Game recaps, Canadians no longer the majority in the NHL, no supplemental discipline for Zac Rinaldo and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL Game Recaps.
TWINCITIES.COM/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Minnesota Wild defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2, handing the latter their NHL record eighth straight season-opening loss and their first under new head coach John Tortorella. Second-period goals by Nino Niederreiter and Thomas Vanek helped the Wild overcome a 2-1 deficit. The Jackets received goals from Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets played with more energy in this game than in some of their recent losses, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had a better performance. However, their sloppy defensive play remains an issue. The Jackets continue having trouble holding onto early leads.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TRIBLIVE.COM: Antti Niemi made 33 saves and John Klingberg had a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. While the Penguins dominated play for large stretches of this game, their defensive weaknesses were exposed by the Stars. And once again, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel struggled to click offensively, as both failed to register a point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Crosby-Kessel combination has had all the firepower of a damp squib so far. If they don’t start producing with more frequency, I can see Kessel being moved to a different line.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Jeff Carter’s four-point performance (2 goals, 2 assists) carried the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Tyler Toffoli and Milan Lucic also tallied for the Kings, while Joel Ward scored the only goal for the Sharks, who failed to get anything going with their power play. Joe Thornton briefly left the game following a first-period hit from Jake Muzzin but passed the concussion protocol and returned to action in the second.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/MIAMI HERALD: Brent Seabrook scored a goal and set up two others as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Florida Panthers 3-2. The Blackhawks tallied twice on the power play. Panthers center Aleksander Barkov left the game in the second period with an apparent wrist injury. His status remains unknown.
THE TENNESSEAN/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Ryan Ellis returned from injury with a three-point performance as the Nashville Predators downed the Anaheim Ducks, handing the latter their fourth regulation loss in six games. Ducks stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have yet to score their first goals of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks only have six goals in as many games this season, so it’s not surprising they’re in their current mess. This loss will only stoke speculation Bruce Boudreau could be the next head coach to lose his job.
Notable NHL Headlines.
TSN: Canadian-born players make up less than 50 percent (49.7) of players in the NHL, marking the first time in league history Canadians haven’t made up the majority.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe this is a good thing for the NHL, as it becomes a league that truly showcases the best talent in the world.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo won’t be suspended for his high hit on Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Rinaldo’s suspension history, he dodged a bullet this time.
SPORTSNET: With notable prospect Auston Matthews playing in Europe this season because he missed the eligibility date for the 2015 NHL Draft by just two days, Damien Cox wonders if that could prompt the league to consider making exceptions in future cases like Matthews.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In a word, no. Reading the piece, NHL HQ seems unwilling to bend and most GMs don’t believe the league will change its mind.
TSN.CA: The NHL alleges lawyers for players suing the league over its handling of head injuries are ghostwriting newspaper articles on behalf of their clients in an effort to drum up public sympathy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, basically, the league is insinuating these players are too dumb to write articulate and thoughtful pieces regarding their current plight. What the league fails to realize is that by making that claim, they’re just further increasing that public support for the players.
HOKEJ.CZ: Former NHL forward Tomas Kopecky rejected offers from KHL and Swiss National League A clubs to sign with HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraleague. (Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link).