Game recaps featuring non-Canadian NHL teams, plus the latest on Marc Staal, J.S. Giguere, Stever Ott, Darren Helm and more.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ray Emery posted his third shutout of the season as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Minnesota Wild 1-0. Earlier in the day, the Wild received word Dany Heatley would miss the rest of the season and the playoffs to shoulder surgery.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: The Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 5-3 victory over the fading Carolina Hurricanes.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues won their fifth straight game with a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The NY Islanders continued their march to a playoff berth with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner tallied a goal each in the victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also rumored the Islanders are trying to move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn a year sooner than 2015. It’s been announced they will open the preseason this fall in their eventual new home.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves and Marian Gaborik potted a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the San Jose Sharks 4-0.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars overcame losing goalie Kari Lehtonen to injury with four unanswered third period goals to down the LA Kings 5-1.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL: NY Rangers defenseman Marc Staal’s vision has improved and he’s returned to skating on his own over a month after being struck in the eye by a puck back on March 5. He still has no timetable for his return. Staal also admitted he should have been wearing a visor, adding he intends to support making visors mandatory when the NHLPA holds a vote on the subject this summer . He’s also in favor of “grandfathering” the clause, which would allow current players the right to choose if they wish to wear one or not.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 27 percent of NHL players currently don’t wear visors, and I imagine Staal’s injury could motivate more to wear them. Don’t be surprised if the PA membership votes in favor of a mandatory visor rule.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goalie J.S. Giguere isn’t backing off critical comments he recently made of his teammates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nor should he. Someone had to speak up and give the Avalanche a verbal kick in the ass, and who better than Giguere, a respected veteran with a Stanley Cup championship and a Conn Smythe trophy on his resume. Interestingly, his teammates have publicly endorsed him for speaking out.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Steve Ott wasn’t pleased by the booing from the hometown crowd his club received during a recent game against the New Jersey Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ott’s reaction is understandable, but so too is the reaction of Sabres fans, who’ve grown decidedly unhappy over the club’s mediocrity in recent years.
DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock doubts Darren Helm (back injury) will return to the lineup this season.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins have signed Swedish forward Carl Soderberg to a multi-year contract.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Business continues to boom post-lockout for the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not really surprised. Getting a new CBA in place to salvage half of this season ensured disgruntled fans would still return to support the league they love. Had it killed the entire season, it could have been a different story. While I’m pleased to see the NHL hasn’t suffered any apparent damage from the recent labor war with the NHLPA, this doesn’t bode well for avoiding future work stoppages.