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.
• Sincere thanks to everyone who came out to Bailey's in Arlington last night for our Awards party with Japers' Rink. Great time had by all, and really nice to say hey to some readers and friends for the first time. We'll do it again soon.
• EJ Hradek of ESPN reports that the NHL is planning a doubleheader on Jan. 1, 2010, with Winter Classic games at Fenway Park in Boston and "Calgary's McMahon Stadium, the site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics." Initial reaction: Awesome, and as long as the gimmick is confined to one day on the NHL calendar, doubleheaders are a welcome (though hopefully not annual) addition.[ESPN, with more from the Calgary Sun; H/T to Puck Buddy Tim N.]
• Matt Murray lobbies for a Winter Classic in LA. [Life in Hockeywood]
• With the first pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders select ... Matt Duchene? Greg Logan of Newsday thinks the Isles are leaning towards selecting the player many feel is the No. 3 choice behind John Tavares and Victor Hedman. It would be a very, very interesting sell to fans, for sure. [Newsday]
• Chris Botta moves Duchene ahead of Hedman on the Islanders' draft board, and repeats that the agent for both Tavares and Duchene believes one of them will be an Islander. [NYI Point Blank]
• So naturally, Ryan Kennedy has John Tavares going first overall in his THN mock draft. [THN]
• Tavares on whether he'd be surprised by dropping down to the No. 2 slot and the Tampa Bay Lightning (or whomever): "Not really. New York's been pretty quiet, not letting anything out what they want to do. There's a lot of rumors floating around. Anything can happen. You have to expect that and be ready for anything." [Lightning Strikes]
Get today's sports news out of Los Angeles. Here's the latest on the Dodgers, Lakers, Angels, Kings, Galaxy, LAFC, USC, UCLA and more LA teams.
• Your celebrity poker champion in Vegas: Scott Harnell of the Flyers. We'd like to see him try and bet that thing on the roulette table. [700 Level]
• Curl offers an NHL Awards fashion review that's very much worth your time. On Zach Parise: "He'll even smile and oblige to your mother's insane need to have the sofa moved. He'll move the couch while your mother decides she likes where it was originally. He'll move it back without any complaints." [Wrap Around Curl]
• Mike Chen pans the NHL Awards show: "Vegas good, Awards Show bad (or as bad as it ever was). Keep it in Vegas for the shenanigans around the show, but the regular pomp and circumstance remains too painful to watch." [Chen]
• Steve Lepore with five suggestions for the NHL Awards after last night's telecast. We agree on the celebrity front, but we'll say this: How cool were those banners that hung over the stage? [Puck The Media]
• Scott Niedermayer will announce his intentions to the Anaheim Ducks by the end of next week: "Maybe now more than last time, I realize I still do enjoy playing hockey, but there are other factors, as well. I'll let Bob know maybe next week. Obviously, the draft is coming up." [Ducks Blog]
• If the Oilers can lose Gretzky, the Vancouver Canucks can lose the Sedin Twins. So there you go. [Province]
• Hey, what the hell happened to Jim Balsillie: Canadian Hero? [Sun Media]
• The Phoenix Coyotes make a move that screams, "Hey, look, we still have a front office!", sending center Steve Reinprecht to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Stefan Meyer and signing forward Petr Prucha to a two-year deal. [TSN]
• Congratulations, Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets. No, seriously: Congratulations. (Unless she's your sister, in which case: Congratulations on continuing the now two-year tradition of Calder winners brightening up the night with siblings.) [YouTube]
• Highlights from Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren's chat with the media on Wednesday night, including thoughts on Jay Bouwmeester and Marty Biron. [Broad Street Hockey]
• Good coverage of Steve Sullivan's Masterton Trophy victory last night, as the Nashville Predators forward talks about his long road back and his love of the Preds. Still a little stunned Zednik didn't win. Though not as stunned as Zednik was when he was given a reason to be in the running for the award. [On The Forecheck]
• Glen Murray loses an arbitration case against the Boston Bruins. [Globe]
• The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today the appointment of Steve Konowalchuk as assistant coach. In addition, the club announced that Adam Deadmarsh will serve as the team's video/development coach. [Avs]
• Gordie Howe goes to bat for Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the handshake thing: "He didn't mean to offend anybody, he's just young and he's a little shy. He got caught up but he will mature." [Sun Media]
• Finally, Zdeno Chara's speech was pretty moving last night: