Recaps of Wednesday’s action featuring American NHL teams, results from yesterday’s NHL GMs meeting, plus the latest on Martin Brodeur, Mike Green, Martin Erat and more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to the other playoff contenders in the Western Conference and their fans, I want to see the Ducks and Blackhawks tangle in this year’s Western Conference Final. That could be the series of the playoffs.
ESPN.COM: NHL general managers emerged from their one-day meeting in favor of grandfathering in a mandatory visor rule, recommending further reductions to goalie gear, and in favor of adopting hybrid icing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though the NHLPA membership was largely against a mandatory visor rule in 2009, PA executive Mathieu Schneider suggests the vote could be different this time. Nearly 75 percent of NHL players now wear visors. The reduction of the size of goalie equipment could be a tough sell for the netminders, but if the alternative is bigger nets, they’ll hopefully see the sense in the former. Good to see the GMs are finally willing to accept changes to the icing rule. Considering how change in the NHL occurs at a glacial pace, this is significant, as well as long overdue.
NEWSDAY: NY Rangers GM Glen Sather will undergo surgery for prostate cancer today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Slats for a speedy recovery. On a personal note, prostate cancer runs in my family, as I’ve lost three relatives to this disease. Early detection is key, folks. It saved my father’s life, and by the sound of things, it will save Sather’s. If you’re over 40, get checked regularly for prostate cancer.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur returns from a back injury tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But has his return come in time to save the Devils season? We’ll find out over the next four-six weeks.
WASHINGTON TIMES: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (groin injury) said he’ll be back in the lineup tonight when his club faces off against the Winnipeg Jets.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Martin Erat is mired in a lengthy scoring slump.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Erat’s slump (his last goal came on February 5, and he’s netted only six assists since then) is a significant factor in the Predators’ struggles this season.
CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid will be sidelined 3-4 weeks to a shoulder injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McQuaid’s starting to get a reputation for being injury prone. Unfortunately, that’s the result of his physical style.
BUFFALO NEWS: Steve Ott is making a name for himself as a leader with the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Which explains why the Sabres are reluctant to part with him at the trade deadline.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins rookie forward Beau Bennett is staying with the club for the rest of the season, but his role remains in flux.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The NHL has suspended Florida Panthers forward Eric Selleck two games for leaving the bench during a recent game against the Carolina Hurricanes to fight Kevin Westgarth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would’ve thought Westgarth’s knockout of Selleck would’ve sufficed as punishment. Seriously though, I agree with the league’s decision. Selleck learn two lessons: leaving the bench on a legal line change solely to start a fight is verboten in the NHL, and tangling with Kevin Westgarth is a bad idea.