NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2021
North Division playoff matchups set plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Mika Zibanejad and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor Hellebucyk turned in a 24-save shutout and Blake Wheeler collected four points as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the Vancouver Canucks 5-0. With the win, the Jets secured third place in the Scotia North Division and will face the Edmonton Oilers in the opening round of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will meet in the other North Division first-round series.
The Washington Capitals nipped the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Michael Raffl’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to action for the first time since May 3 after being sidelined by a lower-body injury. With 24 goals, it’s the first time Ovechkin hasn’t reached the 30-goal plateau in his NHL career. The next time the Capitals and Bruins face off will be Saturday in Game 1 of their opening-round series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin missed 11 games this season. Had he been healthy he would’ve reached 30 goals. With 730 career goals, he’s one shy of Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the all-time goals leader list.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane admitted he’s been dealing with an injury that nagged him since before last year’s playoffs. Kane didn’t reveal details but said he’s trying to figure it out and hopes it’s nothing serious. He doesn’t expect it to interfere with his offseason training but has been advised to take a little more time off the ice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a lower-body or core-muscle injury. While Kane did take time away from practices for maintenance days down the stretch, he finished with a team-leading 66 points in 56 games.
THE SCORE: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they signed forward Henrik Borgstrom to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. PuckPedia reports it’s worth an annual average value of $1 million.
NBC SPORTS: New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad admitted he struggled to regain his form following his bout with COVID-19 at the start of this season. He tallied just three goals in his first 27 games but rallied in the second half with 21 goals in the final 29 games. Zibanejad finished the season with 50 points.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: David McNab is stepping down as the Anaheim Ducks’ senior vice-president of hockey operations.
Below is a link from the Montreal Gazette, where the Premier and Mayor weigh in wanting more Quebec born players on the team.
I remember Rich laughing at the notion when i posted one reason they Habs should try to land Pierre Luc Dubios is he is from Quebec and speaks french. Really though it isn’t a good reason to trade for a guy are give up more assets just because he’s from the place.
Monday was the first time in a 112 years so say the article that the Canadians never had a Quebec born player dressed. Wow
I live in North Carolina and will be boycotting the Hurricanes until the team is entirely comprised of 4th+ generation North Carolinians. Enough with this diversity stuff…I want all of the players to look and talk exactly the same.
I can’t imagine an American politician making a statement like that without some serious backlash.
Which is the primary reason why I say it’ll be a frosty Friday in Hell before we ever see another team in Quebec City. They simply cannot or will not separate nationalism from the concept of professional sport.
If a Quebec-born Francophone (and let’s be clear here – when Legault and others talk about “Quebecers” they are referring to Francophone Quebecers – or un de nous) happened to be the best draft choice available when Montreal is picking, well sure that would be an obvious choice. But not just because that player happens to be a Francophone from Quebec.
But the media and public pressure on that score is unrelenting.
Captain, those are my feelings exactly. I’ve been saying that for years. Nationalist Quebec politicians are always given a pass for xenophobic statements that would create a backlash anywhere else.
Here in the US, of course, we’ve just experienced 4 years of back and forth over the xenophobia of the Trump administration. All of that certainly took me back to my years growing up in Quebec in the 70s and 80s. I noted much similarity between the xenophobic nationalism of Trump and his people and that of the Parti Quebecois government of these years.
It has been widely said that history repeats, first as tragedy and then as farce. Some of us might remember a Habs-Nords playoff game in 1987 when the Habs prevailed after a Nords goal had been waved off. The next day, some crazy nationalist lawyer went to court to try to get the result of the game nullified. Memories of that incident came to my mind during all the crazy lawsuits filed to set aside the 2020 presidential election results. One thing about xenophobic nationalists like Trump and Legault is that they feed of victimhood. Everything bad in their lives is the fault of other people and that’s used to stir up trouble.
Bergevin and Legault should agree on a deal. Bergevin won’t advise Legault on fiscal policy and Legault won’t dictate who the Habs dress for games.
Maybe because I’m from the US but I have never been able to understand this concept. It reeks of xenophobia to me. Who cares if your players speak French or are from Quebec?
Randino, we do hear every now and then in here that the Leafs should go after so-and-so because he’s a “Toronto boy.” Not quite the same because it doesn’t matter what his ethnic background is – just that, since he grew up revering the Leafs he’d be a great addition.
I suppose that parochial attitude exists almost everywhere in all sports – but it isn’t a good way to run a franchise – or even a league.
Back when I was a radical Canadian Football League fan of the local Ottawa team it used to bug the Hell out of me that they felt it was necessary to maintain the “import” rule for a pro sports enterprise (i.e., x number of spots had to be reserved for Canadian-born players – just over half the roster).
My attitude – when expecting fans to turn over their dollars for a pro sports team – is that they should assemble the best talent available. If a Canadian-born player fit that bill, well fine. I know that, whenever a receiver grabbed a long pass and headed for the goal line, there weren’t any fans I recall who were on their feet screaming “he’s a Canadian!”
George those cries for a “toronrana boy” came from a famous xenophobe because for the longest time there was a belief that the Leafs avoided all the great Toronto area born players (which I’ve had a couple of players tell me who also believed that because of when they went UFA and the team passing – This was around the 2004 time frame but this was going on for decades… see Ballard era.
Quebec even in the ’70s with papa Trudeau calling in the army to squash a separatist movement only to have it rise up again in the ’90s and will again.
A lot of it has to do with the French and British long history of hatred based on everything… like how at one time most of the world spoke French, the language of noblemen and royalty whereas English was the language of the commoners or peasants. The problem is as diverse as their arguments are for both sides, they both have strong points to them.
Personally, I love Quebec and the people who live there. I think Montreal is a great place to visit and image great to live, Quebec City, even better! I do have an issue with no English signs when the rest of the country has both English and French… but I think I’ll be able to handle it, no biggie.
Ron, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Montreal – easily one of the most cosmopolitan cities anywhere. I was married there going on 60 years ago – was a rabid Habs fan in my younger days (and Expos) and even played football there for a season for Verdun in the old QRFU. And I am bilingual.
Quebec City was also a frequent destination – the restaurants can’t be beat. What I cannot accept is the official relegation of a language to second-class status out of some misguided fear that it’s somehow a threat to the French language. And that’s why any franchise located in that province will have trouble enticing top range Anglophone UFAs to re-locate their families to a place where they are officially not welcome. Hell, even some Francophones have avoided going there over the years – not due to language issues but just the unrelenting expectations that would crop up in the media. Jonathan Drouin likely wishes he was elsewhere for that very reason.
As a French speaking, born and raised Québécois, I am proud of my heritage just as much as I am proud having the ability to speak and write in English. It gets tiring to get thrown the xenophobia label every single time anything language related gets in the news. I’ve witnessed more than my share of xenophobic comments and the utmost majority were targeting Quebec and French and not the other way around.
That said, please allow me to share my own perspective on the matter.
Canadiens are obviously a cultural juggernaut and always have been an important cultural icon and an extension of our identity. I will always remember watching my hero Patrick Roy winning the cup in 1993 and the following years egregious management by Mario Tremblay and Réjean Houle.
I know the language factor has been politicized in the past by many, not only in Quebec but in Ottawa as well, most of time for shallow reasons and short term sympathy. Yet, things have changed over time and the sheer radical racist nationalism you are referring to isn’t real.
Quebec City doesn’t have a team because of economic reasons and market cap. That’s it. It has nothing to do with Bettman, the NHL and the language. As long as there US based cities interested (even remotely) to hosting a team, Quebec City won’t land one. Why? Because it would had little to no value to Canadian TV deals and wouldn’t contribute significantly to the massive royalties Canadian teams are already funneling to the NHL.
As for French players, it is a sad reminder after 112 years and it has more to do with our identity slowly eroding and the loss of what used to be a cultural pillar uniting a whole nation. PM Legault isn’t xenophobic, Quebecois aren’t xenophobic. We’re ashamed when bigots make the news just as much as when our leaders are compared to Nazis or Khmers. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read appalling comments about us.
Decrease of impact Quebec players in the NHL or in the Habs has very little to do with native language. The way the QMJHL is managed, oriented on business and profits vs player development is a reason just as valid as the non-sensical contract signing windows that greatly differs from CHL to NCAA. By nature, it’s easier to draft US players and take the required time to develop them.
Back on the French factor, it’s clear that most of the players that were drafted by the Habs for language reasons we’re often not the best player available and didn’t turn out to be impact players. Louis Leblanc is a good example of that. In 2007, fans raged over the selection of Ryan McDonagh instead of Angelo Esposito. Ever since, it’s hard to point out a clearly wrong pick showing the Habs ignoring a Q player and selecting a less talented prospect. It’s just the way it is…
All in all, culturally it was relevant to point out the absence of Quebec players in the line up and it has nothing to do with bigotry, racism or xenophobia. It has to do with nostalgia, the Habs glorious era and past heros in the likes of Maurice Richard, Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur, Patrick Roy and many many more that represented the pinnacle of our aspirations. Let’s not forget that Quebecois only recently emancipated from a mostly conservative mindset and religion oriented society during the Habs golden age of the 60’s and 70’s. Religious role models were replaced by hockey stars since the Quebec business diaspora was still thin at best. Former players like Guy Lafleur, Serge Savard and more are still hugely popular among 50+ and nostalgia of the winning years is still strong.
Nostalgia is not xenophobia
Wow, that is a thoughtful and well written post Nicolas.
Worth the read.
Reading Spector’s Hockey just gave this Albertan a different perspective of his own country.
Who woulda thunk it?
Thanks for that Nicolas. Compelling reading. If only we could somehow see the end of extremism from both sides of the coin.
Huh. As a younger man than most of his contemporaries on this sight I enjoyed this post. Disagree with some. But I’m at that age where I’m transitioning to older generation without the benefit of being old. I guess that means I appreciate your post but feel it’s old school.
Am I in Middle Aged puberty?
Well Chrisms, there is one and only one benefit of being old.
If you want to trade high energy, looking good, strong, fast, pain free and being able to bang all night for wisdom, have at er.
Not sure I would.
Superb post, Nicolas! Please continue in the future. We need more thought provoking posts around here, and yours did just that! Excellent perspective by you.
An unpopular Premier and Mayor try to push covid complaints aside with the Quebec Francais players canard.
There are a total of 35 Quebec born players in the league, 15 of which are over 30.
Molson is building rinks all over the province, they have put their name behind 2 affiliates in Quebec.
The Premier and Mayor can look at themselves and predecessors for failing to support minor league hockey.
Coaching and development is still volunteer in Quebec and without getting into detail, the system doesn’t exist for players to make it to the NHL.
Even the vaunted Goalie academy, how many Quebec goalies are there in the league? 2 old guys, Fleury and Bernier.
Quebec doesn’t “need” French players, McDavid, Crosby, Matthews, Ovechkin would be Gods if they were Habs.
George, you said something else I’ve been saying for a while. There will be no team in Quebec City because the league does not want to deal with the language issues and related headaches that would result. Back in the 1980s, the Nords, spurred on by a few politicians, decided that public address announcements during games would be French only, which was against league policy. Ziegler caved of course. No way Bettman and the other owners want to revisit that stuff again.
HabFan, I saw somewhere that Martin Leclerc, a Radio Canada reporter, reacted to Legault’s comments by saying that the real problem is the minor hockey system in Quebec, as you are suggesting.
Habsfan30, this site says 60 active players in NHL.
But ya, per capita that is still a crappy #.
Agree, it’s the loudest and most extreme voices that get the attention. More so today than ever.
For some reason we humans like to click on things that make us angry. Plenty of folks making a bunch of $$, and also getting elected playing on that anger as well.
Good on Molson for actually doing something to improve the situation instead of just barking out BS.
Thanks, Nicolas, the most thoughtful post I have read in ages.
This is the usual idiocy from elected officials in Quebec trying to boost their approval ratings. Remember the name Louis LeBlanc? No?
Drafted because he was a Quebecois under identical political criticism, never has there been a more aptly named draft pick. Some here have criticized the Habs drafting for position and not the best player – which IMO is dumb – but LeBlanc is a cautionary tale about drafting on the basis of language/place of origin. Particularly as hockey continues to grow in non-traditional countries. Could a player from China or Japan be a legit draft pick in a decade?
Wasn’t of LeBlanc who, after he was drafted, prompted Patrick Roy to observe “if his name had been Smith they wouldn’t have looked at him twice.”
I hadn’t heard that George, but if so that’s one for Roy.
LJ, the comment came while he was GM in Colorado – on some talk show – can’t recall which one but it drew a big laugh.
Just for the heck of it, I went back over their draft history to 2000 which shows a consistent effort to land a home-grown Francophone somewhere in the draft. The majority came in the mid- to late-rounds and, with a couple of minor exceptions, demonstrates a persistent and stubborn futility in landing one that become a “presence.” Yes, the vastly highest % of mid to late round picks throughout the league fail to make it – but there are enough late round picks that came AFTER Montreal’s almost every time that did become a “presence” to suggest that their main focus at the time was ethnic background. Check ’em out
2000 Rd 9 275th D Jonathan Gauthier – never played
2000 Rd 4 114th C Christian Larrivee – never played
2002 Rd 7 212th RW Jonathan Ferland – 7gp 1g 0a 1pt
2002 Rd 6 182nd C Andre Deveaux – 31gp 0g 2a 2 pts
2002 Rd 4 99th LW Michael Lambert – never played
2003 Rd 8 241st LW Jimmy Bonneau – never played
2003 Rd 2 61st C Maxim Lapierre – 614gp 65g 64a 139 pts
2004 Rd 9 278th D Alexandre Dulac-Lemelin – never played
2004 Rd 6 181st G Loic Lacasse – never played
2005 Rd 7 229th D Philippe Paquet – never played
2005 Rd 5 130th C Mathieu Aubin – never played
2005 Rd 2 45th RW Guillaume Latendresse – 341gp 87g 60a 147 pts
2006 Rd 2 53rd D Mathieu Carle – 3gp 0g 0a 0 pts
2007 Rd 3 65th C Olivier Fortier – never played
2009 Rd 5 139th C Gabriel Dumont – 90gp 4g 5a 9 pts
2009 Rd 1 18th RW Louis Leblanc – never played
2011 Rd 1 17th D Nathan Beaulieu – 395gp 12g 78a 90 pts
2012 Rd 5 122nd LW Charles Hudon – 125gp 14g 27a 41 pts
2013 Rd 6 176th C Jeremy Gregoire – never played
2013 Rd 2 36th G Zachary Fucale – never played
2014 Rd 5 147th C Daniel Audette – never played
2015 Rd 6 177th D Simon Bourque – never played
2018 Rd 5 133rd C Samuel Houde – yet to play a game
2019 Rd 7 201st LW Rafael Harvey-Pinard – yet to play as game
2019 Rd 5 126th D Jacob Leguerrier – yet to play a game
Wow George that’s quite a list of failures… I doubt most teams later round picks would also look as bad… its a 60% chance a 1st rounder plays over 100 NHL games and something like 20 or 25% in the second and then a fluke you achieve that after the 3rd. For Montreal trying to hit a homer with late picks is fine simply because the odds are so bad why not? First and second-round picks I think it would be unfair to the fans if the team didn’t pick the best player available no matter where they are from. There’s also the option to trade for francophone players but as JD has shown, you trade away a stud D for a winger that is invisible most nights will never sit right with fans but be a-ok with these xenophobes.
Exhaustive work, George. What it shows me is that the Habs do indeed look for Quebecois, but they have done so in later rounds when the risk of a miss is lower. Did I count 16 picks in round 5 or later?
Language and ‘pure laine” thinking are still issues with a minority in Quebec. Which is sad and bizarre because Tretiak and Kovalev were both revered at different points in Montreal. Were the Habs more competitive and more consistent we would hear less of this.
Couldn’t agree more LJ. If it was the winning goal in OT in the 7th game of the finals and it wasn’t scored by a pure-laine there wouldn’t be one fan watching who wouldn’t be delirious and prepared to elect him mayor. Winning solves everything – Hell, if the Leafs won the cup this year with Andersen in nets – and they didn’t then re-sign him as a UFA – the very ones that now want to see his backside going out the door would be leading the lynch mob for Dubas’ neck.
112 years! It’s like Obama being elected level of it’s about time.
Swayman was incredible a bunch of ahlers against almost a full squad of caps. Forget about backup I’d start Swayman against Washington.
Habfan30 i’m not disagreeing with you, but fact remains that these gentleman have their supporters and follow their lead.
Question for you, what are they reporting on Drouin issue?
Slight correction, the Premier is a guy the Mayor’s a woman.
There are supporters of course but it’s minimal today just like the whole nationalist movement has become a sideshow.
These things are brought up now just for the sake of distraction to gin up the shrinking base of extremists on both sides.
Drouin- He’s like hermit, not a word from or about him, not a hint of where or what he’s going through.
Even the French sports gossip columnists aren’t saying anything
Get woke go broke happening everywhere Lebron the biggest Hypocrite in sports single handily destroyed the NBA. Golden globes cancel 2022 nobody watches. NBC doesn’t bid on NHL can’t sell any ads nobody cares. MLB cancels all star game in Georgia because they want fair elections lol wow inflation just had its biggest increase in over a decade gas prices through the roof but hey in Saskatchewan we can golf with a friend isn’t all bad. Bruins have to dress Trent to keep Wilson in check or he will control series. Go Boston Go
If I may this is where the Bruins needed some help in the physical dept during the playoffs which was their ending downfall the last 2 playoff seasons against TB & ST Louis …. Miller,Frederic,Tinordi Richie will help but but besides Ritchie how many of them will actually be in the lineup each game
Obe I think comments like yours are really a byproduct of when people really don’t understand something, either because they have been misinformed or are themselves willfully ignorant.
Sad that all you need is some understanding or empathy for a fellow man… you know the same thing you expect. Only fair man.
Beginning of season picked playoff teams and division winners …. missed on Pitt as a division winner and missed on 3 playoff teams … but did hit on Carolina … Vegas as a division winners again didn’t have Pitt or the Leafs had Washington & Oilers instead …. if I’m reading this correct going to go Carolina/Vegas final with Carolina winning the SC
The language factor and nostalgia are smoke and mirrors.
Elmer Lach, Toe Blake, Doug Harvey, Dickie Moore were heroes, not English heroes.
Larry Robinson, Steve Shutt, Ken Dryden, Bob Gainey were heroes not English heroes.
Mats Naslund, Bobby Smith, Chris Nilan, Chris Chelios were heroes not Swedish and American heroes.
Fans in Montreal loved Markov, Kovalev and Radulov, Kovalchuk last year and Romanov this year.
Rumor has it that the Habs offered the entire draft year to be able to draft Mario Lemieux.
Habs picked Peter Svoboda, Shane Corson, Stephane Richer, Patrick Roy and ten others including some goalie named Troy Crosby (yeah Sid’s Father)
Hypothetically, if the Habs win the Stanley Cup, the Premier and the Mayor will be jostling tobe first in line fawning over and congratulating the Captain, Shea Weber.
Excellent comments on the angst that washes over our Quebecois friends. So many great players and contributors to the game have come from Quebec from Scotty Bowman to Mike Bossy the list is endless but the society seems to have lost its focus and commitment to the game at the local level.
Did Nostradamus not predict that the event that occurred Monday would herald the beginning of the end of days.
Watching Leaf -Senator game good thing Leafs are not playing them in first round Senators would win in 6 games a much faster team. Toronto can’t keep up and why are they playing their so called stars shouldn’t they be resting?
Normally, yes. But there’s simply too much time between their last game against Winnipeg and the start of the playoffs as it is and Keefe – rightly so – wants to avoid “rust” as much as possible. Plus, had he started a bunch from the taxi squad and rested Matthews, Marner and some others it could have been a disastrous night for Andersen, making his first start after being injured.