Puck Headlines: Toews nearly back; Briere on hurtful hit; Islanders freeze out LaFontaine; bad KHL whiff

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.

• WHOA … we just had the weirdest dream in which the Florida Panthers had a Stanley Cup Playoffs commercial that featured the phrase "the Tallon blueprint." [On Frozen Pond]

• Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews is in the position Nicklas Backstrom was in recently for the Capitals: It's his call on when he returns from a concussion. [Sun Times]

• Bob Smizik lays the smack down on Mike Milbury: "His comments about Crosby could just as well have come from a loony, alcohol-sated Flyers fan as from someone who is supposed to have knowledge and insight into the game." [P-G]

• Milbury shows up again in this must-read Wall Street Journal piece about how the New York Islanders have cut Pat LaFontaine out of their history because of his friction with Charles Wang. Pathetic. [WSJ]

• Bourne, who obviously has a little connection with the Isles franchise, torches Wang. [Backhand Shelf]

• Kudos to James Wisniewski for seeing this thing to the end for the Columbus Blue Jackets: "I'm also pretty (upset) at the way things have gone. It didn't start well, the middle wasn't good at all, and now the end has been tough. But I'll be (darned) if I'm going to just sit out the rest of the season. I want to be out there." [Dispatch]

• Get ready for more 6:30 p.m. start times for playoff games this postseason. [Puck The Media]

• Congrats to Don Waddell for winning Worst GM in the NHL since the lockout. [Copper & Blue]

• Danny Briere complains that Joe Vitale of the Penguins was trying to hurt him … on a clean, open ice body check. Hey Vitale, next time no surprises: Butt end of the stick off the draw. That's the Briere way. [Frequent Flyers]

• Hockey jerseys in Africa, where they're a status symbol. (We seem to recall a larger story on this in recent years; still an interesting photo essay). [Times Colonist, via Brad Tribbeck]

• Jason Spezza on the Ottawa Senators in the postseason: "We're not just happy to get into the playoffs, so these next three games can be building blocks towards a successful playoff and that's the way we have to approach it." [QMI]

• This is the "Hockey Night In Canada" theme performed on the Hauptwerk Sample-Set of the 1845 Cavaille-Coll Organ, Church of the Madeleine in Paris by Bob Drayer.

• Ilya Bryzgalov will be between the pipes for the Philadelphia Flyers this evening against the Rangers. [Blueshirt Blog]

• No Tim Thomas tonight for the Bruins. [Providence Journal]

• 10 other games the Washington Capitals might regret losing. [Japers]

• A week after thanking the Hockey Gods for Ryan Miller's performance leading the Buffalo Sabres back into contention, apparently it's all his fault again. [Dave Davis]

• Patrik Elias for Selke? [In Lou We Trust]

• Rory Boylen casts his lot for Jonathan Quick as a Vezina winner: "Where would Los Angeles be without this type of performance from Quick? Despite all the firepower on paper, the Kings are 29th in offense and relied on him to keep them in the race. This speaks volumes to Quick's candidacy for the Hart Trophy as well. While I'd be hard-pressed to give it to anyone besides Evgeni Malkin, Quick is certainly in the conversation." [THN]

• Corey Masisak looks at Erik Karlsson's Norris candidacy. [NHL.com]

• Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts included this one on the Montreal Canadiens GM derby: "If the Canadiens do go with less experience in the Kirk/Picard chair (Patrick Roy, Julien Brisebois, Claude Loiselle, Vincent Damphousse, etc.) they must surround him with great people. Perry Pearn is under contract for another year and can do your prospect development. Will they ask the Wild about Blair Mackasey, Minnesota's director of professional scouting (a Montrealer with a great reputation) and Guy Lapointe (coordinator of amateur scouting)?" [CBC]

• An Oklahoman in the NHL? [Lighthouse Hockey]

• Finally, as far as point-blank open net whiffs go, we bow to you, Igor Makarov.

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