NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2016
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 He’s now taken himself out of the roster and been replaced by Ryan O’Reilly.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.