Jonathan Drouin suspended by the Lightning, Minnesota Wild struggling again, an injury update and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Goalie Brian Elliott made 29 saves to help the Blues hold off the Red Wings, 2-1. The Lightning suspended Jonathan Drouin indefinitely without pay for missing an AHL game.
Notable NHL Headlines
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: More details on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s decision to suspend winger Jonathan Drouin without pay after he refused to report to a Syracuse Crunch game. Drouin was demoted to the Crunch earlier this month, prompting a public request for a trade from his agent, Alan Walsh, After being informed by Lightning management a potential trade was close, the Drouin camp requested he not participate in any further games. When the Lightning refused, Drouin and his agent decided he would no longer play in any further games until a trade was completed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on this situation over in my Rumors section.
SPORTSNET: Renaud Lavoie claims firing head coach Michel Therrien is not on the table for the floundering Montreal Canadiens. He cites the absence of goaltender Carey Price as the reason why Therrien’s job is safe. The Habs players, meanwhile, continue to stick by their coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: By standing by his coach, GM Marc Bergevin will start feeling even more pressure from Montreal fans and pundits to do something to snap the club out of its tailspin. Then again, it’s a good way to deflect criticism of Therrien and the struggling Habs offense. Maybe that’s what Bergevin wants.
MIAMI HERALD: Good news for the now-struggling Florida Panthers, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad (concussion) was cleared to return to action. The Panthers were 0-3-1 in Ekblad’s absence.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad’s injury wasn’t the only reason the Panthers cooled dramatically after a lengthy winning streak, but it was a significant one. For all the attention heaped upon Jaromir Jagr, Roberto Luongo and Aleksander Barkov this season, the 2014 first-overall pick and 2015 rookie of the year is a key component of the Panthers’ roster. Losing him hurt their blueline.
TWINCITIES.COM: The slumping Minnesota Wild dropped their fifth straight game, falling 3-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. Since Jan. 2, the Wild have won only twice. A sputtering offense is to blame.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Cam Ward (concussion) on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ward is eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end. If Hurricanes management intended to shop him by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, this will adversely affect his trade value.
OTTAWA SUN: Mika Zibanejad is within four goals of tying the Senators’ record for career shootout game-winning goals.
THE SPORTS XCHANGE (via OTTAWA SUN): New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (upper-body injury) could be out for the rest of this season.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins are in position to achieve their 400th consecutive sellout
TSN: Brian Burke is on a mission to increase the size of NHL rinks.
TSN: A U.S. judge in Minneapolis has ordered the NHL to unseal a series of emails to and from league executive Colin Campbell which he had requested to remain sealed as they could embarrass him and hurt the league’s reputation. Among the emails is one in which Campbell was critical of an NHL team trainer regarding treatment of concussions.