NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2018
Golden Knights defeat the Coyotes, the Oilers make trades with the Blackhawks and Panthers, an update on Dustin Byfuglien, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Paul Stastny and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Galchenyuk tallied for the Coyotes.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers had a busy Sunday, making trades with the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers first shipped defenseman Chris Wideman to the Panthers for blueliner Alex Petrovic, then traded winger Drake Caggiula and rearguard Jason Garrison to the Blackhawks for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norrell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Oilers having dropped five in a row and once again in danger of sliding out of the playoff race, general manager Peter Chiarelli opted to make a couple of deals to shore up his injury-depleted blueline. Petrovic and Manning will be expected to bring more grit and shutdown experience to the Oilers’ defense. Both moves were greeted with puzzlement and disdain by the club’s followers, who see them as merely rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.
As for the Panthers and Blackhawks, they’re giving up players who no longer fit into their plans. The Panthers gave up Jonathan Marchessault to protect Petrovic in the 2017 expansion draft, a move that backfired as Marchessault now stars with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Blackhawks signing of Manning this summer turned into a costly mistake for a club with limited salary-cap space, one that management is now happy to have off its books.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be sidelined for at least a month with a lower-body injury.
TSN: The NHL Players Association released a statement on Sunday ripping Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites for his “reckless and insulting remarks” regarding the performance of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. “If players directed such comments towards management, how would those be regarded?” the NHLPA said in its statement. “To say that Jim Lites’ conduct is unprofessional would be a gross understatement. In professional sports, all individual players and teams go through highs and lows, but this is not how professionals handle adversity.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars GM Jim Nill said he agreed with the hockey aspect of Lites’ criticism but not the tone. Publicly calling out your best players for underperforming is one thing. Calling them “fucking horseshit” in a long expletive-filled published rant was unnecessary and could do more harm than good.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s high-scoring ways have overcome their defensive struggles of late.
THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jakob Markstrom had his best December performance ever, sporting a record of 8-1-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and a save percentage of .943.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom’s performance is a key reason why the Canucks vaulted up the standing this month and sit just outside of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Struggling winger Kyle Okposo could be skating on the Sabres fourth line after failing to score in 21 straight games.