The Blues prepare to battle Canucks for first overall in the Western Conference…Penguins losing skid hits six games…Ilya Kovalchuk notches a notable goal against Oilers…Hurricanes Jeff Skinner close to returning…Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard sidelined again by concussion…Pavel Kubina steps up for Lightning…Avalanche’s Peter Mueller reactivated…Sabres Luke Adam struggling…Wojtek Wolski returns to action with Rangers.

STLTODAY.COM: First overall in the Western Conference will be on the line tonight as the second-overall Blues clash with the first overall Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, kids, is why Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will likely be among the finalists for the Adams trophy as NHL coach of the year.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped their sixth straight in a 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, but they’re putting a positive spin on the loss, noting they out-shot and out-hit the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When you’re mired in a slump like the Penguins, you look for the positives wherever you can find them, hoping one of them will help get you back on the winning track.

NJ.COM: Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first-ever goal in Edmonton, as the Devils downed the Oilers 2-1.

Skinner close to returning to Hurricanes.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM:Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner is close to returning to action after being sidelined for a month with concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully he has no lingering after-effects and can play out the remainder of the season. His return won’t save the Hurricanes season, but it could go a long way toward rebuilding his confidence as well as his performance.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard suffered another concussion, but while he said the symptoms aren’t as serious as his previous injury, his absence is a serious blow for a team lacking offensive depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could push the Wild into the trade market for help. Meanwhile, here’s hoping Bouchard has a speedy recovery.

TAMPABAY.COM: With defenseman Victor Hedman out indefinitely, veteran defenseman Pavel Kubina has stepped up his play for the Lightning.

DENVER POST: Avalanche forward Peter Mueller has been activated to the roster after his concussion symptoms finally subside, and could be in the lineup tonight against Nashville.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mueller’s once-promising career has been jeopardized by concussion injuries. Hopefully, he’ll be able to overcome this problem and continue his career.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres rookie forward Luke Adam has seen his ice time decline along with his performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the first two months of this season, Adam was among the league’s top rookies. The decline in his play mirrors that of his team.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski might be able to avoid playing in the minors with Brandon Dubinsky now sidelined.

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4 Responses to NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2012.

  1. Sheepdogged says:

    The Minnesota Wild have plenty of D to help the thin blueline of Tampa Bay. Heck, they also have a goalie in Harding that Yzerman SHOULD be interested in. In return? Anybody who can hit the net more than once a game.

  2. Alex says:

    @Sheepdogged – It’s tough to see what the Lightening would be willing to give up to acquire those assets you mention (which I agree, they should be looking at). St Louis, Stamkos, and Lecavalier (due to his contract) aren’t moving. Doubtful they’ll give up Connolly. On top of that, considering how their season is going their 1st rd pick might be a high one where they could draft a quality defenseman, so that pick’s not likely to move. That leaves players like Malone, Purcell, Tyrell, Moore, Downie, etc. Not exactly the gold mine to choose from for a possible #1 goalie in Harding.

  3. MJR I says:

    If Mueller is healthy, Colorado’s offense is gonna get jacked. He was on a tear there when he had just been traded to them from Phoenix. I hope he stays healthy; he’s a good player.

  4. Sheepdogged says:

    @Alex – Agreed. It is more of a “just please do something” for the Wild fan in me. Perhaps there is a third team that could be thrown in the mix like a Columbus, NY Islanders, Carolina?

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