Here are the national morning papers:
- The Globe & Mail provides readers with a NHL salary database for all 30 teams.
- Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail evaluates the jekyl and hyde San Jose Sharks in this morning’s paper.
- Wayne Scanlan of the National Post thinks Ray Emery really should have been a rock star.
- The hard-working Shawn Horcoff stills feels like his Oilers have a chance to make the playoffs, writes Mike Brehm of USA Today.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- In the midst of their 4-1 victory over the Penguins last night, the Thrashers lost Ilya Kovalchuk to a knee injury and the extent of the damage is currently unknown. (Update: Kovalchuk will miss two games over the weekend but the injury is not considered serious.) “The next eight to 10 games will help us decide if we look at moving him for assets or look at keeping him because winning the division is within our grasp and something that is very important to us,” said Thrashers coach and GM Don Waddell in regards to the Marian Hossa contract situation.
- Fluto Shinwaza of the Boston Globe details the struggles that Bruins winger Peter Schaefer hasn’t been able to overcome. In injury news, the Bruins will be without Glen Murray and P.J. Axelsson for tonight’s game. (Update: Axelsson is now a game-time decision) With all the injuries to the team’s regulars, Boston’s roster is loaded with young players who are demonstrating their ability to play older than their age.
- Ryan Miller had seven family member in the stands last night in Florida and didn’t disappoint them by leading the Sabres to a 1-0 shutout victory over the Panthers.
- Brett Hedican wants his colleagues on defense to keep the game simple and make sure they move the puck quickly out of their own end, writes Rachel Carter of the News Observer.
- The Rangers head into Philadelphia tonight and if they don’t plan on going hard to the net, they will be the only team on the ice that isn’t, writes Larry Brooks of the NY Post. John Dellapina of the NY Daily News evaluates the trading possibilites that Glen Sather may have are we near the trade deadline.
- The Flyers don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but they believe they have a shot at catching the conference-leading Senators for first place. Ray Parrillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer profiles the much-improving Braydon Coburn in this morning’s paper.
- The Penguins suffered their first blowout loss since Sidney Crosby went down to injury last night as they lost 4-1 at Atlanta. “It was weird. You’re used to having the whole play in front of you. Your vision, your sight lines are so different,” said Penguins forward/defenseman Brooks Orpik about his move to the wing.
- The Capitals have revenge on their minds for tonight’s game versus Montreal, after they feel like the Habs were trying to run up the score against them in Tuesday’s contest between the two squads.
- “It was a tough game. We did a lot of things right, but couldn’t put the puck in the net,” coach Jacques Martin said after his team’s 1-0 home loss to the Sabres. The Panthers were without captain Olli Jokinen for the final two periods of last night’s game, but poolies need not worry, it was only the stomach flu.
- Habs defenseman Josh Gorges has been a very pleasant surprise on the team’s blue line since Patrice Brisebois went down to injury, writes Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette.
- Many of the Islanders players are questionable for tonight’s game versus L.A. with a case of the flu, writes Eric Boland of Newsday.
- Scott Morrison of Sun Media believes Martin Gerber is the reason that the Senators can’t trade Ray Emery. According to coach John Paddock, Daniel Alfredsson is “iffy” for tonight’s contest with a hip injury.
- Damien Cox of the Toronto Star advises the Leafs to get Mats Sundin’s name on a contract extension, and focus on trading the team’s other assets. Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun wonders who in their right mind wouldn’t want to add Mats Sundin before the trade deadline? In non-Sundin news, Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star thinks Jim Rutherford would be a perfect fit for the Leafs’ GM position.
- “He’s right. It’s our responsibility to outplay the other team’s best players and we haven’t done that. There is no one else to blame but ourselves,” said Devils forward Zach Parise after being criticized by his coach Brent Sutter.
- The Lightning know what they are going up against tonight when they face-off against their old nemisis Roberto Luongo.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- After heading into the first intermission scoreless, the Ducks had a complete lapse at the beginning of the second period and found themselves down 3-0 in under four minutes on their way to a 5-1 road loss at Minnesota.
- The well-rested Flames handed San Jose just their fifth road loss of the season on Wednesday with a 5-4 victory. The Flames were led by former Sharks winger Owen Nolan who tallied his first hat-trick in nine seasons.
- With Jody Shelley gone to San Jose, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch wonders who is going to fill the veteran’s leadership void. Here are tonight’s probable lines for the Blue Jackets.
- Stars netminder Marty Turco feels like he’s at his best if his sole focus is on stopping the puck, writes Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Red Wings were outplayed at Joe Louis Arena last night, but good teams know how to pull out victories when they don’t play their best and that is what Detroit did with a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes. Even though the Wings won, they did lose defenseman Niklas Kronwall to a shoulder injury that will sideline him for at least a week.
- Even though he entered the game with tremendous numbers at the Xcel Center, the Wild were not intimidated by J.S. Giguere, and in fact, chased the former Conn Smythe award winner from the game in their 5-1 victory over Anaheim. “We all got soft living in California,” said Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf about his intolerance for the Minnesota cold.
- Blues coach Andy Murray thinks his team’s power play is on the right track.
- The Blackhawks were all geared up for a good post-All-Star Game showing but they were less than impressive in Colorado last night, losing 6-3 to the Avs, writes Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. (Writer’s Note: The team thinks it should have Jonathan Toews back in the lineup for February 13th versus Columbus)
- Even with all their offensive stars out of the line up, the Avalanche were able to score six goals against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, writes Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.
- Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal says the Oilers are no longer hard to play against. To make matters worse, Sheldon Souray has, once again, injured his shoulder and will be out of the line up for some time.
- “It was a tough loss for us because we played so well, ” said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky after his team blew a one goal third period lead to lose 3-2 at Detroit. Gretzky wants to make sure his team doesn’t go on a losing skid, and therefore, fall out of the playoff race they have worked so hard to be involved in.
- The score indicated it was a closer game than it actually was as the Sharks lost 5-4 at Calgary on Wednesday night, writes David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News.
- The Predators could get a big boost tonight with the return of David Legwand to the lineup, writes John Glennon of the Tennessean.
- “Yes, without a doubt, [Tuesday] night was one of my most frustrating moments since I’ve been here,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault about Tuesday night’s loss to Dallas. As if they don’t have enough injuries, it appears that Sami Salo may miss Thursday’s game versus the Lightning with a sore groin.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.