Here are the national morning papers:
- As Eric Duhatschek writes in this morning's Globe & Mail, Curtis Joseph has no problem playing for Mike Keenan.
- Kevin Allen of USA Today provides his midpoint report, which looks back on the first-half of the season and looks ahead to the second-half.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The Thrashers lost 3-2 in a shootout last night to the Canadiens, but as a result of the one point they earned in the standings, the Thrashers now sit all alone atop the Southeast Division. In other Thrashers news, the Marian Hossa contract negotiations are still ongoing, writes Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Bruins were happy to at least earn a point last night in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Leafs because a number of the team's players have been hit by a bad case of the flu. "I thought we tried, I thought we battled," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after last night's game.
- Derek Roy should be in the Sabres' line up tonight after missing four games with an injured shoulder.
- "I guess we've hit bottom, if you want to say it that way," Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley said after his team's embarrassing 5-1 loss against the Senators last night.
- Rostislav Olesz will miss at least the Panthers' next four games with a hand injury he suffered on Wednesday when Steve Downie of the Flyers hit him after the whistle.
- Habs netminder Cristobal Huet was happy he got a chance to shutdown the Thrashers in the shootout last night, after he had single-handedly caused the Thrashers' second goal by straying away from his net. Meanwhile, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette tells readers not to expect the Canadiens to trade for Alex Tanguay.
- The Devils play a string of home-games in a row, and the last thing coach Brent Sutter wants to happen is for his team to become complacent, writes Mark Everson of the NY Post.
- Rangers defenseman Paul Mara has seen his ice-time increase in the past couple of weeks, writes John Dellapina of the NY Daily News.
- Islanders forward Trent Hunter was given an "A" last night by coach Ted Nolan, writes Mark Herrmann of Newsday.
- The Senators dominated the Hurricanes last night by a score of 5-1, but their concern now lies with the status of Daniel Alfredsson who left last night's game with a hip flexor injury.
- Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News profiles the ever-travelling Jim Dowd in this morning's paper.
- Mark this down as a weird trend, Sidney Crosby has not recorded more than two points in any Pittsburgh home-game this season, writes Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. After practice yesterday the Penguins had to take part in the NHL's random drug testing.
- For all their struggles, the Lightning are lucky to be in the worst division in hockey, and therefore, not out of the playoff race.
- It is not calming down off the ice in Toronto, however on the ice, the team has now won two games in a row after last night's 3-2 shootout victory over Boston. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star doesn't believe Cliff Fletcher's management ways are the right fit for the next Leafs GM.
- It only took twelve rounds, but the Capitals finally ended the marathon shootout on a goal by Matt Bradley to defeat the Oilers 5-4.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- The Ducks made it five games last night by squeaking out a 2-1 victory over visiting Nashville, writes Dan Wood of the Orange County Register.
- Curtis Joseph took part in the Flames' optional practice yesterday. In other Flames news, Joseph's new teammate Jarome Iginla was named captain of the Western Conference All-Star team.
- Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune has the details behind Patrick Sharp's four year, $15.6 million contract extension.
- With Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth already out of the lineup, the Avalanche's luck got worse yesterday when Paul Stastny was lost to the team for 2-3 weeks after undergoing an appendectomy.
- The Blue Jackets made it four wins in a row last night, on the back of Rick Nash who scored the game winning goal with under 30 seconds left and boy was it pretty (video link). (Writer's note: Watch the link. The goal is absolutely mind-boggling.) Ken Hitchcock says his third line needs to improve its defensive play.
- Craig Rivet woke up the Dallas Stars early in the first period last night with his hit on Brenden Morrow and the Stars responded by defeating the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose.
- The Red Wings ended their three-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout victory at home over the Canucks. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he would love to coach the Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver in 2010 but you won't see him lobbying for the position.
- The Predators have played very well lately, unfortunately they can't seem to beat the Ducks during this most recent stretch as they were defeated by Anaheim 2-1 last night.
- "We didn't deserve to get a tie in that game. They outplayed us. They outworked us," said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky after his team allow Rick Nash to score the game-winning goal with 22 seconds remaining in the third period. Meanwhile, Coyotes forward Mike Zigomanis is often a healthy scratch but has been coping with the disappointment by keeping a positive attitude, writes Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic.
- Instead of beating the Stars and capturing first place in the Pacific Division, the Sharks lost 4-2 to Dallas and fell to third in the division behind Anaheim.
- The Blues caught a big break yesterday with news that Manny Legace is okay and will be ready to play on Saturday night.
- The Canucks lost 3-2 to the Wings last night in a shootout, and the team can give most of the credit for the point earned in the standings to Roberto Luongo who made 47 saves in the loss.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.