In today’s roundup of notable Canadian NHL team news: How do you solve a problem like Dustin Byfuglien?…Oilers to keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins…Cory Schneider accepts his fate…P.K. Subban’s teammates make light of his fighting ability…John-Michael Liles still trying to find his groove in Toronto…Miikka Kiprusoff carries Flames to victory over the Blues…Nick Foligno hoping to contribute more for Senators this season.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Dustin Byfuglien still has to learn when to join the rush and when to hang back near his zone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien’s like a free-spirited colt on the Jets blueline, which works out well offensively, but too often results in giving up odd man rushes to opponents, among other defensive liabilities. Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy, who played with another free-wheeling blueliner in Paul Coffey during their Edmonton Oilers days, is trying to teach Byfuglien to adjust his game and become more defensively responsible.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was thrilled to learn he’ll be sticking with the Oilers this season, rather than be returned to his junior team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, RNH has earned his spot this season.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks goalie Cory Schneider remains upbeat despite being relegated to the backup role, and vigorously defends Roberto Luongo from criticism he’s received from fans and media in recent weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, Schneider wants to be an NHL starter, but he understands his situation and his role with the Canucks, is obviously tight with Luongo, and isn’t about to make waves.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban earned some good-natured ribbing from his teammates following his recent “fight” with Boston Bruins
defenseman winger Brad Marchand, notable for Subban missing with a huge haymaker that sent the blueliner tumbling to the ice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban had a good chuckle over it too, admitted he’s no fighter, and that he and his old friend Marchand laughed about their scrap afterward.
TORONTO SUN: Defenseman John-Michael Liles, despite having seven assists in nine games and earning praise from Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, isn’t happy with his performance thus far, believing he can play better.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Liles’ overall game has significantly improved over the past couple of season, and he’s gone from being known as simply a one-dimensional blueliner into a better all-round one.
CALGARY HERALD: Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves carrying his club to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Known as a slow starter, Kiprusoff has been outstanding in three of the Flames last four games, each one victories, with save percentages over .940 and giving up only four goals total.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Forward Nick Foligno, now in his fifth NHL season, is hoping to contribute more to the Senators this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize there was expectations of Foligno perhaps becoming a good second-line forward, but I think he’s at best a third line checking forward.