Latest on Phil Kessel and Dustin Byfuglien, plus the latest on the Canucks, Flames, Senators and Canadiens.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos believes the Toronto Maple Leafs front office is asking itself if it can win with sniper Phil Kessel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Traikos provides a detailed look at Kessel’s career dating back to his youth which is well worth reading. I believe the Leafs can win with Kessel by surrounding him with a better roster. They have to decide if they have the time and resources to do this, or if they’ll be better off trading him (even at the risk of watching him shine elsewhere) and getting a return which helps them rebuild.
WINNIPEG SUN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien wasn’t much of a factor in the All-Star Game, but the game’s lack of physical play didn’t suit his style. Still, Byfuglien enjoyed himself.
THE PROVINCE: When the Vancouver Canucks return to action after the All-Star break they must start winning more home games. They have a better record on the road.
CALGARY SUN: Five burning questions for the Flames this week include wondering if captain and Norris Trophy contender Mark Giordano has as strong as second half as he did in the first half, and if appearing in the All-Star Game will provide a boost for rookie Johnny Gaudreau.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators playoff chances are slim. How slim? Try 16.6 percent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators come out of the All-Star break 10 points out of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. They need a helluva run, and for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers to falter, to have a decent shot of making the playoffs.
LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens have recalled Christian Thomas, who was demoted to their AHL farm team in Hamilton during the All-Star break.