV: KDOC, RSW). Could be an emotional one, as Jean-Sebastien Giguere makes his first start since attending his father's funeral.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. EST; TSN, CSBA). The Sharks are 17-0-2 at home. Wow. Nabokov is 14-0-1 with a 2.05 GAA at home this season. Wowie wow.

• Finally, it's Classic Game Room (and a Penguins fan) vs. Atari 2600 Ice Hockey. Awesome.

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