Puck Headlines: Sean Avery, Zen master, wins duel with Devils

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.

• Really fantastic piece by Jeff Klein of the New York Times today about Sean Avery's night against the New Jersey Devils, as the New York Rangers pest refused to fight a pair of willing combatants and was thrown to the ice like a rag doll at one point. But in the end, it's his Zen cool that won the day. [NY Times]

• Spector offers a glimpse at the free-agent market for goaltenders, with names like Scott Clemmensen of the Devils and Ty Conklin of the Detroit Red Wings topping the UFA list; but will someone put in a bid for Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild? [Spector]

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• Has Roberto Luongo's 18-4-1 run for the Vancouver Canucks propelled him to the forefront of the Vezina Trophy debate? Better question: Will it be enough to trick voters into forgetting he plays in the Western Conference, and thus isn't eligible for the award? [Vancouver Sun]

• Forget Michel Therrien and the loss of grit in the locker room; the real problem with the Pittsburgh Penguins was those powder blue jerseys, as they went 3-5-2 when wearing them. So now they're in the back of the closet until next fall. We're sure the NHL is thrilled to hear that arguably its best-selling third jersey is in mothballs and/or has a voodoo curse. [Post Gazette]

• The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to sign NCAA star Christian Hanson of Notre Dame, the son of Dave Hanson of "Slap Shot" fame. Fighting Irish to Maple Leaf ... yeah, that's about right. [Sportsnet]

• Why are the Hockey Gods smiling upon the St. Louis Blues and smiting the Columbus Blue Jackets? [Hockey Guy]

Brian Boucher crushes the soul of San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton by only giving him a "six" in a "rate-my-bod" competition. Good thing it wasn't a "rate my postseason success" competition. [Sun, via Kukla]

• An in-depth feature story on Puck Daddy-approved Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, in which we learn that he is "an accomplished alto saxophonist equally adept at Beethoven and Coltrane" and his mystical connection to Mr. Bruce Springsteen. [Boston Globe]

• With his team out of the NCAA tournament, what will the future hold for James van Riemsdyk and the Philadelphia Flyers? [Philly.com]

• Your Atlantic Division Bill Masterton Trophy nominations, awarded to the player that "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey": Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, Flyers forward Mike Knuble, Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen, Rangers forward Blair Betts and Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton. [NHL.com]

• Your Northeast Division Bill Masterton Trophy nominations: Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Teppo Numminen of the Buffalo Sabres, Patrice Brisebois of the Montreal Canadiens, Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators and Ian White of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wait ... Ian White? [NHL]

"The Dallas Stars couldn't help but notice that the Phoenix Coyotes were playing a very subtle defensive system in their own zone." [Getty]

• Sad news: The Phoenix Roadrunners become the third ECHL team to cease operations after the League lost the Augusta Lynx and Fresno Falcons this season. Oh, the cruel irony of the Roadrunners folding while the Coyotes live on. Meep-meep! [Arizona Rubber]

• Very interesting look at the Ottawa Senators, that spans from the recent antics of Jarkko Ruutu to the very palpable hope for the future. [SENSHobo]

• Woody Paige believes that the Colorado Avalanche should be given an infusion of free-agent millions, while hiring Patrick Roy as head coach and Bob Hartley as assistant coach. It would all be much more entertaining if he was yelling this advice at Skip Bayless or Jay Mariotti. [Denver Post]

• If you played the hockey quote cliché drinking game with this story about the Edmonton Oilers and their playoff chances, you'd be hammered by Shawn Horcoff's "The playoff spot is still right there, we just need to win." [Edmonton Sun]

• The tons of Semin compilation on NHLOL. [NHLOL]

• Finally, it's possible this is the worst fight of the season, from Brandon Prust and Steve Begin last night. Never good news when both brawlers have the balance of a newborn fawn. Yuck:

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