Recapping Wednesday games involving American NHL teams, reaction to the Sabres firing Lindy Ruff, the latest on Jeff Skinner, Jimmy Howard, Viktor Fasth & more.
PHILLY.COM/PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jakub Voracek’s hat trick helped power the Philadelphia Flyers to a wild 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Wayne Simmonds enjoyed a “Gordie Howe hat trick” (two goals, an assist and a fight) while Claude Giroux had two assists for the Flyers. Paul Martin had three assists for the Penguins.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Jerry Sullivan feels the Sabres firing Lindy Ruff as head coach is too little, too late, and believes GM Darcy Regier could follow Ruff out the door if the Sabres fail to turn things around this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ruff was in the job too long and the players appeared to tune him out, but he’s not the only one to blame for the Sabres malaise. Like Ruff, Regier has been in the job too long, and has little to show for it in recent years. Indeed, the Sabres have been mediocre since 2007-08, showing few signs of improvement. If the Sabres miss the playoffs this season, I expect Regier will lose his job.
Recap of the LA Kings- Calgary Flames game can be found in “Canadian Corner”.
THE TENNESSEAN: The firing of Lindy Ruff makes Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators the NHL’s longest-tenured coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike Ruff, Trotz doesn’t have to worry about losing his job. What he’s accomplished with the Predators, a club which usually cannot afford to spend big bucks on its roster, is impressive.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday announced the re-signing of goaltender Viktor Fasth to a two-year, $5.8 million contract, for a cap hit of $2.9 million per season starting in 2013-14.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been suggested the Ducks jumped the gun by re-signing Fasth now, when he’s yet to lose an NHL game, rather than waiting for season’s end in order to better evaluate his performance and worth. This contract, however, isn’t a cap buster. It’s for reasonable dollars on a short term. If Fasth turns out to be a bust after this season, the Ducks won’t be on the hook for long. If, however, he continues playing well, folks will be praising Ducks management for re-signing him quickly.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner is sidelined indefinitely to a concussion, likely the result of some hits he received during a recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s Skinner’s second concussion, having missed sixteen games to concussion symptoms last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once a person suffers a concussion, they’re susceptible to concussion-related injuries. Suffering his second concussion in as many seasons doesn’t bode well for Skinner.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has been cleared to play in tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after suffering blurred vision during a practice before a recent game against the Nashville Predators.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The NY Rangers will be without forward Rick Nash in tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. There’s speculation he’s suffered either a concussion or shoulder injury after being driven into the boards by Milan Lucic during a recent game against the Boston Bruins.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals are bracing for another absence by oft-injured defenseman Mike Green, who suffered a lower-body injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 14.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green’s been hampered by a nagging groin injury since November 2011, which may be what’s flared up again.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The NHL fined Nashville Predators winger Rich Clune $1,452.70 for boarding Aaron Palushaj during a recent game against the Colorado Avalanche.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers shaky goaltending has forced them to call up Jacob Markstrom.
TORONTO STAR: A source claims the Toronto Maple Leafs-Detroit Red Wings Winter Classic game, originally scheduled for New Year’s Day this year, is expected to take place next January 1 at the University of Michigan’s football stadium.
R SPORT: The NHL is interested in allowing its players to participate in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, but is demanding TV rights concessions and rule changes.