In today’s roundup of notable NHL morning headlines: Milan Lucic bowls over Ryan Miller in Bruins victory over Sabres…Duncan Keith’s return bolsters Blackhawks offense…Mike Smith backstops Coyotes to victory over the Sharks…Capitals lose another defenseman to injury…Ducks Visnovsky sidelined…Is NHL’s head shot policy working?…NHLPA finds more teams with unreported revenue.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Boston Bruins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-2, but more notable was Bruins forward Milan Lucic running over Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in a race for the puck at 6.48 of the first period. Miller was unable to play in the third period, and had harsh words for Lucic, calling the Bruins forward “gutless” and ” a piece of s**t”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on what type of injury Miller suffered or how serious it was. As for the hit, Lucic deserved to be penalized as he could’ve avoided hitting Miller if he wanted to, but Miller also has to be aware that you run the risk of getting hit if you venture out of your crease to play the puck. Lucic however had better be careful not to start making this a habit, because other clubs won’t respond as meekly as the Sabres did to this.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The return from injury of Duncan Keith to the Blackhawks defense has improved the Blackhawks offensive production over their last two games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keith is the linchpin of the Blackhawks defense and a major part of their offensive game. The difference in the Blackhawks when he was out of the lineup was very noticeable.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Goaltender Mike Smith made 31 saves backstopping the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ilya who? With each passing game, Smith is making Coyotes fans forget about the departed Ilya Bryzgalov, as well as destroying the myth the Coyotes would struggle with Brygalov now playing in Philadelphia. Compare Smith’s stats with Brygalov’s. So far, there’s no doubt who the better goalie is.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals lost their second defenseman to injury in as many games, with Roman Hamrlik now day-to-day following an undisclosed injury in the Capitals 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Blueliner Mike Green is also out of the lineup.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovky will miss four weeks to a broken finger on his right hand after blocking a shot in the Ducks 4-3 win on Friday over Vancouver.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports the fears of those who claimed the NHL’s new policy on targeted hits to the head could result in a reduction of hitting have so far proven groundless, as the number of hits is down by a miniscule 0.98 percent. There’s no figures currently on the amount of targeted hits to the head which have been reduced, but it’s believed down by a significant amount.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, so good for the league’s efforts to reduce head shots. I’d be more interested, however, in seeing what the data will be on hits and targeted hits to the head at season’s end.
NEW YORK POST: The NHLPA, for the first time, has been auditing select NHL teams, and sources say they may have found unreported revenue from several teams, with Washington and Nashville among those teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Incredibly, this is the first time the PA has exercised its right under the CBA to audit select teams for unreported revenue, the reason apparently because PA director Donald Fehr, who took over the role late in 2010, was the first to exercise that right. Those pundits who fear another lockout might try to paint this as Fehr’s way of saber-rattling before the next round of CBA talks.