Scott Hartnell gets “Gordie Howe hat trick” in Flyers win over Maple Leafs…Tim Thomas declines to discuss his political views…Tomas Holmstrom to reach significant milestone…Former Red Wings captain won’t play in next year’s Winter Classic Alumni Game….Panthers and Capitals jockeying for first in the Southeast Division…Wild coach unhappy with his team’s performance…Blackhawks missing their chances…Coyotes win fourth straight…Ducks cannot afford to slide in race for playoffs.


Hartnell has big game against Maple Leafs.

PHILLYBURBS.COM: Flyers forward Scott Hartnell had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” helping his club down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3.

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins goalie Tim Thomas served warning to reporters he won’t discuss his political views in future interviews. Thomas has made headlines for his right wing political commentaries on his Facebook account.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with Thomas voicing his political views on his Facebook account, as he has the right to free speech. However, there’s also freedom of the press, and they have the right to ask him about those views, something Thomas must’ve known would be coming after making them public via social media.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Long time Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom will play his 1, 000th career NHL game when his club plays the Anaheim Ducks tonight.

MLIVE.COM: Former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman said he would not participate in the 2013 Winter Classic Alumni Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Holmstrom on his milestone. As for Yzerman, Red Wings fans shouldn’t be upset over his decision, which could be tied to the knee injuries he had during his career.

WASHINGTON POST/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers continue to jockey for first in the Southeast Division, as the Capitals fell out of first with a shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets, while the Panthers regained top spot with a win over the LA Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take winning the division for one of those teams to make this year’s playoffs. Could make for an entertaining race down to the wire for these two teams.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo vented his anger last night following his team’s 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, knocking the Wild out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference, upset over what he considered an unwillingness of his players to pay the price to win. “We stink”, said Yeo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild’s main problem, as always, is their inability to score, though injuries have played a significant factor in that area this season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: One reason the Blackhawks have struggled of late is they’ve missed opportunities to score, especially in the third period.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes won their fourth straight game, downing the Calgary Flames in overtime 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade speculation continues to dog Coyotes Shane Doan and Ray Whitney, but as long as Phoenix remains in playoff contention, don’t expect either guy to be dealt.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have gained significant ground in the past month, moving from 20 points out of a playoff berth in early January to ten points out today, but they still face a long road to reach a playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Ducks hope to beat the odds and clinch a playoff berth, they cannot afford even a short losing streak.