NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2018
Hall of Famer Stan Mikita passes away plus updates on Vladimir Tarasenko, Max Pacioretty, Matt Cullen and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks stars Stan Mikita passed away yesterday at age 78 following a long illness. Mikita was born in the former Czechoslavakia in 1940 and immigrated to Canada at age eight, settling in St. Catherines, Ontario. He joined the Blackhawks in 1959 and spent his entire 22-year NHL career with them.
Mikita set Blackhawks’ franchise records with “1,396 regular-season games, 1,467 points, 926 assists and a plus-329 rating.” His 541 career goals rank second to Bobby Hull’s 604.” He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961.
“Mikita earned the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player in 1967 and ’68, the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer in 1964, ’65, ’67 and ’68, and the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play in 1967 and ’68. He was the first player to win all three trophies in one year and the only player to win all three in consecutive years.”
Mikita was also an innovator, becoming among the first players to use a curved blade on his stick and designing his own helmet. A scrappy player earlier in his career, he changed his style of play after his young daughter asked him why he was sent to the penalty box during a game.
Mikita was a member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. He retired in 1980 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. In 2017, he was named among the NHL’s 100 greatest players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Mikita’s family, friends and former teammates. He was one of hockey’s greatest players and (in my opinion) the greatest player in Blackhawks history. Though small in stature at 5’9″ and 160 pounds, few could match his on-ice intensity, stick-handling skills and hockey smarts. Mikita was also a gentleman away from the rink and actively involved for many years in the Chicago community.
SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko has resumed skating after recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery. He hopes to be ready for the start of the season.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty has put his Florida home up for sale.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guess this means Pacioretty isn’t being traded to the Florida Panthers…;)
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The coming season is likely to be the last for 41-year-old Penguins center Matt Cullen. He returned to the Penguins this summer after playing last season with the Minnesota Wild.
TSN: Travis Yost believes the growing trend of players signing contracts heavy with signing bonuses could become an issue between the NHL and NHLPA in the next round of collective bargaining.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like lengthy front-loaded contracts under the previous CBA, the league frowns upon teams signing players to deals where they’re getting a lot of their money upfront every year. Expect the league to close that loophole in the next CBA.