Rob Halford, singer, songwriter and musi

Judas Priest, Billy Idol and Bush headline NHL 12’s soundtrack

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If you’re anything like me, you end up playing your own “custom soundtracks” during sports games once the commentary tracks repeat themselves and the more grating choices wear you down. (Besides, nothing fits hockey quite like the experimental sounds of Can … right?) Of course, my music choices tend to backfire when I’m stickhandling well beyond the final whistle, but that’s the price you pay to avoid Nickelback.

Anyway, the vast majority of people who play these games will probably find themselves exposed to a steady stream of whatever NHL 12 puts on its soundtrack. Musical taste obviously varies – many people probably didn’t appreciate my Nickelback comment, for instance – but for better or worse, NHL 11 featured a surprising run of recognizable arena tracks. (In a way, it’s shocking that every sports game doesn’t have Europe’s “The Final Countdown” on their soundtracks, even if it’s just for the inherent ironic humor.)

With its predecessor’s Jock Jams-friendly mix in mind, NHL 12 has a tough act to follow. Would they pull out all the stops and include Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” in the mix? Perhaps they’ll throw us all a curveball by throwing in a classy Michael Bolton number or make Phil Collins a little richer? Let’s take a look at the soundtrack via EA Sports’ NHL 12 blog.

Here’s the full list of tracks that will be on NHL®12 in alphabetical order by artist (album in brackets):

Against! Me – Occult Enemies (Russian Spies/Occult Enemies)

Anthrax – I’m Alive (Worship Music)

Beady Eye – Standing on the Edge of the Noise (Different Gear, Still Speeding)

Billy Idol – Mony Mony (The Very Best of Billy Idol)

Black Tide – That Fire (Post Mortem)

Blackguard – Farewell (Firefight)

Bush – Sound of Winter (The Sea of Memories)

Death Letters – I Wish I could Steal a Sunset (Post-Historic)

Dropkick Murphys – Hang ‘em High (Going out in Style)

ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down (Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of ELO)

Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ (Screaming for Vengeance)

Manchester Orchestra – April Fool (Simple Math)

Middle Class Rut – Busy Being Born (No Name No Color)

Murderdolls – Whatever you got, I’m Against It (Women and Children Last)

Well, the Judas Priest selection ranks as essential arena rock, but I must say I’m a bit lukewarm on the list overall. For direct comparison’s sake, here’s the NHL 11 soundtrack list via Kotaku.

    In NHL 11
• In Whispers – Here I Stand
• Airbourne – Bottom Of The Well – No Guts. No Glory.
• Bullet For My Valentine – Your Betrayal – Fever
• Megadeth – Dialectic Chaos – Endgame
• Pantera – Walk – Vulgar Display Of Power

In NHL 11 and NHL Slapshot
• Danko Jones – Full of Regret – Below The Belt
• 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone – Get Ready!
• Black Box – Strike It Up – Dreamland
• Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Mama Taught Me Better – Beat The Devil’s Tattoo
• Bouncing Souls – ¡Olé! – Hopeless Romantic
• Darude – Sandstorm – Before The Storm
• Dropkick Murphys – Shipping Up To Boston (Live) – Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA
• Europe – The Final Countdown – The Final Countdown
• Foxy Shazam – Unstoppable – Foxy Shazam
• Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
• The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – Brothers

Again, I have to give the edge to NHL 11, even if I ended up ignoring its soundtrack after a few hours of game time anyway. What do you think, though? Tell us all about your favorite/least favorite choices (or debate choices that would have been better examples of those artists’ unparalleled mastery) in the comments. Please be nice to fellow commenters either way, even if you disagree with their sonic preferences.

(H/T to Doug Miller.)

Buffalo’s depth on defense is dwindling

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 18:  Josh Gorges #4 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on October 18, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Sabres aren’t known for their depth on defense, so when they have to deal with injuries at that position, things can get complicated.

Well…I guess things are about to get complicated.

On Sunday, the Sabres announced that Josh Gorges (pictured) will miss “weeks” because of a non-displaced fracture in his foot. The injury occurred after he blocked a shot in Thursday’s game against the Rangers.

Besides Gorges, Buffalo is also without Zach Bogosian and Dmitry Kulikov.

Bogosian has been out since Nov. 3 with sprained ligaments in his knee, and he’s still 10-to-14 days away from getting back into the lineup.

The news is a little better for Kulikov, who returned to practice on Sunday. He’s missed 11 games because of a back injury he suffered in the preseason. He tried playing through it, but obviously he was still in some discomfort.

“Kulikov has now skated two days with some physicality and now been skating for seven days,” coach Dan Bylsma said, per the Buffalo News. “Hopefully, that means we’ll see him in practice soon – in the next week hopefully.”

Now, some of the replacements for these guys are starting to get hurt.

Taylor Fedun missed Sunday’s practice and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play against the Capitals on Monday night. If he can’t go, Buffalo will need to call someone up from the minors.

Things got so wacky last week that the Sabres called up Brendan Guhle from junior on an emergency basis. By rule, he can stay on the roster as long as he keeps playing. Once he stops playing, the emergency tag is removed and he has to go back to his junior team.

Guhle, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Cody Franson and Justin Falk are the healthy defensemen on the roster right now.

Goalie nods: Dubnyk looks to continue dominance of Oilers

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07:  Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild celbrates a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on April 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Playing against your old team is always special, but Devan Dubnyk takes it to another level when he goes up against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers drafted Dubnyk in the first round, 14th overall, in 2004 and he spent parts of five seasons with them.

Since leaving Edmonton in 2014, he’s won six of seven games against his former team.

To make matters worse for the Oilers, his individual stats are better against them than they are against any other team in the league. He has a  1.28 goals-against-average and a .949 save percentage in those seven games.

His numbers in 2016-17 aren’t as good as his career numbers against Edmonton, but he still has a fantastic 1.67 goals-against-average and a .946 save percentage this season.

Like the Wild, the Oilers played last night, as they won an OT decision against the Ducks.

Cam Talbot played in that game, so they’ll opt to start backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson tonight.

Elsewhere… 

Ben Bishop turned in a solid performance against the Capitals last night, but the Lightning still haven’t announced who their starter will be this afternoon. Cam Ward is likely to get the nod for the Hurricanes.

–The Flyers and Predators both played afternoon games yesterday, and neither side has indicated who will start. Don’t be surprised if it’s Steve Mason against Pekka Rinne.

Jared Coreau made his NHL debut for Detroit yesterday, so look for Petr Mrazek to get the call tonight. Jaroslav Halak is the probable starter for the Islanders.

–Look for Connor Hellebuyck to be between the pipes for the Jets, but that hasn’t been confirmed. With Corey Crawford hurt, don’t be surprised if Scott Darling gets his second start in two nights for Chicago.

–The Ducks will give backup Jonathan Bernier the start in Calgary. The Flames will continue to ride Chad Johnson.

Flames get Johnny Gaudreau back way ahead of schedule

CALGARY, AB - APRIL 5: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 5, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Some good news if you’re a fan of the Calgary Flames.

Johnny Gaudreau, who missed 10 games with a finger injury, will be back in their lineup for Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Flames forward was injured in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 (he was slashed by Eric Staal), and after he underwent surgery, the team announced that he’d be out six weeks.

In the end, he missed less than three weeks of action.

“I’m ready to play,” Gaudreau said, per NHL.com. “I think the finger’s healed up pretty well there. I’m just excited to get things going here.

“I think they did a great job with my finger and we did a great job rehabbing it. They keep tell me it’s going to be harder to break the nine other fingers than to re-hurt this one. It feels good. It feels good when I shoot. I’m excited to finally get out of there.”

He’ll be playing with some added protection, as Calgary’s equipment manager made this glove for him:

Before Gaudreau got hurt, the Flames had a 6-10-1 record. But thanks to improved team play and some strong performances from goalie Chad Johnson, they managed to go 6-3-1 in, while Gaudreau was out.

The 23-year-old has five goals and six assists in 17 games, but he had scored three goals in three games before getting hurt.

Related:

Gaudreau injury a reminder as to how star players are treated

Boudreau: Flames made “mountain out of a molehill” over Gaudreau slash

Garret Sparks plays for first time since being suspended by Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30:  Garret Sparks #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set to face the Edmonton Oilers in an NHL game at Air Canada Centre on November 30, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Oilers 3-0. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Garret Sparks made waves for all the wrong reasons last week, as he was suspended by the Maple Leafs for remarks he made on social media.

Sparks officially made his return on Saturday night in the Marlies’ 3-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack. He stopped 27 of 30 shots.

“It’s been a lot to deal with. I understand what I did,” Sparks said, per TSN.ca. “[The incident] wasn’t me. That’s not who I want to be known as, it’s not the image I want my reputation to have.

“I should know the difference between what I can and can’t say. It’s just holding myself to a higher standard of professionalism.”

The 23-year-old actually returned to the team on Tuesday, but didn’t play until yesterday.

With Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen dealing with an illness, the Leafs recalled Antoine Bibeau, which opened the door for Sparks to make his return.

Sparks has been limited to just five AHL games this year, but he was between the pipes for 17 NHL games in 2015-16.