Recaps of Friday’s games involving non-NHL teams, plus an update on talks regarding NHL participation in the Sochi Olympics.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/MERCURYNEWS.COM: The red-hot Chicago Blackhawks downed the San Jose Sharks 4-1, handing the Sharks their seventh straight loss. The game highlight was a fight between the captains of both clubs, as Chicago’s Jonathan Toews squared off against San Jose’s Joe Thornton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not sure why Toews thought it would be a good idea to dance with Thornton, but he’s lucky he got away unscathed. Thornton isn’t known as a fighter but he is willing to oblige and acquits himself well. The Blackhawks are 11-0-3, while the Sharks risk sliding out of playoff contention if they don’t turn things around soon.
NJ.COM/PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers squandered an early 3-1 lead as the New Jersey Devils potted four unanswered goals to win 5-3. Ilya Kovalchuk (3 assists) and Patrik Elias (1G, 2A) enjoyed three-point nights, while David Clarkson scored his 10th of the season. The loss was a costly one for the Flyers, as defenseman Kimmo Timonen left the game with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries are taking a devastating toll upon the Flyers lineup this season. Losing Timonen for a significant length of time could push them into the trade market for help.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/DETROIT FREE PRESS: Anaheim Ducks rookie goalie Viktor Fasth continues to impress, picking up his third straight win as the Ducks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Andrew Cogliano scored twice, while Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan enjoyed two-point performances. The Red Wings were without top forward Pavel Datsyuk, who missed the game due to a bruised shoulder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 30-year-old Fasth is among the early surprises to this season, and could be pushing starter Jonas Hiller out of a job.
BUFFALO NEWS/BOSTON GLOBE: Third period goals by Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Hodgson lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Ryan Miller made 30 saves for the win, and a struggling Drew Stafford enjoyed a two-point (1G,1A) game.
NEW YORK TIMES: Talks between the NHL and Olympic officials ended yesterday without a deal to allow NHL players to participate in the Sochi Winter Games next year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t worry, the NHL will be participating in the Sochi Games. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has merely taken umbrage over recent comments by IIHF president Rene Fasel and is merely trying to show Fasel he won’t be pressured. Ultimately, the NHL will agree, because it doesn’t want to risk the bad publicity of a mutiny by its top Russian stars, who’ve made it clear they intend to play for their country, with or without the NHL’s approval.