NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2016
Canada wins first game of World Cup of Hockey final, updates on Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Sobotka and more in this morning’s NHL headlines.
NHL.COM: Carey Price made 32 saves backstopping Team Canada to a lackluster 3-1 victory over Team Europe in the opening game of the best-of-three final of the World Cup of Hockey. Brad Marchand, Steven Stamkos and Patrick Bergeron scored for the Canadians, while Tomas Tatar tallied for the Europeans, who showed no sign of rolling over against Team Canada in this series
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was Team Canada’s worst game of the tournament. They were complacent and often outplayed by a hardworking Team Europe. If not for Price, this game could’ve had a different ending.
The Canadians seemed to take the Europeans too lightly, especially after taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. The result was a sloppy performance that, against a stronger opponent, could’ve proven costly. They’ll need a much better effort in Game 2 on Thursday if they hope to wrap up this tournament as champions.
Give full marks to Team Europe for a solid outing in a losing cause. They may be underdogs, but they’re playing like they believe they can win. Having reached this stage of the tournament, they deserve a full measure of respect from the Canadians.
ESPN.COM: The World Cup of Hockey is here to stay, but there could be some changes to the format for future tournaments.
YAHOO SPORTS: The chances of NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea appear to be dwindling. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly cast doubt on progress being made in negotiations with the International Ice Hockey Federation in securing the financial backing the NHL seeks from the International Olympic Committee to participate in those Games.
As for an individual player, such as Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, participating in the Olympics if the NHL doesn’t take part, Daly said that will be up to that player’s team. He also isn’t ruling out NHL participation in future Winter Olympics.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears location of the Winter Olympics is more of a concern to the NHL than funding from the IOC. As Greg Wyshynski (the author of the above piece) points out, the league doesn’t appear interested in going to South Korea, but could participate in future Games in more fertile hockey markets, or potential ones such as China, where the 2022 Games will be held. If the 2018 Games were being held in North America, the NHL would probably sing a different tune.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks sophomore winger Artemi Panarin is reportedly seeking a six-year contract extension worth $6 million per season. That could be a problem for the cap-strapped Blackhawks, who already have eight players carrying cap hit of $4 million or more. GM Stan Bowman expressed his belief the two sides can get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman sounds like he’ll evaluate Panarin’s performance over the course of this season before hammering out a deal with him. It’ll also depend upon how the club performs this season and if he can shed some salary before next season.
STLTODAY.COM: Forward Vladimir Sobotka won’t be returning to the St. Louis Blues after all. It’ll cost him around $2.68 million of his $4 million salary with Avangard Omsk to buy out the final year of his KHL contract. He’s schedule to make $2.7 million this season with the Blues, meaning he’d be playing this season for nothing if he returns to honor the one-year contract he has with St. Louis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that’s why it’s so important to read the fine print in your player contract, or at least ensure your agent has.
THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames have reportedly started contract extension talks with goaltender Brian Elliott.
TSN: Wayne Gretzky is returning to the NHL in an ambassador role for its centennial season.