Dan Carcillo, Rene Bourque receive lengthy suspensions…Lars Eller powers Canadiens to big win over Jets…Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly emerging as defensive star…Rangers coach fined for derogatory comments against Winter Classic officials….Blues hoping to avoid January meltdown…Sabres not generating enough noise at home….Blackhawks star Patrick Kane hoping to snap scoring slump in Philadelphia…Red Wings Jiri Hudler finding his scoring touch…Panthers officially sign John Madden…Kings hire Bernie Nichols as offensive adviser….Dwayne Roloson hoping to bounce back in second half.
KUKLA’S KORNER: The NHL has suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo seven games for an illegal hit on Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert, while Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque was suspended five games for elbowing Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom in the head.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller and linemate Andrei Kostitsyn had tremendous chemistry in that game. If they played like that more often, the Canadiens wouldn’t be sitting outside the playoff picture.
DENVER POST: Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly, 21, is playing his way into all-star and Selke Trophy contention with his strong play at both ends of the rink.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly’s performance hasn’t garnered much attention this season because of the Avs inconsistent performance this season, but if they should make the playoffs, folks will be paying more attention to this guy.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach John Tortorella was fined $30K and issued an apology for ripping on-ice officials following the Winter Classic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me unsurprised.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues enter January hoping to avoid last January’s meltdown which scuttled their playoff hopes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two reasons why I believe they will: better goaltending, and they have a different head coach this season, who won’t allow them to lose their discipline.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres home arena has been fairly quiet this season despite the large crowds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because the Sabres haven’t given their fans anything worth cheering for this season.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane hopes a return to Philadelphia, the first for he and his teammates since winning the Stanley Cup there in June 2010, will help him overcome his recent scoring slump.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Streaky Red Wings winger Jiri Hudler appears to have regained his scoring touch, netting nine of his 11 goals this season over the past month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he keeps this up, the Red Wings won’t have any reason to shop him near the trade deadline, though I have my doubts it’ll improve the possibility of his re-signing with the Wings this summer.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers yesterday officially announced the signing of center John Madden to a one-year contract.
LOS ANGELES TIME: The Kings have hired former Kings scoring star Bernie Nichols in an informal role as an offensive adviser.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson is hoping to bounce back over the second half of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadly, Roloson might not be capable of that. At 42, age has finally caught up to him.