Tuesday Morning NHL Papers (Western Conference): Interesting comments from Blue Jackets prospect John Moore, Miikka Kiprusoff is done talking about the Olympics and Anze Kopitar excited to see Ryan Smyth back on the ice
- Cristobal Huet has finally started to become a fan favorite in Chicago, writes Chris Kuc. It really is amazing to compare the United Center crowd today to the one five years ago.
- Any way you slice it, the Blue Jackets are in a massive slump, writes Aaron Portzline. “I’m not looking for excuses, but I definitely felt like an outsider, not being from the U.S. national development program or from a college program,” in some interesting comments from Blue Jackets prospect John Moore about being cut from the United States World Junior team.
- Valtteri Filppula is slated to return right after Christmas, in what can only be considered a Christmas present for the injury-riddled Red Wings. In roster news, the Wings have demoted Kris Newbury to the AHL.
- The line of Jerred Smithson, David Legwand and Joel Ward has played tremendously well this season, explains John Glennon.
- “If I could figure David Backes out, I wouldn’t be a hockey coach, I’d be investing in the stock market because it is amazing it’s the same story with him every year. We can basically write off the first 25 games and then after that he gets it going,” said Blues coach Andy Murray about David Backes. Ty Conklin is playing well, but the Blues coaches still have confidence in Chris Mason and that’s why he started last night in the team’s blowout win over Edmonton.
- Miikka Kiprusoff and Olli Jokinen will be keeping an eye on tonight’s World Junior tilt between Canada and Finland. Curiously enough, Kiprusoff says he is done talking about Team Finland and his chances at the Olympics. Coach Brent Sutter wants his team to get back on track by practicing.
- The Avalanche just continues to win, as the team increased its division lead to four points with a win over the Wild on Monday. Amazingly, Craig Anderson has already set a career high for starts in a season.
- “I’m sure the last couple of goals looked like they might be stoppable, but boy, by that time, he was left out to hang by his teammates,” said Oilers coach Pat Quinn about Devan Dubnyk. Dan Barnes tries to capture how bad the Oilers really were. No typo here, as the Oilers are last in the Western Conference.
- The Wild generally play the Avalanche pretty well but not last night, writes Rachel Blount. It finally appears that Petr Sykora is on the road back to recovery after a bad concussion.
- Shane O’Brien has really cut down on his minor penalties this season, writes Ben Kuzma. Both Sami Salo and Ryan Johnson missed practice yesterday but both are expected to play tonight.
- Randy Carlyle doesn’t want to overstate the importance of his team’s next few games but his players know how important they are. Could Teemu Selanne return early?
- Dallas did not play poorly last night, in fact the team played quite well, but moral victories can only carry you so far. Matt Niskanen was a healthy scratch for teh Stars last night and Mike Heika says it was probably well-deserved.
- Ryan Smyth admits that it has been tough to not play, especially with Team Canada picking its Olympic team so soon. Anze Kopitar is happier than anybody that Ryan Smyth is back on the ice.
- The Coyotes wanted to jump on the Blue Jackets because Columbus is lacking confidence, and they did just that, reports Jim Gintonio. Apparently Anders Eriksson is back in the NHL with Phoenix.
- Keeping Marleau-Heatley-Thornton apart can only work for so long, as the trio was reunited and the Sharks prevailed 4-2 over Dallas.
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