The Minnesota Wild drop a key game in spectacular fashion, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis chase scoring titles, Ryan Miller may have played his final game with the Sabres, and more.
TWINCITIES.COM: With a chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Minnesota Wild were stunned 6-1 by the lowly Edmonton Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not that they lost that game, but how they lost it. They gave up three goals on the first five shots of the game, and appeared shell-shocked through the first two periods.
All isn’t lost, as a win today against Colorado would certainly clinch a berth, even if the Columbus Blue Jackets (currently tied with the Wild) were to win tonight against Nashville, as the Wild hold more victories than the Jackets. Same goes if both clubs lose in regulation or overtime tonight. Still, it’s going to be a test of the Wild’s character to bounce back within 24 hours of such a shocking defeat.
BUFFALO NEWS: Playing in his 500th NHL game (and possibly his last with the Sabres), Ryan Miller made 30 saves to backstop Buffalo to a 2-1 shootout win over the NY Islanders. Following the game, veteran forward Jochen Hecht officially announced his retirement from the NHL, intending to continue his playing career in Germany.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeping change seems to be coming to the Sabres. Long time coach Lindy Ruff was fired, Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold were dealt away, Miller and possibly Thomas Vanek could be next, and Hecht has retired.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each scored their 23rd goals of the season to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
DENVER POST: P.A. Parenteau scored the shootout winner as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will miss the playoffs, but Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are chasing the Richard and Art Ross trophies.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a shame such great talent is missing the post-season. Hopefully GM Steve Yzerman can find the right mix of talent this summer to surround this talented duo and turn the Bolts into playoff contenders.
VANCOUVER SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has filed a defamation lawsuit in BC against 18 unnamed people for spreading lies about his having an affair with Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. The 18 were hiding behind screennames when posting their comments, but Burke’s lawyer is confident they can be identified. Some pathetic little wretches in this world have “keyboard courage” but they’d think twice if there were legal consequences for their actions.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets have re-signed forward Cam Atkinson to a two-year, $2.3 million contract.
SI.COM: Allan Muir remembers the memorable moments of the NHL’s shortened season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My favorite memory was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr announcing in the early morning hours of January 6 they had reached agreement on a season-saving deal.