The Staals remain tight-knit…Brad Richards loves New York…Stars would prefer move out of Pacific Divison…Kyle Turris had a solid debut with the Coyotes…Red Wings win seventh straight…Backstrom injured, Brodeur pulled early as Wild down Devils…Ducks fall in OT under new coach Bruce Boudreau…John Carlson escapes punishment for head shot on Matt Cooke…The latest on the Coyotes ownership woes.


Staals remain close through difficult season.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Eric Staal was recently visited by several family members, including his brother Marc, as the family remains close despite Marc’s ongoing recovery from post-concussion symptoms related to a check by Eric during a Hurricanes-Rangers game last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric’s offensive struggles this season gave rise to speculation he was troubled by concern over Marc’s recovery. Whatever the reason, both brothers are hopeful their situations will improve as the season progresses.

TBO.COM: Former Lightning forward Brad Richards is loving life in New York.

DALLASNEWS.COM: The Stars are among the few teams pushing for a shuffle of the current divisional setup as the league considers its options for divisional realignment, preferring to be moved out of the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever decision the league makes, it won’t please everyone. The Stars could remain in their current division, as the league could decide to put Winnipeg in the Central Division, and ship the Detroit Red Wings to either the Northeast or Atlantic Divisions.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Kyle Turris made his 2011-12 debut with the Coyotes on Thursday against Winnipeg, playing over 11 minutes, firing a team-high four shots, while going 6 for 6 in the faceoff circle.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings won their seventh straight game, downing the Buffalo Sabres 4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Head coach Mike Babcock’s closed door meeting with his players back in mid-November continues to pay dividends, as the Wings have been playing much better since then.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Niklas Backstrom was injured, and Martin Brodeur was pulled just over 8 minutes into the first period, as the Minnesota Wild defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom’s injury is described as “lower body”, and coach Mike Yeo doesn’t consider it serious.

ORANGE COUNTRY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks lost their first game under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, falling 4-3 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers.

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson escaped punishment for his hit to the head of Penguins forward Matt Cooke during Thursday’s Capitals-Penguins game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The lack of suspension, however, has given rise to the perception the league took a pass, as Cooke – who frequently targeted opponents heads in the past – got a taste of his own medicine. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, however, absolved the league, saying he didn’t believe any kind of “spite factor” went into the decision, adding Cooke wasn’t injured.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: An update on the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation, which apparently hasn’t improved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been the subject of relocation rumors for years, and it’s believed things could come to a head this summer, as they could be moved if no potential owner willing to keep the team in Arizona has been found.