Penguins coach claims Sidney Crosby not upset with team medical staff…Avalanche center Matt Duchene still sidelined…Blackhawks Jonathan Toews returns to action…Blues hoping to get two of their best forwards back soon…Coyotes feel rejuvenated for second half…Wild optimistic about playoff chances…Time running out for Lightning’s playoff hopes…Ducks vying for 2014 All-Star game…Panthers seek loan to refurbish arena…Shootout here to stay.
TSN.CA: Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma claims team captain Sidney Crosby is not unhappy with the team’s medical staff for failing to diagnose him with two broken vertebrae in his neck. Crosby has resumed skating but there’s no timetable for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation had arisen Crosby might be upset with the team doctors, which could adversely affect his future with the team. Yes, it’s a leap, but the thought of Crosby deciding not to re-sign with the Penguins was too juicy to pass up for some observers.
DENVER POST: Injured Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene remains sidelined indefinitely with a left knee injury suffered a month ago, and could be out for weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are 6-5-1 without Duchene, so it’s obvious they miss his presence in the lineup.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returns to action tonight as his team faces off with the Vancouver Canucks, while Patrick Sharp is hoping to return to the lineup soon.
BND.COM: St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is hoping forwards Alex Steen and Andy McDonald, both sidelined by concussion injuries, will return to the lineup soon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: How long it takes for these two to return to action, and how well they play when they do, could determine possible moves by Blues management near the trade deadline.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes feel rejuvenated from the All-Star break after completing a grueling six-week stretch in which they traveled over 28,000 miles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might account for their winning only four games over that period. With a friendlier schedule in the coming weeks, the Coyotes might gain ground in the standings.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild return from the All-Star break feeling optimistic over their chances of clinching a playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries and a prolonged losing skid saw the Wild tumble in the standings, to where they’re currently barely clinging to the final playoff berth in the West. They’ll need a healthier lineup going forward to secure a playoff spot.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Time is running short for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff hopes.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hope to host the 2014 NHL All-Star Game.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers are seeking a $7.7 million loan from Broward County to refurbish their arena.
TSN.CA: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said league’s research has found overwhelming support amongst NHL fans for the shootout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect the shootout to be eliminated from the game in the next round of collective bargaining.