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NHL Morning Papers

NHL Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): NHLPA remains in disarray, Sabres Ryan Miller remains without a regulation loss, Pens avoid curse of the blue jersey, Islander rookie Tavares puts on a show, Yotes coach only focus is winning, who should start in goal for Team Canada?

Eastern Conference: Sabres continue to roll; Panthers owner Alan Cohen might step down as general partner; Forsberg getting a serious look from Philly; Bolts Steven Stamkos showing he can play; Phil Kessel not yet ready to go. And more stories after the jump.

Western Conference: Ducks finally get going; Hawks youth is energizing the team; Craig Anderson continues to be the story; Marty Turco resting this weekend with flu; Wings need young guns to step up; Petr Sykora shows the Wild some life; Clowe about to get going in San Jose. These stories and many more after the jump.

Here is the news from the morning papers across the NHL:

General NHL:

  • As the dust settles from interim executive director Ian Penny’s resignation from the NHLPA, the group is poised to announce a new “interim” executive director and has vowed to figure out how this mess got started.
  • In his weekly compilation of hockey news, notes and quotes, Eric Duhatschek speaks with Colorado captain Adam Foote about his club’s early-season success and the ongoing debate over concussions in the NHL.
  • With a little more than three months to go before the Winter Olympics, there is a question that needs answering in a hurry – who will Team Canada start in goal?
  • When Executive Director of Team Canada, Steve Yzerman, is in-town guys know that he is watching with added scrutiny, as he prepares to name 23 players to the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team by late December.

Eastern Conference:

  • The losing continues for the Thrashers as they dropped their fourth game in a row on Friday as they were unable to stop Alex Ovechkin and company.
  • The Boston Bruins are trying to get everything they can get out of versatile winger Blake Wheeler as coach Claude Julien continues to shift him all over the place.
  • The Sabres probably won a game they should have lost said Tim Connolly of last night’s 3-2 OT win over the Leafs, a win he called the best of the year. 
  • One of the primary reasons they held their own and pulled off the victory was the excellent play of Ryan Miller, who remains the only #1 goalie in the NHL without a regulation loss.
  • It won’t be the biggest game in town (Game 3 of World Series), by any means, but for the Carolina Hurricanes it’s by far the most important.
  • Unable to complete a sale of the team to an outside group, Panthers owner Alan Cohen is in serious discussions to step down as general partner and allow two of the team’s minority owners to run the NHL franchise, a source said Friday.
  • Carey Price was understudy to Cristobal Huet when the two played for the Montreal Canadiens. On Friday night in Chicago, the former master came out the winner.
  • Marian Gaborik hated being unable to play when the New York Rangers took on the Wild on Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
  • The speed increase in the National Hockey League since the 2004-05 lockout has also led to to an increase in severe injuries, according to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray.
  • Jonathan Cheechoo, who has spent most of the season on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, but is still looking for his first goal (he has two assists), found himself on a third line with Nick Foligno and Chris Neil at practice Friday
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to roll and showed that the curse of the Blue Jersey isn’t going to be a problem as they pulled off a come from behind victory over the Jackets ending with a Sidney Crosby shootout game winner. 
  • Aside from the Penguins’ top forward group, head coach Dan Bylsma had not been shy about deploying various line combinations this season.
  • Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers, is nostalgic talking about losing his old friend, Philadelphia’s gritty Spectrum.
  • The Flyers are dispatching their euro scouts to the Karjala Cup, in Sweden next weekend, to determine the status of Peter Forsberg and see if he can still play at an elite level.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos proving he belongs among the NHL’s young stars as he leads the Bolts in goals scored and is tied with St. Louis with most points on the team.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs worked hard, and despite another bout of bad penalties and bad decision-making, the club scrambled amazingly to tie the game at 2-2 with 37 seconds remaining in regulation time. 
  • Being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs brings Lee Stempniak home a lot more. It costs him a lot more, too.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson was quick to squelch a report that injured winger Phil Kessel would make his Leaf debut tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.
  • It was the John Tavares show in Washington on Friday night as he hit two posts, was robbed on a one-timer and thought for sure he had an assist on a beautiful backhand pass but he finally broke through in OT, ending the Caps 6 game winning streak.
  • Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau always seemed to couch his comments about Rangers’ superpest Sean Avery but his book he reveals an exchange during Game 7 of the Caps/Rangers series where Avery is alleged to have said about Boudreau that he “was the biggest, fattest bleeping pig he had ever seen,”.

Western Conference:

  • Two weeks of mounting frustration that boiled over in an embarrassing loss to previously winless Toronto left the Anaheim Ducks as low as a hockey team can get, which is why pounding the tired Canucks helped end their four game losing streak. 
  • Speaking of pounding, even the tough guys on the Ducks fourth line got into the act as both George Parros and Mike Brown scored for Anaheim.
  • Ben Eager, who has missed the last 11 games with a concussion, moved a step closer to returning to the lineup Friday when he skated for the first time since his injury. 
  • The Hawks victory was largely a result of the play of its youth as Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg energized the team.
    Blackhawks Rising Kane Hockey
  • Craig Anderson stole a victory for Colorado on Wednesday night. It would have been something on the order of grand larceny if he’d been able to will the Avalanche to another victory Friday night.
  • Nationwide Arena was rocking last night as the Blue Jackets played their best game in the last two weeks in a losing cause, but the good news is that the team played a much improved game.
  • With the H1N1 virus a concern, Dallas sat Marty Turco and brought in Matt Climie from the minors on an emergency basis to serve as backup goalie.
  • Wings General Manager Ken Holland knows that losing Fippula for 6-8 weeks is a big loss but feels that this is an opportunity for Detroit to show off its depth and time for the young guns like Helm, Abdelkader and Eaves to step up and shine.
  • Looking back, Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi wonders why he ever drove away from Motown in the first place in favour of playing hockey in southern California.
  • One Oiler playing some exceptional hockey is former University of Maine Black Bear, Dustin Penner, who will have to contend with the watchful eyes of the Bruins Zdeno Chara today at the Garden.
  • A motivated Petr Sykora, one game after being assigned a pressbox seat against Nashville, scored a goal and assisted on Eric Belanger’s goal during the Wild’s 3-2 victory over the injury-riddled New York Rangers.
  • It was an anticlimactic return to Minnesota for Marian Gaborik as he watched from the press box, a place Wild fans are used to seeing him in.
    Press Box XCel
  • Nashville plans to recall a winger from the Admirals for tonight’s game against Dallas. The likely candidates are Ryan Jones, Peter Olvecky, Triston Grant and Andreas Thuresson.
  • Undersized Predators defenceman Francis Bouillon is the first to admit he’s never going to be mistaken for Chris Pronger, the Philadelphia Flyers’ 6-foot-6 star defenseman.
  • The five-year plan doesn’t exist for Dave Tippett. Neither does the five-month plan. Five days? Maybe. The man who replaced Wayne Gretzky as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes isn’t worried about the future or the big picture. He’s worried about one thing. Winning. And winning now.
  • The confidence level of forward Daniel Winnik, who scored the first goal in the Coyotes’ 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, is at a high level.
  • Ryan Clowe finally got the monkey off his back as he lead the Sharks to a victory over the Western Conference leading Avalanche. 
  • Manny Malhotra is now the Sharks’ new player rep with the NHLPA, assuming the association still exists with everything going on.
  • Last season the St. Louis Blues were 8th in power play, but this season that prowess has slipped as they now rank 26th overall and don’t know why they can’t get it done with the man advantage.