A daily collection of hockey blog posts which caught my eye. In today’s beat: the difficulty players face in achieving and maintaining an ideal playing weight…Evgeni Malkin on the Lokomotiv tragedy…Ten players predicted to under-perform this season…Commentary on the Blues selecting David Backes as captain…Should the Coyotes have a supporters group?…Hurricanes owner to sell 8 percent of the club…The Ducks may be under a sushi curse.

PUCK DADDY: Jason Bourne on the difficulties professional hockey players encounter in trying to identify and maintain an ideal playing weight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a former minor pro, Bourne knows what he’s talking about. We fans assume if a player struggles with his weight that he’s gotten lazy but often it’s more of a case of struggling to find what weight, and what conditioning program, works best for them.

PENSBURGH: “Hooks Orpik” on the emotional statements released by Penguins star Evgeni Malkin on the Lokomotiv tragedy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is another reminder of how far-reaching the deaths of the Lokomotiv players have been for the hockey community, especially Russian NHL players.

HOCKEYTRACKER.NET: Peter Harling lists ten players he predicts could under-perform this coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is bound to be a touchy subject, but it’s a sad fact that some players, for various reasons, fail to reach or exceed the standard of the previous season.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Jim Neveau considers the St. Louis Blues naming David Backes their new captain as yet another step in the process undertaken by second year GM Doug Armstrong and second year coach David Payne to put their stamp on this roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have plenty of promise, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can put it all together this season and push for a playoff berth. They seemed tantalizingly close last season until injuries to key players hampered them. With a healthier lineup, and some younger talent stepping up, they could surprise this season.

FIVE FOR HOWLING: Carl Putnam wonders if it isn’t time for the Phoenix Coyotes to have a Supporters Group, akin to those in other cities, to help bolster the atmosphere in the Coyotes home arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the uncertain future facing the Coyotes, this is a good idea, as there’s bound to be enough die-hard Coyotes fans to form the foundation of such a group. If the Coyotes want to bolster fan excitement in their arena, which might in turn help bolster local interest in the club, this could be a good way to go.

CANES COUNTRY: Bob Wage cited a recent report in the Triangle Business Journal stating Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. is in the final stages of completing a deal which would relinquish 8 percent of his team to a local ownership group for $20 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Wage noted, that’s lower than the 25 percent Karmanos was hoping to move earlier this year.

ANAHEIM CALLING: “Sticks.Gloves.Shirt” noted the Ducks will be having their 3rd annual “Ducks in a Roll” contest where certain players create sushi rolls for guests and judges, with the winning creation being featured on a the menu at a local sushi restaurant. The problem? The Ducks players who previously won this contest were (pause for dramatic effect) CURSED! (Da-da-daaaaaaah!)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coincidence? Or Curse? Read the story and judge for yourselves!