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NHL Morning Papers

NHL Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): No quick fix for Wild says GM Fletcher, Devils off to worst home start since 83/84, Oilers are making most of limited shots, Kovalev ready for return to Montreal, Nordiques vs. Jets?

Sabres are excited by play of Myers; Rangers need to cut down on penalties; Sens have won over home crowd; Lots of pressure on Stamkos; Brian McGratton has Gordie Howe trick for Flames; Pavel Datsyuk is sitting out. These stories and more after the jump.

General NHL:

  • The last time the Quebec Nordiques faced off against the Winnipeg Jets was back on December 23rd, 1993 which resulted in a 5-2 Jets victory.  With the latest move by Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume he looks to take the lead in a renewed battle between Winnipeg and Quebec City to become the destination city for a possible NHL franchise in Canada.
  • The NHL is intent on drawing ethnic communities into the sport and the rise of Nazem Kadri comes at a perfect time to realize this goal.
  • While we are only a few weeks into the 2009-10 season, Bob Gainey and Brian Burke have seen their fortunes start to erode.
  • Sergei Fedorov filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against his former lawyers, alleging they shared responsibility for “tens of millions” of dollars he invested and lost with a man who also was a client of the law firm.

Eastern Conference:

  • The Thrashers are no longer a one trick pony, as they managed to pull out a win in Jersey without the benefit of any points from Ilya Kovalchuk courtesy of rookie Evander Kane and Rich Peverly’s two power play goals.
  • While it was simply one game, it appears that the Bruins are back on track as they dominated the Stars last night and Coach Claude Julien said “that was a good example of us playing the type of game we want to play.”
  • Last season’s Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas sure was excited by the way his team played defensively as he saw the team play with urgency and intensity, but also control.  
  • The Buffalo Sabres have to be excited about the play of their giant rookie defenceman, 6’8 Tyler Myers who finished with his first NHL goal and a +3 as they routed the visiting Islanders last night.
  • The Florida Panthers had a rather anaemic special teams last season, but last night against the Flyers, they were able to have some success in power play, penalty kill and even shorthanded.
  • It will be a special night in Montreal tonight as Alexi Kovalev returns to the Bell Centre as a visiting player and he isn’t sure what type of reception he will receive from the crowd.
  • With the wealth of talent the Habs have had at every positions in the past 100+ years number 19 J.C. Tremblay, despite not being in the Hall of Fame, remains special.
  • This is not the type of home start many have grown accustomed to in New Jersey as the 0-3 record ties their worst start since 1983-84. 
  • Perhaps hoping to turn his home fortunes around Devils coach Jacques Lemaire still hasn’t decided which goalie will start Saturday’s contest versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • Despite the excellent start by the Rangers, they are going to need to cut down on their penaltiesif they want to keep the team fresh, since coach Tortotella uses his best players on both the power play and penalty kill.
  • Add Brandon Dubinsky’s suitability as the top-line center to the litany of things that have gone right for the Rangers in their torrid start.
  • Looks like the pressure is going to be on Milan Michalek to follow-up his hat trick with another excellent performance as his girlfriend’s family will be in attendance as they head up to Montreal.
  • The Ottawa Senators have made a good impression on the home crowd during the 4 game homestand and that honest effort seems to have won fans over.
  • The Flyers spent 5 days bondingbut it wasn’t enough, despite a quick start, to prevent a loss against the winless (for past two weeks) Florida Panthers last night.
  • The Penguins are coming off a successful road trip that saw them go 4-0 but it appears that there is a downside to having a lengthy, home stand and they will have to avoid any bad habits during down time.
  • One of the toughest things for a young, superstar are the expectations and comparisons that go along with being a projected star and Tampa’s Steve Stamkos has some tough acts to follow.
  • Following the 7-1 loss to Ottawa on Thursday, the Lightning are changing things upfor tonight’s game including moving feisty Steve Downie from the 4th line to the 1st and starting Antero Niittymaki instead of Mike Smith.
  • The Leafs are going to need to change things up in tonight’s re-match with the Rangers if they hope to bring an end to the worst losing streak in team history to start a season.
  • All this losing in Toronto may actually finally be having an effect on ticket sales, as the once hottest ticket is now being sold for unprecedented low prices on the open market.
  • As the Leafs received some good news about the status of Phil Kessel, it appears that the season is over for Mike Van Ryn.
  • Good news for Capitals fans as Jose Theodore who felt sharp pains during the game against the Sharks and was diagnosed with mild back spasms, looks like he will be able to return for the Thrashers game next week.

Western Conference:

  • The Canucks were unable to pull off a Blackhawk-type comeback against the Flames, who at one point had a 5-0 lead, and managed to hold on to win 5-3 on the strength of tough guy Brian McGrattan’s Gordie Howe hat-trick.
  • The Flames pulled off the victory because they followed the script written by head coach Brian Sutterwho insisted that in order to beat Vancouver they were going to need to pay the price for parking themselves in front of Roberto Luongo.
  • The Blackhawks got to the Western Conference Finals last season, in part, based on the strengh of their fourth line but then it fell apart and now they know that in order to have success, they will need to re-build.
  • Kyle Quincey, who didn’t receive a Stanley Cup Ring from his former teammates on the Red Wings, is using this snub as motivation and has been the best defenceman for the Avs so far.
  • The Blue Jackets placed defenseman Jan Hejda on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 13.
  • The Red Wings sure are learning the importance of role players early on this season, as they will play another game absent Pavel Datsyuk tonight against the first place Avalanche.
  • Looks like Detroit will be rolling out, possibly the oldest collective line ever, as Maltby, Draper and Holmstrom will form the Wings grind line.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are not shooting a lot, but they are sure taking advantage of the shots they do take, as was the case last night, when they scored 5 goals on first 18 shots versus Minnesota.
  • One Oilers who is taking advantage is Dustin Penner, who has five goals in seven games and has been letter perfect so far this season.
  • Despite the rising hysteria in Minnesota, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher isn’t planning on making any panic moves that would only amount to a quick fix.
  • The Phoenix Coyotes owe their fast start to a team commitment to defence as they have only given up 9 goals this season, fewest in the West. 
  • They will be facing off against a former member of the squad tonight as Derek Morris and the Bruins come to town, in what is sure to be a big test for the young Coyotes.
  • Sharks Douglas Murray is quite at home on Long Island and he is hoping this familiarity will serve San Jose well as they start their road trip against the Islanders tonight.
  • Alexander Steen is expected to miss six to eight weeks after fracturing his wrist and the St. Louis Blues are having to adjust to the injury.
  • While it might not be panic time in Vancouver, a loss to the floundering Minnesota Wild, might have some fans hitting the panic button.