NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2016
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.