In today’s collection of notable NHL headlines, the Ducks fall to the Blackhawks, Evander Kane feels he didn’t get enough support from the Jets, six NHL teams could be doomed by slow stars and much more.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: For the second straight game, Jonathan Toews scored in overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 1-0 victory, this one at the expense of the struggling Anaheim Ducks. Corey Crawford made 39 saves for his second straight shutout. The Ducks become the first team since the 1930-31 New York Rangers to be shut out in five of its first eight games in a season. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was certainly a much better effort by the Ducks, who played well throughout but were stymied by Crawford. If they can maintain that effort going forward, goals and victories will come.
Note: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane claims he asked the Winnipeg Jets to trade him every summer since 2012. He believes he was never a good fit in Winnipeg, as rumors about his lifestyle got out of control. Kane admitted he probably didn’t help matter on social media, but claims other players have done much worse without coming under the same scrutiny as he did. He said he felt the Jets never supported him. Kane is currently sidelined four-to-six weeks with a knee injury, though he won’t require surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s tenure with the Jets was a controversial one, for which he bears part of the blame. It didn’t help that some in the local media also spread unverifiable stories about his off-ice lifestyle. What is certain is things reached the boiling point last season when Kane showed up late for a team meeting and violated the club’s dress code. That set even his teammates against him, leading to his eventual trade to the Sabres.
YAHOO SPORTS: Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal continues to deflect questions regarding his contract negotiations while praising his rebuilding club’s professionalism, direction and young players. Staal, who turns 31 on Oct 29, is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos or Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar being shopped near the Feb. 29th trade deadline. In my opinion, Staal is the most likely of next summer’s top potential UFAs to hit the trade block. Of course, it’s possible he and the Hurricanes could reach an agreement on a new deal before then, one that will be considerably shorter (four or five years in length) and cheaper (think around $7 million annually) than his current contract. However, it’ll depend on Staal believing the Hurricanes are close to returning to playoff contender status. He could also accept a trade by the deadline and then return to the Hurricanes on July 1 as a UFA.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen is undergoing tests to determine the cause of his recent fatigue. His agent claims the fatigue is unrelated to the accelerated heartbeat he suffered during the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious. It certainly has nothing to do with his compete level, as Johansen remains the Jackets’ leading scorer.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk suffered a knee injury in a recent game against Anaheim. While it’s reportedly not serious, it’s uncertain how long he could be hampered by it.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene is still searching for a way to ramp up his offense. He current has only a goal and an assist.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers centers Aleksander Barkov won’t require surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand, but he will be sidelined three-to-four weeks.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings center Brad Richards (back injury) will miss one-two weeks, defenseman Mike Green (shoulder) is out two-three weeks, and blueliner Kyle Quincey (concussion) is out for at least the remainder of this week.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Mattias Ekholm to a six-year, $22.5 million contract. The annual cap hit is $3.75 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable signing for a big, skilled defenseman. Ekholm has quickly established himself as a key part of the Predators blueline. The Preds’ priority now is resigning RFAs Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones, who are both in the final years of their entry-level deals.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues rookie Robby Fabbri (concussion) returns to the lineup tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Kevin Shattenkirk (lower-body) is at least a game away from returning.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle lists six NHL teams whose poor starts has likely doomed their playoff hopes.