NHL-NHLPA resolve escrow dispute…Evgeni Malkin rallies Penguins over Canadiens…Capitals shut out by Hurricanes…Possible factors for Eric Staal’s improvement…Blackhawks win third straight…Is this year’s Sabres team the worst in a decade?…Teddy Purcell leads Lightning over Stars…Eric Nystrom makes Wild regret dealing him….Blues could have new owners…Gilbert Brule hoping for fresh start in Phoenix…Shane O’Brien a “beauty” with Avalanche teammates.

SPORTING NEWS: The NHL and NHLPA resolved their recent dispute over last season’s hockey related revenues (HRR), and the players escrow cheques are in the mail.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wait, what? The NHL and NHLPA resolved something? Doesn’t that run counter to the “CBA negotiations could get ugly and threaten another season” meme?

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored the tying goal and the winner in a shootout, as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. At one point, the Habs led the game 4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another blown lead, and another shootout loss, for the Canadiens. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals wasted a thirty-save effort by goalie Tomas Vokoun, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

Staal showing improvement in recent weeks.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Several factors – his brother Marc’s return from concussion, increased focus, adjusting to head coach Kirk Muller’s system – may be behind Eric Staal’s recent improvement.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Following a 30-minute weather delay, the Chicago Blackhawks won their third straight game, downing the Florida Panthers 3-1, moving into first overall in the NHL standings.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: This year’s version of the Sabres could be the worst since 2002-03.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ’02-’03 version of the Sabres was pretty bad, so even comparing this year’s squad to that one indicates how grim things are getting in Buffalo.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Teddy Purcell’s two goals were all that was needed for the Lightning to down the Dallas Stars 2-1.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former Wild forward Eric Nystrom is on pace to score over twenty goals this season, making his former team look like they were too hasty in giving up on him.

STLTODAY.COM: “A group led by Blues minority owner Tom Stillman has signed a purchase agreement to buy the club.”

AZCENTRAL.COM: New Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule is hoping to get his NHL career back on track in Phoenix.

DENVER POST: Avalanche defenseman Shane O’Brien has earned praise from his teammates for his positive energy on and off the ice.