NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 27, 2017
Johnny Bower passes away plus injury updates on Cam Atkinson, Tyson Barrie and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TORONTO SUN: Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower passed away on Dec. 26 after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was 93.
Bower began his NHL career with the New York Rangers but spent 12 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He backstopped the Leafs to four Stanley Cups (1962-64, 1967) and was a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bower was also renowned as one of the league’s most personable players. He was actively involved in charity work during and after his playing days and was beloved by hockey fans everywhere. Bower was well-respected by teammates and opponents alike. He didn’t reach the NHL until he was in his thirties and retired at age 45 following a knee injury. His perseverance served as an inspiration for players and fans. Rest in peace, China Wall.
SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Cam Atkinson (fractured foot) and Alexander Wennberg (back injury) will be sidelined four-to-six weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for Atkinson and Wennberg just got worse. Both were struggling offensively prior to their respective injuries.
BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche are still awaiting word on defenseman Tyson Barrie, who broke a bone in his hand after blocking a shot during Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. He could be out anywhere between 10 days to eight weeks.
NJ.COM: No update yet on the status of New Jersey Devils forwards Kyle Palmieri and Brian Boyle. Both left Saturday’s game against Chicago for precautionary reasons with undisclosed injuries.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers activated goaltender Michal Neuvirth from injured reserve. He’s been sidelined since Nov. 27 with a lower-body injury.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have granted center Alex Burmistrov’s request to be released from his one-year, $900K contract. He’s expected to join a Russian team in the KHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (eighth overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010, Burmistrov struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He’s yet another example of the hazards of rushing a youngster into an NHL roster before he’s fully ready for big-league play.
SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo waived his right for an in-person hearing yesterday with the NHL’s department of player safety. He will instead face a telephone hearing today to determine if he’ll receive supplemental discipline for sucker-punching Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard during’s Saturday’s game between the two clubs. Rinaldo received a match penalty for the incident. Girard left the game for examination and later returned to action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinaldo already has a lengthy NHL suspension history. Don’t be surprised if he’s hit with another.