Here are the national morning papers:
- Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail doesn’t necessarily believe that the Senators’ Stanley Cup chances depend entirely on goaltending.
- Cliff Fletcher says it is “very premature” to talk of any Mats Sundin trade, writes Dave Shoalts of the Globe & Mail.
- You are wrong if you think that NHL players are averse to playing in the cold.
- Winnipeg is bidding for the World Junior Hockey Championships for either 2010 or 2012.
- Kevin Allen of USA Today breaks down the NHL scoring race; evaluating which players have a realistic chance at winning the title.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- With six of their next seven games at home, the Atlanta Thrashers realize that this upcoming stretch of schedule may determine their playoff fate.
- The Bruins came out on top 3-1 over the Predators, in a feisty affair at the TD Banknorth Garden. Meanwhile, injured Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron saw a neurologist yesterday.
- With all the stars on the ice in Tampa Bay last night, it was the Sabres’ unheralded line of MacArthur-Pominville-Hecht that stole the show. Yesterday’s game was Nolan Pratt’s first game back at Tampa since playing for the Lightning for five seasons.
- The Hurricanes exacted revenge in more ways than one last night, with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
- “We have to play with some urgency and desperation and get different people to raise their game up,” said Panthers coach Jacques Martin, as his team starts its drive for a playoff spot. In other Panthers news, Olli Jokinen was questioned as part of the Jere Karalahti drug ring case in Finland.
- The Canadiens were impressive in all aspects of the game, especially special teams, in their 4-0 victory at home over Washington last night. Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette profiles new Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.
- The Devils squandered a 2-1 lead on home-ice and lost 4-2 to division-rival Pittsburgh last night at the Prudential Center. Brent Sutter called out his best players yesterday, telling reporters that his top players need to start playing like they are top players.
- The Rangers demonstrated a lack of patience last night in their 3-1 road loss at Carolina, writes Larry Brooks of the NY Post. John Dellapina of the NY Daily News says that the reffing in last night’s contest sure didn’t help the Rangers.
- Mark Herrmann of Newsday tells readers that the only way the Islanders usually beat the Senators is if they play flawless hockey, and the Islanders play was quite flawed last night in their 5-2 loss to Ottawa.
- Brian Murray has been honest with Ray Emery, telling the netminder there is no market for his services at this point in time. Even though they defeated the Islanders 5-2, the Senators are more concerned with Daniel Alfredsson’s hip injury, writes Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
- Getting a 3-2 overtime win over the Kings, was a nice way for the Flyers to start off their post All-Star break run to the playoffs. The Flyers are on a roll right now, and when you are on a roll, you seem to get all the bounces, writes Ray Parrillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Penguins defeated the Devils 4-2 last night and clearly are not using injuries as an excuse right now. Brooks Orpik the winger? Apparently so.
- With a 4-2 loss at home to the Sabres on Wednesday, the Lightning may have to realistically consider becoming sellers prior to the trade deadline.
- Forget the fact that they lost 3-2 to the Blues, the talk around the Leafs surrounds the high number of scouts watching their games from now until the trade deadline.
- “When you start thinking you are better than you are, and forget what got you there, then usually the result is what happened tonight,” said coach Bruce Boudreau after his Capitals were defeated 4-0 at Montreal.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- With all the hype around the return of Teemu Selanne, the Ducks still have to focus on their upcoming eight game road trip, which is the longest in team history.
- Jarome Iginla is looking forward to ending his seven-game goalless drought tonight when the Sharks come to town. Meanwhile, with a fairly healthy roster on his hands, coach Mike Keenan has some decisions to make.
- The Hawks are downplaying a comment by Denis Savard in regard to the crest on the team`s jersey. In other Blackhawks news, Tuomo Ruutu may be the only person in the hockey world who didn`t hear about Denis Savard`s rant last Thursday.
- Jose Theodore will be in net tonight for the Avs when they face-off versus the Blackhawks.
- Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch says that not only will teammates miss the recently traded Jody Shelley but so will the fans. Even though the Jackets were defeated 4-2 by Phoenix last night, the entire team`s focus was on the leadership void created by the Shelley trade.
- The Stars caught a break last night by visiting Vancouver and not having to face Roberto Luongo, and took advantage of that opportunity by recording a 4-3 road victory at GM Place.
- The Red Wings will be without defenseman Brett Lebda for tonight’s game because he is nursing a sore wrist.
- The Oilers were outshot 39-13 on home-ice last night, and were handily defeated 3-0 by the powerful Sharks. “I like our team overall, and we’re not trading any of our good players,” said Oilers GM Kevin Lowe on Wednesday about the upcoming trade deadline.
- “I really thought we played a solid game, a road game, and coming into a building where they had won six in a row,” said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky after his team’s impressive 4-2 road victory at Columbus. Meanwhile, the Coyotes were excited to get Daniel Carcillo the NHL penalty minutes leader back into their lineup last night.
- With the Sharks dominating performance over Edmonton last night, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News shifts his focus to the beyond cold temperatures in Northern Alberta.
- Tim Thomas proved to the Predators why he was on the All-Star team last night in Boston’s 3-1 victory.
- The Blues, led by Keith Tkachuk, looked rejuvenated last night in their 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs at the ACC.
- Vancouver made a late push, but was defeated 4-3 by the Stars at GM Place last night. The Canucks can’t seem to start off a game with a lead, and it is coming back to haunt them, writes Gordon McIntyre of the Vancouver Province.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.