Joe Thornton scores in 500th game as a Shark…Ryan Miller poised to catch Hasek…Patrik Elias to play milestone game…Mike Ribeiro earns respect…Doughty nets controversial OT goal as Kings down Coyotes…Jaroslav Halak plays his way back into starter’s role…Leafs GM bemoans state of the game…Krys Barch gets one-game suspension…Senators prospect nets WJC gold for Sweden.
SFGATE.COM: Joe Thornton scored the winning goal in his 500th career game with San Jose, as the Sharks downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hard to Thornton’s been with the Sharks that long. Time certainly flies.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is closing in on Dominik Hasek’s record for most wins by a Sabres goaltender. Hasek has 234 wins, Miller 231.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller will be getting plenty of opportunities in the upcoming weeks to break that record, as head coach Lindy Ruff recently said Miller would get the bulk of the stars over the second half.
NJ.COM: Long-time Devils forward Patrik Elias will play his 1,000th career NHL game tonight when his club faces off against the Florida Panthers. He made his NHL debut on December 7, 1995.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put it into perspective: a child born that day would be 16 years old now.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Ribeiro earned some respect in last night’s 4-1 Stars victory over the Nashville Predators, scoring twice, taking a puck in the mouth, losing a tooth, but returning to the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Ribeiro has gained some maturity since his infamous days earlier in his career, when he dove so much, you’d swear he was auditioning for Canada’s Olympic dive team.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Drew Doughty scored a controversial OT winner as the Kings edged the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0, as the puck crossed the line roughly at the same time the Coyotes net was knocked off its moorings. Video review upheld the referee’s call on the ice that it was a good goal.
STLTODAY.COM: Goaltending Jaroslav Halak appears to be playing his way back into the starter’s job, going 5-0-3 in his last eight starts.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke bemoaned the state of the NHL game after demoting $1 million per season enforcer Colton Orr.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The game is changing and for the better. Enforcers must be able to contribute more to the game now than just their pugilistic skills. Don’t feel too bad for Orr, he’s making $1 million this season and next. The Leafs will probably buy him out this summer, but he’s still done well financially.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Krys Barch has been suspended for one game after making an “inappropriate comment” toward Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in a recent game.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators prospect Mika Zibanejad scored the OT winner as Sweden downed Russia 1-0 to win the gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships. It’s the first time in thirty years the Swedes have taken gold.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to both teams for making it that far, and for providing an exciting conclusion to the tournament.