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.
• A Portland, Maine man faces charges of drunk driving, aggravated criminal mischief and burglary after he may have crashed a forklift inside a civic center and was found drunk atop an idling Zamboni. We may have ourselves a love connection, Mr. Woolery. [Maine News, via Deadspin]
• After reading this Time Out Chicago article on the Chicago Blackhawks/Detroit Red Wings rivalry heading into the Winter Classic, including the tradition of hurling octopi on the ice, the tireless George James Malik asks a valid question: "Can anyone possibly throw/slingshot/air gun an octopus onto the ice rink to begin with?" [Snapshots]
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. EST; TV: CSNC, FSD). Nicklas Lidstrom is out for the Wings. Mike Babcock's line about the Red Wings families vs. the Blackhawks families at Wrigley is pretty damn funny.
Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: RDS, SUN). The Bolts signed Team Canada goalie Dustin Tokarski to a three-year entry level contract today. Don't be confused when you see Marty St. Louis tonight: He's wearing a full-face cage after getting hit with a puck in practice. It's not a muzzle for saying the team is a bunch of selfish clock-killers.
• The Canadian Press is reporting the National Hockey League is looking at holding its annual awards show in Las Vegas. In other news, Puck Daddy will be providing exclusive, week-long coverage of the 2009 NHL Awards. [Sportsnet]
Preview: Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. EST; TV: CSN, MSG). Does the HSBC Arena have some sort of weird anti-Caps voodoo? Bruce Boudreau hopes not. Paul Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe are ready for the Sabres. Patrick Kaleta? Not so much.
Preview: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: NESN, FSPI, Yahoo! Sports). From the Elias Sports Bureau: "Sidney Crosby will play in his 250th regular-season NHL game when the Penguins host the Bruins tonight. Crosby needs two points to tie Mike Bossy for the fifth-highest total by a player in his first 250 career games. The top six are Wayne Gretzky (537), Mario Lemieux (423), Peter Stastny (403), Eric Lindros (360), Bossy (345) and Crosby (343 in his first 249 games)."
• Claude Lemieux cleared NHL waivers and will be assigned to the Worcester Sharks. No one put a claim in? Clearly, the market for 43 year olds that haven't played in the NHL for five years isn't what it used to be. [Sharks]
• ESPN's Pierre LeBrun takes a spin on the Wrigley Field ice: "The sun, however, could prove to be an issue. You really blinked when you made the turn at the third-base end and the sun blinded you somewhat. Some players wore eye black last season in Buffalo, and we suspect much of the same again Thursday. Tinted visors, perhaps?" [ESPN]
• Interesting look at how the coaches and players reacted to the ECHL's Fresno Falcons folding mid-season. [THN]
Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. EST; TV: CSP, CPPV, Yahoo! Sports). In his first public appearances as a Canuck, Mats Sundin makes an incredibly emphatic declaration of his faith in his new teammates: "I feel the Canucks have a good enough team to be strong in the playoffs."
Preview: Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. EST; TV: RSN, RSW). Don Brennan doesn't exactly have confidence in the Senators goalie not named Alex Auld: "Gerber is supposed to start in Edmonton tonight, and when I heard that I lost any sense that the Senators might snap out of their 12-game road losing streak."
• Finally, to get you in the New Year's spirit, here's how the Carolina Hurricanes ushered in 2008 ... with a giant lighted puck dangled over the ice in a rather empty arena. Get the noisemakers. And the vodka.