Another medical update on Sidney Crosby….Bruins GM keeps a low profile…Blue Jackets fan protest draws attention around the league…Lightning founder Phil Esposito’s daughter dies suddenly…Islander to play game in Brooklyn…Rangers coach’s gamble fails…Steven Stamkos comes through in OT for Lightning…Sabres win over Canadiens costly…Patrick Sharp back sooner than expected…Panthers goalie controversy?…Semyon Varlamov loses “show me” game…Wild suffers dispiriting loss…Andrew Cogliano hits career milestone in Ducks win.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has now been diagnose with soft tissue injury to his neck, not a broken neck as had been earlier diagnosed.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Crosby denied he had a rift with the Penguins medical staff.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a more promising diagnosis which could bode well for Crosby’s return this season, though the people treating him have been having a tough time trying to nail down the true reason for his nagging injury woes. I also realize some readers are growing weary of the seemingly constant reports of Crosby’s injury status, but remember, he’s the best player in the game, and that’s why we’re hearing so much about it. Yes, I know, some of you will dispute that, or just plain hate his guts. That’s your problem, deal with it. The fact remains, Crosby is considered the best player in the game, so there’s going to be a lot of focus on his health.
ESPN.COM: A profile of Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, who has quietly built the Bruins into a powerhouse.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli has become one of the best general managers in the game, and has done so without drawing much attention to himself.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: A recent rally of over 250 Blue Jackets fans protesting the direction of the team has drawn considerable attention around the league, as well as of team ownership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the protest will result in any positive changes for the Jackets in the near future. And spare me the jokes about “the entire Blue Jackets season ticket base turning out to protest”. In the hockey hotbed of Montreal, less than that number turned out to protest the Canadiens decision not to re-sign Alex Kovalev (which turned out to be a smart move by the Habs) and the Canadiens decision to promote Randy Cunneyworth as interim head coach.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning founder and Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito’s daughter Carrie Selivanov died on Monday in Germany from a sudden illness.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Esposito and his family.
NEW YORK TIMES: The NY Islanders will play the New Jersey Devils in a pre-season game this fall at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a move seen by some as a warning shot to Nassau County the Islanders could move if their current arena isn’t refurbished or replaced.
NEW YORK POST: John Tortorella’s decision to play backup Martin Biron instead of starter Henrik Lundqvist proved costly as the Rangers fell in a shootout to the New Jersey Devils.
TBO.COM: Steven Stamkos scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Washington Capitals 4-3 for their fifth straight win.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens proved costly, as leading scorer Thomas Vanek was sidelined with an upper body injury.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Patrick Sharp returned earlier than expected to the Blackhawks lineup.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: A possible goalie controversy could be brewing in Florida. Jose Theodore is still considered the Panthers starter, but head coach Kevin Dineen will play backup Scott Clemmensen if it gives the Panthers the best chance to win.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers coach won’t fool around. His club is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so he’ll go with the hot hand in goal. I daresay Theodore will understand the situation, and it’s up to him to step up his game to ensure he gets the bulk of the starts.
DENVER POST: Semyon Varlamov suffered another loss in goal for the Avs, as they fell 3-2 to Edmonton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are another club battling to make the playoffs. If Varlamov doesn’t pick up his game, he’ll be warming the bench while J.S. Giguere gets most of the starts.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild suffered a dispiriting loss to the Nashville Predators, blowing a 4-1 lead to lose 5-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That loss could be the backbreaker for the Wild’s season. They’ve been in free-fall since mid-December, and losing a game like that can be a massive blow to the team’s confidence.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Andrew Cogliano netted the first hat trick of his career, scoring three goals in less than seven minutes as the Ducks downed the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1.