Puck Headlines: Will Penner's degradation inspire or deflate Oil?

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.

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: RSW, FSD). Oilers Coach Craig MacTavish publicly disgraced forward Dustin Penner after benching him recently, saying among other things that Penner is "not competitive enough or fit enough to help us, so why put him back in? He's never been fit enough to help us." Ouch. He's not going to play in Detroit tonight, either. Hell of a five-year, $21.25 million restricted free agent signing, eh? Yet according to David Staples of Cult of Hockey, Penner might have reason to believe he's been set up to fail by his coach. Could this be a bold bit of psychology, or did the coach cross the line? Either way, we somehow believe the Oilers' admission that Penner's been a disappointment won't bring Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke any closer together.

• Mark Spector of Sportsnet wonders if the ax will fall on MacTavish or Mike Keenan first for their team's underachieving seasons. Either way, we're going to be losing a quote machine. [Sportsnet]

• Barry Melrose is out. Rick Tocchet has improved his ice time. And now Steven Stamkos has been elevated to the wing with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. So long, excuses -- it's now Calder or bust, so to speak. [Lightning Strikes]

Preview: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (7 p.m. EST; TV: MSG, RSN). Wade Redden faces his old teammates from Ottawa, who no doubt hope to see the kind of stalwart defense he provided them in his last few seasons with the Sens. Coach Craig Hartsburg held one-on-one meetings with Ottawa players; sometimes you need that warm, personal brand of drill sergeant bellowing to get your point across.

Marc-Andre Fleury is injured and day-to-day for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Which means the Puck Daddy fantasy team is down to two Thrashers goalies not named Kari between the pipes. Sigh. [NHL]

• Where does Barry Melrose end up next? Our guess: "Top Chef." They could always use more ham on that show. [Puck the Media]

• Inside the strange, somewhat surreal decision by Doug Gilmour to leave the Toronto Maple Leafs organization to become head coach of the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs. "There is no way to call this to a hockey move. The only way to feel good about it is if Gilmour is trying out the coaching side before he buys the team lock, stock and barrel. Otherwise, this is intended to keep the diehards from organizing a Bring Your Own Pitchfork night at the K-Rock Centre."  [Out of Left Field]

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at New York Islanders (7 p.m. EST; TV: RSW, MSG). If you're at Nassau tonight and you see some inebriated Irish dude sitting in really good but really cheap seats he purchased online, taunting anyone within shouting distance about how none of these players "can carry Max Talbot's jock," then please buy Leahy a beer, will ya?

• After Scott Clemmensen started two games against the Capitals last weekend. New Jersey Devils Coach Brent Sutter refused to specify a starter for the Devils' game on Thursday against Florida. Or, alas, offer a third option of "none of the above." [Fire & Ice]

• With Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals have two players in the NHL's "Three Stars of the Week" for the first time in franchise history. Then again, the NHL's only been doing this since 2006. We bet Kelly Miller and Mike Ridley totally could have qualified back in the day. [On Frozen Blog]

• For no other reason than this is a rather cool piece of sports photography:

Preview: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: VS, RSN). These two teams have already played twice, splitting games back in Boston. The Bruins have earned at least a point in 10 of their 12 games up in Toronto. Tim Thomas is likely to get the nod between the pipes.

• The Dallas Stars placed B.J. Crombeen on waivers today. We assume for more reasons than that his name sounds like a coffee shop for adorable children. [Dallas Stars]

• Over in the NCAA, The River Hawk blog gives the "Ham-n-Egger of the Weak" award to goalie Matt DiGirolamo of UNH after he gave up 15 (!) goals in one weekend. "This is like kicking a cycloptic, three-legged puppy who recently lost its tail and sense of smell in a terrible accident involving a wheat thresher." [River Hawk]

Preview: San Jose Sharks at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. EST; TV: CSBA). Despite his playing some pretty poor goaltending last night in Chicago, David Pollack of the Mercury News assumes that Brian Boucher will be back between the pipes based on today's practice. It'll be hard for the Sharks to top their game against the Blackhawks for sheer unpredictability; can Dan Ellis top his insanely good performance against the Sharks during the Preds' West Coast sweep?

• Finally, we have no idea about the context or the teams or the date of his YouTube clip, but one thing is clear: This dude talking smack in the penalty box just got shown up by his own backup goalie. Snap!

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