Connect with us

NHL Morning Papers

Saturday Morning NHL Papers (Western Conference): Leipold wants Winter Classic for Minnesota, Hawks look to pull away from pack, Coach Sutter calls out Flames PP, SJ’s private plane ensures smooth travel.

Joe Sakic elected to Colorado Hall of Fame; Brent Sutter not happy with PP; Vancouver defence needs to start scoring; Red Wings rely on youth; Anze Kopitar continues to make a name for himself; Coyote players hope fans start to show. These stories and more after the jump.

Northwest Division

  • Tom Preissing skated at Friday’s practice with Brett Clark as a partner and said he’s eager to play after missing the first six weeks because of a knee injury.  The selection committee of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame went into the recent past for an inductee, picking former Avalanche captain Joe Sakic as one of two to be inducted.
  • The Flames struck first on the scoreboard but the Sabres took it to them for pretty much the rest of the game and it appears this took Calgary by surprise.  Brent Sutter will take the point, but the Flames coach couldn’t help but call out his power play for another lame effort.  The numbers that worked against Staffan Kronwall as a Maple Leaf prospect seem more favourable now that he’s a member of the Calgary Flames.
  • Based on their scoring rates the last three years, the hard-shooting defence trio of Sami Salo, Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa should combine over a full season to contribute 31 goals to the Vancouver Canucks‘ attack.
  • It’s getting so bad, the Edmonton Oilers are starting to lose players on off-days now.  Dustin Penner, who spent most of the last two seasons in the doghouse, having to justify a $4.25 million salary that nobody thought he deserved, continues to be one of Edmonton’s best players this season.  A hockey hooligan hoser was fined $250 yesterday after being convicted of assault for drunkenly punching a fan who was at an Edmonton Oilers game with his son.
  • Wild owner Craig Leipold addressed a number of off-ice wishes, including the team’s desire to secure a “Winter Classic” outdoor game, an NHL draft, a practice facility and the NHL’s inquiry as to whether the Wild would be interested in opening a season in Europe.  Josh Harding knew he needed to do something to raise his stature in Minnesota and even thought the Wild lost, he had an impressive start, stopping 38 of 40 shots he faced.

Central Division

  • With the circus slowly making its way toward the United Center, the Blackhawks are on a mission to pile up as many points at home before heading to Western Canada next week.  After a scorching start to the season, points have been few and far between for Brian Campbell but despite those numbers, Campbell remains upbeat.
  • After they got shell shocked 9-1, Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets put the blowout loss behind them in a hurry and beat the Ducks 3-2 including a very odd shootout winner by Nash.
  • Ken Holland and Jim Devellano said from Day One that if the Red Wings were going to maintain their elite status in the West, they were going to need growth from within.  When the Red Wings returned home from Sweden, they had given up nine goals over two games — and that came after spending all exhibition season focusing on being tough to play against defensively.
  • The Nashville Predators hope to continue to move in the right direction starting tonight, when they play host to Montreal and begin a season-long five-game homestand.  John Glennon of the Tennessean spoke with Pre­da­tors gene­ral mana­ger David Poile, who reports that cen­ter Colin Wil­son is get­ting clo­ser to retur­ning to the lineup. 

Pacific Division

  • The plane, previously leased to Fry’s Electronics to transport the San Jose SaberCats, comes with a legal document that allows the Sharks to make 15 landings annually in San Jose during curfew hours and this is making life much easier for San Jose.
  • Los Angeles Kings centre Anze Kopitar may not hail from any of the game’s Big Seven countries, but the NHL’s leading scorer has made quite a name for himself.
    Kopitar 2
  • Coyotes coach Dave Tippett says he has moved on as he prepares to face his old team, the Dallas Stars, at Arena Saturday night.  The Coyote players hope that continuing to push for the team’s first playoff appearance since 2002 will bring back the fans.
  • Each small step forward for the Ducks has come with so much difficulty that it wasn’t surprising a 3-2 shootout loss Friday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets was met with some relief and acceptance.  Ducks forward Erik Christensen if it seems like he’s checking on Saku Koivu and his strained groin muscle on an hourly basis.