Sidney Crosby’s new injury concern…NHL ongoing concussion problem…Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos low-key NHL superstars…Zdeno Chara, Patrick Kane shine during All-Star skills competition…NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s “state of the league” address…Fed up Blue Jackets fans protest team’s direction.
POST-GAZETTE: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was recently diagnosed with a neck injury in addition to his concussion, but the latest injury is fully healed, though it’s unclear why it wasn’t diagnosed sooner. Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, said his client is in good health and spirits, continuing to work out in hopes of returning to the Penguins later this season.
TRIBLIVE: Rob Rossi reports on the ongoing concern of concussion injuries in the NHL, how it’s affecting the way the game is played, including potential modifications to player equipment, and the need for the players to be more responsible for their actions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports suggest Crosby could return to the Penguins lineup in time for the playoffs, but there’s also concern over why his neck injury wasn’t diagnosed earlier than it was. It’s apparent by these reports Crosby has been seeking the best medical advice and treatment options he can in hopes of speeding up his recovery and getting his career back on track.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As much as die hard hockey fans and commentators love to wax lyrical over our undemonstrative, soft-spoken superstars, they not very marketable for the NHL. That’s part of the reason for the concern over Crosby’s health and Alexander Ovechkin’s decline in production. Love them or hate them, they’re personable stars (especially Ovechkin), which the NHL can use as poster boys to sell the sport, especially in the United States.
CSNNE.COM/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane were the stars of the NHL All-Star skills competition. Chara broke his own record in the hardest shot competition, clocking in at 108.8 mph, while Kane drew raves for his “Superman” shtick during the breakaway challenge.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The skills competition is, for me, the best part of the All-Star weekend. Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price deserves honorable mention for his good-natured antics in goal (including stopping Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier with his back turned) during the breakaway challenge.
CBC.CA: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met with the media yesterday for a “state of the league” address, in which he stated his hope the upcoming CBA talks between the league and NHLPA would be quick and painless.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Bettman suggested talk of a “Plan B” (relocation) for the Phoenix Coyotes was premature, claiming again there are three parties interested in purchasing the team and keeping it in Glendale. The city of Glendale and the Goldwater Institute, meanwhile, continue to squabble over the city’s efforts to sell the team.
NORTH JERSEY.COM: Bettman also acknowledged the league had advanced money (though stressing it wasn’t a loan) to the New Jersey Devils while attempting to assist the club in resolving its ownership issues. He insists the franchise remains “stable”.
NEWSDAY: The Commissioner also lamented the lack of a deal for either a new arena for the NY Islanders or refurbishing its current one, adding he hoped something will be worked out before the team’s current lease with Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015.
STLTODAY.COM: He also suggested the sale of the St. Louis Blues could be completed in March.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be commenting about all of this later today in my “Soapbox”.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: An estimated 250 fans turned up yesterday at Nationwide Arena to voice their displeasure over the direction of the Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the protest will resonate with the team’s ownership.