Henrik Lundqvist stands tall for Rangers in Winter Classic…Jaromir Jagr explains why he took himself out of Winter Classic….The growth of Steven Stamkos…Jeff Skinner returns to practice…Devin Setoguchi returning soon to Wild lineup…Steve Yzerman in uncharted waters…Lindy Ruff shoulders blame for Sabres slide….Dan Carcillo costs his team…Coyotes Raffi Torres suspended.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the star of this year’s Winter Classic, backstopping his team to a 3-2 comeback win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
PHILLY.COM: Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr blamed a nagging calf injury, suffering in a game last week against Pittsburgh, for why he was forced to sit out most of yesterday’s game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This year’s Winter Classic was arguably the most exciting since the Classic first began in 2008. The game got better as it went on and the players adjusted to conditions.
TBO.COM: At only 21, Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos has become one of the NHL’s top stars.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons on the difficulty facing Lightning GM Steve Yzerman this season as his team struggles to recapture the form which carried them to the Eastern Conference Final last year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Lightning currently outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they’ll need Stamkos to be at the top of his game for the rest of the season if they’re to have a chance at securing a playoff berth. The Lightning’s biggest needs are a quality starting goalie and more defensive depth, and Yzerman will have his hands full as he tries to address those needs between now and the February 27th trade deadline.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion on December 7th. He’s not cleared for contact yet, and can give no timetable as to when he’ll be ready to return to action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully Skinner will be able to make a full recovery and return to action before this season ends.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Devin Setoguchi is due to return soon from a knee injury, which should provide a boost for the struggling Wild, who’ve gone 3-6-3 since Setoguchi was sidelined.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is shouldering the blame for his club’s poor performance and lack of leadership in recent weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres still have enough time to reverse their decline and get back into playoff contention, but they’ll need a strong overall effort to get it done.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo’s illegal hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert proved costly, as Carcillo suffered a knee injury and was also penalized and ejected from the game, while the Oilers scored twice on the ensuing power-play en route to a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Instant karma’s gonna get you, “Car Bomb”. And a suspension seems likely for that hit.