NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2021
Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigns amid reports linking Habs to Jeff Gorton, Artemi Panarin and Andrei Svechnikov fined, Islanders games postpone through Nov. 30, game recaps and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
MELLANBY RESIGNS AS HABS ASSISTANT GM, CLUB LINKED TO GORTON
SPORTSNET: Scott Mellanby resigned yesterday as assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens amid reports linking the club to former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton.
Elliotte Friedman reported there’s a widespread belief Marc Bergevin will not return as Canadiens general manager following this season. Friedman felt Bergevin recommended Mellanby as his successor or for a more significant role with the club. There had been recent discussions between team owner Geoff Molson and Mellanby but the latter resigned after being informed the club was going in a different direction.
The Canadiens reportedly sought and received permission from the New York Rangers to speak with former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton. Friedman said Gorton would not be taking over as the Habs GM but could fill the role of president of hockey operations or another senior front-office role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial reports, it appears Molson has made a mess of this situation by upsetting Mellanby and alienating Bergevin, who is now a lame-duck general manager. TVA Sports’ Louis Jean reports Bergevin was hurt by how this went down, that he was kept in the dark and only learned about this situation through the media.
Nevertheless, this could still work out for the Canadiens if the end result is Gorton taking over as president of hockey operations. It would be a significant step toward returning this floundering franchise to respectability and perhaps a long-overdue rebuild.
Gorton did a fine job building up the Rangers roster. He signed Artemi Panarin, acquired Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba and drafted Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Before that, he was an assistant general manager for several seasons with the Boston Bruins. During a brief period as their interim GM in 2006, he acquired Tuukka Rask, drafted Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, and signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.
Molson has indicated the role of Canadiens GM has to be filled by a Francophone or someone who is bilingual. Gorton is neither but he would hold a role of considerable influence within the organization with input on trades, signings, drafting and player development.
Should Gorton get the role of hockey ops president, finding Bergevin’s successor becomes their next priority. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels mused about Patrick Roy, Roberto Luongo, Martin Madden Jr., Vincent Damphousse and Mathieu Darche as possible candidates. Jeff Marek reported the Canadiens have not contacted Patrick Roy about a role in the organization.
It will be interesting to see how the coming week unfolds in Montreal.
NHL.COM: Speaking of the Canadiens (6-15-2), they got a rare win by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Jake Allen made a career-high 47 saves for the win while Josh Anderson scored twice and Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak each had a goal and two assists. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also had a goal and two assists while teammate Bryan Rust remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury. Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman missed the game with an upper-body injury.
The Florida Panthers’ season-opening home winning streak has ended at 11 games after falling 4-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Former Panthers goalie Chris Driedger made 33 saves while teammate Jordan Eberle celebrated his 800th career NHL game with two goals.
Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick powered the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Cale Makar collected three assists while Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky each had two helpers. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram returned to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion.
The Edmonton Oilers ran up a 3-0 lead over the Vegas Golden Knights and held on for a 3-2 victory. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 36 shots while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi scored for the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the score sheet by the Golden Knights.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists and Carl Gundstrom tallied twice to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was ejected from the game for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk’s hand during a scrum in the third period. Tkachuk wasn’t pleased, calling what Lemieux did “the most gutless thing somebody could ever do” following the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could also earn supplemental discipline for his antics. He bit Tkachuk’s hand hard enough to draw blood.
An overtime goal by rookie Lucas Raymond gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their fifth loss in six games. The Sabres’ Jeff Skinner sent the game to overtime with the tying goal late in the third period.
The Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by nipping the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Braden Holtby made 25 saves for the Stars, Joe Pavelski had two assists and Roope Hintz scored his seventh goal in his last eight games.
St. Louis Blues forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev each scored twice in a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists. Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Before the game, the Blues placed winger James Neal on injured reserve.
The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 4-2. Kyle Connor led the way with two goals for the Jets to snap a five-game skid while ending the Flames’ win streak at four games. Flames winger Milan Lucic was ejected in the second period for boarding Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was fined $5,000.00 for throwing one of his hockey gloves at Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand on Friday. Panarin said he was incensed over Russia-related insults made toward him by Marchand.
NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton on Friday.
NEW YORK POST: The NHL has postponed the New York Islanders’ next two games through Nov. 30 after Casey Cizikas became the eighth player on the club to test positive for COVID-19.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed goaltender Matt Murray on waivers. He’s expected to report to their AHL affiliate in Belleville if he goes unclaimed today. The Senators also claimed forward Adam Gaudette off waivers yesterday from the Chicago Blackhawks.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Nate Thompson missed practice yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury during Friday’s game against the Hurricanes.