Game recaps, Steven Stamkos not cleared for Sochi Games, Mikko Koivu’s status for Sochi also in doubt, plus the latest on Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci and Cory Schneider.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Corey Crawford made 29 saves while Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews scored as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Anaheim Ducks 2-0.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby snapped out of his scoring slump with a two-point effort as the Pittsburgh Penguins romped to a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Evgeni Malkin also collected two points.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Tommy Wingels’ overtime goal lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.
TBO.COM: Lightning superstar Stephen Stamkos (broken leg) has not received clearance to return to action and will miss the Sochi Winter Olympics.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a tough blow for Stamkos, who worked very hard to try to return in time for the Olympics, and for Team Canada, who must now find a replacement. The favorites are Pittsburgh’s James Neal, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Stamkos’ teammate Martin St. Louis. The sentimental favorite is probably St. Louis, but will he be passed over again?
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu (broken ankle) has yet to be cleared for practice and could face withdrawing from the upcoming Winter Olympics.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koivu having to miss the Olympics would, in my opinion, be a bigger blow for the Finns than Canada losing Stamkos. The Canadians have a much deeper pool of pro talent to draw upon than the Finns.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Alexander Ovechkin acknowledged the burden he’s carrying as the face of the upcoming Sochi Olympics but says it’s something he has to do.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest burden will come on the ice as he’ll be expected to carry Russia to gold in Men’s Hockey.
DETROIT NEWS: Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury) could return to the Red Wings lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins center David Krejci not only leads his club in scoring but is also excelling in other aspects of the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years ago Krejci was being mentioned in trade rumors. Since then he’s significantly improve his overall performance.
NJ.COM: Devils goalie Cory Schneider says he’s happy in New Jersey but isn’t ready to ponder a new contract with the club. He has another season remaining on his current deal and is eligible for UFA status in July 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s far too early to worry about Schneider’s contract status. The earlier the Devils can open talks with him is this July.