• The spotlight on goaltender interference only seems to be getting brighter. In the NHL’s final day of action before the All-Star break, the issue sparked controversy after a goal by the Oilers was overturned in overtime against the Flames — this after the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews had a goal taken away Monday (the Wild also had one of its goals wiped away Thursday by a Penguins challenge). Confusion seems to be the consensus, and although the rules are spelled out, the interpretation appears inconsistent — an unfortunate reality.
• Less than a year after surgery to repair torn ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee, Sharks center Joe Thornton recently underwent another procedure to address a right-knee injury, and it’s unclear when he’ll resume playing. This is quite a setback for the Sharks, who are narrowly ahead of the Flames, Kings and Ducks in the Pacific Division. It’s also a tough blow for Thornton, who was in the midst of a bounce-back season.
• The Professional Hockey Writers Association released its midseason awards Friday, and there were few surprises. Nikita Kucherov (Hart Trophy), Andrei Vasilevskiy (Vezina Trophy) and Gerard Gallant (Jack Adams’ Trophy) are clear first-half front-runners, and while it seems impossible anyone is prying the Coach of the Year honors away from Gallant, perhaps Nathan MacKinnon could challenge for the MVP title if the Avalanche advance. And if Vasilevskiy can’t overcome his recent struggles, that would only appear to open the door for another candidate among the goalies.