Here are your Morning 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.
• Kudos to David Dye for pulling together a wickedly entertaining read about NHL trash-talking on the ice from guys like Matthew Barnaby, Shawn Burr, Steve Ott and others. (At least the level of trash talk that can be printed in a family newspaper.) Two classics: Barnaby calling Lyle Odelein "Cornelius" from "Planet of the Apes" and Ott telling Riley Cote of the Philadelphia Flyers: "Hey, Cote, enjoy that free Gatorade because you're going to have to pay for it when you're working construction next year." [Detroit News]
• Ted Montgomery takes a look back at some of the hockey players whose outlandish behavior makes Sean Avery look like a choir boy. Because Avery never wore "gaudy medallions that set off his droopy mustache and wild hair," contracted HIV or was named Bob Probert. [USA TODAY]
• The NHL has a Web cam set up at Wrigley Field to watch the Winter Classic construction. Worth it just to see if a drunk Bill Murray attempts to ride a golf cart through center ice at 3 a.m. [NHL]
• Larry Brooks looks at how the New York Rangers would be affected by the addition of Mats Sundin, both with regards to the salary cap and team chemistry. If only someone was dumb enough to take either Wade Redden or Michal Rozsival off their hands ... that sound you just heard was Glen Sather looking through his address book for "Koules." [NY Post]
• Rick Tocchet and Vincent Lecavalier have a long meeting about leadership in the locker room. Vinny really hasn't taken enough flack for the way the Bolts' season has imploded, for the second year in a row. [Lightning Strikes]
• Interesting story about how the Flyers have worked with a "fan advisory panel" to help schedule season-ticket and playoff payment mailings in this crappy economy. [Philly.com]
• Mike Keenan gets defensive about being booed by St. Louis Blues fans last night, reminding them that ownership "forced" him to trade players like Brendan Shanahan, Al MacInnis and Brett Hull. [Flames Insider]
• The Nashville Predators hosted an event where 500 spectators worked on their golf games and received lessons from PGA professionals. Hopefully the players got some good tips they can use after the first round of the playoffs. [Play Golf]
• Hockey Canada defines an "outlaw" leagues as being "all leagues which operate outside the auspices/sanctioning of Hockey Canada programs in direct competition with those offered by Hockey Canada." One player who participated in an "outlaw" league is trying to fight the system after being blackballed. [The Bracebridge Examiner]
• Finally, here's Sarah Spain talking with Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks about his violent family. His grandmother used to slap him in the back of the head while eating. It's a fun story, but honestly ... Sarah Spain. Goodness.