In today’s roundup of early morning NHL headlines: NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan suspends James Wisniewski and Brad Staubitz…Sean Avery accuses Wayne Simmonds of a homophobic slur…NHL officially announced Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic…Devils to retire Scott Niedermayer’s number…Michal Neuvirth adjusts to backup role…Red Wings Mursak out three months.

KUKLA’S KORNER: posted up NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan’s announced suspensions of Columbus’ James Wisniewski for the remainder of the preseason plus 8 regular season games and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz for remainder of the preseason and the first three regular season games (with videos), Wisniewski for a hit to the head of Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, Staubitz for an illegal hit from behind on Columbus’ Cody Bass, both occurring during a recently Columbus-Minnesota preseason game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, so good, Shanahan continues to bring down the hammer on head shots and hitting from behind, substantiating his suspensions with video evidence of each infraction. Here’s hoping this continues through the regular season, and the players finally get the message.

 NEW YORK POST: reports Rangers forward Sean Avery has accused Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds of calling him a homophobic slur during a recent preseason game between the two teams.

ESPN.COM: reports the NHL will be looking into Avery’s allegation, which Simmonds didn’t deny making to the Rangers forward, though he doesn’t recall exactly what he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds, who was the target late last week of an apparent racial taunt by a London, Ontario fan when a banana peel was hurled at him during a Flyers-Detroit Red Wings game, could face a possible fine for the slur.

PHILLY.COM: reports the NHL yesterday officially announced what everyone already knew: the Philadelphia Flyers and NY Rangers will face off in this season’s Winter Classic, to be held at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers owner Ed Snider and Rangers president and GM Glen Sather got things started right, by hurling good-natured (?) trash talk at each other during the press conference announcing the event.

NJ.COM: reports the New Jersey Devils will honor former Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer by retiring his number 27 on December 16th.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An honor well-deserved. Niedermayer had perhaps his  best seasons with the Devils, and was a key part of their three Stanley Cup championships.

WASHINGTON TIMES: reports Capitals netminder Michal Neuvirth will continue to maintain his form while backing up Tomas Vokoun this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neuvirth won the starter’s job over Semyon Varlamov last season, so adjusting to a backup role has to be tough, but it could serve him well this season by maintaining a patient, positive attitude.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: reports Red Wings forward Jan Mursak will be sidelined up to three months with a broken ankle, which opens the door of opportunity for Fabian Brunnstrom or Ryan Johnson to make the club.