Thursday Morning NHL Papers (Eastern Conference): Daniel Alfredsson out for “at least a few weeks”, Hartnell/Carter refute ridiculous internet rumor and Zenon Konopka says Lightning not passionate enough
- Martin Brodeur has been chosen MVP of the decade by NHL.com. The Devils hoped to have Paul Martin back in the lineup soon, but the Minnesota native had a setback and will now be sidelined for another month.
- Is there progress being made on keeping the Islanders on Long Island? On the ice, the Islanders took care of business against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday before the Christmas break.
- The Rangers looked like a real team last night, one that could actually be a threat in the Eastern Conference, writes Larry Brooks. After the Christmas roster freeze, the Rangers may look to add a seventh defenseman.
- Peter Laviollete is happy to see the Christmas break so he can go see his family in Florida. When the Flyers saw Blair Betts return to the lineup, the team didn’t expect much offense but that’s exactly what Betts provided in the team’s important win at Tampa Bay last night. Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter both refute an internet rumor and confirm that they are the best of friends.
- Evgeni Malkin’s slump is all over, after the Russian center tallied a hat trick. Prior to last night’s game, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma switched Crosby and Malkin’s linemates. Mark Eaton missed last night’s game and is expected to be out of action for about one week.
- Tim Thomas sent a message against Ilya Kovalchuk last night and allowed the Bruins to regain momentum and defeat Atlanta 6-4. One thing is for certain, Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t question the effort or work ethic of his fourth line. Last night’s game was an interesting study in contrasting styles.
- “We didn’t go to work. You play like that, you’ve got no chance of winning in this league,” said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff after last night’s loss to Washington.
- The Habs have given up at least 40 shots in their last three games but Jaroslav Halak has been a rock and the team is on a three-game winning streak. Needless to say, Jaroslav Halak is looking forward to some holiday rest.
- The Senators got blown out by Pittsburgh and, more importantly, lost Daniel Alfredsson for “a few weeks” to a shoulder injury. The score may say differently, but Pascal Leclaire actually wasn’t bad last night.
- “I’m not producing, I’m not playing well, I have to be better,” said Phil Kessel after the Leafs’ loss to the Islanders. Yesterday was a dream come true for Mikhail Grabovski, as he was named to the Belarus Olympic team. For all the momentum the Leafs have gathered, the team sits 14th in the Eastern Conference after last night’s tilt.
- The Thrashers lost to the Bruins last night. (Note: AP article)
- Eric Staal admits it will be hard to go home for the holidays and not wonder where it all went wrong for the Hurricanes this season.
- The Panthers had hoped to have Cory Stillman in the lineup in a couple days but now New Year’s Eve seems like his likely return date. Without Stillman, the Panthers fell to the Rangers 4-1 last night, recaps Steve Gorten.
- Rookie James Wright was made a healthy scratch for the first time last night by coach Rick Tocchet. Zenon Konopka went off last night and said his team is not passionate enough.
- This Nicklas Backstrom can not only pass, but he can score too, writes Corey Masisak.
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The Morning Papers will be on a two-day break for the Christmas Holiday and will return on Sunday morning.