Notable game recaps, Jets to host Oilers in 2016 Heritage Classic and more in today’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Matt Niskanen’s overtime goal lifted the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory, making them the first team this season to reach 100 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin received a five-minute major for boarding Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who left the game in obvious pain and didn’t return. The league is reviewing the incident.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Following a line brawl early in the first period, the Anaheim Ducks edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. It was the Ducks franchise-record 11th consecutive win, vaulting them into first place in the Pacific Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since Christmas, the Ducks have been the NHL’s hottest team, rising from the depths of the Western Conference basement back into the conversation as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Lightning got their franchise-best ninth straight win by downing the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Alex Killorn’s overtime goal.
WINNIPEG SUN: Mark Scheifele’s hat trick powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 win over the moribund Montreal Canadiens.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Alex Tanguay’s two-goal, three-point effort lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-1 drubbing of the Florida Panthers.
OTTAWA SUN: The Toronto Maple Leafs honored former captain Dion Phaneuf during last night’s 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, after which he received a standing ovation from the Leafs faithful. Phaneuf didn’t collect any points but did have a fight with Leafs (and former Senators) forward Colin Greening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For all the criticism – fair and unfair – Phaneuf received from Leafs fans during his tenure as their club’s captain, it was very classy of them to give him that nice ovation.
PHILLY.COM: Radko Guda’s two-goal, two-assist night powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-0 thumping of the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirm goalie Cory Schneider will be evaluated for a lower-body injury and won’t play in today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. A further update is expected later today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider could miss some time. How much remains to be seen.
ESPN.COM: The NHL is exploring the possibility of raising the draft age to 19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While a number of 18-year-olds have cracked the NHL, they remain the exception instead than the rule. Indeed, some players have had their NHL development slowed or even ruined by being rushed into the league at 18. I believe a player’s chances greatly increases at 19 and 20, when he’s had a little more time to mature physically and mentally.. Perhaps some sort of waiver can be applied in truly exceptional cases, like Connor McDavid or Aaron Ekblad. Overall, most young players would benefit more from joining the league at 19.
NBC SPORTS: A source reports the Winnipeg Jets will host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic.
TSN: The NHL wants its medical team to examine former player and coach Steve Ludzik to confirm his Parkinson’s disease was caused by head trauma suffered during his playing days. The league also wants Mike Peluso, Dan LaCouture, Bernie Nicholls, and Gary Leeman to undergo extensive medical examinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This story was originally reported on March 1 but I missed it during the fallout from the NHL trade deadline. It’s worth following this story closely. The players noted are among those who have filed a concussion lawsuit against the league. The outcome of that lawsuit will greatly affect a number of former players suffering from debilitating injuries and ailments as a result of their playing days.