More on NHL divisional realignment…Red Wings and Avs lose key players…Isles Nino Niederreiter suffers concussion…Hurricanes trying to find lost culture…Blackhawks still struggling on penalty kill…Rangers ready to debut on HBO…Sale of Blues progressing…Predators struggling defense leading to losses.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The NHL’s annual Board of Governors meetings begins this week without a consensus on divisional realignment.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector suggests the BoG meetings could end without a resolution on this matter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever decision is made, it’ll guarantee three things: It won’t please everyone, the Winnipeg Jets will be moved to a Western-area division, and ultimately realignment will have little impact upon the quality of the NHL product.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche ended the Detroit Red Wings winning streak at seven games, downing the Wings 4-2, but lost center Paul Stastny to a “torso injury”.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings lost forward Valtteri Filppula to a leg injury when he was cut on his leg above his skate. Head coach Mike Babcock couldn’t say how serious the injury was.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Filppula would be a more serious blow to the Wings than Statsny’s loss to the Avs. Filppula has improved significantly this season and is on pace for career-best numbers. Stastny, on the other hand, has been criticized this season for indifferent play.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: NY Islanders rookie Nino Niederreiter suffered a concussion from the questionable hit to the head he received from Dallas Stars Mark Fistric, who could face suspension on the play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yesterday, I wrote Fistric didn’t appear to have any prior incidents of these kind of hits, but that’s not the case. As the aforementioned piece noted, he was fined for punching Eric Nystrom with Nystrom’s helmet and last season delivered a questionable hit to the head of Detroit’s Johan Franzen. A suspension could be in the works.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: It won’t be easy for the Hurricanes to regain the culture which made them Stanley Cup champions in 2006.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One big reason is they lack the depth that championship lineup had.
SUNTIMES.COM: The Blackhawks appear to be getting better defensively, but they still need to improve, especially on the penalty kill.
NEW YORK POST: The NY Rangers prepare for their moment in the HBO spotlight in the series “The Road to the Winter Classic”, but there’s concern over what the presence of the cameras could have upon team chemistry. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 14 games and are one of the hottest teams in the league.
STLTODAY.COM: The sale of the Blues to businessman Matthew Hulsizer appears to be progressing well, but it won’t be presented for approval to the NHL Board of Governors during their meetings this week.
THE TENNESEAN: An uncharacteristic decline in the Predators defensive play could be responsible for their current slump.