Could Ilya Kovalchuk play his way into a Hart nomination?…What now for the Capitals?…A letter of apology to Michael Del Zotto…Happiness in Hockeytown…What should the Sabres do in the off-season?…A Maple Leaf earns a dubious honor…Schedule of events for Hockey Day in America…The case against fighting in hockey.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien makes the case for Ilya Kovalchuk to get a Hart Trophy nomination. He won’t get nominated, of course. He should, but he won’t.

ON FROZEN BLOG: So what do the struggling Capitals do now, when replacing the coach hasn’t achieved the desired results? Hope things turn around, and soon.

Del Zotto winning over critical Rangers fans.

RANGER NATION: Jonathan Ragus offers up a public letter of apology to Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto for the abuse he took from Blueshirts fans last season. Amazing what a strong performance this season can do to change perceptions.

NIGHTMARE ON HELM STREET: All’s well in Hockeytown, and why shouldn’t it be, when your team sets an NHL record (astericks be damned!) for consecutive home wins in a season.

DIE BY THE BLADE: “Calvin” offers up his suggestions on what he’d like to see the Sabres do in the off-season. Offering up free mass hypnosis to erase the fans’ memory of this stinkburger of a season isn’t among them.

BACKHAND SHELF: Justin Bourne reveals the latest Sports Illustrated NHL player poll indicatedToronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel was voted the easiest star to intimidate. A dubious honor for the best player of a team whose GM values toughness and truculence. Cue Brian Burke’s defense of Kessel and savaging of Sports Illustrated in 3….2….1…..

HOCKEY WILDERNESS: presents the schedule of events for Hockey Day in America, hosted by the Minnesota Wild this Sunday in St. Paul, Minnesota. OK, Canadian hockey fans, no gloating over how much better Hockey Day in Canada was, it’s great to see the league promoting this throughout America, and I hope this annual event continues and grows.

HOCKEY IN SOCIETY: E. Martin Nolan examines the role of fighting in hockey and why those who continue to espouse its continuation in the game are building their case on shaky ground.