In today’s selection of notable posts from the NHL blogosphere: The improved Penguins power-play, five unanswered questions for the Capitals, more tests for the Blues, questions about the Rangers fourth line, five NHL players easy to verbally abuse and a notorious Canadiens blog bites the dust.

PENSBURGH: “LauraZ” examines how much an improved Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have had on the Penguins power-play thus far this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal continues to demonstrate he’s recovered his scoring touch and is quite comfortable as a Penguin.

SICK, UNBELIEVABLE: Five conclusions which cannot be denied about the Washington Capitals one week into the season, including continuing questions about their goaltending and team identity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No question veteran Tomas Vokoun has not looked comfortable with the Caps so far, while the Caps still seem to be trying to adjust away from its exciting but playoff incompatible “run-and-gun” style into a more defensively responsible team.

ST. LOUIS GAME TIME: “gallagher” writes the Blues are facing the same tests (injuries, shaky goaltending)  this season as last; the question is, how will they respond this season?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll need others to step up to address the injury problem, but I’m surprised at how much Halak continues to struggle in goal for the Blues. I attributed last season’s woes to his having to play the starter role for an entire season for the first time in his career, but he didn’t look confident in this year’s preseason and still seems to be fighting the puck. A far cry from the playoff hero he was in Montreal nearly 18 months ago.

BLUE SEAT BLOGS: wonders what happens to the NY Rangers fourth line when Wojtek Wolski returns from injury.


Easty target for cheap verbal abuse.

BACKHAND SHELF: Justin Bourne presents: The Top Five “Easy to Verbally Abuse” NHL players. And yes, Kyle Wellwood is on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What I find interesting is that many who dump on Wellwood for his weight issues are usually folks who could do with skipping the third trip to the buffet table themselves. Yes, I’m sticking up for Wellwood, because the fat jokes aimed at him are so 2008. They’re not funny now, they’re just boring, and are used by lazy pundits and bloggers to get in a cheap shot at him if he screws up a play, like his stumbling on a breakaway during the Jets-Blackhawks game earlier this week. Let’s not forget, Wellwood’s still playing in the NHL, living the dream, while most of the folks who hurl those cheapshots lack the drive and athleticism it took him to be a pro hockey player. He gets the last laugh.

FOURHABSFANS: has closed up shop, so no more caustic posts about the Habs amid numerous cheesecake shots.