Here are the national morning papers:
- Brian Milner of the Globe & Mail has further details on the story reported by Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star yesterday that the NHLPA has hired a forensic accountant to examine NHL franchises.
- Steve Yzerman has aspirations of running the Canadian men's Olympic entry at the 2010 games in Vancouver, writes Tim Wharnsby of the Globe & Mail.
- Mark Spector of the National Post believes that Curtis Joseph is the perfect backup goaltender.
- Mike Brehm of USA Today thinks that Alexander Ovechkin has surged into the lead for the Hart Trophy.
- Mike Babcock is a big fan of the way the New England Patriots run their organization and was disappointed that the Pats couldn't make 19-0 on Sunday, writes Damien Cox of the Toronto Star.
- Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star discusses the possibility that a number of Leafs veterans won't waive their no-trade clauses. In positive Leafs news, defenseman Bryan McCabe could be ready to return to the lineup for Thursday night's game versus the Habs.
- The Senators frustrations are starting to boil over, writes Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. In positive news for Sens fans, apparently the team is on Peter Forsberg's short-list for teams he would sign with, if he decides to return to the NHL.
- The Islanders keep getting worse news, as forward Mike Sillinger has been lost to the club for three weeks with a hip injury.
- The Devils responded to a Brent Sutter motivational speech at the second intermission and came back to defeat the Penguins 4-3 in overtime. Devils tough-guy Arron Asham was a healthy scratch last night.
- The Panthers are hoping to get Ville Peltonen in their lineup by this weekend, but will now be without Jozef Stumpel and Radek Dvorak for substantial periods of time.
- Carey Price is back with Les Habitants and could very well start for the team Thursday versus the Leafs. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen believes the Canadiens are true contenders.
- The Lightning has not packed it in for this season, and still believe they can make the playoffs, writes Carter Gaddis of the Tampa Tribune.
- In Atlanta, Coach Don Waddell says it is unlikely that Ilya Kovalchuk will suit up tonight versus the Flyers.
- Bruins rookie Vladimir Sobotka hasn't scored a goal yet this season, but is contributing in other ways, writes Barbara Matson of the Boston Globe. The Bruins have their eyes on Lord Stanley's Cup, even if most people don't believe they have a chance, writes Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald.
- The Hurricanes have put Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh behind them and have shifted their collective focus towards defeating the streaking Predators in Nashville tonight.
- The Rangers won three straight games on the road, but Jaromir Jagr didn't tally a point, so Tim Bontemps of the NY Post thinks he's due to breakout. Tom Renney defended Jagr to the media yesterday. In injury news, Brendan Shanahan might not return until February 16th because of a number of ailments.
- Joffrey Lupul thought he'd be ready to play this week, but now doctors are telling him he will be out another five games.
- After gaining a point in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils, the team is now tied for first place in the Atlantic Division, however, the way they blew a 3-1 lead at New Jersey left a sour taste in their mouth. In the Pens dressing room, Boston native Ryan Whitney was hearing it from his teammates about the NY Giants upset victory.
- The Capitals have recalled Eric Fehr from the AHL and are hoping he provides them with a boost in the points department.
- Sabres netminder Ryan Miller will be between the pipes tonight as his squad takes on the Bruins. So much for the return of Maxim Afinogenov as the speedy Russian winger had a setback with his injured groin at practice and will miss more time.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- The Ducks are expecting to have Teemu Selanne in the lineup tonight when they face-off against the Islanders on Long Island.
- The Ducks neighbours in Southern California take on the Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden.
- The Stars are getting tremendous productivity from Matt Niskanen and Niklas Grossman, and the two youngsters are flying under the radar of most NHL fans, writes Mike Hieka of the Dallas Morning News. The Stars take on the Canucks tonight, here is a preview.
- If Dan Cleary really wants to stay in Detroit, he most likely will have to sign for below market value, writes Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. George Sipple of the Free Press tells readers that two Red Wings are on track for some post-season awards.
- Wild coach Jacques Lemaire won't even think of separating Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra if they continue to play like they currently are, writes Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
- John Glennon of the Tennessean has the back-stroy behind the Arnott-Radulov-Dumont line, which has been on a tear since being reunited. The Predators play the Hurricanes tonight, here is a preview.
- Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Sharks will be without defenseman Douglas Murray for at least a week.
- Blues coach Andy Murray says his team needs to win 20 of their last 31 games to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Blues goaltender Manny Legace is bitter about his Saturday performance against the Avalanche and is looking to rebound tonight at home versus the Lightning.
- The Flames came out flat against the Horcoff-less Oilers and were on the losing end of a 5-0 score at Rexall Place last night. The Flames didn't give Curtis Joseph any help in his Flames debut writes Steve Macfarlane of the Calgary Sun.
- Even with the loss of Shawn Horcoff, the Oilers showed no signs of panic last night, writes John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal. With most pundits writing them off, the Oilers don't think they are out of the playoff race just yet.
- The Coyotes rode Radim Vrbata to a come from behind 4-3 overtime victory over the Avalanche last night, writes Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic. In other Coyotes news, Rick Tocchet returns to the bench on Thursday and Commissioner Gary Bettman says it is time to move on.
- Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province runs down the man games lost for the Canucks defense corps this season.
- Avalanche coach Joel Quenville was disappointed with the officiating in last night's 4-3 overtime at home to Phoenix. Meanwhile, it looks like Denver is among the cities being considered to host the next outdoor game.
- The Blue Jackets were hoping to streak out of the All-Star break but, instead, have lost three in a row and now the team has a bad case of the bronchitis. The Jackets host the Capitals tonight; here are the projected lines for Columbus.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.
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