In this morning’s compilation of notable NHL morning headlines: Study finds former NHL star Rick Martin had degenerative brain damage…The Blues may have a buyer…The Bruins may be capable of a Stanley Cup repeat…Blackhawks hoping to gel into a Cup contender…Time for the Capitals young guns to grow up…Martin Havlat uncertain for Sharks opener…A profile of Columbus star Rick Nash…Devin Setoguchi adjusts to new team…Avalanche delay naming their captain…Jordan Staal poised for offensive breakout?
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Researchers studying the brain of deceased former Buffalo Sabres star Rick Martin discovered he had damage consistent with other former NHL players, but the difference was Martin wasn’t a fighter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The story goes on to report Martin suffered only one known concussion in his career, in a 1977 game between the Sabres and NY Rangers, when his head struck the ice, resulting in instant convulsions. He would wear a helmet after that for the remainder of his career. I can’t find the video online, but CBC aired the incident this morning, which showed Martin writhing uncontrollably near the Rangers net while a very concerned Rangers goalie Wayne Thomas immediately tries to help him. Perhaps that incident is what led to his brain damage.
STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues owner David Checketts has a verbal agreement to sell a majority share of the team to businessman Matthew Hulsizer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he tried earlier this year to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes. If at first you don’t succeed, try to buy another team.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins are well-positioned to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Their roster is, for the most part, identical to the one which won it all last season. I believe they stand a very good chance of a repeat.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Improved team chemistry and the off-season additions of veterans like Andrew Brunette, Sean O’Donnell and Daniel Carcillo could push the Blackhawks back into Cup contention this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With their talented core still intact, and by adding veterans rather than unproven youngsters this season, the Blackhawks could indeed be a powerful club in the Western Conference this season.
WASHINGTON POST: It’s time for the Capitals “young guns” of Alexanders Ovechkin and Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green to grow up if the club is to realize its Stanley Cup aspirations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The talent is there, but the Caps lacked the maturity to take their game to championship level. This season could be a defining one for the Capitals and their young stars.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: Martin Havlat remains questionable for the San Jose Sharks season opener. GM Doug Wilson refuted a report claiming Havlat wouldn’t be ready to go to start the season but could be appear in the club’s second game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not the kind of start the Sharks were hoping for with Havlat, but that’s the chance you take with a player who has an injury history like his.
CLEVELAND.COM: Meet Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash, one of Ohio’s best, most loyal sports stars, as well as its most anonymous.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he played in one of the bigger hockey markets, Nash wouldn’t be anonymous at all. Still, I have tremendous respect for Nash, as he could’ve bailed on the Jackets years ago, but remains determined to help them build into a playoff contender.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi is adjusting to his new team and his new home. He was dealt to the Minnesota Wild in the off-season in a trade which sent defenseman Brent Burns to San Jose.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche continues to wait to name its new team captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My vote goes to Matt Duchene. To hell with his age, this guy brings it every game and leads by example.
PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin favorably compared Penguins center Jordan Staal to his Canucks teammate Ryan Kesler, suggesting Staal could see an increase in his offensive production the same way Kesler did.