NHL Hockey Blog Beat – December 27, 2011.

Which defending Conference champ falters first?…Revisiting the Jeff Carter trade…Build your own team of former Canadiens…ESPN Sportcenter snubs NHL in year end review…Your National NHL TV schedule for this week…Absurd Goalie Monday (on Tuesday!)…Don Cherry’s table piano.

BACKHAND SHELF: Ryan Lambert looks at which defending Conference champions – Boston or Vancouver – might falter first. Spoiler alert: neither will.

Revisiting the Jeff Carter trade.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Alex Stallings, with the benefit of hindsight, revisits the Jeff Carter trade. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time. It still might be if Carter can have a healthy season…and the Jackets get better coaching…and better management…and a real starting goalie…and more depth…

Fred Poulin, meanwhile, looks at the current list of active former Montreal Canadiens and builds his own team, which interestingly wouldn’t be much of an improvement over the current one, in that the goaltending’s ok and the offense too small and lacking quality depth, though the defense would be better.

PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski shames ESPN for neglecting to mention this year’s hockey tragedies, including the plane crash which wiped out an entire KHL team, in its Sportscenter year in review show.  Meanwhile, in Canada, where the last two letters in Sportscenter are reversed, hockey’s tragedies were among the top ten stories of the year. I feel sorry for American-based hockey fans. Thank heaven for NHL Network and the internet, eh?

PUCK THE MEDIA: Steve Lepore has your NHL national TV schedule (Canada and US) for this week.

THE STRANGEST ONE OF ALL: Scotty Wazz with Absurd Goalie Monday (on Tuesday…well, actually, he did post it up on Monday, but I’m only getting to it today because I was still on vacation yesteday), presenting Mario Brunetta, who went on to help grow hockey in Italy.

YOUTUBE: Don Cherry got a piano desk for Christmas! And he plays it like a cat walking across one.