In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Gretzky contacted to be part of bid for Maple Leafs…Ilya Bryzgalov gets the win over the Coyotes…Tuukka Rask backstops Bruins to shootout win over Blue Jackets…Avalanache’s Paul Stastny fails to get a shot in loss to Wild…Predators rookies misses open net in spectacular fashion…Ducks fall to Kings…Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov sidelined by apparent groin injury…Sharks Marc-Edouard Vlasic shines in victory over Red Wings…Dwayne Roloson and Vincent Lecavalier lead Lightning to victory over Penguins.
TORONTO STAR: NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky confirmed yesterday to Sportsnet he’d been approached by “multiple firms” to be part of their bid for the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan shares of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, but a Gretzky spokesman said so far there’s been nothing happening involving the purchase of the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the American equity firm interested in MLSE hopes putting Gretzky, a Canadian icon, as their front man will ease the willies of those in Leafs Nation who have their knickers in a twist over the possibility of Americans owning a Canadian NHL team. Oh, my stars, my poor widdle Canadian sensibilities are so shocked by this possibility, I might faint! Of course, the Montreal Canadiens being owned for a decade by an American didn’t do them any harm, and those freaking out over the possibility of Americans owning the Leafs seem to forget their current GM and top scorer are Americans.
PHILLY.COM: Ilya Bryzgalov got the win in his first game against his former club, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only down note was the Flyers lost Jaromir Jagr to an apparent groin injury, though it’s not believed serious and he could return to the lineup on Monday.
BOSTON GLOBE: Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in regulation and stood tall in overtime and the shootout, as the Bruins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Rask, the Blue Jackets might’ve upset the Bruins in that game.
DENVER POST: Avalanche center Paul Stastny failed to generate a shot on goal in his club’s 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ugly stat for the Avs’ highest paid player, which is likely to stoke the trade rumors which have recently popped up over Stastny.
PUCK DADDY: Nashville Predators rookie Craig Smith had an “epic fail” in an attempt to score what should’ve been an easy empty netter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone was shocked Smith missed in such a spectacular manner, but it’s the only blight in what’s been a strong debut season for Smith. I daresay he’ll face some goodnatured razzing from teammates over this one for a while.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks struggles continued, falling 5-3 to the Los Angeles Kings last night.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: NY Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov suffered an apparent groin injury in last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. He’ll be reevaluated today to determine the severity of the injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could potentially dampen the trade rumors that have swirled about Nabokov over the past couple of weeks.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a goal and three assists, powering his team to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pickle Power! See, because his last name is Vlasic, a well-known brand of pickles…oh, never mind…
TBO.COM: Dwayne Roloson turned aside 33 shots, and Vincent Lecavalier scored twice, as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1.