Ryan Miller run over again in return…Current Bruins team drawing comparisons to past Bruins greats…Rangers win fifth straight…Matt Moulson pots four goals in Islanders win over Stars…Stars Mark Fistric’s questionable hit on Isles Nino Niederreiter…Blackhawks spoils David Perron’s return to Blues…Wild buying into coach’s plan…Randy Carlyle ponders his future…Hurricanes drop third straight under coach Muller…Lightning’s Mattias Ohlund suffers setback…Flyers blueline getting help from youth…Blackhawks Dave Bolland playing through pain…Enforcers on the way out of NHL?
BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was run again in his first game back since being steamrollered by Boston’s Milan Lucic, this time by Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo. Miller, however, took matters into his own hands, leaping on Tootoo and raining punches upon the prone Predator, joined by several of his fellow Sabres. Miller was unhurt, backstopping the Sabres to a 3-2 victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was furious over Tootoo’s actions, saying he wanted to see what the league’s reaction would be. So does the rest of the league, Lindy.
BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins current 13-0-1 record since early November is drawing favorable comparisons to the great Bruins teams of the early 1970s.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, when they were 3-7-0 to start the season, they were drawing unflattering comparisons to some of the worst teams in Bruins history. What a difference a month and a fourteen game unbeaten streak can make.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 for their fifth straight win, their 12th in their last 14 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: OK, so 12-2 isn’t quite as sexy as the Bruins 13-0-1, but it is deserving of notice. These two teams are among the best teams in the East, which could possibly inject some new life into what was once an intense rivalry between these two “Original Six” franchises.
NEW YORK POST: Matt Moulson potted four goals, and linemates John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau had three assists each, as the Islanders downed the Dallas Stars 5-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Isles, as Dallas’ Mark Fistric leveled Isles forward Nino Niederreiter with a questionable hit to the head, knocking the young Isle out of the game and raising speculation Fistric could face suspension. Judging by the video, I’d say it was an illegal hit to the head, which will cost Fistric some games.
BND.COM: Blues forward David Perron scored in his first game back from a concussion, but the Chicago Blackhawks came away with the win, defeating the Blues 5-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It may have been a loss for the Blues, but it was good to see Perron get that goal, and to see him back following that career-threatening concussion.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The secret of the Minnesota Wild’s success so far this season? Clearer communication from their coach.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will take some time to ponder his future in the wake of his firing last week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlyle has a unflattering reputation as an inflexible, hard-nosed coach, but he also has a Stanley Cup on his resume, meaning he’ll be coaching in the NHL again soon. Perhaps the Colorado Avalanche, NY Islanders, or Columbus Blue Jackets could make use of his talents.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Defenseman Jamie McBain’s two goals weren’t enough for the Carolina Hurricanes to get their first win under new head coach Kirk Muller, as they fell 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: From what I’ve seen, the Hurricanes are showing improvement under Muller, but given their lack of depth, those wins are going to be hard to come by.
PHILLY.COM: Call-ups Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall are giving the Flyers depleted defense corps some much-needed help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Their presence could bode well for the Flyers in the next couple of years, when they might lose Kimmo Timonen and Andreas Lilja to free agency, and Chris Pronger possibly retires if his injury woes continue.
SUN-TIMES.COM: Blackhawks center Dave Bolland is playing through a painful right foot injury suffered nearly a month ago.
TAMPABAY.COM: Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund has suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgeries, and it’s now unknown when he might return to action.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater on how the role of enforcer is being slowly phased out in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe it’s not becoming a thing of the past, but rather it is changing. It’s not enough now simply to be able to fight, but now enforcers have to be able to play the game, to where they’re not benched in critical situations, or healthy scratches in the playoffs.