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.
• Alexander Ovechkin throws down the gauntlet against his challengers in the 2009 Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge, a.k.a. the all-star trick-shot competition: "I want to defend this title ... It's a pretty cool title. I'm happy I have it." His rivals this season? Alexei Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. Please recall Leahy reporting last year that the goalies in this competition might be "a celebrity goaltender or one from a lower league like the ECHL." Could be awesome. [NHL]
• Speaking of the all-star game: "The NHL has reached the tipping point with All-Star Game fan voting. It needs to be scrapped. Now." [Hockey News]
• Interesting look at how the South Florida economy has affected its sports teams, including the Florida Panthers. Includes the team's decision to cancel its variable pricing surcharge and this ticket plan: "Select any three-game package for as low as $51 and receive a free ticket to a fourth game if the Panthers win any of the three. The package includes $21 in vouchers from Gulfstream Park." [Miami Herald]
• Beat writer George Richards offers his take on the Panthers' finances. [On Frozen Pond]
• Los Angeles Kings rookie sensation Drew Doughty was injured on a hit by Tampa Bay's Evgeny Artyukhin last night. Coach Terry Murray is pretty pissed off that Doughty's teammates didn't answer to bell to respond to the hit. Hey, it's LA; everyone's laid back. [LA Times]
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
• In the latest in the Globe & Mail's ongoing series, "As the Phoenix Coyotes burn," David Shoalts reports that "The Phoenix Coyotes' losses this season are expected to hit $45-million (all currency U.S.) once their debt servicing is taken into account." Kyle Turris just took a second job running tables at Glendale Applebee's. [Globe & Mail]
• The Forechecker on "newspapers in the Dallas area are cutting and consolidating their sports coverage." Boo. [On the Forecheck]
• Montreal and Boston don't like each other very much, which is obviously great for hockey. [ESPN]
• Hockey writers are strange creatures. When you ask Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey whether the team is trying to trade a massive package of players and picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Vincent Lecavalier, despite Tampa's denial, what do you expect to hear? "Oh, yeah, actually we're in negotiations, and those bozos in Tampa are lying in order to get the media off the scent. Why do you ask?" [Globe & Mail]