Fallout from the Mike Cammalleri trade…Jason Spezza leads the Senators over the Rangers…Evander Kane acknowledges his coach’s criticism…Ryan Nugent-Hopkins only Oilers representative at ASG…Leafs have a great opportunity to make the playoffs…Canucks down Blues to retain first overall in the West.


Did Montreal or Calgary win the Mike Cammalleri trade?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens get bigger and cheaper by shipping Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames for Rene Bourque.

CALGARY HERALD: By bringing back Cammalleri, the Flames are trying to make a run for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are trying to suggest this deal is a good one for Montreal because Bourque has better offensive numbers since 2009-10 than Cammalleri. They overlook the fact the latter played in fewer games owing to injury. They then try to excuse that away by saying it’s better to have a bigger, healthier winger in Bourque on the Habs than a small, injury-prone Cammalleri. That only works if Bourque can use his size and skills to better use on a more consistent basis as a Hab than he did as a Flames. Cammalleri, when healthy and not playing musical linemates, is a proven offensive commodity, especially in the post-season. His decline is due  not just to injuries, but to the circus that the Canadiens have deteriorated  into this season. The only good thing I can say about this move for the Habs is they clear nearly $3 million in cap space, and got a second round pick out of it. Unless Bourque suddenly turns into a dominating power forward with the Canadiens and Cammalleri continues to struggle offensively over the next couple of years, I don’t see how this deal makes the Canadiens a better team. If Cammalleri regains his scoring consistency with Calgary, and Bourque continues his inconsistent play, this will rank as a horrible trade for the Canadiens.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Jason Spezza scored twice as the Senators blanked the NY Rangers 3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Senators over one of the league’s top teams. That should provide a significant confidence boost for them into the second half of this season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets forward Evander Kane agreed with head coach Claude Noel’s criticism of his recent performance.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the only Oiler invited to this year’s All-Star Game, though linemate Jordan Eberle also would’ve been invited had he not been sidelined by injury. Nugent-Hopkins is among 12 rookies who will attend the skills competition only.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons examines the number of faltering teams in the Eastern Conference, suggesting this season could be the best opportunity in years for the Maple Leafs to make the playoffs.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks move into first overall in the Western Conference with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.