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From the Branches: Messier loves this season's Leafs

"I’ve really enjoyed watching the Maple Leafs (this year)." -- Mark Messier (also Frank Corrado)

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On the other hand, Sportsnet says there's someone very sad in Florida. "When your alpha dog is not happy, it'll affect the room."

Whoever could they be talking about?

Leafs News

Maple Leafs Moments: Belleville Bulls#!t | PPP

The Leafs are helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity | PPP

Desrocher, Leafs camp invitee Peressini, counted on heavily with Frontenacs | PPP

Is Steven Stamkos a better fit at wing or at centre? | Sportsnet
"In the end, it matters less which position Stamkos plays, and more who he plays with. It's imperative that Stamkos gets put on a line with a good puck distributor so that he's used in a way that plays to his strength."

Dangle: Which Maple Leafs could be on the trading block? | Sportsnet
Kadri, when asked if he saw the Stamkos liked tweet: That's your guys' job, not ours.

Mark Messier Q&A: On the Maple Leafs, Crosby, Kane and more | Sportsnet
"I’ve really enjoyed watching the Maple Leafs (this year). I’ve enjoyed the turnaround. Of course they would like to win more games but I think the effort has been excellent."

Toronto Maple Leafs OHL Prospects Update – December Edition Part 2 | MLHS
"Last week, Marner was named the OHL’s player of the month after putting up 27 points in only 10 games."

Rogers’ early-season TV ratings down sharply for NHL, Maple Leafs | Globe & Mail
Species, I'm waiting for your take on this!

Other News

WATCH: Amazing Mats Zuccarello documentary, 'Marked for Life' | BSB
Norwegian with subtitles. Very cool.

Virginia Beach arena developer to 'aggressively' pursue NHL team | NBC Sports
"Yes, the resort city of Virginia Beach wants an NHL team. Or an NBA team. Either will do. Because a new arena could be under construction as soon as next year. It might as well have a tenant, right?"

Why does NHL still allow bare-knuckle fighting? | ESPN
"At a time when we know so much more about brain damage in sports, are we really still debating the merits of fighting in hockey?"

What fans lose as the NHL loses hockey fighting | Puck Daddy

Why Taylor Hall is one of the best players in the NHL | Sportsnet
"Perhaps the reason Hall doesn’t get the respect he deserves is simply because he plays for the Oilers, who have been such a mess his entire career, but he is one of the best and most exciting players in the game."

Red Wings proving to be major suprise with extended points streak | SI
"Perhaps the biggest surprise though, and the real key to their success, has been the work of coach Jeff Blashill. It's tough enough for a rookie to step behind the bench, especially in an Original Six city. But Blashill's challenge was complicated by the legacy of the man he replaced."

Who leads the way 5 on 5 for the Canucks? | Nucks Misconduct

Almost nobody helps their team more than Claude Giroux helps the Flyers | BSH

Jersey Fouls of the Week: Finding patterns with McDavid | Puck Daddy

CHCH TV announces massive layoffs as part of restructuring plan | Toronto Star
The last independent TV station in the GTA goes bankrupt.

Last Night's Games

What the hell happened in Edmonton? Lauri Korpikoski got his 4th, 5th, and 6th goals of the season, tying the number of goals he scored in 69 games last year, and leading the Oilers to a 7-5 rout of the Rangers. You know it is a weird game when Lundqvist is yanked from the net. Plus this all happened on Glen Sather night. While the Oilers won, there was still some LOLOILERS action: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and  Jordan Eberle somehow had zero points in the game and both wound up -3 on the night. Edmonton really needs to trade those no heart bums for Phaneuf and Lupul.

Then there was The Hurricanes destroying the Ducks 5-1. Jeff Skinner picked up a hat trick and helped dump the Ducks behind even Edmonton in their division. They are now ahead of only Calgary and Colorado in the Western Conference. Surely they can spare a second round pick to get Randy Carlyle in as head coach before the rules change on January 1, right?

There may be supplemental discipline for this.

There may be supplemental surgery for this.

The Flyers season in one picture

Who is the talented winger that passed Malkin the puck?

Game Recaps

Arizona takes round two of #BeatMIN - Five For Howling
It took overtime to decide, but the Coyotes came up on top with a 2-1 victory over the Wild.

Stars Finish Pummelling Pennsylvania for the Year - Defending Big D
The Stars have enjoyed playing teams from Pennsylvania this year

Penguins vs. Kings recap, score; valiant effort comes up short in shootout - PensBurgh
The Penguins fight all night but drop a 3-2 game in a shootout to the Kings.

Kyle Palmieri Gives Devils OT Win Over Red Wings - All About The Jersey
The Devils battled back in the third to tie it up and Kyle Palmieri scored in overtime for a dramatic win.

Rangers Defeated 7-5 By Oilers On Glen Sather Night - Blueshirt Banter
The Rangers didn't feel like playing defense tonight, and were defeated 7-5 by the Oilers.

Hurricanes 5, Ducks 1 - Canes Country
Jeff Skinner notches a hat-trick and Eddie Lack makes 31 saves as Canes beat Ducks

Kane continues streak in Blackhawks' 2-0 win - Second City Hockey
Corey Crawford records his 15th career shutout.