The Oilers don’t want to be in contention for another draft lottery pick…Canadiens coach growing frustrated…Iginla one goal shy of 500…Erik Karlsson close to first overall in All-Star voting…Jets facing real test heading into January…Chris Higgins returns to Canucks lineup.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers GM Steve Tambellini isn’t happy with his club’s slide down the standings, and doesn’t want to be in position where his club is eligible for another high draft lottery pick. Tambellini noted injuries have been a contributing factor as well as a lack of scoring depth. He claimed he has no trades on the front-burner but hinted at the possibility things could heat up in the trade market around mid-month, adding he’d be looking to make a move if it would help his team now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there’s any trade Tambellini can make which will help his team now. They desperately need a couple of top quality defensemen, and those just aren’t available unless he wants to sacrifice his future for a quick fix.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth is clearly frustrated over his team’s recent performance, including their latest loss, falling 3-2 to the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cunneyworth’s doing the best he can, but there’s just not enough quality talent on the Canadiens to turn things around. Most of their best forwards are too small, their defense is in disarray, and they rely too much on an overworked Carey Price to bail them out. They must be among the league leaders in blown leads this season.
CALGARY SUN: Jarome Iginla netted career goal 499 in a 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. Teammate Brendan Morrison netted his 200th career goal in the same game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the loss, the club’s third in a row, the Flames remain only two points out of the final playoff berth in the West.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson leads all NHL defenseman in all-star votes but will need a late surge to overtake Toronto’s Phil Kessel.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs continue to search for answers for their lousy penalty kill, which has been a contributing factor to the club’s slide out of a playoff spot for the first time this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s just one of the problems the Leafs must address soon if they hope to regain a playoff spot. They also need improved goaltending, and more offensive production from their second line.
WINNIPEG SUN:The Jets will face a real test with 15 of their next 21 games to be played on the road.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid effort over that stretch could assure the Jets of a playoff berth.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Chris Higgins will return to the Canucks lineup as they face the San Jose Sharks today.