Here are the national morning papers:
- ESPN analyst Barry Melrose has apologized for comments he made about the area around the newly opened Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- Alan Maki of the Globe & Mail has the details of superfan Steve Williamson’s journey across North America to catch 30 hockey games in 30 days.
- Peter James of the National Post profiles soon-to-be Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Al MacInnis.
- The USA Today has a Q & A with Kings’ forward Michael Cammalleri.
- Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star touches on the possibility of the NHL returning to Winnipeg.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- Chris Osgood is slated to get the start in net tonight for the Red Wings when they face off against the Predators. For our Michigan readers, February 16th has been proclaimed Hockey Day in Michigan.
- Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster finally scored his first goal of the season earlier this week but, overall, he has been frustrated by his lack of offensive output.
- Predators’ coach Barry Trotz has yet to name a starting goaltender for tonight’s contest versus the Red Wings, believing that both of his goaltenders will be better prepared when unaware if they are starting or backing up. It looks like Martin Gelinas will return to the lineup after missing a few games with a shoulder injury.
- The Blues still have three games left in David Perron’s “trial” to decide if the rookie winger is going to stay up in the NHL all season or be sent back to juniors.
- For some reason, the Blackhawks are far more successful on the road than they are at home and they are hoping to change that starting tonight versus Columbus. Here is the stat line for both teams.
- Avalance off-season signing Scott Hannan has the worst plus/minus on the team with a -7 rating, however, Avs’ coach Joel Quenville doesn’t put too much stock in short term plus/minus ratings.
- Blue Jackets enforcer Jody Shelley has been a healthy scratch in ten of the team’s first thirteen games, but he is not going to become a distraction for the team writes Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch. David Vyborny has struggled out of the gate this season, however, his lack of offensive production has been a lot easier to take with the team finally winning on a consistent basis. Here are the Blue Jackets’ projected lines for tonight’s contest.
- Flames’ defenseman Dion Phaneuf missed practice yesterday because of an aggravated leg injury and his status for the team’s game on Thursday is up in the air.
- The Stars record short-handed this season is incredible writes Mike Heika in the Dallas Morning News. Here is Heika’s preview of the Stars’ game tonight versus the Sharks.
- Craig MacTavish lit into his team yesterday in practice and questioned their heart and desire. The coach needs Jarret Stoll to bust out of his season-long slump and help contribute offensively and improve his defensive game.
- Coyotes’ coach Wayne Gretzky says he excited about the NHL schedule change next season which will see a return to the format of every team playing each other at least once a season.
- Evgeni Nabokov has been a horse for Ron Wilson and the Sharks; the 32 year old netminder has started every game for San Jose this season writes Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- Wholesale line changes by coach Glen Hanlon helped the Capitals put forth an improved performance last night in comparison with their dud on Monday night, however, it was not enough as the Caps fell 2-1 in overtime to the Thrashers in Atlanta.
- The Leafs, once again, lost to the Senators last night by a score of 5-1 and excuses aside, the Senators are just flat out better than Toronto.
- Dan Boyle is going to be lost to the Lightning for quite a while, which is why Bolts’ coach John Tortorella is not going to harp on the injury and is only looking forward to other people stepping up and carrying the load.
- After winning all eight games against the Flyers last season, the Penguins are ready to face a totally different Flyers squad tonight. Expect Dany Sabourin to be between the pipes tonight versus the Flyers.
- The Flyers have switched their lines up, flipping Mike Richards and Daniel Briere for tonight’s game.
- Everything is rosy for the Senators right now with only one loss on the season. Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun wonders if it is too early to start comparing this season’s version of the Senators to the 1976/77 Canadiens. Hugh Adami of the Ottawa Citizen looks at the Senators cap structure and analyzes their ability to keep defenseman Wade Redden.
- It took the Islanders two periods, but they finally broke the Lundqvist code and scored three times in the third to win the Battle of NY 3-2 on home ice.
- The Rangers wore down in the third period, with last night’s game being their third in four nights, and they didn’t have the necessary mental focus to put the game away. Unnoticed by many, has been the fact that the Rangers are winless on the road to start the season.
- The Devils have sent veteran defenseman Richard Matvichuk down to the minors. It is fair to say that Jamie Langenbrunner probably would have preferred to pick another day for his first practice, as the veteran winger had to pay the price for the team’s lackluster effort versus Pittsburgh on Monday in practice yesterday.
- The Canadiens have gained confidence from their recent homestand and are hoping to take that confidence out on the road writes Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette.
- According to the Miami Herald, Panthers’ defenseman Bryan Allen will miss tonight’s game versus the Lightning.
- With Niclas Wallin lost to the Canes with an injury, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is getting the opportunity to strut his stuff.
- Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News says that team are starting to adjust to the Sabres skating/free-wheeling style and that means less scoring chances and more adjustments for the coaching staff.
- Bruins’ winger Glen Murray says that Boston has to start out-working opposing penalty-killers if they want to score on the powerplay because the talent is there.
- The Thrashers pulled out a big 2-1 win in overtime last night after Ilya Kovalchuk, who has been carrying the team in recent games, left the game with back-spasms.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.