The Leafs handily defeated the Blues 4-1 last night. 'Good Bernier' showed up, and the Blues looked very discombobulated after Hitchcock activated the line blender and kept it on pulse through the game.

Leafs 4, Blues 1, Leafs Look Good - Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs matched the Blues very well in a convincing victory.

And Juuuust A Bit Outside - St. Louis Game Time
Missed wide open nets, whiffing on passes and clearing attempts add to Blues woes in the New Year.

"5 seconds later...JvR" sounds like something from my basement.

Rielly growing into matchup role - TSN
Babcock has employed Rielly in a matchup role since the third game of the season. He's intent on expanding his young defender's game that way, wanting him to learn to play expertly in his own end first.

World Juniors

The big news of the morning from Finland is the Nylander is out of the tournament and heading back to Toronto immediately. We know Lou Lamoriello personally flew to Finland to evaluate the situation after several days of seemingly confused statements by the Swedish team management. I imagine he really didn't like what he saw and shut it down immediately.

William Nylander out for the rest of WJC - Pension Plan Puppets
IIHF reports that Nylander will return to Toronto immediately.

The semi-final games are scheduled for tomorrow.

David Pastrnak reportedly broke his finger at the World Juniors - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Pastrnak and Nylander's chemistry extends even to the timing of injuries.

Last Night's Games

Florida men try to play hockey and you won't believe what happens next! The Panthers are back on top of the Atlantic division, winning 9 of their past 10 games, including shutting out the Rangers last night. I think of them as a dark horse to win the Eastern conference this year. As Katya commented yesterday, Luongo is the kind of goalie who could pull off that kind of surprise run. Looking at the records, they have allowed no more than 1 goal in 6 of the last 8 games.

Over in Columbus, Hartnell got called out for being a douche.

Torts was not happy about that.

Columbus won in the end but they lost McElhinney to a Bryzglov-esque random wipe out.

Gotta love hockey hugs.

The Islanders can't make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs

The best highlight of all the games yesterday.

SB Nation Game Recaps
Eichel's pair not enough, Sabres fall 4-3 - Die By The Blade
The young guns did their best, but Detroit still managed to finish on top.

The Matinee Quad Crown - The Copper & Blue
Oilers and Coyotes battle to a tie then flip a coin to determine the winner.

Well, at least the game ended early - Broad Street Hockey
A strong third period was not enough to overcome forty previous minutes of poor play as the Flyers fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings in the last game of their California road trip.

Wild rally late, steal a point in shootout loss to Lightning - Hockey Wilderness
The Wild rallied in the third period and overcame a goal that was disallowed to fall in the first shootout of the season.

A Straight Eight - Litter Box Cats
Florida wins a club record eighth straight contest in grand fashion, shutting down the New York Rangers by a 3-0 score.

Devils Topple the Best in the West 3-2 - All About The Jersey
The Devils took on the best team in the Western Conference, the Stars, and played a very good game against them, winning 3-2 in overtime.

Penguins 5, Islanders 2: Greiss ousted by surging Pens - Lighthouse Hockey
Recent Islanders hero Thomas Greiss couldn't stop his old mates as the Penguins stormed the Isles in Pittsburgh.

Predators 2, Hurricanes 1: Ekholm Solves OT Woes - On the Forecheck
The Predators fought out their first 3-on-3 OT victory of the year despite an underwhelming performance for much of the game.

Not-So-Special Loss for Caps, 5-4 - Japers' Rink
A back-and-forth game ends in a shootout loss for the Caps

Avalanche Lose to Flames 4-0 - Mile High Hockey
Nights like these make it really difficult to sit down and write about hockey. It's not the losing; I mean, we're pretty used to that. It's that it's hard to explain how and why

The Shark Slayers! - Arctic Ice Hockey
Jets snap their six game road losing streak in Will Smith-ian fashion. 10 points for understanding the reference.

Other News

After decades of silence, Swift Current and hockey community face invisible damage of child abuse - The Globe and Mail
On Friday night locals will welcome back Sheldon Kennedy, once the toast of the town, the teenaged hockey star who helped bring a Memorial Cup championship to their town in 1989, yet a name that for years people avoided even mentioning.

Joe Hicketts Randomly Selected for Doping Test, Didn't Have Enough Pee - Winging It In Motown
Hicketts was selected (at random) by the IIHF for a doping test. According to an article on Sportsnet's website, the Red Wings prospect was held up for over an hour with a little bit of... technical difficulty.

The First Woman of Hockey comes to Peterborough - Kawartha Now
Rhéaume is visiting Peterborough for several events, but the most interesting part of this news story is the Youtube video at the very end: a theatrical biopic of Rhéaume's life is now in production.

FOX Sports Southwest To Air "Playing For Pevs" On Monday, Jan. 4 at 7:00 PM CT
Playing For Pevs will give viewers an exclusive opportunity to hear from Peverley, his teammates, coaching staff, members of the Stars and Blue Jackets front offices, and several others regarding the impact of the night he collapsed on the bench. The show will detail the decisions regarding the postponement of the game, the turnaround required to play a game less than 24-hours later, a 3-2 overtime win in St. Louis, as well as Peverley's plans for the future.

The logistics of an NHL expansion team are starting to be discussed and the NHLPA and the NHL don't see eye to eye on many issues.

Foley patiently waits for puck to drop on Las Vegas NHL franchise - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Donald Fehr said he doesn't believe the current agreement that allows players to have a no move clause in their contract would change were there to be expansion. "If a player has a no move, then it's a no mover," he said. "I would anticipate it would be the same if there is an expansion draft."