Puck Headlines: After tragedy, fight debate reaches critical mass

Here are your Weekend 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.

• The death of Ontario Hockey Association player Don Sanderson of the Whitby Dunlops has sparked more than conversation in the hockey world. With the 21-year-old's funeral scheduled for Monday, police in Brantford are investigating the Dec. 12 fight between Don Sanderson and Corey Fulton, in which Sanderson lost his helmet and was knocked unconscious when his head hit the ice. He was in a coma before his death on Friday. [Toronto Star]

• The OHA plans to address rules about players keeping their helmets on and fastened, and John Mackinnon of The Edmonton Journal believes that's where the conversation should begin for the rest of the hockey world: "The tentative dialogue about more-secure helmets, about rules forbidding players from removing them during fights are small steps in the right direction." [Edmonton Journal]

• The Brantford Expositor's editorial page took an even-handed, sobering look at the issues. [Expositor]

But as we said when this story first broke, the Sanderson tragedy is primarily a moment for soap-boxing for the anti-fighting crowd. Like David Langford of the London Free Press: "The arguments about permitting fighting are predictable and shallow at best. Rules against blows to the head are gaining in momentum. Unless, of course, it involves a punch." [Free Press]

• Like Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, whose anti-pugilism screed actually begins, "Go ahead, accuse me of opportunism in the face of tragedy." [THN]

• Don Cherry is taken to task in a Sun Media column for being a fighting advocate: "We decided moving from horse and buggy to a car, and from typewriters to computers should happen. But fighting should always be an integral part of hockey?" [Sun Media]

• Finally on the Sanderson front, Edmonton Oilers Coach Craig MacTavish is in favor of stricter helmet rules for players in juniors and the minor leagues. My, how times have changed. [Edmonton Sun]

Mats Sundin skates for a full practice with the Vancouver Canucks, and could decide to make his season debut this week. Wait, it's Sundin's decision? Make that Valentine's Day. [TSN]

Pavel Datsyuk scored a pretty darn sweet shootout goal for the Detroit Red Wings against the Minnesota Wild. Wind-aided, of course. [World of Isaac]

Corey Perry gets a four-game suspension for elbowing the Flyers' Claude Giroux. Adam Gretz makes the expected Sean Avery suspension comparison. Expected in the sense that the NHL has asked for it through its actions. [FanHouse]

Mike Zigomanis will be placed on injured reserve by the Pittsburgh Penguins. [Penguins]

• Pierre LeBrun tells everyone that the all-star game is a joke not worth getting into a tizzy over, before chastising fans for not voting Alexander Ovechkin in as a starter. [ESPN]

• Congrats to Loser Domi and Dave from Carolina On Ice for taking over for the great Kevin Schultz on Barry Melrose Rocks. Good luck to all. [BMR]

• Jibblescribbits has had enough with the media's constant distortions: "The Colorado Avalanche do not have Royal Blue in their color scheme!" [Jibblescribbits]

• Some Winter Classic leftovers, from "Red Wings suck" to Blackhawks fans holding up a Red Wings logo in the Wrigley stands. [Snapshots]

• With Ryan Craig, Mark Recchi and Matt Pettinger with Andrej Meszaros and Marek Malik on the power play, was Tampa Bay Lightning Coach Rick Tocchet sending a message to the MVP Line? [Bolts Report]

Capitals Kremlin's take on the Alexander Semin/Marc Staal fight. Brilliant:

Los Angeles Kings Coach Terry Murray gives the state-of-the-Anze Kopitar address. [Inside the Kings]

• Team USA had a fun and energetic practice today at world juniors, now that the pressure of having to represent their country with success on the world stage has gone down the crapper. [NHL]

• Reading between the lines, it appears Rocky Wirtz knew that firing Denis Savard as Chicago Blackhawks coach would be rather easy without that pesky self-respect thing getting in the way. [Third Man In]

• The glorious Steve Dangle on Canada's world juniors win over Russia and other hockey topics. [YouTube]

• Oh, and if you somehow missed the highlights, here's Jordan Eberle's game-tying goal with 5.4 seconds left and, below, the shootout between the teams. Amazing stuff:

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