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  • Getty ImagesSad news from the worst of former child stars who married hockey players that are heirs to a Canadian furniture story fortune: Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie have announced their separation.

    From E! Online:

    "Hilary Duff and husband Mike Comrie have mutually decided to an amicable separation," Duff's rep says in a statement. "They remain best friends and will continue to be in each other's lives. They are dedicated to loving and parenting their amazing son, and ask for privacy at this time."

    Here we thought if she could put up with the teeth grinding she could do anything …

    They began dating in 2007, got engaged in 2010, got hitched in Aug. 2010, and have a son together who will be two years old in March. Comrie retired from the NHL in 2012 due to a nagging hip ailment.

    Duff became a staple at New York Islanders games during Comrie’s time with the team, getting photographed with fans in orange fright wigs. She was also once photographed on a balcony with Comrie, but we’re not exactly

    Read More »from Hilary Duff, Mike Comrie split up; we’ve reach the end of Duffrie
  • Getty Images

    Brian Rafalski has spent two and a half years in retirement, but hours before his first game back in competitive hockey, he says he's at ease.

    "There'll be some dust that has to be shaken off," Rafalski said by phone Friday afternoon.

    On Thursday, Rafalski signed a contract to join the ECHL's Florida Everblades, who he's spent the last two and a half years with as team chaplain, as well as a youth coach. Last week, the Detroit Red Wings granted Rafalski his release in order to allow him to pursue this opportunity otherwise, according to MLive.com's Ansar Khan, he "would have been Red Wings’ property for three years from the time he filed his voluntary retirement papers in May 2011."

    The 40-year old defenseman, who has three Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic silver medals, will make his debut against the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night.

    So why no? And is a return to the NHL his end goal?

    Read More »from Brian Rafalski on signing in ECHL: ‘I wouldn’t call it a comeback right now’
  • 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.

    • Not good times to be a Flames fan.

    • You Tube sensation Oliver Wahlstrom is going to college at the University of Maine ... in five years. The 13 year-old has committed to the school and now holds the honor of being the youngest NCAA hockey recruit. It's a verbal commitment (non-binding) by a kid whose voice hasn't changed yet. [Buzzing the Net]

    • Some jerk rummaged through NHL photographer Dave Sanford's storage locker and stole irreplaceable NHL items. Some of the items taken: 20 NHL or international jerseys, two decades worth of playoff pucks, two Nikon camera bodies, autographed photos of many players, including Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, and more. [London Free Press]

    • Blackhawks CEO John McDonough brought the Stanley Cup to 4-year-old Cameron Babiarz over the summer. Babiarz suffers from Rett syndrome, and now her dad, Bill, is running 150 miles across Illinois to raise awareness and money to fight the illness. [DNAinfo Chicago]

    • Analyzing all the current streaks, both positive and negative, across the NHL. [On Goal Analysis]

    • Diving into the Russian Olympic roster and choices made by management. [From Russia With Glove]

    • In 1981, former Boston Bruin Bobby Carpenter was called by Sports Illustrated the 'best U.S. prospect they've seen. Ever.' Now that his playing days are done, he is focusing on his daughter Alex's dream come true as a member of the U.S. women's hockey team headed to Sochi. [CBS Boston]

    • It's the 'most depressing time of year' as everyone heads back to school and work after the holidays. In the spirit of the season, Dallas Guzzwell takes a forensic look at the Oilers goaltending situation Ilya Bryzgalov and Devin Dubnyk [Dobber Hockey]

    Read More »from Edmonton goalie forensics; 13 year-old commits to Maine; Pond hockey in the polar vortex (Puck Headlines)
  • Getty Images(Yes, that's Patrick Ewing, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Mark Messier.)

    Reddit’s “ask me anything” Q&A sessions are great fun, especially for hockey. Sometimes they even have real live living legends online instead of hacks who can’t skate.

    The latest big hockey name to do one: Mark Messier, Hockey Hall of Famer, who participated in an AMA on Thursday.

    With that, we bring you the Top 5 greatest Mark Messier answers on Reddit...

    6. Mark Messier vs. potato chips

    Please recall Mark Messier’s legendary potato chip commercial, and need for a snack-savvy agent.

    5. Mark Messier and the worst change in hockey

    This is great because it speaks directly to the idea of having 3-on-3 overtime, and how awesome it was back in the 1980s. See, everything from the 80s can come back around again in 2014: 3-on-3 hockey, neon clothes, cocaine.

    Also, this Q&A is great because Messier completely ignores being hailed as King of The Baldies.

    4. Mark Messier and crazy goalies

    Read More »from Mark Messier’s top 6 most fascinating answers on his Reddit AMA
  • Getty Images

    Tim Murray was officially named general manager of the Buffalo Sabres Thursday and as soon as the questions began, the future of head coach Ted Nolan was brought up. Many new GMs want to bring in their own head coach, not one left over from the previous regime. Nolan, for his part, has done his job well with the interim tag.

    Since taking over for Ron Rolston on Nov. 13, the Sabres have gone 8-11-4 after winning four of their first 20 games of the season. It's not enough to think playoffs, but enough to stabilize a ship that was headed for deep, dark waters.

    "Teddy’s my guy right now," said Murray during his introductory press conference Thursday. But appearing on the FAN590's Hockey Central at Noon on Friday afternoon, Murray pretty much confirmed that "right now" will soon be "beyond this season."

    Q. Is the interim tag still on him then? Or did you remove that?

    MURRAY: "Today it is."

    ...

    "...yes, the interim tag is still on, but we probably will do something for him there that it

    Read More »from Sabres GM Tim Murray plans to drop Ted Nolan’s ‘interim’ tag
  • LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

    It's a (gettin' down on) Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

    Special Guest Star: Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Federko joins us to talk St. Louis Blues. Plus Chris Johnston on the fate of Randy Carlyle.

    • Marek on Tim Murray's hiring.

    • The Dougie Hamilton penalty.

    • NHL news and notes.

    Question of the Day: Name one penalty you'd like to change or tweak in the NHL? Email at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.

    Read More »from Marek Vs. Wyshynski Podcast: Bernie Federko, the fate of Leafs coach and Game Show Friday
  • Getty ImagesThe Winnipeg Jets are unequivocally awful. They were awful last year when they couldn't make the playoffs out of the Southeast Division playing exclusively against Eastern Conference teams, and predictably, upon having moved to the West, they are even more awful than they were before. Last year they finished with 53 points in 48 games. As of right now, they're 10 back of that mark in just two fewer games.

    This is easily explained: The Southeast is the worst division in North American sports history, and Conference III, despite the number of mediocre-or-worse teams in its ranks, is a tough out for just about any team if only because of the quality of the Blackhawks and Blues. If the Jets were ill-equipped to deal with the Hurricanes and Panthers of the world, and made few substantial personnel changes in any part of the organization over the summer, then their current 8-14-4 record against the Western Conference, including 5-11-3 in their own division, is something to which you could have set your watch on Oct. 1.

    Of course, there's not a human alive who could have looked themselves in the face coming into this season and expected anything that even resembled success; that the Jets were 24th in the league entering last night's games seems just about right. You might have even been able to make a reasonable argument that they could have been worse than that.

    But all the problems experienced this season — and there have been many — have nonetheless spawned a lot of speculation as to the reasons why they exist, particularly in the last few weeks, as the Jets have gone 3-6-0 in their last nine even as they swing through the East and should, in theory, be in a better position to pick up points.

    These reasons have ultimately boiled down to the same kind of thing that partisan observers always blame when they don't care to actually see the real and obvious answers right in front of them: Nebulous nonsense. The Winnipeg Free Press has argued in the last few weeks that the team is now just being defeatist, they're leaving Ondrej Pavelec overly exposed, the team's “leaders” are as much a reason for this as the coach, and Dustin Byfuglien turns the puck over too often. The Winnipeg Sun, meanwhile, posits that the core stinks, they're not doing “the little things,” and they need to play with a more “blue collar” organizational philosophy, like the Bruins.

    Refutations of the above points, respectively, should include: “that doesn't matter;” “that also doesn't matter;” “that's not true;” “the positives in Byfuglien's game significantly outweigh the negatives, and I'm sorry about saying 'outweigh' and 'Byfuglien' in the same sentence;” “that also isn't true;” “they're not even doing the big things;” and “the Bruins aren't a blue collar team.

    (Actually, that Bruins thing is just mind boggling. They don't have any superstars? Do “the best two-way center alive,” “the best defenseman of his generation,” and “the best goalie in the league” not count?)

    And so now, let's take a look at the ways in which the Jets are actually making big old laughingstocks of themselves on the ice.

    1) Their goaltending is among the worst in the league.

    This is well-trodden territory, obviously, but Ondrej Pavelec is the one of worst starting goalies in the NHL. Among those with 30-plus appearances, his .901 is second only to Devan Dubnyk's .895 in terms of sheer hopelessness.

    That they've limited his appearances significantly this season (34 in 46 games, compared with 44 in 48 last season) is wise, because he only continues to get worse; after posting back-to-back subpar seasons of .906 and .905 in 2011-12 and 2013, respectively, he's down below that this year, which is amazing.

    The league average save percentage is .913, meaning that Pavelec is 12 points behind where he'd need to be to even be the definition of middle-of-the-road. He's allowed an even 100 goals on 1,011 shots, and a goalie with a league-average save percentage would have stopped an extra 12 of those shots. Given the old standard in “advanced” stats that every six goals' worth of goal differential is worth two points (one win), then we can safely assume that Pavelec has cost the Jets two full wins, or four points in the standings.

    With that having been said, the difference between 43 and a theoretical 47 points is obviously not that significant in the grand scheme of things, but 12 additional goals is a big swing. Especially considering the team's goal differential right now is minus-14.

    It's worth noting, too, that the Jets are 11th in team offense, but 27th in defense, more or less for this reason.

    The thing is, though, that the argument you hear from the many inexplicably remaining Pavelec defenders is that the team plays worse in front of him than they do Al Montoya, and that's why the save percentage is as bad as it is. Which brings us to...

    2) They're not improving their possession numbers.

    The results in the standings over the last three seasons, all of them spent in Winnipeg, have

    Read More »from A list of things actually wrong with the Winnipeg Jets (Trending Topics)
  • Getty ImagesThe Florida Panthers are losing money.

    Not the team’s owners, who make a profit from operating the BB&T Center for concerts and other events. But the team itself loses “between $20 [million] and $30 million on an annual basis,” according to president Michael Yormark.

    The solution? You guessed it: Broward County taxpayer bailout!

    According to the Sun Sentinel, Yormark and the Panthers are asking for their contract with the county to be revised, so that additional tourism taxes will pay for $70 million in costs that the Panthers shoulder for their arena. Here are the basics for their proposal:

    The Panthers would shed the $4.5 million annual payment; it would be picked up by the county. The county would contribute $500,000 a year toward maintenance, and would pay any of the property insurance tab that exceeds $1 million. The Panthers would swap the land it has rights to build on, 12 acres south of the arena, in favor of 22 acres on the arena's north side, where the Panthers hope a

    Read More »from Florida Panthers losing $20 million annually; promise competitive team if county funds them
  • Getty ImagesThe danger of going on a reality show is how one moment can come to define you, for better or worse. Like Jessica Simpson’s confusion over whether the tuna in her “Chicken of the Sea” can was actually poultry. Or Bruce Boudreau getting so riled up that his profanity manifested in metaphorical gibberish.

    Thus, after HBO "24/7", Randy Carlyle is The Guy Who Couldn’t Work A Toaster, which is an unfortunate trait when you’re also seen as The Guy Who Can’t Coach The Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Both seem so simply in concept: Play your best players instead of having a slavish reliance on role players of limited skill; have a defensive system that doesn’t result in over 36 shots on goal against per night; execute a gameplan that stresses solid positioning and simple plays, elementary stuff that’s supposed to be second-nature for paid professionals.

    Or, in other words: Put bread in the hot thing and watch it come out as toast.

    But in both situations, Carlyle’s either getting toasted or not getting

    Read More »from The last days of Randy Carlyle
  • At 18:23 of the first period in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton was whistled for tripping Kings center Anze Kopitar.

    He would be whistled for another penalty just three seconds after that initial infraction expired, at 26 seconds of the second period. The official explanation was “interference,” but that could be because the NHL doesn’t have a formal penalty for “inconceivable brain fart.”

    As Brad Marchand played the puck around the boards of the Boston zone near the end of their penalty kill, it traveled to center ice. That’s where Hamilton reached out with his stick to corral the puck … with both of his skates still firmly planted inside the penalty box.

    Which is fairly illegal.

    Whoops. His transition to offense was quickly scuttled by a return to the sin bin.

    From NHL Rule 56.2:

    A minor penalty shall be imposed on any identifiable player on the players’ bench or penalty bench who, by means of his stick or his body, interferes with the movements of

    Read More »from Dougie Hamilton takes NHL’s dumbest penalty of season (Video)

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