Here are the national morning papers:
- Eric Duhaschek of the Globe & Mail profiles Ken Hitchcock and the job he's done in Columbus.
- Dave Shoalts of the Globe & Mail wonders if the Leafs GM job is too much responsibility for just one person.
- Bruce Arthur of the National Post says the chances of the Leafs making the playoffs are awfully slim.
- Jim Dowd is still playing in the NHL after being counted out so many times, writes Chuck Gormley.
- The Eastern Conference playoffs look to be a complete coin toss, writes Kevin Allen of USA Today.
Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The Leafs have to stop calculating the numbers and just win every game from here on out, writes Paul Hunter. Come next season, the Leafs will have more grit in their lineup.
- Carey Price will get the start tonight for Les Habitants as they face-off in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Bruce Dowbiggen believes the Habs are Canada's best hope for the Stanley Cup this season.
- The Senators lost 3-2 in overtime to the Sharks, but were very happy with the play of Martin Gerber. The Sens blew two one-goal leads, and proved that they still don't have their confidence back.
- Alex Picard, the defenseman the Bolts acquired as part of the Vaclav Prospal trade, is happy to be playing important minutes in Tampa.
- "We just talk, talk, talk in the locker room, and then we don't do anything on the ice. It was up to us; we lose, and now we're almost out. We're going to battle to the last game, but — I don't know," said Ilya Kovalchuk after last night's 6-3 home loss to Carolina. Meantime, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if Don Waddell should be replaced in his role as GM and coach.
- Chad Kilger has been suspended without pay by the Panthers for failing to report to the club. (Writer's note: Clearly the issue with Kilger is serious, so hopefully he can return to hockey, if not this season, then next.)
- Lou Lamoriello is not concerned with the Devils' struggling offense, writes Rich Chere.
- Ted Nolan has yet to announce who will be starting in net tonight for the Islanders when they finish off their home-and-home with the Rangers.
- Boston players were put through a video tutorial prior to yesterday's practice, writes Stephen Harris. The Bruins have to make sure they take care of business in March, so that April actually matters.
- The Sabres lost, once again, at home yesterday and need to improve their play at the HSBC Arena if they have visions of making the playoffs. One of the main reasons for their home struggles is the team's terrible home power play, writes Mike Harrington.
- The Hurricanes continued their strong play yesterday with a 6-3 road victory over Atlanta. The Canes turn right around after last night's game and host the Wild tonight at the RBC Center.
- The Rangers just want to make the playoffs because they know that once you are in, anyone an make the finals.
- Alexander Ovechkin continues to be super-human, as he scored two more goals last night to lead the Caps to a 3-1 road victory over Buffalo.
- Daniel Briere is hoping to return to the Flyers' lineup by Saturday, writes Tim Panaccio.
- Jeff Taffe has found himself comfortable in an unfamiliar role in Pittsburgh, writes Shelly Anderson. Jordan Staal (ribs) should be able to suit up tonight.
I am heading to a funeral today, so I won't be able to post the Western Conference morning papers. The usual format will return tomorrow morning. Have a great day.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.
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