Leafs & Habs defend fighting in wake of George Parros’ injury, Blackhawks down Capitals in season-opener, Lightning name Martin St. Louis their new captain, Sabres name Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott co-captains, and much more from the opening day of the NHL’s 2013-14 season.
THE GLOBE & MAIL/NATIONAL POST: In the wake of George Parros’ freak injury during a scrap with Colton Orr, players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens defended fighting in the game of hockey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parros wasn’t injured by a punch from Orr,but rather from an awkward tumble to the ice during the fight, striking the ice with his chin. He was stretchered from the game and spent the night in hospital,where it was revealed he suffered a concussion. He also likely required some stitch work to close the gash on his chin.
No surprise players on both teams defended fighting, since it’s long-ingrained in the culture of the sport. Unless an overwhelming number of fans and pundits loudly call for its elimination, the league isn’t motivated to eliminate it. Like the players, most NHL fans have no problem with fights, even though it’s contributing to concussion injuries among NHL players.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/WASHINGTON POST: The Blackhawks shaky penalty kill came through killing off a late two-man deficit to preserve their 6-4 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals. Washington forward Mikhail Grabovski potted a hat trick in a losing cause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, whaddya know? Grabovski didn’t lose his scoring touch after all. Looks like the Maple Leafs loss will be the Capitals gain this season.
TBO.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning introduced Martin St. Louis as their new captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a surprise for me, though I know some folks were expecting Steven Stamkos would get the “C”. Stamkos will get his opportunity in the near future.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres announced Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott as their co-captains this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hmmm, wonder if making Vanek a co-captain is the Sabres way of trying to entice him into re-signing?
POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins succumbed to “Pirates fever” by playing a game of whiffle ball during practice yesterday.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is looking forward to what will be a busy first season in the Eastern Conference for his club.
PHILLY.COM: After struggling through an injury-hampered lockout-shortened season, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is looking forward to a bounce-back effort.
TWINCITIES.COM: Having gone through seven moves over the last 11 months, Jason Pominville is feeling at home in Minnesota and hoping to sign a new contract with the Wild.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz believes 2013 first round pick Seth Jones has shown he belongs at the NHL level.
RDS.CA: NHL veteran Guillaume Latendresse will continue his playing career in Switzerland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries took its toll on Latendresse in recent years. It remains to be seen if he’ll return to the NHL one day.
SI.COM: The NHL has modified its ridiculous “tuck” rule.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: How about just getting rid of it entirely.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Former NHL star Pat LaFontaine will be working in a “myriad of capacities” in his new job with the NHL.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: A fascinating look at how Hurricanes hockey analyst Tripp Tracy’s hockey connections led to rescuing his brother from Venezuela.
NOTE: Recaps of the Leafs-Canadiens and Jets-Oilers games can be found (where else?) in Canadian Corner.