Tuesday Morning NHL Papers: Eastern Conference
- Patrik Elias was back at practice yesterday for New Jersey but he wasn’t in good enough shape to finish all the drills. Elias is hoping to return to the team’s lineup this weekend for one of the team’s back-to-back games.
- The Islanders made it four wins in a row last night with some help from Brendan Witt.
- The Rangers are embarking on a Western Canadian road trip which will see the team face their former coach Tom Renney in Edmonton. It looks like Chris Higgins is going to get a chance playing on the Rangers’ number one line with Marian Gaborik and Vaclav Prospal. This road trip will see Sean Avery return to Calgary where he made the comments that sent him out of Dallas.
- Scott Hartnell has started going back to the net and it has helped, as the Flyers defeated the Lightning 6-2 in a game that saw its start time moved up because of the World Series. In injury news, Simon Gagne will undergo surgery that will see him out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks.
- Tyler Kennedy has missed the Penguins’ last three games but may be resady to play tonight. Since Kennedy has be out, Chris Bourque and Chris Connor have been getting opportunities to play more. Meanwhile, Michael Rupp has been a pleasant surprise for the Penguins brass so far this season.
- Marco Sturm has been moved to the top line in Boston to play with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. The Bruins actually spent yesterday’s practice trying to work on scoring goals.
- In Buffalo, Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford know they need to convert on more of their chances.
- Andrei Kostitsyn has been demoted to the fourth line in Montreal. I’m sure the new Guy Lafleur movie will be a big seller in Quebec.
- Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has filed a grievance asking for $4 million from Dany Heatley. On the injury front, Jason Spezza is expected to miss another week of action, while Anton Volchenkov should only be out about ten days. Cory Clouston believes that Senators backup Brian Elliot will eventually be an NHL starter.
- To say there is a lot of pressure on Phil Kessel is the understatement of the year in Toronto. Everyone knows the Leafs traded first round picks for Kessel but what has the Leafs organization done with other first round picks in the past? Tomas Kaberle won the NHL’s first star of the week but Lee Stempniak was pretty darn good last week too.
- If someone is cut in Atlanta, they can just be glued back together, explains Chris Vivlamore.
- It is going from bad to worse in Carolina, as the team has lost star center Eric Staal to injury for a few games. What are the top five turnaround games in Carolina history?
- In Florida, Peter DeBoer has liked what he’s seen from Victor Oreskovich. Since David Booth got injured, the top line of Cory Stillman, Stephen Reinprecht and Nathan Horton has been rolling.
- The Lightning players called a players only meeting after last night’s loss at Philadelphia. “He’s a grounded kid, nothing really bothers him,” said Lightning coach Rick Tocchet about Steven Stamkos.
- Alexander Ovechkin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, although Corey Masisak says the Capitals don’t usually place that label on a player unless the injury is serious. One thing is for sure, the injury isn’t costing Ovechkin any off-ice dollars.