Here are the Western Conference Morning Papers:
- After losing to the Coyotes 1-0 on Thursday night, it is fair to say that the Ducks are in a downward spiral. However, team captain Chris Pronger says the last thing the team needs to do is start pointing fingers at each other.
- Much of the credit for the Coyotes victory should go to Alex Auld who turned aside all 31 shots he faced last night.
- Amazingly, yesterday’s game between the Blue Jackets and the Blues, which saw Columbus win 3-0, was the first game between the teams in which both teams were above .500. Blue Jackets’ coach Ken Hitchcock thinks some team from the Central Division will join Detroit in the playoffs and he believes that spot is up for grabs.
- Rick Nash scored an amazing goal to lead the Blue Jackets’ to their 3-0 victory over the Blues. About ten games have passed for each team in the NHL and somehow Pascal Leclaire already has four shutouts.
- Jarome Iginla looks to be on his way to his best season yet writes Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun.
- Having played against each other in college and on the world stage, Hawks’ forward Jonathan Toews was able to renew acquaintances with Bruins’ forward Phil Kessel as both put their best effort forward to carry their respective teams. In the end, Kessel won out as the Bruins defeated the Blackhawks 3-1.
- The Avalanche are not receiving as much production from their blueline as they would like writes Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. In other Avs’ news, Jordan Leopold is injured again. (Writer’s note: That Tanguay for Leopold trade looks pretty, pretty, pretty bad right now.)
- The Stars played a good first part of the game against the Kings but then made some mental errors which allowed the Kings to score twice and prevail 2-1.
- The victory was the first for the Kings over the Stars in the past ten meetings between the two clubs.
- The two best teams in the face-off circle meet tonight in Detroit as the visiting Sharks try and knock off the Wings. Although there is no indication whether it is serious or not, Dominik Hasek will be out of the Wings’ lineup tonight with hip irritation.
- Ales Hemsky had two markers, one of the highlight variety, as the Oilers recorded their first divisional win by knocking off the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in a shootout. The Oilers’ veterans finally came alive last night and carried the team’s youngsters for arguably the first time all season.
- While the Wild eventually lost 5-4 in a shootout, the team was happy with the way it battled back from a two goal deficit instead of packing it in. Meanwhile, the Wild secured an integral member of their youthful core as the team agreed to a four year contract extension with defenseman Brent Burns.
- The Predators put an end to the ugly six game slide as they defeated the Thrashers 3-0 on Thursday night. In rather surprising news, defenseman Marek Zidlicky was a healthy scratch last night.
- The relaxing time in Banff is over with and the Sharks’ road trip turns into high-gear as they play three games in the next four nights against conference rivals.
Here are the national morning papers:
- Dave Shoalts of the Globe & Mail says there is actually a hint of logic in John Ferguson Jr.’s pursuit of young phenom John Tavares.
- Cam Cole of the National Post describes all that’s wrong with the struggling Vancouver Canucks right now.
- Kevin Allen of the USA Today writes that next summer’s entry draft could be yet another strong draft for American prospects.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The line of Tlusty–Stajan–Steen was terrific last night in leading the Leafs to a 5-2 victory over the Penguins. Circumventing the league rules is not the Leafs’ style says MLSE President Richard Peddie. While the idea is far-fetched, Damien Cox gives the Leafs points for creativity in this morning’s Toronto Star.
- Coach Michel Therrien was critical of his team’s performance and competition level after their 5-2 loss at the hands of the struggling Maple Leafs.
- The Lightning defeated the Flyers 5-2 on Thursday night and are playing far better at home than they did last season writes Carter Gaddis of the Tampa Tribune. Lightning forward Michel Ouellet was finally rewarded for his season-long hard work.
- Flyers’ coach John Stevens says a loss of the special teams battle is what cost the Flyers the game last night in Tampa.
- Daniel Alfredsson answers readers’ questions in this morning’s Ottawa Citizen. Meanwhile, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun takes a look at each of the terrific Ottawa blueliners one through six.
- Shawn Bates of the Islanders can’t wait to get into some game action for the first time in over seven months, however, he has no clue when he will get a chance to crack the team’s lineup.
- In what was a complete role-reversal from past years, the Rangers defeated the Devils 2-0 at MSG last night. On a team full of veterans, coach Tom Renney is demonstrating the utmost confidence in his younger players writes Larry Brooks of the NY Post.
- Devils’ coach Brent Sutter was very unhappy that his team only earned seven of a possible eighteen points on their season-opening nine-game road trip. Scott Gomez admitted that he did feel a little bit weird during warm-ups but once the game began he was okay about facing-off versus his former teammates.
- The Habs are on the road for back-to-back games this weekend and if they expect to compete for a playoff spot, they need to improve their record in back-to-back games over last season.
- The Panthers also play back-to-back games this weekend, however, Jacques Martin has yet to announce who will start both games in net. Even a day later, Martin admitted he was very impressed with his team’s play in its victory over Philly on Wednesday night.
- Some good news for Hurricanes’ fans as Eric Cole may be able to return to the lineup for Saturday’s game.
- The Sabres need to improve their play when the game is on the line writes John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
- Phil Kessel was terrific last night as the Bruins upended the Blackhawks 3-1 at the Banknorth Garden. After seeing all the blood on the ice after Zdeno Chara pummeled David Koci, don’t be expecting anyone to be taking on Chara for a while. The Bruins need more production from their top unit of Schaeffer-Savard-Murray writes Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe.
- The Thrashers didn’t play as desperate as they needed to and it cost them the game against the struggling Predators writes Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.