Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis rebounding from a slow start…Ryan Whitney returns to the Oilers…Canadiens forward Scott Gomez injured again…Zach Bogosian avoids suspension…James Reimer participates in first Leafs practice since early November…Senators rookie Colin Greenling unconcerned about Calder talk…Flames president Ken King discusses his team.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis have rebounded from slow starts to this season and have been significant factors in the team’s improved performance this month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieksa and Hamhuis are vital to the Canucks overall performance. When they’re playing well, the Canucks are a much better team.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Defenseman Ryan Whitney is ready to rejoin the Oilers after being sidelined for several weeks by a sprained knee. He’d also missed the opening games of the season recovering from ankle surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers and their fans will be crossing their fingers hoping Whitney can remain healthy for the rest of the season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will be without forward Scott Gomez when they face the Flyers and Penguins this weekend. Gomez suffered a groin injury in the Habs 4-3 shootout win on Wednesday over the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This creates yet another opportunity for Lars Eller to make the most of the extra ice time while Gomez is out. Eller looked good filling in for Gomez earlier this season.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be suspended for his hit to the head of Washington Capitals forward Cody Eakin during the Jets 4-3 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bogosian got lucky, but won’t be if it happens again.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer participated in his first full team practice Thursday, but head coach Ron Wilson isn’t ready yet to insert Reimer back into the lineup just yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the media-driven controversy over the Leafs handling of Reimer’s treatment for concussion-like symptoms, one can’t fault Wilson for being cautious over Reimer’s readiness to play.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators rookie forward Colin Greenling conceded other rookies stand a better chance than he of winning the Calder Trophy, but he’s been one of the pleasant surprises for the Senators this season.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames president Ken King discussed his club’s disappointing performance thus far this season, admitting last season’s strong second half was misleading.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: King didn’t go into potential changes for the team going forward, but one has to believe he go green-light a major overhaul by the trade deadline if the Flames haven’t climbed back into post-season contention by then.