The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.
General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.
After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.
The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.
Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.
The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.
Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).
Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.
A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).
Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.
Game recaps, the league is introducing measures to address abusive behavior, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sean Monahan’s overtime goal lifted the Calgary Flames to a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame. The Flames are 6-0-1 in their last seven games, and 5-0-0 under new coach Geoff Ward. The Avalanche’s winning streak ended at six games. Colorado defenseman Cale Makar missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Two third-period goals by Brock Nelson powered the New York Islanders over the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves for the Isles, handing the Lightning their fourth loss in their last five home games. Anders Lee and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who are the third team to reach 20 wins this season. The Isles played without defenseman Nick Leddy, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Lightning center Tyler Johnson missed the game with a lower-body injury. The Lightning sit 12th overall in the Eastern Conference.
Cam Atkinson scored two goals and Joonas Korpisalo kicked out 37 shots as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the league-leading Washington Capitals 5-2. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist in his first game since Nov. 18, while teammate Alex Ovechkin tallied his 21st goal of the season. The Jackets snapped a four-game losing skid.
The Ottawa Senators upset the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-2. Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson turned aside 38 shots while Anthony Duclair scored twice and set up another. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron scored in his first game since Nov. 23. Linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each had two assists. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed goaltender Craig Anderson (knee injury) on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Duclair is settling in nicely in his first full season with the Senators. His 15 goals and 22 points are his second-highest single-season totals since his 20-goal, 44-point rookie campaign in 2015-16. At his current pace, the 24-year-old could reach 40 goals and 60 points.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league will implement a four-point action plan to raise awareness among players and coaches following several weeks of accusations of alleged abusive behavior by certain coaches. “Our message is unequivocal,” said Bettman. “We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind.”
As per TSN, “The NHL plans to establish an anonymous hotline for players and team personnel to report inappropriate conduct; coaches and management will participate in mandatory annual training on inclusion and harassment; inappropriate conduct will result in discipline from teams, the league or both; and the NHL put all 32 franchises “on notice” that failure to report inappropriate conduct in the future will result in “severe discipline.”
Bettman also said the league with work with the NHL Players Association and the NHL Coaches’ Association in the creation of these plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent allegations were a black eye for the league, forcing it to take proactive measures to confront and address the issues. It’ll be interesting to see how effective these new programs will be, what kinks will need to be worked out, and the impact upon the relationship between coaches and players going forward.
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 8.
PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while teammate Philippe Myers left practice yesterday with back spasms.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed winger Andrew Shaw (concussion) on injured reserve backdated to Nov. 30.
The NHL department of player safety fined New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux $2,000.00 for elbowing Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Glass.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings placed defenseman Madison Bowey on waivers.
Mark Scheifele reaches a career milestone, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Mark Scheifele scored twice, including the game-winner, to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Scheifele also reached his 400th career NHL point. Earlier in the day, the Ducks announced winger Nick Ritchie will be sidelined six-to-ten weeks with a sprained knee.
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves backstopping his club to a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, and Frank Vatrano each collected two points. Before the game, the Sharks announced defenseman Radim Simek will miss the next two weeks as he undergoes a minor knee procedure.
Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 38-save shutout as the New York Rangers downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-0. Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and Ryan Strome each picked up two points. Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.
The Arizona Coyotes overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to edge the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Conor Garland tallied the winner in a shootout. Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner made 44 saves while Jonathan Toews had three points in a losing cause.
Colin Miller scored in overtime as the Buffalo Sabres nipped the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. The Oilers overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless.
THE SCORE: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will return to the lineup after missing eight games to an upper-body ailment.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed defenseman Derek Forbort on injury reserve following a setback in his recovery from an offseason back injury.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned forward Joseph Blandisi to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Steven Kampfer on waivers.
Sanford didn’t skate today and he’s probably doubtful for Tuesday. Steen and Sundqvist will go on the trip but won’t play. Berube says they’ll have to call up somebody. San Antonio is playing in Toronto, near Buffalo, so that will be easy. Berube says Blues need a spark. Kyrou?
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 8, 2019