Last Night's Winner: Hoc-key?S

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like hockey-crazed Americans, so jazzed by Olympic fever that they set NHL records for attendance and ratings....if only they knew what channel the game was on.

Yes, the league returned to action with a full slate of games last night and one thing was clear—everyone is sick of hockey. Nobody more so than the players and coaches who just put in two weeks of unpaid overtime and would really like to get some sleep. Instead, they have to play extra games this month to make up for their selfish patriotism. Thanks for nothing, appreciative countrymen!

Hero extraordinaire Ryan Miller—did you know he went to Michigan State?—is so exhausted he hasn't even shaved yet and for some reason didn't want to play a boring regular season game against the man who broke his heart. Maybe because he has to play another one against Ovechkin tonight and hasn't slept in his own bed in a month. Hero extraordinaire plus Sidney Crosby was taunted in his own building! Where's the gratitude, America? That's what you get for being a dirty Canadian who shows up to games without pants.

And the fans? Well, thank goodness there aren't any more nationally televised hockey games clogging up the airwaves. This country loves its ice sports, but if we don't get this obsession under control things might explode. Maybe by next Sunday's NBC Game of the Week (that's actually broadcast on Monday, right?) we'll be ready to resume our normal levels of ice madness. You know ... tailgate BBQs, puck riots, scorching cases of Zamboni foot. America just needs a few hours to hold this fantasy baseball draft and photocopy some blank NCAA tournament brackets and we'll be ready to have that serious discussion about contraction. (An idea which Tim Cowlishaw invented, by the way.)

Miller is just starting to fathom his heroic rise [Buffalo News]
Crosby leaving pants in the Hall [Chronicle Herald]
Cowlishaw's NHL solution: Cut down to 24 teams [Dallas Morning News]

UPDATE: Oh, yeah ... meant to mention today's trade deadline and forgot. Live blogs here and here.