In today’s roundup of notable NHL Canadian team news: Andrei Markov getting closer to return with Canadiens…Senators Milan Michalek on pace for 50 goals…Rene Bourque unhappy with HNiC analyst…Tim Connolly once again ready to rejoin the Maple Leafs…Canucks strong team chemistry…Oilers GM grades his team’s performance so far…Jets best players rise to occasion in win over Lightning.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Sidelined defenseman Andrei Markov is skating with his teammates in practice, seen as a significant sign in his recovery from off-season knee surgery. Chris Campoli, who suffered a leg injury in the first game of the season, has also returned to on-ice workouts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens power-play has been sputtering this season, so the sooner Markov and Campoli can finally return to action, the better. It probably won’t be until sometime in December when the Habs will have both players back in the lineup.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators forward Milan Michalek is on pace for a 50-goal season, with 11 in his first 18 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if Michalek can maintain that pace, but the fact he’s doing so well offensively this season is a good sign for he and the Senators. If he were to finish with 35 goals, that would be cause for happiness in Ottawa, as they’ve been waiting for the oft-injured Michalek to bust out offensively.
CALGARY SUN: Flames forward Rene Bourque isn’t pleased with recent comments about his performance by Hockey Night in Canada analyst Kelly Hrudey, who questioned Bourque’s passion, suggesting that might be tied to his inconsistency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bourque might not like Hrudey’s assessment, but it’s one that’s prevalent around the league. Bourque has the talent to be an effective scoring forward, but his inconsistency is hurting his performance.
TORONTO SUN: Oft-injured center Tim Connolly is once again set to return to the Maple Leafs lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can he stay healthy for the rest of the season and become a productive part of the Leafs offense? Your guess is as good as theirs.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks are a tight-knit group, which the players cites as one of their strengths as a team.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is pleased with the overall performance of his team in the early going this season.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets, lead by Andrew Ladd, Ondrej Pavelec and Dustin Byfuglien, upset the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That may have been the Jets best performance thus far this season.