In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Sidney Crosby addresses rumors he’ll return to action this Friday…Rick Nash feeling the burden with the Blue Jackets…JS Giguere adapting well to mentor status with Avalanche…Bruins Daniel Paille takes a slap shot to the face…Wojtek Wolski goes under the knife…Ken Hitchcock could shake things up in St.Louis…Georges Laraque and Jeremy Roenick agree on Wayne Gretzky’s coaching ability.

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said nothing had changed in his recovery status, and while saying he’d like to play this Friday as rumors suggest, he couldn’t confirm he’d be ready at that time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a school of thought the Penguins will deliberately keep Crosby’s return a secret and hope to spring it at the very last second. Folks, when Crosby is ready to return to action, they won’t keep it a secret. 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash feels the burden of his team’s poor start, but he won’t publicly show frustration or call out his teammates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks take Nash’s quiet attitude as uncaring, or that he’s just going through the motions. That’s an unfair assessment. Nash is a quiet captain who prefers to lead by example. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his team’s plight, nor does it mean the Blue Jackets would be better off with a more “emotive” captain. At this stage, the last thing this team needs is an outspoken captain raging in public.

Giguere adapting well as Avs backup.

DENVER POST: J.S. Giguere is adapting well to his new role as a backup and mentor for Avalanche starter Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Giguere was one of the smartest moves made by Avs management last summer. He’s well-suited for this role, and has a positive influence in the dressing room.

KUKLA’S KORNER: Boston Bruins forward Daniel Paille took a slap shot to the face in last night’s Bruins-Islanders game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paille suffered a broken nose, but it’s possible the damage could’ve been worse had he not been wearing a visor.

NEW YORK POST: Forward Wojtek Wolski will undergo sports hernia surgery and is expected to miss at least four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wolski endured criticism for his poor performance this season, and there was some suggestion he may have been playing up his injury status. Looks like Wolski’s owed an apology by those critics, but I doubt he’ll get one.

STLTODAY.COM: Bernie Miklasz believes Ken Hitchcock is just what the Blues young players need to snap them out of their complacency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’d better be. The Blues have been underachieving big time over the past couple of years. 

EDMONTON SUN/THE SCORE: Georges Laraque and Jeremy Roenick agreed Wayne Gretzky was not a good coach, but Roenick disagrees with Laraque over the latter’s claim there are some players who used PEDs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gretzky’s coaching record with the Coyotes speaks for itself. As for PEDs, I believe Laraque’s claims are worth serious investigation. Again, while I don’t believe the use of PEDs are as prevalent in the NHL as they are in other pro sports leagues, I’m not naive to suggest they aren’t used, or that there is zero use of PEDs in the NHL.