NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2016

by | Sep 16, 2016 | News, NHL | 8 comments

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin could play for Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin could play for Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

 Latest on Alex Ovechkin, Max Pacioretty, Duncan Keith & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines. 

YAHOO SPORTS:  Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin remains intent on playing for Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics, even if the NHL decides not to participate. “I’ll go play in the Olympic Games for my country. If somebody says to me, ‘You can’t play,’ see ya,” said Ovechkin, who added (with a smile) that perhaps he might be retired from the NHL by 2018.

Ovechkin was also critical of the World Cup of Hockey tournament, saying it’s good for the game but not for the players. “There are 82 games plus playoffs, and then the World Cup. We’re not going to have any time to relax. Or recover our bodies, if we’re injured. But it’s great for fans. Great for hockey,” he said.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell reports Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar would like to see the league continue its Olympic participation. However, Campbell claims it’s not a hill on which the players are prepared to die. In other words, they’re not going to get into a conflict with the league over this. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regarding Ovechkin’s comments, he obviously feels very strongly about playing for Russia in the next Olympics. While the NHLPA probably won’t kick up a fuss if the league opts out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, some players could decide to go even if it means a conflict with their teams or possible suspension by the league.

I think Ovechkin was being facetious when he said he might be retired by 2018, but I don’t doubt his desire to represent his country. It’ll be interesting to see if other players follow his lead.

TORONTO SUN: Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin wasn’t as fully recovered from last season’s ankle injury as he claimed to be when he reported to Team Canada earlier this month. He’s now taken himself out of the roster and been replaced by Ryan O’Reilly. Canadian coach Mike Babcock said players fibbing about their health in order to play in international tournaments happens more often than fans realize. 

LA PRESSE:  Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty dismissed a recent report out of Montreal claiming Habs coach Michel Therrien was overheard calling Pacioretty the worst captain in Canadiens history. Therrien assured Pacioretty the report was untrue. “It’s unfortunate that someone would make something like that up,” said Pacioretty, adding it would bring the Canadiens players closer together. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be hockey season in Montreal without some sort of wild speculation about one of the Canadiens’ top players. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: It’s unclear if Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (lingering knee injury) will be ready to start the upcoming season. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury remains determined to stick with the club. He’ll be battling to regain the starter’s job from Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to the 2016 Stanley Cup. Fleury said he never requested a trade and believes he’s on the same page as management and the coaching staff. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Fleury can’t regain his job from Murray, he could be dealt before the trade deadline. In next June’s expansion draft, teams can only protect one goalie. Those with no-movement clauses (like Fleury) must be protected unless they agree to waive their clause. Odds are the Penguins intend to protect Murray. They’ll likely give Fleury the option of choosing where he’d prefer to be dealt. He has a 12-team no-trade list. If they can’t trade him before the draft, he’ll have to agree to waive his movement clause at the draft to leave him unprotected. 

SPORTSNET’S Chris Johnston reports goaltender Anders Lindback has accepted a professional tryout offer with the New Jersey Devils. 

NBC SPORTS:  The Colorado Avalanche have hired two analytics experts. The fact this happened after Patrick Roy stepped down as head coach isn’t seen as a coincidence. as Roy was no fan of analytics. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  The Lightning have released their training camp roster and schedule. 



  1. But taking extra time out of the regular seasons 82 game schedule to go to the Olympics is different how? Heck it’s even on a different content.

    If The IOC doesn’t cover insurance & travel costs like they do for all other Olympic athletes the NHL won’t be attending. Should Ovechkin & others choose to go anyway they will be suspended with out pay making for interesting times.

    Perhaps Ovechkin should worry about the team paying him 10 mil per season. Like his skill set but a total wing nut. Colorful though.

    • I think if you put yourself in his, or any other European’s shoes, you might think different.

      Yes, his responsibility should rest with the team signing his paychecks. But the desire to bring gold home to his country is likely burning deeper than we can imagine.

      Unlike Canadian players, he doesn’t get to play in the national spotlight all the time and be recognized by his country the way guys in North America are all season long. Plus, the fact that he’s been shut out of the medals at the Olympics so far would just add to his desire to win.

      But yeah, like you said, it’ll get interesting if the NHL opts out and guys like him decide to play anyway. I could certainly see more Euros follow his lead. Not sure if any of the Canadian players would want to rock the boat like that.

      • As children Russian and players from Europe dream about scoring Olympic gold winning gold not Stanley Cups. They probably have little to no idea what the cup is when they start lacing the skates up but hear stories of great Russian (or Eurpean) legends like Tretiak Krutov Maltsev..That is the ultimate goal and accomplishment, to win Gold. Nice to make a good living in the NHL but hockey players from Europe are no different than many other amateur athletes while growing up.

      • And ya pretty sure Ovie doesn’t have an issue finding a job (an owner) that pays him close to as much in the KHL.

      • Completely agree Shticky. I don’t feel a lot of europeans really care about the Cup anywhere near these international events.

        I don’t fault him for wanting to play for the gold in 2018. Fill your boots. But if the NHL isn’t involved, he shouldn’t be surprised to be suspended or reprimanded and I definitely hope he doesn’t whine about it either. He’s a grown man and knows the consequences and should live or die on his decisions. If he isn’t interested in being here and playing in the best hockey league in the world and for the best trophy in the world, in my opinion it frees up a spot for someone who does.

      • Aj, I think you’re comment on him not being interested in being here if the Olympics are that important to him is over-blowing things.

        I’m not a huge fan of Ovi, and I can’t stand the Caps, but I can understand his point of view when it comes to the Olympics.

        He doesn’t get nearly the feeling of national pride playing in the NHL that North Americans get. If once every four years he can lay it on the line for his country at the Olympics, power to him, and Malkin, or McDavid, or anyone else who might feel that way.

      • Maybe not Russia as much but most other European hockey countries dream of the cup when they are young

  2. Regarding Patch and Therrien, I have no doubt that Therrien said this. We know Therrien is a liar. He’s obviously looking for another possible scapegoat (if it’s not Muller). What a piece of garbage.