Game recaps, updates on Alexander Ovechkin, Saku Koivu, Vladimir Sobotka and Cory Emmerton, plus the NHL’s poor treatment of its former players in need.

Joe Thornton beats Corey Crawford with a toe-drag shootout goal.

Joe Thornton beats Corey Crawford with a toe-drag shootout goal.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton scored in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks downed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Mike Smith had a 23-save performance as the Phoenix Coyotes upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. Evgeni Malkin tallied the Penguins only  goal.

STLTODAY.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko scored the winner in a shootout as the St. Louis Blues edged the Nashville Predators 4-3. Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka suffered a broken kneecap in Friday’s game against Carolina and is on injured reserve for four weeks. He will miss the Sochi Olympics.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Nathan Horton, Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner enjoyed two-point performances as the Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Florida Panthers 4-1.

DENVER POST: Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon had his first NHL three-point game as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Buffalo Sabres 7-1.

PHILLY.COM: Steve Mason made 35 saves while Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored the game’s only goals as the Philadelphia Flyers shut out the struggling Los Angeles Kings.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Dan Ellis made 26 saves backstopping the Dallas Stars to a 2-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin is a very busy man as the Sochi Olympics approach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is the face of Russia’s men’s hockey team and is under the spotlight as the Sochi Games draw near.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu is still considering his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the article notes, Koivu hasn’t won a Stanley Cup yet and how the Ducks perform could determine his future beyond this season. If the Ducks win the Cup I expect Koivu to retire.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have placed forward Cory Emmerton on waivers. If he clears he’ll be demoted to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

THE DENVER POST: The NHL isn’t doing enough to assist former NHLers in need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is doing more than it used to, when it all but ignore the existence of crippled players in dire financial straits. It must do more to help struggling former players, particularly those who played prior to the 1990s.