In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Sidney Crosby cleared for contact…Mike Richards prepares for Saturday’s return to Philadelphia…Martin Brodeur, Ales Hemsky, Rick DiPietro and Peter Mueller sidelined…Arron Asham regrets reaction after knocking out Capitals forward Jay Beagle…Hurricanes have new part-owner.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sidney Crosby is one step closer to returning to action, having been cleared for contact in practice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shhhh! Don’t tell Jeremy Roenick!


Returning to Philadelphia.

PHILLY.COM: Former Flyers captain Mike Richards prepares for his first return to Philadelphia since he was dealt this summer to the LA Kings. Richards and the Kings face off on Saturday against the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should be interesting to see what reaction he gets from the Flyers faithful.

NEW YORK POST: New Jersey Devil goalie Martin Brodeur was forced to leave last night’s Devils-LA Kings game after suffering a shoulder injury, but doesn’t expect to be sidelined for long. Backup Johan Hedberg took over at the start of the second period and backstopped the Devils to a 2-1 victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ordinarily, an injury to Brodeur would be cause for serious alarm for the Devils, but Hedberg was steady in relief of the sidelined Brodeur last season, and played well against the Kings.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky had to leave last night’s Oilers – Minnesota Wild game after the first period with a sore shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another season, another shoulder injury for Hemsky. It has yet to be determined how long he’ll be out this time, but his nagging shoulder injuries not only casts this season in doubt for Hemsky, but will have an adverse impact upon his value in this season’s trade market (if the Oilers were to go that route later this season) and in next summer’s free agent market. Hemsky is eligible for UFA status next summer.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro was sidelined after taking a shot off his mask during Wednesday’s practice. Team doctors have not ruled out a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems clear DiPietro cannot go an entire season without some sort of injury. If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. Hopefully, he won’t be sidelined for long.

DENVER POST: Avalanche forward Peter Mueller didn’t play in yesterday’s Avalanche-Ottawa Senators game as he claimed to be not feeling well, giving rise to concerns his post-concussion symptoms have returned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For all the focus on Crosby, folks have overlooked Mueller’s struggle to return from post-concussion symptoms. I hate to say it, but it appears Mueller’s short NHL career may be in jeopardy.

TSN.CA: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Arron Asham said he regretted his showboating antics after knocking out Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle in last night’s Penguins-Capitals game. Asham said he had no idea how seriously hurt Beagle was, and because of his remorse over his actions, the league will not suspend him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Asham’s fortunate he didn’t receive supplemental discipline, as his actions certainly upset some old school former enforcers, like Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos and Marty McSorley.

RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Michael Kahn, owner of the Charlotte Checkers, is now an ownership partner of the Carolina Hurricanes.