NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2016

by | Sep 23, 2016 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Vlaidmir Tarasenko scores the game winner as Team Russia defeats Team Finland 3-0 at the World Cup of Hockey.

Vlaidmir Tarasenko scores the game winner as Team Russia defeats Team Finland 3-0 at the World Cup of Hockey.

 World Cup of Hockey scores plus updates on Evander Kane, Joffrey Lupul & more in your NHL morning headlines.

NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Telegin and Evgeni Malkin scored and Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves as Team Russia blanked Team Finland 3-0 to advance to the World Cup of Hockey semifinal, where they’ll meet Team Canada on Saturday.  Russia’s victory eliminates the Finns and Team North America from further competition. Team Europe will face Team Sweden in the other semifinal matchup on Sunday.

Team USA’s attempt at a face-saving victory against Team Czech Republic fell short by a score of 4-3. Both clubs were already eliminated from advancing to the semifinal. Czech goalie Petr Mrazek made 36 saves and Milan Michalek scored twice in the Czech victory. 

USA TODAY:  USA coach John Tortorella wasn’t pleased at Phil Kessel’s subtle criticism on Twitter aimed at the team’s management for not selecting him to participate in the tournament. USA GM Dean Lombardi, meanwhile, defended his player selections.  “If you’re talking about Justin Abdelkader, Blake Wheeler, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Kesler, David Backes, I’ll take those guys any day…Those guys have big-time heart and when I talk about caring, they’d be the nucleus of caring. They compete. They can play for me any day.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t lack of heart that hurt Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey, but lack of skill. Would they have been better with Kessel, Tyler Johnson, Justin Faulk, Bobby Ryan and Kyle Okposo? Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going into an international tournament, it makes sense to bring your most-talented players. The Americans didn’t do that. 

NBC SPORTS:  New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault hopes to reduce 34-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s workload this season to ensure he’s fresh for the playoffs. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres winger Evander Kane is shrugging off his off-ice legal problems as something that happens to athletes or high-profile people like himself. Kane face misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident in a Buffalo bar in June, plus he’s launched a counter-claim against a woman who filed a civil suit claiming he sexually assaulted her last December. “For me, it’s just trying to stay out of that kind of stuff, kind of picking my spots better,” said Kane.  He also said he’s maturing and focusing on the upcoming NHL season. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul will start the upcoming season on injured reserve and faces an uncertain future. Having recently failed a team medical, his playing career appears in jeopardy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers on this site questioned why it’s taken so long for Lupul to recover from last February’s sports-hernia surgery, insinuating the Leafs are trying to pull a fast one simply to get him off the roster and remove his $5.25 million cap hit from their books. Put away the tin foil hats, because the reality is Lupul’s long injury history is catching up with him. His body can only take so much punishment before he wears down to the point where he can no longer be an effective NHL player. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  Coyotes center Dave Bolland failed his physical as expected and will begin the season on LTIR. He’s been battling a combination of injury issues. 

NEWSDAY’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders center Mikhail Grabovski isn’t cleared to skate due to concussion symptoms. 

CALGARY SUN:  Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid will miss the upcoming season due to ongoing neck issues. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll be on LTIR, meaning the Flames can go over the salary cap by $3.5 million if necessary for this season.

NBC SPORTS:  Former NHL defenseman Tomas Kaberle has officially retired as an active player. He last played in the NHL in 2012-13 and skated last season in the Czech Republic. In 15 NHL seasons, nearly 12 of those with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle tallied 563 points in 984 games. He was part of the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2011. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The announcement of the name of Las Vegas’ NHL franchise has been delayed again, possibly until November. 

ESPN.COM: Walter Bush, former USA Hockey president and primary founder of the Minnesota North Stars, has died at age 86. “Bush was enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980, the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2009. Awarded the Olympic Order in 2002, he managed the 1959 U.S. national team and 1964 U.S. Olympic team, serving on the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1963.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Bush’s family and friends. 



  1. I don’t think it was a lack of skilled players, or players lacking heart, I think it was John Tortorella. The man could make shot blocking , 8 goal scorers out of Kessel and Kane. The United States probably should have been outclassed by Canada…. But Czech Republic , and team Europe ?

    • And the weakest Czech team in decades…

  2. I don’t disagree with you Lyle.

    He may be a well used & abused NHL player but that doesn’t preclude Toronto from potentially being on the hook for his cap hit. Obviously his hernia abdominal surgery hasn’t corrected the issue but this isn’t a difficult procedure. I have had 2 myself but it certainly raises an eye brow. Is he truly injured or is Toronto trying to find a creative way to get his cap hit off the books?

    I assume he’s injured as the NHL will review any players medical reports to verify they are accurate & teams aren’t trying to subvert the cap but you have to admit it seems odd. If it’s just miles of wear & he’s no longer a capable NHL player that’s not an injury issue but a bad choice signing him for such a long term & the cap hit should stay unless he retires.

    • If it was anyone else but Lamoriello pulling the strings I might be inclined to believe that Lupul did, in fact, fail the medical. But he is pulling the strings and, given his history, I don’t believe for one fleeting second that Lupul is incapable of attending training camp. Something smells there.

      • I agree. It doesn’t make sense to me either. Hernia surgery, groin surgery & abdominal surgery is all pretty simple routine stuff.

  3. Vigneault is going to rest Lundqvist so he is fresh for the playoffs? How fresh do you need to be to turn the tv on and work the remote?

    I was hoping Finland would find a way to beat Russia yesterday. A Canada vs Team North America would have been phenominal to watch. Oh well, watching Ovechkin self implode isnt a bad consolation prize. Canada vs Sweden in the finals I think.

    • I don’t really see why NY would miss the playoffs . Is NJ, Carolina, Columbus, Toronto, Buffalo, etc leap frogging them? I don’t see it. They finished 4th in the east last year, 1st the year before. They are a younger and faster team this year.

      Hater comments came in the form of old players and bad trades last year….?whats your excuse for this prediction this year?

      • I see a potential for ONLY these 3 East playoff teams to drop out of the top 8 – Detroit, NYI, Philadelphia – with the best bets to replace them being Boston, Ottawa and Montreal.

        Out west the ONLY team I see from last season’s top 8 to drop out is Minnesota with the best bet to replace them being Winnipeg.

      • Lack of a replacement for Yandle. The team is a year older save for Zibanejad who’s the new second line center. Lundqvist looked awfully human the second half of last year. Meanwhile Carolina got sneakily better. New Jersey’s offense improved. Buffalo is healthy. Columbus still looks good on paper. Toronto is still a year or three away from being good.

        It’s definitely time to start worrying about the Rangers slipping. Maybe not out of the playoffs, but surely they’re not the dominant team they were two seasons ago. If anything, they’ve become a fringe team. Hope this is wrong, but prepare for it.

      • I completely disagree. This team got younger and faster. And I like Yandle, but did you see him against Pittsburgh? He looked God awful! Moore, Boyle, Yandle Stalberg, out, Pirri, Vesey, Skjei, Grabner, possibly Buchnevich in.

        I think it’s possible to ice they ice a younger, faster team then they did last year.

    • I don’t see NYR missing the playoffs. Far from it actually. I have them in the top 6 in the east.

  4. Torts loves to dish it, but loves to cry when he has to taste his own medicine. They can try to defend it all they want, they didn’t take the best players out there. The teams short comings was exactly what I expected with the roster they made up.
    What was amazing to me when the US played Canada, is that he scratched Dubinsky, who made a living shutting down Crosby.
    Wrong players. Wrong coach. Wasted opportunity.

    • Bang on. Luckily the States have a lot of good young players on the way up. Because they basically just blew the last chance for the core of Kane, Parise and Pavelski to win big internationally. Though Kane’s young enough to remain elite for a while yet, he just had his best season and I doubt he does any better than this in the future.

      • So, too, does Canada have a lot of good young players on the way up. In fact, with McDavid, Drouin and MacKinnon among them I don’t see any among the American up-and-comers who even come close to those three.

      • Gaudreau Mathews Johnson is a pretty decent start

      • Stop George! Stop!

      • Everyone knows that, George. Canada should always match up better than the States internationally. Always, at every level.

        You missed my point completely. The States basically slammed shut the window of their current group who had been together since 2010.

      • My point was, simply, that any steps forward by the U.S. with infusion of new, younger blood is not only matched but exceeded by new Canadian arrivals. The 3 named by Shticky are more than decent – but they don’t match up with the 3 I named – for starters.

  5. When is the NHL going to start taking shots to the back and lower spine as serious as concussions? Oh wait, they don’t take concussions that seriously. But, in all honestly, repeated cross-checks to the back over years and years takes it’s toll. Cut Mario’s career short sadly.

    • I agree. It has shortened the career of 100’s of players. Craig Simpson was only able to play 10 years. His body couldn’t take the abuse he sustained standing in front of the net. Crosschecking is a penalty performed at any time.