In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Sidney Crosby won’t be ready for the start of the season…”Teemu-apalooza” in Finland…Flyers need a healthy Chris Pronger…Victor Hedman ready to step up for the Lightning…Could Tyler Seguin have a “Stamkos style” sophomore season?…Ryan Malone could face suspension…Eric Nystrom unlikely to be suspended…Panthers face decision with promising prospects.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will travel with the club for their season-opening road trip in Western Canada, but hasn’t received clearance to play in their season-opener against Vancouver, and appears doubtful for the following games against Calgary and Edmonton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some speculation Crosby would make a ‘surprise’ debut in the Penguins season-opener to give them an edge over their opponents. It’s obvious that’s not the case. Just because he’s travelling with the team and still practicing with them doesn’t mean he and the Pens are planning to pull a “fast one”. When he’s ready to play, believe me, we’ll know well in advance.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Expect a massive outpouring of support for Teeme Selanne when the Ducks play Jokerit in Finland in an exhibition game.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers season could well hinge upon a healthy Chris Pronger patrolling their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the serious injuries and surgeries Pronger’s had of late, it could be asking too much for him to be healthy throughout the season and continue to play the same physical style he’s done throughout his career. Pronger will soon turn 37, he’s been in the NHL for 17 seasons, and it apparent time is starting to catch up with him. I’m not suggesting he’s going to collapse this season, but he might not be capable of playing at the same high level as he used to throughout an entire season and the playoffs.
TAMPABAY.COM: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is ready to accept more responsibility and minutes, determined to become a “difference maker” for his team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defensemen usually tend to take longer to develop, but Hedman has made significant strides in his first two NHL seasons, and could be poised to join the NHL’s elite blueliners within the next couple of years, perhaps as soon as this season. He’s got the skills, and with two NHL seasons now under his belt, may be ready to become the star defenseman the Lightning envisioned when they selected him second overall in 2009.
BOSTON HERALD: Stephen Harris reports on the possibility of Bruins forward Tyler Seguin having a sophomore season comparable to Tampa Bay’s Stephen Stamkos.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe he can, provided head coach Claude Julien is willing to give him the same kind of playing time the Lightning gave Stamkos, and put one of their top forwards on his line. Seguin is clearly talented, and gave everyone tantalizing glimpses of his offensive skills during two games in the Eastern Conference Final last spring against Stamkos’ Lightning.
KUKLA’S KORNER: Lightning forward Ryan Malone could be facing suspension for his head shot on Montreal defenseman Chris Campoli.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malone defended himself by claiming Campoli leaned forward reaching for the puck just prior to the hit, but the replay suggested he had time to pull up and avoid hitting Campoli, We’ll likely find out very soon what league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan thinks.
STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Eric Nystrom is unlikely to be suspended for an icing incident which resulted in Edmonton Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun suffering a broken femur.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more about this later today in my “Soapbox”.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers will give defenseman Erik Gudbranson a 9-game regular season tryout, but might return promising Jonathan Huberdeau to Junior for another season.