NHL Blog Beat – Leap Day Edition 2012.

What’s the future of NHL free agency?…Two takes on the current plight of the Maple Leafs…Analysis of the trade deadline for Pacific Division teams…Dustin Penner looks back on the one-year anniversary of his trade to the Kings…Why the NHL and its teams should use Twitter chats…The life and career of hockey’s first true superstar….Birthday wishes for a Habs legend…Best wishes for a speedy recovery for another…George McPhee’s Facebook wall pre-trade deadline….Other dates to look forward to this season.

PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski ponders the future of NHL free agency, referencing at one point my recent Kukla’s Korner post. Yes, I’m plugging my work, but that aside, Wyshynski’s post is worth reading in its entirety, as it concerns what could happen with secondary contracts in the next CBA.

HOCKEY ANALYSIS: David Johnson on why Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke should’ve started rebuilding at the trade deadline.

OPENING FACEOFF : Justin Halbersma suggests coaching may be what’s plaguing the Maple Leafs.

BLOG DUDES: Stephen Todd Ives examines the trade deadline winners and losers in the Pacific Division.

MAYORS MANOR: Dustin Penner recently reflected on the one-year anniversary of his trade to the Kings. Probably a year he’d prefer to forget.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Jason Sosnovsky believes the NHL and its teams should embrace Twitter chats as a means of expanding its brand.

The NHL's first superstar.

BACKHAND SHELF: Ellen Etchingham on the traumatic life and career of Howie Morenz, the NHL’s first superstar, and one of its most troubled.

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: Canadiens great Henri Richard celebrates his 19th birthday today. OK, he’s really 76, but since he was born on February 29th…

HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE:  Offers fans, regardless of the team you cheer for, the opportunity to wish Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau a speedy recovery. Beliveau was recently hospitalized for a stroke, and I’m certainly send my best wishes to him.

RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS: A sneak peek at the Facebook wall of Capitals GM George McPhee before the trade deadline. Hilarity ensues.

DOWN GOES BROWN: continues to point at the NHL and laugh by looking at important dates over the remainder of this season, including this gem:

“March 8 – Jeff Carter returns to Columbus for the first time as a member for the Los Angeles Kings and is greeted with a lengthy ceremony, if Rick Nash following him around and sobbing “Please take me with you!” all game long can really be considered a ceremony.”