NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020
Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau, Oilers winger Zack Kassian receives a seven-game suspension, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rallied the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The loss leaves the Jets (63 points) one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Jason Zucker tallied his first two goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected three assists for the Penguins (76 points), who sit three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. The slumping Canadiens (61 points) remain seven points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.
The New York Rangers picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves. The Jackets (71 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth while the Rangers are seven points behind them.
Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 69 points, the Hurricanes sit two points behind the Blue Jackets.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday fired head coach Bruce Boudreau, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant coach Dean Evason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers questioned why this move was made when the Wild have won six of their last 10 games and sit just three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. General manager Bill Guerin believes the club could benefit from a different voice behind the bench. Considering Guerin also traded winger Jason Zucker earlier this week to Pittsburgh, it appears he’s trying to motivate his club over the remainder of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to his move.
TSN: The NHL department of player safety handed Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian a seven-game suspension for kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics wonder why he didn’t receive a harsher punishment. Perhaps the fact Cernak wasn’t injured explains the league’s rationale behind the decision. Regardless, I believe Kassian’s skating on thin ice. He’s a repeat offender, having been previously suspended seven times by the league, including a two-game suspension last month for roughing Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. One more suspendable offense after this one could lead to a punishment harsher than the 20-game one he received in 2010.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed in his chest to monitor and control his heartbeat. The Blues will provide another update on his condition next week. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident during a game on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and had to be revived with a defibrillator.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon said there’s nothing in the CBA that prevents Bouwmeester from returning to action with a pacemaker. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that he will.
SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson requires surgery on his right knee and could be sidelined for eight weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That timeline means Johnsson won’t return until the playoffs. The Leafs can place him on long-term injury reserve and use the cap savings ($3.4 million) to add a replacement before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Because there’s no salary cap in the postseason, the Leafs wouldn’t have to shed salary when Johnsson returns to the lineup.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have yet to provide an update on the status of winger Alex Tuch, who injured his left leg against the Blues on Thursday.
TSN: The Vancouver Canucks announced winger Micheal Ferland suffered concussion-like symptoms during an AHL rehab game last night. His last game with the Canucks was Dec. 10.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on waivers. Bogosian has only appeared in 19 games since returning from hip surgery in November.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki suffered a high-ankle injury on Thursday.
As I indicated yesterday, the firing of Boudreau gives every appearance – considering the team’s recent move towards a playoff spot – of being nothing more than Guerin having decided that, entering next season, he wants someone of his choosing behind the bench. With that in mind, the last thing he would want to have to do is fire a coach once the season is over who got the team into the playoffs. It would be even optically worse for Guerin to go down that road should they ever win a round.
With all the injuries the Pens sit only mere points out of first place !
Good on them
…Coach of the year ??
Bill Guerin is gonna run the Wild like Lou ran the Devils, and if the players don’t like it, they can lump it. If they don’t like that, they can pout in Iowa.
I thought this was zaks 4th suspension. To bad everybody had the long knives out for zak cuz i thought the head shot to benning was more worth a suspension , poor guy already had two concussions this season its a high hit, shoulder to the face draws blood, and nothing. Its just me i guess . Ya know im pretty sure my 6yr. Old can kick harder than zak did. Oh well.
Doesn’t really matter if your 6 year old can kick harder, I was kicked in the leg with a skate when I was 12, ended up with a lot of stitches, and a nasty cut. You have literal razor blades on your feet and could kill someone.
You can’t kick someone. He got what he deserved.
I didnt say he didnt deserve his suspension. I was saying sn,thn,tsn all doing there best do drum up there ratings on a play that had potential to injure instead of the ones that did injure .and there was alot of those this past week.
Something else to come out of last night’s game is the fact several teams need to start looking over their shoulders at the surging New York Rangers who have gone 7-3 in their past 10.
Their win last night and the loss by Columbus means they now sit 7 back of that last WC slot and still have 2 games in hand on Columbus) and 1 on Philadelphia). Georgiev was again solid with 36 saves and .973 save % and the subject of many trade rumors, Kreider, led the way with a goal and an assist.
They also have $10,747,594 in cap space to work with on trade deadline day (or before).
At the mid-way point of 41 gp they had an average 19 18 4 42 point 133gf 138ga -5 record. In their 16 games so far in the second half they boast an 11 5 0 22 pts 55gf 40ga +15 mark and find themselves in 4th place overall so far in the second half behind T.B (29 pts), Columbus (25 pts) and Boston (24 pts) with a game in hand of each of Boston and T.B.
The Rangers are an interesting case. They would like to keep Kreider, Strome and Fast I think, but they have a buyout bubble with Shattenkirk next season which will prevent keeping all of them without another move. Also Lundqvist $$ goes away after next season. So after next year huge flexibility.
Also a very deep prospect pool, and at most positions.
Future looks very bright but difficult decisions this off season which will have long lasting implications.
I doubt Bouwmeester returns to the NHL. When I had my ICD installed they told me no more contact sports.