Results of Wednesday’s NHL games, plus the latest on Jamie Benn, Jeff Skinner, Cory Conacher, Dany Heatley, Brent Burns, Willie Mitchell and more.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/BOSTON HERALD: Marian Gaborik netted a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, powering the NY Rangers to their first victory of the season, a 4-3 OT win over the Boston Bruins. Nathan Horton was among the goal-scorers for the Bruins, potting his first since returning from a concussion.
AZCENTRAL/COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Steve Sullivan scored a hat trick to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the Coyotes first win of the season, but came at a price, as starting goalie Mike Smith left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Results of the Maple Leafs-Penguins and Canucks-Flames games can be found in “Canadian Corner”.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers face the NY Rangers tonight without Scott Hartnell (foot injury – indefinitely) and Brayden Schenn (one-game suspension).
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports patience is required in the contract negotiations between Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the trio of notable unsigned RFAs (Montreal’s PK Subban and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly being the others), it’s been suggested Benn could be the first to agree to a new deal. Perhaps, but it’s apparent it’s still going to take time to get it done.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes star forward Jeff Skinner is working on improving his defensive play.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Lightning rookie Cory Conacher isn’t getting as much press as other notable NHL rookies, but he’s currently tied for the rookie scoring lead with five points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep your eye on Conacher, he could be a contender for the Calder Trophy this season.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Dany Heatley is healthy and happy, and hoping to put last season’s dismal performance behind him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heatley’s best seasons (50 goals, 100 points) seem behind him, but he could still be an effective offensive player for the Wild. 30-35 goals and 70-75 points aren’t out of reach for him.
CSN BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks have placed defenseman Brent Burns (foot injury) on injured reserve to make room for the recently signed Scott Gomez.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Darryl Sutter believes veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell is fully recovered from knee surgery, but Mitchell would prefer to take a little longer with his recovery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sutter’s an old-school coach whose club is off to a slow start and has already lost Matt Greene to a back injury, so of course he wants Mitchell to hurry back to the lineup. That, however, could be a mistake. Rushing Mitchell’s return could aggravate that knee, hampering or sidelining him again.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya spent a month during the lockout playing hockey in Bangkok. That’s not a typo. Bangkok. As in Thailand.
DETROIT NEWS: The play of rookie forward Damien Brunner has been among the few bright spots in an otherwise slow, painful start for the Red Wings.
CBC.CA: Wayne Gretzky denied rumors he would be taking over the role of president of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
TORONTO SUN: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is grateful hockey fan didn’t abandon the league because of the recent lockout. He praised local markets for their efforts in reaching out to disgruntled fans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Greatest fans in the world”. That loyalty will be tested again in about eight years time, when the NHL could use its “opt-out” option to stage yet another lockout. They’ll do it without any concern of fan revolt. The numbers will back them up. So much for fan protests and boycotts. Empty threats carry no weight. Remember that.