NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2018
Game recaps, Hurricanes remove Ron Francis as GM, David Backes suspended and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby reached 1,100 career points as he led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Crosby collected three assists while linemate Conor Sheary scored two goals. The Penguins (82 points) regained first place in the Metropolitan Division while handing the Flyers their fourth straight loss.
The Calgary Flames (76 points) moved to within one point of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski each had a goal and an assist.
A late third-period goal by Derek Stepan gave the Arizona Coyotes a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes last night announced Ron Francis was moved out of the general manager role and a search is on for his replacement. Francis will remain with the organization as their new president of hockey operations. Tom Dundon, who took over as Hurricanes owner in January, said he was seeking a wider variety of voices on the hockey side. “We’re undermanned there. We could stand to continue to evolve, in a good way, to get more throughout.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dundon is wasting little time putting his stamp on the club. With his club still fighting for a postseason berth, the timing of this move seems odd. However, the Hurricanes owner said he’s “not the kind of guy to wait around.” It’s believed Dundon’s style clashed with Francis’ more conservative approach.
The now-former Hurricanes GM did a good job clearing salary-cap space and brought in good young players such as Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho and Noah Hanifin via trade and the draft. However, he didn’t make a single player-for-player swap during his four-year tenure. His moves over the past year (acquiring and signing goaltender Scott Darling, the failed additions of Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris) didn’t notable improve the club’s performance and he failed to suitably address its lack of scoring.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The NHL department of player safety suspended Bruins forward David Backes three games for his hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen on Tuesday.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy admits he’s battling fatigue in his first full season as a starter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Lightning assured of a playoff berth, perhaps Vasilevskiy will get a little more time off over the remainder of the regular season.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: With Capitals starting goalie Braden Holtby struggling of late, backup Philipp Grubauer could see more action in upcoming games.
NHLPA: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby featured prominently in a recent poll of NHLPA members. Crosby was voted the most difficult player and forward to play against, the best role model, best team player and the top player to have on your team if needed to win one game.