Analysis of the Ducks, Canucks, the stagnant NHL trade market, World Cup of Hockey exhibition schedule released and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.NHL.com: Goaltender Braden Holtby records his 20 win of the season backstopping the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators, while Tuukka Rask has a 34-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is trying to find his offensive spark this season. He’s currently on pace for only 28 goals this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All the attention over Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s offensive woes has overshadowed those of Stamkos, who’s in a contract year and the subject of considerable hype over his future. For a player who could seek top dollar in free agency next summer, the decline in his production this season is troubling.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Sharks center Joe Thornton (four goals, 13 assists) is also hoping to regain his scoring touch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton, 36, is on pace for only 45 points, the lowest in a non-lockout season since his sophomore campaign back in 1998-99. Age has been catching up with him for several seasons now.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has a chuckle over a French-language protection group having an issue over how French broadcasters pronounce his name.
THE SCORE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they demoted winger Zack Kassian after he cleared waivers yesterday.
OTTAWA SUN: Center Kyle Turris moves into second place on the Senators Ironman list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 293 consecutive games played, Turris needs only 19 more to break Chris Phillips’ club record of 311.
THE DENVER POST: Goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s improved play has the Colorado Avalanche moving up in the standings.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks could be as bad as they look this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of observers (myself included) picked the Ducks as Stanley Cup champions this season. They look anything like Cup contenders.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile believes limited salary-cap room and league parity is why the NHL trade market is stagnant so far this season.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Cam Cole explains why Canucks fans should be patient as the club goes through its “draft-and-develop” rebuilding plan.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL has released the exhibition schedule for next fall’s World Cup of Hockey.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins founder Peter Block passed away on Sunday at the age of 82.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to his family and friends.