In today’s medley of notable posts from the NHL blogosphere: Concern the NHL is turning into a joke…Wayne Gretzky’s denials about buying the Leafs…A Canucks blogger on Mark Recchi’s comments about the Canucks…A live blog of a recent Hurricanes games…The secret agenda from the recent NHL GMs meeting…Bad Hockey Card of the Day.

SHARK CIRCLE: Analysis of the recent state of the NHL product, expressing concern scoring is once again being sucked out of the game by defensive systems, possibly also leading to the decline of European hockey development programs, and driving away fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A thoughtful examination of the current product. I don’t completely agree with everything in it – the European systems aren’t in decline, but rather, the Canadian and American systems over the past ten years have made significant improvement and caught up – and several teams have had attendance woes because of years of poor management, not the quality of the overall league product. Attendance is higher now throughout the league than it was ten years ago, and TV ratings in recent years have been at their highest in nearly two decades. Scoring has declined in every season since 2005-06, but the game remains a far cry from the “Dead Puck Era”, where uncalled obstruction masquerading as defensive hockey truly ruined the product. Low scoring doesn’t necessarily equate to a boring product.

Still, the concerns raised about the prevalence of defensive systems is a legitimate concern, and is a contributing factor to the decline of attendance in some markets, and it is worthwhile for the league to ensure it doesn’t lead to a decline which threatens the overall product. The game isn’t a joke right now, but the league must be vigilant to ensure it doesn’t become one again.

PUCK DADDY: Wayne Gretzky denies talking to prospective Maple Leafs owners, just a day after acknowledging he did. Or rather, perhaps denying speaking directly to them, as his representation may have been doing the talking on his behalf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In short, this is likely much ado about nothing, but because it’s Gretzky and the largest market in hockey-mad Canada, it becomes a big deal.  

Recchi called 2011 Canucks "most arrogant team" he ever faced.

NUCKS MISCONDUCT: Sean Zandberg reacts to Mark Recchi’s recent comments calling the Canucks the most arrogant team he ever played against in his 22 year NHL career, but not in the way you’d think.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging by a quick look at the comments in response to this post, most Canucks fans didn’t agree with Zandberg. I don’t wanna give it away; in fact, I’ve already said too much. Just go read the post and the comments.

SWEET TEA, BARBECUE AND BODYCHECKS: Hurricanes fan extraordinaire “The Acid Queen” live blogs the Hurricanes-Sabres game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s both funny and sad, as a live blog by a fan of a free-falling team usually is. If I were a Hurricanes fan this season, I’d be driven to the schnapps bottle too. Actually, to The Glenlivet bottle, as I’m a single malt man, but you get the drift.

DOWN GOES BROWN: presents: The Secret Agenda from this week’s NHL GMs Meetings. Hilarity ensues.

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: Joe Pelletier presents today’s Bad Hockey Card of the Day, starring hockey legend Frank Mahovlich.