Ville Leino’s decline has hurt the Sabres…Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler regaining his scoring touch…Avs’ Peter Mueller powers his team over Panthers…Penguins defenseman Paul Martin overcoming slow start…Francois Beauchemin leads Ducks over Coyotes…Hurricanes block shots and pain…Blackhawks rookies lead team over Sabres…Stars Richard Bachman learning as he settles into backup role.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Ville Leino has been the biggest bust of last year’s free agent market, his poor play a key reason for the club’s decline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Darcy Regier violated the first rule for NHL general managers during free agency: “Just because you can spend a lot of money, doesn’t mean you should”. He certainly hasn’t gotten his money’s worth so far with Leino, or for that matter, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler is regaining his scoring touch (13 goals, 29 points) after only notching 10 goals and 37 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Hudler’s improvement wins him a new contract with the Red Wings, or if they let him walk via free agency this summer.

Mueller nets first goals since April 2010 in win over Panthers.

DENVER POST: Peter Mueller scored his first NHL goals since April 2010, potting two to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 overtime win over the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mueller also assisted on the game-tying goal. Here’s hoping Mueller continues to improve and fully puts his concussion issues behind him.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Paul Martin has overcome a slow start and injuries to become a valuable part of the Penguins defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Pittsburgh fans and pundits have called for Martin to be shopped, but if he continues his improvement in the coming weeks, he’ll become too valuable to move.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Defenseman Francois Beauchemin had two goals and an assist as the Anaheim Ducks down the Phoenix Coyotes 6-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are 6-0-1 in their last seven games.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Several Hurricanes players explain the art – and pain – of shot-blocking.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes each had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks defeated the floundering Buffalo Sabres 6-2.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Richard Bachman is learning the ropes as the Stars backup goaltender.