Joe Thornton reaches a points milestone, Shawn Horcoff suspended, Craig Adams retires and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Sidney Crosby scored his 17th goal of the season as the Penguins blanked the Devils, 2-0. Roberto Luongo lifted the Panthers past the Maple Leafs, 5-1.
Notable NHL Headlines.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Joe Thornton netted his 1,300 career NHL point as his San Jose Sharks thumped the Colorado Avalanche 6-1. Thornton becomes the 33rd player in NHL history to reach that milestone.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The NHL suspended Anaheim Ducks forward Shawn Horcoff 20 games for violating its performance-enhancing drugs program. Horcoff issued a statement claiming he used to PEDs to hasten his recovery from an injury, claiming he was unaware it violated the league’s program. He doesn’t intend to challenge the ruling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Horcoff suspension drew criticism from The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek and Sportsnet’s Mark Spector over the flaws in the NHL’s drug-testing program. They believe the testing is haphazard and the program filled with loopholes. While their concerns are valid, don’t expect the league and the NHLPA to address those issues. They’ll simply point to how few players are being caught as proof of how well they believe their program works. A review by an independent panel would best determine how well the program is working, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: A healthy scratch since returning from an ankle injury, Canucks winger Brandon Prust wonders about his future in Vancouver.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prust wasn’t as big a sparkplug with the Canucks as he once was with the Canadiens. Some Habs followers chided their club for the Prust-for-Zack Kassian swap, claiming the Canucks got the better of the deal. Ultimately, it’s a wash for both clubs. And no, bringing back Prust won’t provide the lift the Canadiens need this season to reach the playoffs. They’re too far gone for that.
TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks extended the contract of general manager Stan Bowman to 2020-21.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former ‘Hawks GM Dale Tallon constructed the club’s championship foundation, but Bowman successfully built around it. The 2013 and 2015 Cup championships were very much his creation.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have activated goaltender Cam Ward off injured reserve.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Daniel Carr will miss the next three months with an injured right knee.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins goaltender Jonas Gustavsson left yesterday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks and was hospitalized with an illness. The Bruins could release an update later today.
ESPN.COM: Right wing Craig Adams announced his retirement after 14 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won Stanley Cups with the Hurricanes in 2006 and the Penguins in 2009.