In this morning’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Tyler Myers could get a call from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan…Chris Stewart suspended for 3 games…Has the rest of the league figured out Alexander Ovechkin? …Pavel Datsyuk’s slow start…Victor Hedman still carries stigma from Crosby hit…Ilya Kovalchuk returns to Devils…Ilya Bryzgalov to face off against former team…Rangers Marc Staal to start light workouts…Blackhawks crush Canucks 5-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It looks bad, but Zubrus wasn’t injured on the play, and in a way, it’s similar to Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone leveling Montreal’s Chris Campoli during preseason as Campoli was reaching for the puck with his stick . Myers might not be suspended, at worse, could get a $2,500.00 fine.
NHL.COM: The league has suspended St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart for three games for checking Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall from behind.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I confess I’m surprised Stewart was suspended, not because it wasn’t worthy of a suspension, but because Stewart has no history of this sort of thing.
WASHINGTON TIMES: Stephen Whyno with an excellent piece on the decline of Alexander Ovechkin’s offensive production, suggesting rival teams have figured out his offensive moves, as well as the possibility Ovechkin may be turning into more of an all-round player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be offering up my two cents on Ovechkin’s drop in scoring later today in my Soapbox. I believe Whyno’s identified part of the problem, but there’s also other issues at play here.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk acknowledged he’s off to a poor start to this season, calling his performance “awful”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the past six seasons, Datysuk has been the league’s best two-way forward, earning the Selke trophy as the league’s top defensive forward three straight years, but playing at that high level at both ends of the ice is very demanding physically, and while only 33, it’s possible those physical demands might be starting to take its toll on Datsyuk. I certainly hope he proves me wrong as this season progresses, but that’s the way it’s looked so far to me.
TAMPABAY.COM: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is still wearing the stigma of being the player whose hit sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby with a concussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe that’s unfair, as Crosby had suffered the initial concussion several days prior in the Winter Classic after he was walloped by a blindside hit. Had that not happened, I doubt Hedman’s hit would’ve done much, if any, damage to Crosby. Yes, Hedman hit Crosby from behind and Crosby’s head did strike the glass, but not with the kind of force one would expect to result in a serious injury. I don’t believe it was Hedman’s intent to injure the Penguins captain, nor do I believe the Lightning defenseman targeted Crosby’s head.
NEW YORK POST: Ilya Kovalchuk made a triumphant return to the Devils, potting a goal as New Jersey defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3.
PHILLY.COM: Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is looking forward to facing his former team, the Phoenix Coyotes, tonight in Philadelphia.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers concussed defenseman Marc Staal received some good news, as he’s been cleared to begin light workouts. He’s been sidelined since training camp with post-concussion symptoms, believed the result of a late-season hit received from his brother, Eric Staal, in a Rangers-Hurricanes game.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks got power-play goals from Patrick Kane and Andrew Brunette en route to a 5-1 thrashing of the Vancouver Canucks.