In this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines: Listless Capitals drop fourth straight…Mikko Koivu leads Wild to league-topping win over Blues…Bruins win 8th straight…Sharks atop Pacific Division after win over Stars…Panthers PP key to victory over Penguins….Avalanche trying to establish an identity…Former Leafs fill Hurricanes lineup…Radim Vrbata and Twitter star Paul Bissonnette lead Coyotes to win over Sabres…Review of “The Devil and Bobby Hull”.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals dropped their fourth straight game as the Toronto Maple Leafs shelled them 7-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Caps current slide, coupled with the decline in Alexander Ovechkin’s play this season, has not only generated speculation over what’s troubling the Capitals captain, but spurring debate over what this team must do (Fire coach Bruce Boudreau? Trade Alexander Semin? Consider moving Ovechkin?) to improve. Expect management to remain patient, as this team went through a nasty slump last December, then rallied in the second half, but that won’t lessen the media chatter and speculation.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, the subject of scorn so far this season for his low production, potting two goals in regulation – one a shorthanded marker, the other on the power-play – plus scored in the shootout, as his club edged the St. Louis Blues 3-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few more games like that, and Koivu will silence his critics for the remainder of the season.
BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins won their eighth straight, thumping the sinking NY Islanders 6-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hard to believe a month ago the Bruins were lurching through October, falling to the bottom of the Eastern standings, leading to panicky calls for trades by their supporters. Nothing like rattling off eight straight wins, most of them lopsided, to restore calm in Beantown.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks vaulted atop the Pacific Division with a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, as goalie Antti Niemi made 30 stops while Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each had two assists.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Jose Theodore made 39 saves while Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss each netted power-play goals as the Florida Panthers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s now late-November, and the anticipated collapse of the Panthers has yet to materialize.
DENVER POST: The now-struggling Colorado Avalanche and head coach Joe Sacco are still trying to establish an identity.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have become a popular stop for former Toronto Maple Leafs, as Tomas Kaberle, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jiri Tlusty, Tim Brent and Jay Harrison now suit up for the Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just a theory, but perhaps part of the Hurricanes troubles this season is too many Leafs castoffs in their roster?
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Radim Vrbata scored twice and Paul Bissonnette – renowned more for his Twitter account than his scoring ability – potted the game-tying goal with his mother in attendance, as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice effort by Vrbata, but the goal by “BizNasty” got most of the attention around the Twitterscape.
SI.COM: Stu Hackel reviews the book “The Devil and Bobby Hull” by Gare Joyce.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m really looking forward to reading this one. In his prime, Hull was one of the game’s greatest stars, and his rise and fall is a compelling story. I’m looking forward to this one, and judging by the review, it should be on every hockey fan’s Christmas wish list. I know it’s on mine.