Canucks now first overall in league standings….Alex Auld and Robin Lehner to hold the fort in goal for Senators…Two more years of Ales Hemsky in Edmonton…Brent Sutter sees troubling signs for his Flames…John-Michael Liles struggling to return to form…Ken Hitchcock a mentor for Jets coach Claude Noel…Andrei Markov hopes to return to Habs this season.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks downed the New Jersey Devils 2-1, moving into first not just in the Western Conference, but also in the overall standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pretty good effort for the league’s “most over-rated team”.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Alex Auld and Robin Lehner will be expected to hold the fort in Craig Anderson’s absence until he returns from injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible Anderson could return to action by next week, so they might not have to hold the fort for long.
EDMONTON SUN: By re-signing Ales Hemsky, the Oilers have ensured another two years of debate over whether or not he’s worth keeping.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, the Oilers overpaid for Hemsky, though if he stays healthy over the next two seasons and regains his playmaking touch, it could be money well invested. I know, I know, it’s difficult to believe at this point, but the Oilers are gambling he’s capable of doing so. Besides, there are other clubs who’ve taken on contracts far worse than Hemsky’s. Everyone relax, we’ll know for sure by this time next season if the Oilers were wise or foolish in making this move.
CALGARY SUN: Flames coach Brent Sutter sees a troubling trend of his team clawing into playoff contention, only to fall back in the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because, over the past three years, this team spends so much time fighting to overcome an early season deficit to get back into contention, that once the goal is achieved, there’s a natural tendency to relax. Perhaps if the Flames could get off to better starts each season, they wouldn’t have to spend so much time and energy fighting so hard to get into contention.
TORONTO SUN: John-Michael Liles has been struggling to return to form after returning from a concussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not unusual, happens to a lot of players returning from head trauma injuries. Given time, Liles should get back to form soon.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets coach Claude Noel considers St Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock a mentor.
CANOE.CA: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov hopes to return to the Habs lineup before the end of the season.