Note: With All-Star weekend upon us, I will not be posting on Saturday or Sunday. The usual NHL Morning Papers will return bright and early Monday morning.
Here are the national morning papers:
- Brian Burke is happy in Anaheim, so you can take his name off the list of candidates for the Maple Leafs' GM position.
- With the trade deadline fast approaching, Mark Spector of the National Post says it is time to separate the buyers from the sellers.
- Mike Brehm of USA Today previews this weekend's All-Star Game.
- The breakaway challenge has quite the cast of participants and should be more than entertaining, writes Kevin Allen of USA Today.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The Thrashers lost to the Rangers 2-1 in a shootout last night, and the team has not won a game since January 15th.
- The Bruins rebounded from their 8-2 loss to Montreal, with a strong 4-1 victory last night over the Islanders. Meanwhile, injured Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron enjoyed his time in Aruba because it allowed to him to get away from all the attention he has received due to his concussion and just relax.
- The Sabres ended their road winless streak at eight games with a 2-1 victory at Dallas. Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek admits that wearing the "C" has made him do things he normally wouldn't do.
- The Hurricanes are currently leading the Southeast Division but still think they need to win 20 of their last 30 games to make the playoffs.
- The Panthers blew a two-goal lead with under two minutes remaining in the third period and eventually lost 4-3 in a shootout to the young Oilers. "We were in control of the game. . . . We have to pick ourselves up. We have a busy month, and hopefully we get some guys back after the break," said Panthers coach Jacques Martin who chose not to dwell on the tough defeat.
- The Habs showed some resilience by coming back from a 2-0 deficit at New Jersey to defeat Brent Sutter and his troops 4-3.
- "To be quite honest, I was disappointed in the whole team tonight. Our commitment to win, our commitment to our system and our commitment to playing like you're supposed to play was brutal," said an angry Brent Sutter after his team blew a 3-1 third period lead to fall 4-3 to the visiting Canadiens. Sutter was so angry after the game that the players are lucky the CBA doesn't allow for practices over the All-Star break.
- It was a touching night at MSG on Thursday as the Rangers raised Brian Leetch's number 2 to the rafters. The Rangers played last night's game versus Atlanta without Marek Malik who was benched for not shaking coach Tom Renney's hand after Tuesday's 4-0 victory over the same Thrashers. As for last night's game, the Rangers came out pretty flat but ended up pulling the game out with a 2-1 shootout victory.
- "Maybe the guys were thinking about the break before the break started," said an angry Ted Nolan after his team's 4-1 loss to the Bruins. Islanders forward Richard Park has been the team's unsung hero this season, writes Greg Logan of Newsday.
- The Senators rode the back of Daniel Alfredsson's seven point night to an 8-4 victory over the defenseless Lightning.
- The Flyers were happy to head into the break with a 4-3 victory over division-rival Pittsburgh, writes Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Inquirer. When the Penguins and Flyers meet there is nothing but bad blood, writes Rich Hofmann of Philadelphia Daily News.
- While they lost 4-3 to Philadelphia last night, the Penguins are happy to go into the break trailing first place in the Atlantic Division by only a single point. In other Penguins news, they will open the 2008/09 season in Sweden versus the Senators.
- The Lightning enter the break on a sour note after getting dominated 8-4 by the Senators on Thursday night. One positive that came from last night's game for the Lightning was the surprise return of defenseman Dan Boyle.
- Not only did the Leafs lose 2-1 at Washington last night, but they lost two of their better players in Alexander Steen and Alexei Ponikarovsky to injuries. New GM Cliff Fletcher is lucky he didn't have to watch last night's game in person, as he stayed behind in Toronto to conduct meetings.
- The Capitals continued to move towards first place in the Southeast Division with a 2-1 home victory over Toronto last night.
The Western Conference morning papers were lost to a computer problem. Thank you Microsoft Vista! I apologize for this omission. The regular format will return on Monday.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.