Updates on Connor McDavid, Anze Kopitar and Logan Couture, the Lightning’s scoring slump and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Check out last night’s game recaps below, including Anaheim Ducks’ winger Corey Perry finally scoring his first of the season, Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby netting only his second of the season, and the St. Louis Blues overcoming a three-goal deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers rookie Connor McDavid underwent surgery yesterday for a broken clavicle. There’s no definitive period as to how long he’ll be sidelined, but Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said it will be months.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers will look to within to replace McDavid. Possibilities include moving Leon Draisaitl into the second-line center spot. The club will also be welcoming back sidelined right wing Jordan Eberle (shoulder injury) very soon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a tough blow for the Oilers, and this will certainly test their ability to overcome his absence. Draisaitl is a promising youngster whose natural position is center, so perhaps he can help offset McDavid’s absence. Getting Eberle back in the lineup will also help their offense. As for how long McDavid could be out, estimates suggest two months as the best case scenario, four months as the worst.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings center Anze Kopitar’s head injury doesn’t appear serious and he could return to action tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kopitar was struck in the lower part of his face with the butt end of St. Louis Blues’ forward Ryan Reaves’ stick. Reaves was fined over $3,000 for the incident.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Sharks forward Logan Couture has been sidelined three weeks now by a fractured right fibula. While the initial assessment was he’d be out four-to-six weeks, Couture said there’s no timetable for his return. In his absence, the Sharks have won only three of their last nine games.
Notable NHL Headlines.
SI.COM: Six NHL teams (Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild) were named in a Senate report as having accepted money from the Pentagon to promote military service (“paid patriotism”) between 2012 and 2014. These included servicepeople delivering or dropping the puck at the start of home games, live recognition of their service, or an opportunity to perform the national anthem. Those teams also provided perks such as season tickets or luxury box suites.
“By paying for such heartwarming displays like recognition of wounded warriors, surprise homecomings, and on-field enlistment ceremonies, these displays lost their luster,” the report stated. “Unsuspecting audience members became the subjects of paid-marketing campaigns rather than simply bearing witness to teams’ authentic, voluntary shows of support for the brave men and women who wear our nation’s uniform. This not only betrays the sentiment and trust of fans, but casts an unfortunate shadow over the genuine patriotic partnerships that do so much for our troops.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a veteran, I find this sickening. Rather than a genuine gesture by these teams to honor active US servicepeople, they instead used these opportunities to pad their bottom line. At the very least, these teams, and the league, should apologize for their actions.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: After leading the NHL in scoring last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are struggling to find the back of the net this season. As a result, they’ve lost five of their last six games. The Lighting are now 19th in scoring, and the much-vaunted Triplets Line (Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov) has been split up.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the dreaded Stanley Cup Final hangover is affecting the Lightning. Given their depth in talent, they should start turning things around soon.
ESPN.COM: Patrick Burke, co-founder of You Can Play (an official partner of the NHL), is surprised an openly gay NHL player has not yet stepped forward. While he feels the league is ready to accept gay players (and a number of players have stated they would welcome a gay teammate), and his organization has spoken with gay players around the league, no one is willing yet to come out publicly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke believes if the gay players all come out together, it would be world-changing overnight. But it’s probably still a difficult decision for those players. Many hockey players, as we’ve seen, tend to lead quiet personal lives. My guess is gay players could prefer to keep it that way, not out of shame, but simply because they don’t want to put up with the publicity of being the first, or among the first, to come out.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside observes the New York Islanders’ first month in their new home (Barclays Center) isn’t going as well as hoped, suggesting the move to Brooklyn could be a disaster if the club’s attendance woes aren’t addressed.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: No word yet of Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who was cited over the weekend for public drunkenness in Wilkes-Barre last weekend, will face discipline. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford hopes this is merely a one-time thing and serves as a lesson for Pouliot over how to comport himself in the future.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have eased assistant coach Darryl Sydor back into a full-time role with their club. Sydor pleaded guilty to second-degree driving while impaired on Oct. 12. He insists he won’t let that incident define him.