NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

Connor McDavid wins the Art Ross Trophy, Auston Matthews takes home the Richard Trophy, and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight. Check out the latest in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader while Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 2021-22.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid finished the season with a career-high 123 points in 80 games, marking the fourth time he’s taken home the Art Ross Trophy and the fifth time he’s netted 100-or-more points in a season.

Matthews won the Richard Trophy after scoring a career-high 60 goals. It’s the second straight year the Leafs center has led the league in goals.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight with the puck dropping on four of the eight first-round, best-of-seven series. The Boston Bruins face off against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Toronto to meet the Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild, and the Los Angeles Kings are in Edmonton to face the Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: All signs point to Alex Ovechkin being in the Washington Capitals lineup for Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Capitals captain missed the final three regular-season games nursing a shoulder injury but took part in regular practices with his teammates over the weekend.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Panthers, sidelined defenseman Aaron Ekblad is practicing with his teammates and could be ready for Game 1 against the Capitals. Ekblad’s been out of the lineup since March 18 with a lower-body injury.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Hurricanes will be without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen for Game 1 against the Bruins tonight. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Andersen’s taken part in off-ice workouts but has yet to take part in full on-ice drills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen was the Hurricanes MVP this season and a potential contender for the Vezina Trophy. His absence could be a critical factor in this series with the Bruins.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news as team captain Gabriel Landeskog has been medically cleared for Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The 29-year-old winger has been sidelined since March 10 by knee surgery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie Tristan Jarry (foot injury) and winger Jason Zucker (undisclosed) are listed as day-to-day and won’t be part of the lineup in their upcoming series with the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers, meanwhile, will get sidelined forwards Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp back in the lineup for Game 1 against the Penguins tomorrow night. Both of them missed the final two games of the regular season for precautionary reasons nursing minor injuries.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was back on the ice with his teammates for practice on Sunday after missing the final four games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. His status remains unconfirmed for Game 1 tonight against the Kings but it’s assumed he could be in the lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars expect to have John Klingberg and Vladislav Namestnikov in the lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Klingberg missed the final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury while Namestnikov missed the final five games.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting (undisclosed injury) is doubtful for Game 1 tonight against the Lightning.

THE PROVINCE: Brock Boeser revealed his father’s battle with dementia during an emotional season-ending press conference yesterday. He revealed it took a toll on him throughout this season. “He’s not doing well. He has pretty bad dementia right now. It got pretty bad this year,” said a tearful Boeser. “It has really hit me hard.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was overcome with emotion and understandably left the press conference soon after. The Province’s Ben Kuzma reported his teammates praised the winger’s perseverance as he attempted to remain a difference-maker for the Canucks.

Fans and pundits sometimes forget the players have to deal with personal issues just like everybody else. Sometimes, it can affect their performance despite their best efforts. My sympathies go out to Boeser and his family during this difficult time.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to a three-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the speculation suggesting Cheveldayoff was in danger of losing his job following this disappointing season. He’ll have his work cut out for him this offseason. The Jets have been declining since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018. One of his priorities will be determining Mark Scheifele’s future with the franchise. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with assistant coach Phil Housley, who was in the final season of a three-year contract.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks parted ways with associate coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson. Crawford had a year remaining on his contract. Derek Kings remains the interim head coach but a decision on his future is expected soon.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Draft Lottery odds were released yesterday, with the Montreal Canadiens leading the 16 eligible teams with 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5) and the Seattle Kraken (11.5). The lottery will be held on May 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list by clicking the link above.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Thousands of Canadiens fans lined up yesterday outside the Bell Centre to pay their respects to the late Guy Lafleur as he lies in state through today. His funeral will be held in Montreal on Tuesday. Lafleur succumbed to lung cancer on April 22 at age 70.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2022

The three stars and the rookie of the month for April are announced, the Red Wings fire head coach Jeff Blashill, plus the latest on Carey Price, Ryan Ellis, Patrik Laine, Mathew Barzal and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are the NHL’s three stars for April 2022. Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight was named the rookie of the month.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings yesterday fired head coach Jeff Blashill. They also announced assistant coach Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko were relieved of their duties.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill spent seven seasons as the Wings’ bench boss. He wasn’t to blame for the club’s struggles as management tore down and rebuilt the roster during those years. However, the Wings’ failure to meet heightened expectations this season led to his downfall.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen reports Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could seek a head coach who will demand more from his players and develop the club’s young talent. He listed former NHL coaches like John Tortorella, Paul Maurice, Claude Julien, and Jim Montgomery among the possible candidates Yzerman could consider as Blashill’s replacement. It’ll be interesting to see if the Wings GM hires one of those veterans or opts for someone else.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he didn’t believe the current state of his surgically repaired knee would be sustainable to play an entire season. He indicated he’ll be seeking a second opinion regarding ongoing swelling of the knee after games and didn’t rule out a second procedure.

Price, 34, admitted he approached Friday’s season-closing game against the Florida Panthers as if it could be his last. Nevertheless, he remains determined to resume his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price will have a longer offseason recovery period this time around compared to last year. Still, the uncertainty over his future could affect the Canadien’s offseason plans. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, general manager Kent Hughes said he’d like to sign interim head coach Martin St. Louis to a three-year contract. On Friday, St. Louis indicated he would be shedding the interim tag and returning next season behind the Canadiens’ bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens showed noticeable improvement once St. Louis took over in February. It bodes well for what he might be able to achieve with a better, healthier roster.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sidelined Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis dismissed recent speculation suggesting he was unhappy with the team. He also indicated he and the club have determined the root cause of the pelvic injury that limited him to just four games this season. Ellis indicated they now have a clear rehab plan in place and he’s hoping to be healthy for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was expected to be the core piece of the Flyers’ defense corps and an important part of what management hoped would be a bounce-back season for the club. His absence played a big part in their downfall. Getting him back healthy for 2022-23 could help the Flyers get back on track.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: On the subject of Flyers defensemen, Keith Yandle played the final game of his NHL career on Saturday as confirmed by teammate Nick Seeler. The 35-year-old reigning NHL Ironman (989 consecutive games) didn’t speak to the media yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yandle’s performance has been in decline over the past three seasons. In 1,109 games with the Flyers and the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, he has 103 goals and 516 assists for 619 career regular-season points.

NHL.COM: Patrik Laine doesn’t see any issues that would prevent him from signing a new contract this summer with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 24-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He also thanked the club for their support as he coped with injuries and the death of his father in November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine had 56 points in as many games to finish third among Jackets scorers. He’s completing a one-year, $7.5 million contract and could seek a lucrative long-term deal.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins admitted he found it difficult at times this season to maintain his focus while dealing with the grief of the sudden death last summer of his close friend Matiss Kivlenieks. He said he and goalie coach Manny Legace relied on each other to cope with the emotional trauma. Kivlenieks died during a fireworks accident at Legace’s home last July 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins admitted he was rattled at times earlier this season by the celebratory cannon fired at Blue Jackets home games and from fireworks displays during last New Year’s Eve celebrations. He managed to overcome those issues thanks in part to Legace’s support.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal indicated his willingness to sign a contract extension. The 24-year-old has a year remaining on his current deal with an annual cap hit of $7 million. “This is where I want to be, this is where I want to win,” said Barzal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello would probably love to ink Barzal to a new deal this summer. His reputation as a tough negotiator, however, could make it a slow process. I’m not saying it won’t get done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if talks drag on through the summer.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets chairman Mark Chipman confirmed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will continue in his role into the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That douses the recent rumors floating around about Cheveldayoff’s future. He has a busy offseason coming up as he must find a new head coach, improve the Jets’ porous defense, and sign restricted free agent center Pierre-Luc Dubois to a new contract.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kurtis MacDermid was fined $2,187.50 by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno on Friday. Avs forward Logan O’Connor was fined $1,812.50 for cross-checking Wild defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in the same game.

ARIZONA HOCKEY NOW: The Coyotes played their final game at Gila River Arena on Friday. After 19 seasons, they’ll be moving next season to Arizona State’s new hockey arena while awaiting word on a proposed new NHL arena in Tempe.

THE ATHLETIC: Malcolm Subban earned praise from his Buffalo Sabres teammates after singing the National Anthem during the club’s final game of the season on Friday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban sounded pretty good. Maybe there’s a future for him as a singer following his playing career.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Jets could face offseason changes following the disappointing outcome of this season plus a look at some potential decisions facing the Red Wings.

CHANGES COULD BE COMING THIS SUMMER FOR THE JETS

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes the Winnipeg Jets must begin the process of repairing a winning culture that’s been in decline in recent years starting with their remaining games in this season. He feels the franchise’s foundation is showing cracks in need of repair.

The Jets have plenty of offensive skill but they’re not scoring on a consistent basis. They’re giving up too many quality scoring chances, they don’t defend well enough around their net while their special teams have struggled.

Wiebe feels some of those issues were papered over by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s play in recent years. However, they were exposed when he wasn’t playing at a Vezina-caliber level this season as the volume of shots and scoring chances against him increased.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck shares Wiebe’s concern that there are cracks in the Jets’ foundation. He pointed out that players such as Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Josh Morrissey have publicly admitted the team’s performance is not up to snuff, with Connor also admitting a culture change is needed.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Billeck believes that will be up to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff or his replacement if ownership decides a change is needed in the front office. It could also have an effect on contract talks with center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes it’s time for the Jets to conduct a full examination to address the malaise gripping the club. He wonders if that will be conducted by Cheveldayoff or his boss, Mark Chipman. The Jets owner has to be seeing the effects on the ice and in the stands, where the Jets are averaging 1,500 – 2,000 empty seats per game.

McIntyre also pondered the possibility of the Jets bringing in an experienced and sharp hockey mind from outside the organization as other clubs have done in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The focus of these pieces center on whether there will be changes in the front office after this season. Cheveldayoff’s been in the job since 2011. While he built them up into a Western Conference finalist in 2018, they’ve been steadily declining since then. Perhaps a change in management is necessary.

Whoever is the Jets general manager this summer must decide if a roster shakeup is required or if the problem could be addressed with a coaching change. Long-time bench boss Paul Maurice stepped down in December claiming the team needed a “new voice” to reach the next level. Assistant coach Dave Lowry took over on an interim basis but was no more successful than his predecessor.

Some roster changes could still be in order if the Jets replace Cheveldayoff and hire a new head coach. McIntyre has suggested moving out a couple of expensive veterans to clear roster and cap space for promising young defensemen such as Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola.

Center Mark Scheifele recently surfaced in the rumor mill as an offseason trade candidate. Some Jets fans would like to see captain Blake Wheeler replaced but his age (35), $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 and full no-movement clause makes that option difficult to achieve.

LATEST RED WINGS SPECULATION

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen and Bob Duff recently addressed some questions about the Red Wings’ future plans. They don’t see Jeff Blashill returning as head coach, with Allen saying he’s heard GM Steve Yzerman could look at some tough, demanding coaching candidates if he replaces Blashill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings’ head coach for the past seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for most of the club’s struggles during the earlier years of its rebuild. However, they were expected to make significant improvement this season, perhaps even contend for a wild-card spot. Their second-half collapse amid ongoing concerns over their defensive play suggests it’s time for a fresh perspective behind the bench.

Allen and Duff both believe Yzerman’s roster priority is to bring in a second-line center. They also expect he’ll seek an experienced second-pairing defenseman. Possible forward options could include the New York Rangers’ Andrew Copp and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Vincent Trocheck via free agency. Duff’s also hearing Yzerman could target Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg if he hits the open market.

They also suggest Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina as trade candidates if the Wings don’t see them as part of their long-term plans. Bertuzzi is a year away from UFA status while Zadina is a restricted free agent this summer. They could retain the latter as they appreciate how hard he’s working to become a better player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman’s shown a willingness to make bold moves, first by shipping Anthony Mantha to Washington for Jakub Vrana at last year’s trade deadline and acquiring goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina last summer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he peddles Bertuzzi and/or Zadina to land that second-line center or second-pairing blueliner this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2021

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff apologizes to Kyle Beach & addresses his role in the Blackhawks scandal, the Penguins and Wild GM Bill Guerin face a lawsuit over an alleged sexual assault by a former minor-league coach, plus game recaps & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHEVELDAYOFF APOLOGIZES TO BEACH, ADDRESSES HIS ROLE IN BLACKHAWKS SCANDAL

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets general manager Kyle Cheveldayoff apologized to Kyle Beach during a video press conference yesterday for the alleged sexual abuse he suffered while with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 at the hands of the club’s then-video coach. He was accompanied by Jets governor and co-owner Mark Chipman.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM at the time but maintained he had limited knowledge of what happened to Beach. He said the system failed the young forward, adding no one should have to endure what he did.

The Jets GM said the details of the alleged incidents were unclear to him at the time, claiming he only learned the full information earlier this year. He was absolved of wrongdoing last week by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman as having been a “minor player” in the meeting of Blackhawks executives to discuss the incident. Cheveldayoff said it was his belief the allegations would be handled by his superiors.

Chipman expressed his full support of his general manager. He believes Cheveldayoff would have acted to help Beach had he known the full details of the allegations. Both men pledged they would do more going forward to be part of the solution league-wide to prevent future occurrences of abuse. Cheveldayoff said he’s been in touch with former player and sexual assault survivor Sheldon Kennedy and will be participating in Kennedy’s Respect in Sport program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff and Chipman got emotional at times during that press conference. Both were commended by some in the media for what came across as a heartfelt apology and clarification of Cheveldayoff’s role with the Blackhawks at the time of the allegations.

Cheveldayoff’s involvement was limited to that one meeting with the Blackhawks executives, leaving him with the impression it had more to do with harassment involving text messages and unwanted advances. Nevertheless, some pundits feel there remain some unanswered questions and details about Cheveldayoff’s role in the coverup and his ongoing insistence that he knew nothing about what really happened to Kyle Beach. Time will tell if those questions are fully answered.

TSN: Rick Westhead (whose coverage of Beach’s story brought the Blackhawks scandal to light) reports Erin Skalde and husband Jarrod Skalde have filed a sexual assault lawsuit against former Pittsburgh Penguins minor-league coach Clark Donatelli, Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin and Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ronald Burkle.

Jarrod Skalde and Donatelli were former coaches of the Penguins’ AHL franchise in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The suit alleges Donatelli allegedly sexually assaulted Mrs. Skalde during a road trip in November 2018, accusing Guerin, Lemieux and Burkle of engaging in a coverup of the incident. The Skaldes also filed an earlier lawsuit against the Penguins claiming they fired him on May 5, 2020, for complaining to the team about the sexual assault of his wife. Guerin, who was recently named general manager of the 2022 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, is being investigated by the U.S. Center for SportSafe following Skalde’s complaint filed on Oct. 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lawsuit claims Guerin told Skalde to keep quiet about the alleged incident when he brought it to Guerin’s attention seven months later. The Penguins released a statement claiming they took immediate action upon being notified of the allegation in June 2019, conducting a full investigation within 72 hours and Donatelli resigned from the organization. They also said Skalde remained in his job for an additional year until the team made staff reductions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice, Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists and Jack Campbell turned in a 26-save shutout as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. The Leafs (5-4-1) have won three straight while the Golden Knights record slips to 4-5-0.

The Montreal Canadiens downed the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 for their third win of the season. Jake Allen made 22 saves for the shutout while Nick Suzuki tallied his first goal of the season and assisted on two others. Wings forwards Dylan Larkin (undisclosed) and Tyler Bertuzzi (COVID protocol) missed this game.

Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin left the game in the first period after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Brett Kulak. He went to hospital but has returned to the team following the game. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced goaltender Carey Price will be emerging from the NHL’s player assistance program on Nov. 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens offered no timetable for Price’s return to action. He underwent offseason knee surgery and was expected to be ready for the start of the season before going into the player assistance program. It could take several weeks before he makes his season debut.

Philadelphia Flyers netminder Carter Hart kicked out 29 shots for his first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist. The Coyotes are winless in their first 10 games (0-9-1) of this season. Earlier in the day, they announced Nick Schmaltz would miss at least three-four weeks with an upper-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got 28 saves from John Gibson for a 4-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils. Troy Terry scored twice to extend his points streak to nine games while Ryan Getzlaf collected three points. Struggling Ducks winger Maxime Comtois was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Kirill Kaprizov tallied his first goal of the season in overtime as the Minnesota Wild nipped the Ottawa Senators 5-4. Marcus Foligno tallied twice for the Wild while Drake Batherson and Josh Norris each had a goal and an assist for the Senators.

A shootout goal by Mark Scheifele lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. He also collected an assist in regulation to extend his points streak to seven games. Stars center Tyler Seguin picked up a goal and an assist.

The Nashville Predators dropped the Calgary Flames 3-2 on an overtime goal by Matt Duchene, snapping the latter’s six-game win streak. Duchene also picked an assist on a goal by Filip Forsberg.

J.T. Miller scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Vancouver Canucks overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the New York Rangers 3-2. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl scored two goals and added an assist to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice for the Sabres. The Sharks played without Timo Meier, who was added to their COVID protocol list.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen were the NHL’s three stars for October 2021. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider was named rookie of the month.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is sidelined with an upper-body injury unrelated to the offseason medical procedure that forced him to miss preseason play.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Kyle Clifford was added to their COVID protocol list yesterday.










Blackhawks “Dynasty” Forever Tarnished

Blackhawks “Dynasty” Forever Tarnished

On June 10, 2010, one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts in NHL history came to an end. An overtime goal by Patrick Kane against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final gave the Chicago Blackhawks their first championship since 1961.

It was the start of several dominant years for the Blackhawks. Over the following five seasons, the Blackhawks would win two more Stanley Cups. Kane, team captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Duncan Keith established themselves as respected NHL superstars. Head coach Joel Quenneville burnished his resume as one of the league’s top bench bosses. General manager Stan Bowman was praised for his ability to maintain his championship roster.

Stanley Cup dynasties – teams that win three-or-more consecutive Stanley Cups – are rarities in the NHL’s salary-cap world. As a result, some observers considered the Blackhawks’ three championships in six years the closest thing to a Cup dynasty in today’s game.

Eleven years after that first Cup, that “dynasty” is forever tarnished by a scandal set in motion three weeks before Kane’s winning goal.

A small group of senior team executives, including Bowman and Quenneville, reached the fateful decision to cover up allegations of sexual assault made by winger Kyle Beach against video coach Bradley Aldrich.

They decided not to take any action against Aldrich until after the Stanley Cup Final so as not to risk the matter becoming a distraction for the players. After their celebrations with the Cup in Chicago had quieted down, the club gave Aldrich a choice of stepping down or facing an internal investigation.

That reference helped Aldrich get a job with USA Hockey and an assistant coaching job with a high school in Houghton, Michigan. Three years later, Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail on a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for his alleged involvement with a male student between the age of 16 and 18. The student filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks earlier this year for providing a positive employment letter to Aldrich even though they knew he was a sexual predator.

Thanks to the courage of Beach and the student known as “John Doe 2” in stepping forward to tell their stories, aided by the dogged investigative journalism of TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang, the Blackhawks were forced to conduct an independent investigation.

The resulting report, released to the public last week, was damning.

Bowman stepped down as general manager while another club official was relieved of his duties. Quenneville, who’d moved on to coach the Florida Panthers, resigned from that job following a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

None of the players on the 2010 Blackhawks roster were mentioned in the report. Kane, Toews, Keith (now with the Edmonton Oilers) and others denied knowledge of the allegations. Beach, in his emotional interview with Westhead a day after the report was released, believed everyone in the dressing room knew. His story was supported by the testimony of former teammates Nick Boynton and Brent Sopel when they spoke with investigators this summer.

Only two players (Boynton and Sopel) along with former associate coach John Torchetti and former skills coach Paul Vincent, supported Beach and testified to investigators on his behalf. Nearly everyone else on that 2009-10 roster is facing scrutiny from fans and the media over what they did or didn’t do at the time the allegations were raised.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM at the time and took part in that fateful meeting before the 2010 Cup Final. Though he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a subsequent meeting with Bettman, he still faces calls for an apology to Beach from fans and pundits and a further explanation of his actions while with the Blackhawks.

Despite their denials, the reputations of the Blackhawks stars have suffered a significant blow. Assuming they had no knowledge of the incident at the time, they’re facing questions over when they did find out, how much they knew and why they didn’t do more to try and help Beach. The tone-deaf defense of Bowman by Kane and Toews following his dismissal was not a good look for either star.

The fallout isn’t just limited to the Blackhawks. NHLPA director Donald Fehr is feeling the heat from the player executive and rank-and-file members for his apparent inaction when Beach and his agent informed the PA of the allegations.

For Blackhawks fans, this is a devastating gut punch. The club they love and support, an Original Six franchise considered the epitome of a successful franchise in the salary-cap era, has been brought low by a handful of men who did nothing to protect a frightened young player from a sexual predator. It could take years for the Blackhawks to rebuild their standing and regain the full trust of their fans and win back those they lost from this sordid scandal

Bowman and Quenneville will probably never work in the NHL again. Kane, Toews, Keith and other players had nothing to do with how their club handled the allegations but they’ll face lingering doubts in the court of public opinion.

All of that pales in comparison to the hell Kyle Beach went through for 11 years. He was ostracized by the Blackhawks, even reportedly mocked by several teammates. He continued his playing career away from the NHL. Somehow, he found the determination to carry on every day despite his terrible burden and the courage to fight back with limited support despite the Blackhawks’ efforts to discredit him.

As more than one observer noted, Beach show more bravery and integrity than those who failed him.

Six men made a fateful decision that did immeasurable harm to Beach and another young man. That decision would eventually damage their own reputations and careers, in some cases beyond repair. It cost them their jobs, tarnished a once-great franchise, cast a dark cloud over the lives and careers of their franchise players, and stained the league’s brand.

All because they put winning a championship over doing the right thing.

That’s the dark legacy of the Blackhawks “dynasty.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

Jets GM Cheveldayoff won’t be disciplined by the league regarding the Blackhawks scandal, NHLPA director Fehr faces criticism related to the scandal, the Leafs sign Rielly to a contract extension, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL WON’T DISCIPLINE CHEVELDAYOFF, NHLPA DIRECTOR FEHR UNDER FIRE

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday it will not impose discipline on Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff regarding improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks organization regarding sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM during that time. The decision came following Cheveldayoff’s meeting on Friday with league commissioner Gary Bettman in New York. 

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Bettman released a statement pointing out Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior management in 2010 and thus couldn’t assign responsibility upon him for the club’s handling of the matter. The commissioner indicated Cheveldayoff’s degree of involvement was limited to one meeting and found he was “extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”

The statement went on to note Cheveldayoff’s role within the organization at the time left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions on the matter. “In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the club’s response”.

TSN: Cheveldayoff released a statement following the meeting through the Jets’ website. He expressed his support and empathy for Kyle Beach (the victim of Aldrich’s alleged assaults) and praised his courage. He also thanked the league for allowing him the opportunity to meet with Bettman and provide his side of the story.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff may have been cleared by the league but he still faces scrutiny from Winnipeg pundits and fans. Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe and the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Stinson believe the Jets GM owes Beach an apology, something that was absent from his statement. The Sun’s Scott Billeck and Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press believe Cheveldayoff owes an explanation to fans and media.

TSN: NHLPA director Donald Fehr is facing criticism after Kyle Beach revealed a lack of support from the association when he and his agent, Ross Gurney, informed them of the details of his alleged assault by Aldrich.

Gurney said he spoke to Fehr directly in 2011 about his concerns regarding Aldrich, who was working with USA Hockey at that time. “My purpose in calling the PA was to get a warning to USA Hockey,” he said. “That is what I was directed to do by Kyle”. He said Fehr told him he knew people at USA Hockey and the PA would look into the matter and offer support.

Beach was referred to Dr. Brian Shaw, a psychologist and program director within the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. He said Shaw told him the PA would handle it but never heard from them again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Fehr is facing waning support among PA staff and is under fire externally following the results from the independent investigation and Beach’s interview on Wednesday. Seravalli pointed out the player-led Executive Board has the authority to oust Fehr as PA director. He said it’s unclear if the 32 members will move to conduct an inquiry or pressure Fehr into resigning.

ESPN.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks sent a request to the Hockey Hall of Fame to have Aldrich’s name removed from the Stanley Cup. The Hall issued a statement saying HHOF chairman Lanny McDonald, league commissioner Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are on board with the request. Discussions are underway with the Stanley Cup trustees to make this happen.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers extended their season-opening win streak to eight games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Aleksander Barkov scored twice, including the game-winner. The Panthers had a 2-0 lead but the Wings rallied on goals by Sam Gagner and Pius Suter.

The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record with a season-opening seventh straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Tony DeAngelo had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson left the game after being crosschecked by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 739th career goal to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves for the shutout while John Carlson scored the game-winning goal. Ovechkin extended his points streak to eight games as his club remains unbeaten (5-0-3) in regulation. He’s now just two goals behind Brett Hull for fourth place on the all-time goal leader list.

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a 4-1 lead but went on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Evgenii Dadonov. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf collected an assist to tie Teemu Selanne as the franchise’s leading scorer with 988 points. The Ducks also placed winger Rickard Rakell on injured reserve with a shoulder injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

A 31-save shutout by Igor Shesterkin carried the New York Rangers over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each had three assists.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a three-game losing skid by dropping the Dallas Stars 4-1. Josh Norris tallied twice, Brady Tkachuk netted his first goal of the season and Filip Gustavsson kicked out 38 shots for the win.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Morgan Rielly to an eight-year, $60 million contract. The annual average value is $7.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news is the Leafs have their best defenseman under a new long-term deal at a cap hit lower than what he would’ve received on the open market next summer. Given the big contracts signed this summer by other notable blueliners, speculation suggested it would cost the Leafs around $8.5 million to keep him in the fold. Rielly left some money on the table to stay in Toronto.

The bad news is Cap Friendly shows the Leafs have over $53.63 million invested in just six players (Rielly, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Jake Muzzin) for 2022-23. With $75.3 million committed to 15 players next season, Leafs management faces another summer of salary-cap gymnastics to remain cap compliant.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes will be sidelined for five weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild placed forward Jordan Greenway on IR with a lower-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Steve Carlson, who played one of the Hanson Brothers in the movie “Slap Shot”, has been diagnosed with a form of cancer known as Stage IV metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him with living costs while he undergoes radiation therapy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Carlson. Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to this fundraiser.