NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2012.

A costly win for the Penguins over the Stars…Ryan Miller backstops Sabres over the Ducks…Blackhawks down Maple Leafs…Eric Stall refocused…Henrik Tallinder out longer than expected…Rangers rest Ryan Callahan…Avalanche riding two hot goalies…Sharks hope for improved defense and health…Lightning remain in playoff chase.


The moment before Nystrom's hit on Letang.

POST-GAZETTE: The Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a shoot-out but it was a costly win, losing Kris Letang and Steve Sullivan to injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric Nystrom’s hit on Letang which knocked the latter out of the game, is tough to call as an illegal hit, as Nystrom doesn’t appear to deliberately target Letang’s head. Should be interesting to see the league’s decision. Hopefully Letang, who missed considerable time this season to concussion, won’t be sidelined for long.

BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 43 saves on route to a 2-0 shutout of the Anaheim Ducks.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks pulled Corey Crawford after a wild first period, which seemed to provide a much-needed spark, as they downed the floundering Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a while there, the first period of that game looked like the Battle of the Misfit Goalies.

NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, like his team, has been on a resurgence since early January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A coaching change and the improved health of brother Marc Staal are the two biggest reasons for Eric’s improvement.

NJ.COM: Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder could miss the rest of the season to a blood clot in his lower left leg.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers are taking no chances with captain Ryan Callahan (bruised foot), allowing him to skip practice to recuperate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers position in the standings makes it possible for them to rest a key player like Callahan when they’re nursing an injury. It might not be a bad idea to let him skip a game or two if needed. Better to go into the playoffs with their captain healthy than hobbled.

DENVER POST: Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere have given the Avalanche solid goaltending of late.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks playoff quest will hinge on their defensive play and the health of key players down the stretch.

TBO.COM: Despite having shaken up their roster with recent trades, the Lightning remain in the playoff race, currently only five points out of eighth overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes these trades where the GM appears to have run up the white flag on the season can have a motivating effect upon a team, snapping it out of its funk. Remains to be seen how long the Lightning can keep this up, but their playoff chances are much better now than they were about three weeks ago.


  1. Ducks can rest easy, trade deadline is past and they won’t be traded to somewhere that is too cold to go to the beach. Once again Murray did nothing to make this team better or even younger. There is always July 1 and free agency, oh but wait he did nothing last year. Hum, turned league standings up side down and Ducks are 6th, maybe just maybe they can get a top 5 pick or better.

  2. Allforducks… yes! they need to tank it and get a pick rther than climb up in the standings. I dont think they have enouh gas in the tank to make it.

  3. I doubt Nystrom gets suspended. We’ve seen other players hit while making that stretch type motion and it has been ruled unintentional. Of course that’s assuming there’s some consistency.

    Just determining who starts for the Leafs can be deemed the Battle of Misfit Goalies.

  4. I (as a Lightning fan) am happy with the way Yzerman has handled himself. All of these trades made sense and have strengthened this franchise. Moore would have demanded more the same way he did in Toronto. Kubina had concrete legs and loves to turn the puck over. Downie was a solid gritty forward, but a huge lability and a massive penalty magnet. A 7th rounder for Commodore (if we make the playoffs) who is bytes then Kubina. Gilroy was decent, but Lee has more defensive upside. I was hopeful to see Carter Ashton in the Bolts line up next season, however Aulie is a wall and isn’t to shabby chucking the knuckles. We get a goalie in the off season and dump Clark and Bergeron and I see one hell of a good team. GO Bolts!

  5. gravityMike, Remember, Nystrom hit a Penguin. The league’s pet team. I won’t be surprised if there is a suspension.

  6. @Justme This is why you have to research before spewing conspiracies. Letang and Engelland have been suspended this season. Staal and Neal have been fined. Last season Cooke (twice) and Goddard suspended. That doesn’t take into account Crosby’s concussions and no supplemental discipline. I’m looking at you Steckel. But don’t let facts get in your way. The Pens aren’t my team either.

  7. Anyone else think Letang sold that hit well? Sure there was contact and head snapped but he took air in a odd angle/way..

  8. @ Gravity Mike well said. Can’t stand these ignorant conspiracy theory complainers! (and the Pense aren’t my team either)

    @ Mats the guy got a concussion. I highly doubt the first thing on his mind was “I hope I draw a penalty”.