Latest on T.J. Oshie, Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Keith Ballard, Matt Beleskey, Radko Gudas and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: St Louis Blues right wing T.J. Oshie was named the NHL’s first star for the week ending January 4, 2015. Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price were the second and third stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Oshie having regained his scoring touch of late, it would explain why the trade rumors about him have died down of late. Blues management seems reluctant to move him.
CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is still trying to regain his playing groove since returning from a knee injury over a month ago.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo is looking forward to returning to Vancouver for the first time since he was traded by the Canucks last season. The Panthers face off against the Canucks on Thursday.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s breakout performance this season could earn him a trip to the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.
TWINCITIES.COM: A recent concussion could force Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard into retirement. It’s his third concussion in 14 months and fifth in five years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the frequency of his concussions, retirement would be best for Ballard’s long-term health. If the 32-year-old decides against retirement the decision could be made for him. Ballard is also an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and that concussion history will make it very difficult for him to land another NHL contract.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Preliminary contract talks have started between the Anaheim Ducks and forward Matt Beleskey, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. The 26-year-old is on pace for a career-high 34 goals this season and is earning $1.5 million.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas will undergo surgery on his right knee. There’s no timetable for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation suggests he could be sidelined up to three months.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets have placed forward Adam Cracknell on waivers. If he clears today he’ll be sent down to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recalled Ryan White, then placed him on waivers.
NBC SPORTS: Canada defeated Russia 5-4 in the gold medal game Monday night at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Toronto, earning Canada’s first gold in the tournament since 2009. Earlier in the day, Slovakia defeated Sweden to win the bronze medal. Among the notable named to the tournament All-Star team was Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey, Buffalo Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart, Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi and Connor McDavid, who is projected to become the first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.