Who Do You Accept As Your Personal Puck Messiah?S

The NHL Closer is written by Greg Wyshynski, of FanHouse and The Fourth Period. He is also the author of Glow Pucks And 10-Cent Beer.

Hark! Sidney Christ hath returned for Pittsburgh, bestowing upon Maxime Talbot an assist for winning games! Rejoice! Foppa hath been resurrected in the land of the Rockies, making the Prophet Woody Paige's nipples hard! Holy shit! Craig Anderson the Horny just broke one of Hasek's records, and Florida's hockey lepers may be cured! Huzzah!

Beginning with Forsberg: His ankle held up for the first 20 minutes of his comeback, and he partied like it was the cover of NHL '98 for PlayStation. No points in Colorado's 2-1 win over Vancouver — which, combined with Nashville's 5-1 draaaaainage! of the Oilers, places the Canuckleheads two points out of the final Campbell Conference playoff slot. But Forsberg was feisty and skated smoother than a shot of Absolut 100. It was enough to make Woody Paige write like Mike Lupica in the Denver Post: "The Splendid Swede skated very well, passed very well, stick-handled very well, shot very well, absorbed hits very well, gave in return very well, stole the puck very well and, generally seemed, physically, very well." Very well, then...

Crosby found the score sheet in his first game back, assisting on Maxime Talbot's eventual game-winner in the Penguins' 2-0 victory...in the Penguins' 2-0 victory in Tampa. The Malkin MVP talk will subside now that The Crosby Show's been renewed and Ovechkin is scoring first-period hat-tricks, but there's no denying his hand in the Disciples of Sidney Christ going 11-6-4 while their savior was on the shelf. Lost in all of this is ConkBlock, who watched from a now-familiar bench as Marc-Andre Five-Hole stopped 35 shots for his second straight win. And as the incomparable Pensblog mentioned in its recap this morning, the Penguins are getting one more biblical figure back this Sunday for the Caps game: Holy Hoses.

But the big news is that Crosby's back, which means hockey broadcasters are preparing to rhetorically Fellate him at every turn. And it might sound a little something like this, complete with Sidney's tales of chasing Mario around the house with a wet bath towel:

That's One Too Many. The Flyers lose a key game to the Sabres, 5-2. They get absolutely jobbed as Derek Roy was the fifth Buffalo player in a 4-on-4 situation, the refs missed it and Roy scored what would be the game-winner. And they watch Danny Briere join the M*A*S*H unit that is their scoring leaders with a sprained shoulder. But you know what the beautiful thing about being a Flyers fan is? Seeing Scottie Upshall take out Henrik Tallinder nearly makes it all feel better. Ah, the warm blanket of unadulterated violence.

It's Called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's Illegal in Nine Countries. As we've covered this week, Florida Panthers goalie Craig Anderson has an eye for the Ice Girls. I'm sure the Panthers don't mind if he's leering at the scenery if he's stopping 133 of 134 shots, like he has over the last three games. Florida beat the Bruins, 1-0, on Nathan Horton's OT goal; Anderson stopped 40 shots and has made 105 consecutive saves, breaking Hasek's 1989-90 mark for most saves in back-to-back shutouts. The Panthers are now five points behind Carolina for the division lead, and actually have a shot at winning it with two games apiece left against the Canes and the Capitals and four (!) against the fuck-this-shit-we're-in-the-lottery Thrashers. Is Craig Anderson this year's goalie that comes out of nowhere to kick his team's ass into the postseason? And by that, I mean this year's version of Wade "Dubie" Dubielewicz, who once again saved the Islanders' bacon in relief, with a 4-3 skills competition win over the Rangers last night. All I know is: There are enough community colleges and strip clubs in South Florida to keep Anderson in Ice Girls for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, I think this pretty accurately symbolizes the last two games for the Bruins:

Who Do You Accept As Your Personal Puck Messiah?S

Puck Headlines

* In honor of Brett Fah-ver-uh's retirement (at least until his inevitable change of heart this summer), a look back at hockey's greatest un-retirements. Let's see Brett hang around as long as Gordie Howe did, and play on the same offense as his sons. [Battle of California]

* If you believe in the "Final Destination"-style injury curse that has befallen the Colorado Avalanche, then Ruslan Salei is pretty much screwed. [Jibblescribbits]

* Today's YouTube embarrassment sweeping the hockey blogosphere: Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning starring in some sort of queer "West Side Story"-meets-hockey-practice-meets-"Stomp" figure skating music video. And by "queer" I mean "homosexual." Not "peculiar." [The FanHouse]

* Color me stupid, but I was unaware that National Lampoon had a sports blog. I was also unaware they have attractive blondes writing about Vladamir Putin's apparent love of hockey. I am aware, however, that "Vegas Vacation" is sadly underrated. Worth the Netflix just to see that scene in the budget casino. [National Lampoon Splog]

* Finally, say hello to the wave of the future: The Ovech-Kam. All Ovechkin, all the time. It's like "Big Brother," expect people will watch it, and instead of Julie Chen, you get Viktor Kozlov. And that, my friends, is called "trading up." [On Frozen Blog]