Wednesday Morning NHL Papers: Western Conference
- The Chicago Blackhawks are embarking on a two-game road trip but they will have their biggest fans along for the ride.
- The Blue Jackets will get a huge boost tonight when Jan Hejda returns to the lineup. Meanwhile, Ken Hitchcock challenged Kristian Huselius to play better.
- The idea that a team struggles its first game back from a road trip was debunked by the Red Wings last night, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. It looked like the Wings’ power play was back last night. “I thought Janik was a real good call-up here tonight,” said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock about Doug Janik.
- “I think it’s more my confidence than anything,” said Pekka Rinne about his recent improved play in Nashville.
- Injured Blues forward Andy McDonald was back on the ice yesterday but may not return for this Thursday’s game.
- The Flames upcoming road trip is happening at just the right time, writes Steve MacFarlane. With the H1N1 crisis, the Flames may best be on the road for a while. In lineup news, Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen have been reunited on the top line. Brent Sutter reminded some players of his brother Darryl after yesterday’s practice.
- It looks like the KHL is making its best efforts to try to intercept a Peter Forsberg return to the NHL. In Avalanche news, Joe Sacco is giving Broncos coach Josh McDaniels a run for his money when it comes to new successful Denver coaches.
- Jim Matheson says Sheldon Souray isn’t close to returning to the Oilers lineup. Matheson says the Oilers are currently a .500 team and wonders if anyone is really surprised by those results? With Shawn Horcoff either hurt/sick, the Oilers could dip below .500.
- Eric Belanger’s time in the offensive system of the Thrashers a few years ago has served him well during the Wild’s adjustment to Todd Richards’ more offensive system.
- Roberto Luongo hopes to return to the Canucks lineup sometime on the team’s upcoming road trip. Sure the Canucks miss Luongo, but Andrew Raycroft was terrific yet again last night. Did you know Ryan Kesler is the highest scoring U.S. player in the NHL?
- “You don’t win a Stanley Cup if you’re not deep talent-wise,” said Saku Koivu after his team’s loss to the injury-riddled Penguins at the Honda Center. James Wisniewski is not happy he was suspended for two games for what he deemed to be a clean hit.
- With Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen slated to return to the Stars lineup tonight, who is coming out?
- The Kings think highly of Davis Drewiske, which is why they recently signed him to a three-year deal.
- The Phoenix Coyotes have recalled Mikkel Boedker from the AHL. Who would have thought Colorado versus Phoenix was going to be an early season Western Conference power matchup?
- Ken Hitchcock thinks the Sharks play the game the right way, writes David Pollak.