Game recaps, updates on Max Pacioretty, Nail Yakupov, Zach Bogosian and Mike Hoffman, plus the latest on the Canucks in your NHL Canadian Corner.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The Toronto Maple Leafs fared no better in their first game under interim head coach Peter Horachek than they did in Randy Carlyle’s last game, falling 6-2 to the surging Washington Capitals.
TORONTO STAR: Carlyle, in his first interview following his firing, said he didn’t believe the Leafs players tuned him out.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos believes the fault for the Leafs woes lies not with Phil Kessel, but with the management which unsuccessfully built around him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of all the analysis over what’s wrong with the Leafs coming from the Toronto media, Traikos’ take is the best I’ve read. Yes, Kessel deserves his share of the blame for the Leafs woes, but he’s not the reason they suck. “Blame Kessel? Is it his fault that the Leafs mismanaged the salary cap by signing David Clarkson and Stéphane Robidas to bad contracts? Is it his fault that they have not found a legitimate No. 1 centre or a No. 1 defenceman in his time here?” Couldn’t have said it better myself. In fact, I wish I had. Making Kessel the scapegoat misses the real culprit: years of bad decisions by management.
CALGARY SUN: A late game-tying goal by Paul Byron was nullified when Curtis Glencross collided with Detroit Red Wings goalie Peter Mrazek, leading to the Flames falling 3-2 to the Wings.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens star Max Pacioretty is garnering more attention from opposing teams this season.
THE PROVINCE: Roberto Luongo’s return to Vancouver for the first time since he was dealt by the Canucks to the Florida Panthers prompted Jason Botchford to note there’s no hint of a goalie controversy among current Canucks goalies Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The decline in the performance of Oilers’ winger (and 2012 first-overall pick) Nail Yakupov remains a mystery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no mystery here. Yakupov is playing for a crappy team and that’s hurting his development as an NHL player.
WINNIPEG SUN: Good news for the Jets, as defenseman Zach Bogosian returns to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Winger Evander Kane (lower-body injury) traveled with the Jets on their road trip and could return to the lineup next week.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators winger Mike Hoffman is among this season’s top-five rookie scorers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s some suggestion Hoffman could play himself into Calder contention, but he’s got a lot of ground to gain on current favorites like Nashville’s Filip Forsberg, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Florida’s Aaron Ekblad to become a Calder finalist.