Updates on Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang…Blues on top in Western Conference…Jamie Benn might be back in time for ASG…Red Wings make franchise history…Predators on a roll…Coyotes rout Avalanche…Bruins edge Panthers…Blue Jackets Dan Byers suspended…Do or die for Wild…Looking for reasons for Lightning’s fall…Change in NHL’s “policemen”.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Sidney Crosby will visit a concussion specialist in Atlanta, while defenseman Kris Letang has been medically cleared to play and should return to the Penguins lineup soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anyone’s guess when Crosby will return, but Letang’s status is good news for the Penguins.

BND.COM: T.J. Oshie scored the only goal in the St. Louis Blues 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars, putting the Blues into first overall in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a serious second half slump, the Blues will not only make the playoffs this year, they could be a top seed with home ice advantage.

Benn back for All-Star Game?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Jamie Benn is out of hospital following an appendectomy, and could be ready to return to action by the All Star Game on January 29th in Ottawa.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings won a franchise-record 15th consecutive home down, shutting out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators downed the NY Islanders 3-1, marking their fifth straight win, and their eighth in nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that’s why, kids, I don’t believe the Predators will trade Ryan Suter if he’s unsigned by the trade deadline. As long as they’re playing well and in the thick of the playoff race, it makes absolutely no sense for the Predators to make such a significant move which would adversely affect team chemistry.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Shane Doan scored twice as the Phoenix Coyotes routed the Colorado Avalanche 6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that’s why I put no stock into rumors of the Coyotes shopping Shane Doan. For the Coyotes to have a shot at clinching a playoff berth, they need Doan.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins edged the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a shootout.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: Columbus forward Dane Byers was suspended for three games for his hit on San Jose Sharks defenseman Andrew Desjardins.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: With captain Mikko Koivu out 4-6 weeks to injury, the Minnesota Wild must step up as a team to compensate for his loss if they hope to make the playoffs.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Examining why the Lightning’s promising season fell apart.

SPORTSNET.CA: How the role of “NHL Policeman” is evolving from being solely a fighter to one who can also contribute in other aspects of the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it now takes more than pugilistic ability to make it to the NHL. If you can’t play the game, you’re gone.