Is the Maple Leafs-Red Wings Winter Classic in jeopardy?…Rangers coach downplays owner’s Stanley Cup talk…Martin Brodeur leaning toward one more season…J.S. Giguere becomes the Avs starter…Blackhawks Viktor Stalberg hitting his stride on top line…Lightning upset Bruins…Penguins edge Hurricanes…Isles shut out Capitals…Wild lose again…Recent run of success makes hockey fun again for Ducks.

TORONTO SUN: Scheduling conflicts, a liquor license, and other snags could make it difficult for the NHL to stage next year’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan’s “Big House”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing the NHL will be able to find ways to overcome these hurdles. This is one of the league’s premiere events, which will rake in a lot of cash, both for the league, and for the university. Also, the fact they’re scheduling this for January 1st, 2013 could be seen as a positive sign amidst the gloom and doom coverage over the upcoming CBA talks.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers head coach John Tortorella downplayed the recent comments of team owner James Dolan about his team being “pretty close” to winning a Stanley Cup, calling the remarks “a bunch of bullshit”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella isn’t trying to demean his own team or Dolan, but merely attempting to keep expectations realistic, adding the team has to take things day by day, game by game.

Brodeur leaning toward returning next season.

NJ.COM: Devils long-time goalie Martin Brodeur is leaning toward returning for another season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of the saddest things about professional athletes is they cannot acknowledge when it’s time to call it a career. It’s painfully obvious Brodeur is no longer the great goaltender he used to be, hasn’t been for the last couple of years, but he’s deluding himself  if he thinks he’s got one more good year left. Take a good look at what’s happening to Dwayne Roloson in Tampa Bay, Marty! Granted. Roloson isn’t in the same class as Brodeur, but he was a good goalie who hung around one season too long, and now his inability to elevate his game to where it was last season is costing the Lightning in the standings. If Brodeur does return with the Devils for another season, I hope they have the good sense to complete their tandem by adding another good goalie in the likely event they need a reliable starter.

DENVER POST: J.S. Giguere is have a resurgence in Colorado, taking over as the starting goalie as Semyon Varlamov struggles in the role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he can stay healthy and continue to play as well as he has, the Avs have a good chance to make the playoffs.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Viktor Stalberg is shining on the Blackhawks top line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are suggesting the Blackhawks shop him now for a second line center while his value is high. Don’t see that happening during this season, if at all.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning downed the Boston Bruins 5-3 to snap a seven-game losing streak.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Penguins edged the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout 3-2, which also saw Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, only recently returned from a concussion, receiving a hard hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Oprik. Skinner left the game but did return for the shootout.

NEWSDAY: The NY Islanders shut out the Washington Capitals 3-0.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild suffered their 14th loss in 16 games, falling 5-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are in danger of falling out of the playoff race at this pace, and it will put more pressure on management to make a move or two to reverse the skid.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: A 5-0-1 streak has made hockey fun again for the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks still have a long way to go if they’re to get into the playoff race in the Western Conference.