In this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines: The Bruins and Sabres to face off in first game since the “Lucic-Miller” incident…Will Crosby’s return spark Alexander Ovechkin?…How will Capitals forward Alexander Semin respond to being benched in a recent game?…Eric Lindros and Bob Clarke to be teammates at Winter Classic…Panthers top line fueling club’s strong performance…Blues’ special teams still struggling…Will a proposed arena mean a second NHL franchise in Toronto?
BOSTON GLOBE/BUFFALO NEWS: offers up the perspective of the Bruins and Sabres as they prepare for tonight’s game, their first since Bruins forward Milan Lucic steamrolled Sabres goalie Ryan Miller over ten days ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will the Sabres seek revenge for Lucic’s hit on Miller? Is Lucic prepared? Could the Sabres surprise and just focus on winning the game? Tune in tonight for the answers!
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Wayne Scanlan wonders if the return of Sidney Crosby might serve as inspiration for his rival Alexander Ovechkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Mr. Scanlan and others who are floating the theory of Crosby’s return possibly serving as “motivation” or “inspiration” for Ovechkin, I think the Capitals captain couldn’t give a damn about the Penguins captain. Ovechkin’s concerns won’t be addressed by the return of his great rival.
WASHINGTON POST: How will Alexander Semin respond after being benched in a recent game. Will he step up and play a more disciplined style, or sulk and continue to play selfishly. Trading him doesn’t appear to be an option as his stock is at an all-time low, plus he’s carrying a salary of $6.75 million for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Semin’s performance alone this season makes him tough to move if the Capitals try to go that route. Factor in Semin’s salary and his UFA status next summer, and I can’t see anyone being desperate enough to take a chance on him. If Semin keeps playing as poorly as he has this season, he could be seeing time in the press box, big contract be damned.
PHILLY.COM: Eric Lindros and Bob Clarke will be teammates at the Alumni Game prior to this season’s Winter Classic. Both say they’ve put their differences of a decade ago behind them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the bitter way Lindros left the Flyers, Clarke considers him worthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’ll be fun to see them together as teammates.
MIAMI HERALD: The Panthers top line of Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann has fueled the club’s strong start to this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not a Panthers fan, but I must confess I’m impressed with their performance so far this season, especially their top line. If they can maintain their offensive production throughout this season, Weiss could finally see post-season action with the Panthers.
BND.COM: Despite the improvement of the St. Louis Blues under new head coach Ken Hitchcock, their special teams continue to struggle, especially their power-play, which is currently 3 for 25 under Hitchcock.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect Hitchcock to focus on those problems going forward.
TORONTO SUN: A proposed arena in Markham could rival the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s reportedly wouldn’t be built solely to attract an NHL franchise, but if it is eventually constructed, it might provide the league a viable option for a relocated or expansion team; provided, of course, they could overcome the strong resistance from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will fight such a move tooth and nail.