Puck Headlines: Versus backlash; Ovechkin becomes poker star

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.

• Jersey Fouls on Thursday. Beware.

• So Versus had Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night, and used the opportunity to push "Sports Soup" on an unsuspecting public by running it between the end of the game and the beginning of the postsgame show. The Albany Times Union believes Versus "blew it" with the decision. But the ever-critical Steve Lepore of Puck The Media is actually supportive of the move: "VERSUS clearly believes in it's original series, so they're using hockey to try and launch them.  When's the last time you saw a network believe in hockey so much that they tried to launch a network around it?" [Puck the Media]

• Raskolnikov of MYFO has an interesting take: "Versus placed one awful program, Sports Schlock, in between a good program, Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and another awful program, Hockey Central." [MYFO]

• Ladies and germs, please to be voting in the HockeyFights.com 2009 awards. Like, for example, Feud of the Year: Colton Orr vs. Eric Godard; Derek Boogaard vs. Wade Belak; Riley Cote vs. Eric Godard; Milan Lucic vs. Mike Komisarek. [Hockeyfights.com]

• In praise of the job Les Jackson did as co-GM of the Dallas Stars. Which is to say that he did the work while Brett Hull played with the coffee machine and had five-hour lunches at TGI Friday's. [Dallas Stars Blog]

• Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Brave Hank Aaron is among the potential buyers of the Florida Panthers. Which means if they ever win the Cup, two white guys will run out on the ice and slap the back of Nathan Horton as he rounds third base the blue line. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

• Were you aware that the Detroit Red Wings' collection of European players is the reason why hockey is the fourth most popular sport in the U.S.? [Bleacher Report]

• OFB recreates the Miracle on Ice ... with marshmallow Peeps. [OFB]

• The NHL announced a while ago that there would be a PokerStars tournament at the NHL Awards in Vegas. And here's the current lineup: "NHL players Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers), Jeremy Roenick (San Jose Sharks), Sheldon Souray (Edmonton Oilers), Steve Sullivan (Nashville Predators) and Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks). NHL legends Pat LaFontaine, Cam Neely and Luc Robitaille also will play alongside celebrity participants and poker professionals Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Vanessa Rousso." Ovechkin, Roenick, Versteeg and Cam Neely playing Texas Hold'em would make us forgive poker for pushing us off of ESPN. Luongo? Eh, too quick to fold. [NHL]

• Really solid take on Jacques Martin and his legacy with the Florida Panthers by Litter Box Cats. [LBC]

Ottawa Senators overlord Bryan Murray says that Jason Spezza isn't going anywhere, despite whispers to the contrary. [Malkin to the Kings]

• Jim Balsillie goes as far as to point out the foreclosure rate in the Phoenix area to prove that it can't support an NHL team. For the record, California has the No. 2 foreclosure rate in the U.S. Nice knowing you, Sharks and Kings and Ducks. [Sun Media]

• Analysis of the David Krejci signing by the Boston Bruins. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

• We will not rest until Afro Gator is the preferred nomenclature for Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings.

• As Evgeni Malkin assaults the record book in the postseason, here are the Top 10 single season scorers in playoff history. [THN]

• We had beers with Scotty Hockey and Christy of Winging It in Motown last night. Good folks. Scotty's take on Game 3 at Mellon is a good read.

• Great stuff from Tim Panaccio on the future of Jay Bouwmeester and how Jacques Martin's departure to the Montreal Canadiens may affect things. For example, the Philadelphia Flyers were working in the 'ole "trade for the pending UFA" thing with the Florida Panthers. Now, the Flyers may still be the favorite to land him, but the Edmonton Oilers are expected to make a hell of a push. [Comcast]

• And kudos to Comcast for expanding The NHL Network's distribution. [Philly.com]

• Mike Chen has an in-depth job description of what Gary Bettman actually does as NHL commissioner. Although the word "sneering" doesn't seem to be included. [Chen]

• Jeers to First Cuts for getting the president of EA Sports in an interviewing and not asking one question about NHL 10. You are not helping our addiction. [First Cuts]

• Finally, here's some footage from Detroit Red Wings practice. Holmstrom's looking younger and younger ...

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