Latest on Nicklas Backstrom, Rick Nash, Jimmy Howard, Tanner Pearson, Steve Mason and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Chicago Blackhawks won a laugher against the fading Minnesota Wild, downing the Wild 4-1.

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

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: The Capitals are puzzled over teammate Nicklas Backstrom being snubbed again for the All-Star Game. Despite leading the Capitals in points this season and amassing 535 points in 536 NHL games, Backstrom has never been selected to participate in the All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another example of the farce that is the All-Star Game. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Rangers star Rick Nash is one of the front-runners (with Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne) for this season’s Hart Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Nash carries over his dominant first-half play over the remainder of this season, he could certainly merit consideration as a Hart finalist.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Poor goaltending is killing the Stars this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s something management must address, if not this season then certainly this summer. 

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard has a slight groin tear and will undergo an MRI today to determine its severity. GM Ken Holland speculates he could miss 2-4 weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard was selected to participate in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game. This injury could force the league to find a replacement. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Bad luck for Kings forward Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. Pearson suffered a fractured left fibula while Toffoli is sidelined by mononucleosis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli will be back sooner than Pearson, who could miss six weeks. 

PHILLY.COM: Flyers goalie Steve Mason will be sidelined at least two weeks with an apparent right-knee injury.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Cody McCormick has been sidelined indefinitely by a blood clot in one of his calf muscles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCormick is the third NHL player to suffer from blood clots this season, joining Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen and Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis. 

BOSTON HERALD: Defenseman Adam McQuaid, recently returned from injury, is providing some much-needed grit to the Bruins blueline.