Sean Avery Wuz Here

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.

Not the greatest night for our boy Dion with the Flames. He physically abused Peter Forsberg all night, only to watch from the penalty box as Floppa set up the game-winner in Colorado's resurrection-of-a-victory over Calgary. Later, Dion was schooled in the corner, coughing up the puck to lead to Milan Hejduk's game-clincher in the third. Even his trash-talking fell on deaf ears. Yep, it was a night that makes you go home and drop some tears in your beers...that is, if you weren't also the guy currently Phaneuf'ing Elisha Cuthbert. Yippee!

Yes indeed, the woman who was fast-tracked to become the first Mrs. Sean Avery last year is allegedly involved with Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf, as this gossip site colorfully broke the news: "Just signed 6 year contract reportedly worth over $6 million a year and he's only 22...one of the brightest young stars in the league. And his c*ck just got a little bigger. Because he's banging the girl next door."

There's no denying Phaneuf's effect on people...although usually his unique charm leads to professional hockey writers penning lines like "Phaneuf is a punk, by the way. And some day he's going to get his, and it's not going to be pretty for him." Our buddy Erin Nicks notes that Cuthbert was once described as "very short, and very stupid" when she was with Avery. But I tend to side with Margee on SportsSquee, who tracks Cuthbert's shrewd puck-bunny progression from Avery to (allegedly) Montreal's Mike Komisarek to Phaneuf: "She's graduated from the meth-faced 'charms' and middling paycheck of Avery, to the strapping good looks and higher pay grade of Komisarek, to the panty-burning glare and 6-year, bajillion-dollar contract of Phaneuf. From here, it's Ovechkin or bust."

Meanwhile, Back on the Ice. Desperation can be a good thing. The Flyers were the low-hanging fruits in the Wales Conference, and when everyone assumed they'd be picked off by the also-rans Philly went on a tear. Now it's Colorado, playing for its postseason life, who finally gets Forsberg back and wins a critical game against Calgary, 2-0. The Avs are 5-1 with Floppa in the lineup. I don't care if his ankle is about to snap off: They need to keep him on the ice down the stretch, even if it's via a "Weekend at Bernie's"-style system of duct tape, sunglasses and puppetry.

Sean Avery Wuz HereS

In front of the fan of the night, Edmonton took out Minnesota to remain three points in back of Colorado for the last playoff berth (no thanks to you, stupid Calgary). And really, what the fuck is left to say about the Oilers? Theirs is the most inexplicable revival in hockey for three reasons: Because of the injuries to key veterans throughout the season; because the worst offensive team in hockey last year has now scored 20 goals in its last three games not involving Roberto Luongo; and because the average age of the players fueling this surge is about 13 years old. So basically the Red Wings will either face a battle-tested Colorado team or a young, dumb and full of fun Edmonton team in the first round ... and that sound you just heard is Detroit fans nervously cursing their team's regular season good fortune in preparation for another 1 vs. 8 stunner.

If the Playoffs Started Today. Montreal proved the old broadcasters' adage that the six-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey: Watching their 7-1 advantage end up in a 7-5 victory. Again, you have to be impressed with this Habs team — which clinched a playoff berth — for its courage under fire: Dany Heatley cut it to 7-4 at 9:23 of the third, and Ottawa didn't score again until Spezza's tally at 18:02. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh looked past the Islanders towards tonight's duel with the Devils in Jersey and lost 4-1, as Dubie Dubie Doo didn't beware the Penguins. The Pensblog nails it: "If this game was NHL '95 for Sega Genesis, you would have accidentally bumped your Genesis hoping for a reset." The playoff picture hasn't been altered much this week, but tonight's slate of games will change that. Capitals/Hurricanes, Bruins/Leafs and Vancouver/Calgary might just be enough to get me to flip over from "Autism: The Musical" on HBO.

Puck Headlines

* The top five hockey crowd fights. I hadn't seen the first one before, but getting beaten up in the penalty box is insult to injury, isn't it? [Busted Coverage]

* It's NCAA men's ice hockey tournament haiku previews, found on cocktail napkins! Like this one, for Minnesota: "Memo to Garth Snow:/You're great at developing/a non-playoff team." [Inside College Hockey]

* OMG, non-playoff scrub fight LOL! Blackhawks coach Denis Savard complains about cheap shots from the Blues. St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman: "Sorry that we hurt their feelings." Oh, snap! [Chicago Tribune]

* I've never seen a sled hockey game before, but I'm pretty sure these guys could bench press a Cessna. [The Way I Am]

* Finally, I posted this on FanHouse last night but must share it with you. It's either a hilarious prank pulled on the Mississippi RiverKings' radio guy/director of media relations or a fantastic bit of Improv comedy. Shaving cream pie to the face at about the 45-second mark; angry, profane, squirmy reaction begins at about the 1:20 mark. Very, very NSFW language. Check it: