With the holiday season having come and gone, Illegal Curve is looking forward to providing you with as much hockey information as you can handle in the upcoming year. Before we return to our regular posting schedule, I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all our readers.
Here are the national morning papers:
- The NHL is ecstatic with the ratings that the outdoor-game garnered this weekend writes William Houston of the Globe & Mail.
- Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan is happy with the changes the NHL has made post-lockout writes Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail.
- According to Mark Spector of the National Post, finding a balance between experience and skill has been a difficult task for Canada's World Juniors coach Craig Hartsburg.
- The USA's path to the World Juniors gold medal is unsurprisingly going through Canada writes Kevin Allen of the USA Today.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The Thrashers gained some ground on the Hurricanes last night with an important 5-4 overtime victory in Carolina. (Writer's note: If you missed Ilya Kovalchuk's goal last night please see this link. It will be worth your while.)
- Barbara Matson of the Boston Globe has the details behind the Brandon Bochenski trade from Boston to Anaheim. Here are some notes about the Capitals/Bruins heading into tonight's game at the Banknorth Garden. Meanwhile, the return of David Krejci to the Bruins lineup is a testament to the youngster's work ethic.
- With the distraction of the outdoor game in the rear-view mirror, the Sabres will now shift their focus to the Ottawa Senators writes Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. In positive news, things are looking up for Sabres forward Drew Stafford after he missed the team's past three games with a concussion problem.
- The Hurricanes felt like they missed out on too many opportunities before losing in overtime to the division-rival Thrashers. (Writer's note: The Hurricanes need to get their goaltending in order. I mean, this team seems to be letting in five goals every time they play.)
- In typical Devils fashion, they feasted on the Panthers' mistakes and came away with a 3-2 victory on home-ice. Florida's hopes of having Cory Murphy return to the lineup appear to be a ways away.
- Habs coach Guy Carbonneau was very impressed with the play of his youngsters on the team's most recent road trip writes Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette.
- Devils coach Brent Sutter had a talk with team captain Jamie Langenbrunner and it seemed to pay immediate dividends after he scored a goal to lead the Devils to a 3-2 home victory over the Panthers.
- Jay Greenberg of the NY Post was unimpressed with the Rangers' performance in the team's 4-3 loss at Calgary last night. "At the end of the day, with all due respect to our opponent, I think we beat ourselves," coach Tom Renney said.
- Over on Long Island, the Islanders players believe that the outdoor game was good for the sport of hockey.
- After missing fifteen games with a broken finger, the Senators can't wait to see Anton Volchenkov return to their lineup tonight versus the Sabres.
- According to Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flyers winger Simon Gagne will not return to the team's lineup until next week.
- The Penguins have the second most shootout wins in the NHL this season writes Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Apparently the outdoor game outdrew Wayne Gretzky's last NHL game. (Writer's note: I still cant believe the game outdrew Gretzky's last NHL game. That is ridiculous. How does a mediocre mid-season game outdraw the last game of the greatest hockey player of all time? )
- Lightning coach John Tortorella is unsure of his team's mental toughness right now writes Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
- Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star says that it is time for the Leafs' youngsters to act like men.
- The injuries to Alexander Semin and Tom Poti do not look to be overly serious writes Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- As Dan Wood tells us, it wasn't pretty but the Ducks pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on home-ice last night.
- After last night's 4-3 victory over the Broadway Blueshirts, the Flames are now only one point out of first spot in the Northwest Division standings.
- It looks like the Blackhawks will be without rookie phenom Jonathan Toews for approximately 2-4 weeks as the former UND Fighting Sioux forward injured his knee in Tuesday night's 9-2 loss at Los Angeles.
- The Avalanche lost for the fourth straight time last night at home to the up-and-coming Coyotes. (Writer's note: With Joe Sakic on the mend, the Avs need Paul Stastny to turn it up a notch and lead them through the next portion of the schedule.)
- The Ducks' experience came in handy on Wednesday night as they defeated the young Blue Jackets 2-1. Meanwhile, the Jackets are hoping a demotion to Syracuse will get Gilbert Brule turned around. Here are the Jackets' projected lines for tonight's contest versus the Kings.
- The Stars needed a better performance from their top players last night as they were defeated by the powerful Red Wings 4-1 at the Joe Louis Arena.
- With last night's victory, the Red Wings officially completed the most successful first-half of the season in franchise history. Even though Chris Osgood played well versus the Stars on Wednesday, Dominik Hasek is slated to get the start in net for the Wings on Saturday when they take on Dallas, once again. In other Wings news, winger Kirk Maltby is shooting for a return to the lineup within the next ten days.
- The Oilers pulled out an important 3-2 overtime victory over the Blues last night writes Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal. Off the ice, the Oilers' board of directors voted against selling the team to Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz.
- Lost in Ladislav Nagy's five-point effort on Tuesday night, was the play of Kings forward Alexander Frolov writes Dan Arritt of the L.A. Times.
- You can't say Jacques Lemaire doesn't back up his players, after the veteran coach defended the struggling Martin Skoula to the Minnesota media on Wednesday.
- Predators defenseman Shea Weber had a setback in his rehab and will be out of the team's lineup for at least another week writes Jessica Hopp of the Tennessean.
- Former Colorado forward Steven Reinprecht had four points on Wednesday to lead the Coyotes to a 5-2 victory over the struggling Avalanche.
- The Sharks have no problem winning on the road (they are currently on a ten-game road win streak) and will try and use that road success to turnaround their suspect home record.
- The Blues outshot the Oilers 33-24 on Wednesday, but their powerplay did them in writes Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Note: For those of you looking for Vancouver Canucks stories, I encourage you to email the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun and tell them to post their articles at an earlier time. Both of these sites consistently don't have the day's articles up by around 8am/9am CST.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.