NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019
The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.
General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.
After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.
The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.
Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.
The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.
Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).
Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.
A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).
Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.