Game recaps, the Leafs to hire Brendan Shanahan as team president, Ryan Smyth to retire and more news involving your favorite Canadian NHL teams.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs lackluster 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers (spoiling the long-awaited NHL debut of PEI native Drew MacIntyre) was overshadowed by the news Brendan Shanahan was leaving his job as league disciplinarian to become the Leafs new team president.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best reaction I read to the news of the Leafs hiring Shanahan came from one of my Twitter followers: “Shanny used to punishment”. At this stage in Leafs history, who else but a masochist would want the role of team president? Okay, okay, simmer down, Leafs fans. Just a little joke. I can understand Shanahan’s desire to take on a new challenge. This one – helping to turn the Leafs into not just a playoff contender, but a legit Stanley Cup contender – is arguably the biggest challenge a hockey man can accept. Shanny will be trying to succeed where so many notable hockey executives have failed. I wish him the best of luck, he’s gonna need it.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens listless 2-0 loss to the NY Islanders jeopardizes their hopes for home ice advantage against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their upcoming playoff series. The Canadiens are one point ahead of the Lightning, who hold a game in hand over the Habs. The Canadiens also got word forward Alex Galchenyuk (knee injury) will miss that opening round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs will enter this series missing a key player to injury, as the Lightning’s starting goalie Ben Bishop could miss the opening games with an upper body injury.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators continued the New Jersey Devils shootout miseries this season with a 2-1 victory. Erik Karlsson tallied the winning goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Smyth will continue with the Oilers in a front office role. He could’ve tried to sign with another NHL team but I think it’s obvious he had no interest in doing that. He at least gets to retire as an Oiler.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks commemorated the start of the Trevor Linden era with a 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: What, you were expecting they’d be inspired to pull off a win for their one-time captain turned new president of hockey operations?
WINNIPEG SUN: Call-up goalie Michael Hutchinson made 36 saves backstopping the Jets to a 2-1 shootout win over the Boston Bruins.
CALGARY SUN: Flames goalie Karri Ramo is having a strong finish to this season.