NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

Joel Quenneville resigns as Panthers head coach while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a meeting today with league commissioner Gary Bettman as fallout from the Blackhawks scandal continues. Details plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

QUENNEVILLE RESIGNS AS PANTHERS COACH, CHEVELDAYOFF HAS A MEETING TODAY WITH BETTMAN

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joel Quenneville resigned yesterday as head coach of the Florida Panthers in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal. His resignation came following a meeting yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Assistant coach Andrew Brunette takes over as the interim head coach.

Former Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville (NHL Images).

This move is a result of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made by former Blackhawk Kyle Beach against the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Quenneville told investigators he first heard of the allegations through the media but it was determined he was part of the meeting of front office executives to discuss the matter.

The Panthers released a statement that the conduct described in the report on the investigation was “troubling and inexcusable”, adding it stood in direct contrast to their values as an organization and what the club stood for.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But not so much to keep Quenneville from being behind the Panthers’ bench against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, just one day after the report’s findings were released. It’s puzzling why they didn’t at least do that until Quenneville had his meeting with Bettman. It was a bad look for the Panthers.

According to the report’s findings, Quenneville recommended the Blackhawks wait to take action against Aldrich until after the playoffs so as to avoid any unnecessary distractions for their players as they pursued the Stanley Cup.

Quenneville was once a highly-respected NHL head coach with three Stanley Cups and a Jack Adams Award on his resume. He’s second all-time in wins (969) among the league’s bench bosses. All of that is meaningless now. I doubt he’ll ever coach another game in the NHL again.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will meet with Bettman in NHL headquarters today. The meeting was moved up from Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM and took part in that fateful meeting about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are numerous calls on social media for Cheveldayoff’s firing but a recent report indicated he had the support of Jets ownership. Where he stands following his meeting today with Bettman remains to be seen.

Kyle Beach released a statement on Twitter yesterday expressing gratitude for “the outpouring of endless love and support” he’s received since stepping forward to identify himself as the player allegedly sexually assaulted by Aldrich. He expressed the hope his story would bring about change “to promote safety, as well as the health and well-being of society as a whole.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I cannot even imagine what Beach endured as a sexual assault survivor over the past decade. I hope his story brings about the change he seeks and the peace he deserves.

The league is reportedly going to implement “enhanced training measures” specific to dealing with sexual abuse and allegations of abuse. A third party will be employed to handle this with league oversight. Any report or hint of sexual abuse or assault will be immediately reported to the commissioner’s office.

Aldrich still has his name on the Stanley Cup. TSN reports it’s up to the Blackhawks to file a petition to the league to have his name removed. So far, that has not yet taken place.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall called for a change in hockey culture. “This is a game that’s, I guess, what you would call an old boys’ club, and there’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change. Hopefully, they can.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Amen to that, Taylor. Here’s hoping that change happens soon.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record for their longest season-opening win streak by blanking the Boston Bruins 3-0. The Hurricanes have won six in a row as Frederik Andersen turned in a 33-save shutout. Tony DeAngelo, Nino Niederreiter and Andrei Svechnikov were the goal scorers.

Cale Makar had a goal and an assist to collect his 100th career point in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He’s reached that mark in the sixth-fewest games (108) by NHL defensemen. J.T. Compher scored twice for the Avalanche. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington received a 10-minute misconduct for swinging his stick at Avs center Nazem Kadri.

The Calgary Flames completed the sweep of their five-game road trip by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 45 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau tallied his first goal of the season.

Jake Allen also had a 45-save shutout in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist for the Habs as they picked up their first win in San Jose since 1999.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted two goals in his club’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. It was the Lightning’s first home win of the season. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 3-0 lead but an overtime goal by Rasmus Asplund gave them a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Sabres’ record stands at 5-1-1 while the Ducks are winless (0-3-2) in their last five. Ducks center Adam Henrique picked up his 200th career goal.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Kyle Connor assisted on all three Jets goals. The Kings have dropped six in a row.

Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each collected two points as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Martin Jones got the win with 27 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks.

The Seattle Kraken got two goals by Haydn Fleury to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Philipp Grubauer turned aside 30 shots for the win. The expansion Kraken has won two straight on home ice. The Wild played without Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick as both entered COVID protocol yesterday.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov said he’s fully recovered from his undisclosed injury and is ready to return to action. He missed all of training camp and the Isles’ regular-season games to date.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has recovered faster than anticipated from a fractured rib. The club took him off injured reserve yesterday and he could be in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights signed defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a six-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could turn into quite the bargain for the Golden Knights if he should turn into a top-four shutdown defenseman.

YARDBARKER: The Golden Knights also signed blueliner Ben Hutton to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2021

Kyle Beach identified himself as one of the victims in the Blackhawks’ scandal, the ongoing fallout from the investigation, plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

KYLE BEACH STEPS FORWARD AS ACCUSER IN BLACKHAWKS SCANDAL

TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach stepped forward as the player at the center of the investigation into allegations of sexual assault by former video coach Bradley Aldrich.

Kyle Beach (right) speaks with Rick Westhead (TSN.CA).

In an emotional 25-minute interview with Rick Westhead, Beach expressed relief and vindication that “it was no longer my word against everybody else’s,” adding it was “very special and important to me to have that truth come out yesterday”.

Beach recalled what happened to him after the abuse by Aldrich, the Blackhawks’ organization’s efforts to cover up the incident and its subsequent denials. “They said they did an investigation, they said my claims were meritless. To me, I took that as them saying to the world that I was a liar, that I was lying,” said Beach.

He singled out the role of then-head coach Joel Quenneville in the club’s handling of the incident. Quenneville said in a statement this summer that he has no prior knowledge of Beach’s claims at the time until he heard about it through the media.

Multiple players with the Blackhawks at that time also subsequently made the same claim. “I believe everyone in the locker room knew about it,” said Beach.

He also voiced his disappointment over the NHLPA’s lack of action when he informed them of the details. He believed two different people spoke with PA director Donald Fehr. “And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all cost, I don’t know how that can be your leader,” he said.

Beach said he stepped forward in part because, while the report referred to him as “John Doe”, the details made it possible to figure out his identity. He indicated it was also part of his recovery as a survivor of sexual assault. He also wants to bring about change within the NHL to assure this never happens again.

The NHL has let me down and they’ve let other down too. And they continue to try to protect their name,” said Beach. “I hope through and through that (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman takes this seriously and that he does his due diligence.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted what I felt were key highlights from Beach’s interview. I encourage everyone to follow the above link for the video interview and the full transcript.

Beach was very brave to come forward with his story. It was heartbreaking watching him recount what happened, at one point breaking down in tears and expressing sorrow for not doing more to protect Aldrich’s subsequent victim. He did nothing wrong and yet he still felt remorse that he didn’t do more.

Kyle Beach was failed by the Blackhawks at every level. Only a handful of people, including former teammates Nick Boynton and Brent Sopel, former associate coach John Torchetti and former skills coach Paul Vincent, stood by him. He endured over 11 years of trauma before finally receiving a measure of justice. Everyone involved in make his life hell for over a decade bear full responsibility for what they didn’t do to help him and for what they did to cover it up.

The release of the investigation’s findings and Beach’s interview are not the end of this story. The repercussions are ongoing and will be long-lasting, leading hopefully to positive change that ensures no player ever faces what Beach did.

TSN: The Blackhawks released a statement following Beach’s interview expressing “deepest apologies” for what he went through and the organization’s failure to properly respond when he brought the matter to light. The statement laid the blame on former team executives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apologies and buck-passing don’t cut it. Try again.

NHLPA director Donald Fehr also issued an apology to Beach, acknowledging his courage in telling his story and admitting the system (of which the PA is a part) failed him. Fehr indicated the person Beach spoke with at the NHLPA was one of the program doctors in the player assistance program. While confidential between players and doctors, Fehr said the “grave nature of this incident should have resulted in further action on our part.” He also said the PA is committed to making changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Action speaks louder than words, Mr. Fehr.

Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews told reporters last night they wished they knew more about what happened to Beach so they could’ve done more to help him. They said they didn’t he was the John Doe in the investigation until he came forward yesterday. Kane commended Beach for his courage in telling his story while Toews said he didn’t know about the allegations until training camp in 2010-11.

Both players also commented on Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman stepping down and senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac being relieved of his duties. Kane considered it “necessary” and “the right moves” but also called Bowman “a great man who did a lot of things for me personally”. Toews felt they weren’t directly responsible for what happened and still had a lot of respect for them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus said in response to those remarks, I get why Kane and Toews are remaining loyal to those who played a big role in their lives and careers but heaping praise on those two isn’t a great look.

Former Blackhawks head coach and current Florida Panthers bench boss Joel Quenneville stood by his statement to investigators that he first learned of the allegations through the media this summer. He’s slated to meet with commissioner Bettman in New York today. Quenneville was behind the bench for the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins last night and didn’t speak to the media following the game.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports Jets ownership is supporting general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who will be meeting with Bettman in New York on Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant general manager in 2010 and was named in the report as part of the group of Blackhawks executives who met to discuss the allegations in May 2010.

In his statement, Cheveldayoff said he was first made aware of the allegations during that meeting. He believed a decision was reached by his superiors to have the hockey operations people deal with the on-ice production while they would handle the Aldrich allegations.

McIntyre reports Jets chairman and co-owner Mark Chipman will travel to New York with Cheveldayoff on Monday. Short of new evidence emerging or Bettman lowering the boom, McIntyre expected Cheveldayoff will keep his job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what Bettman has in store for Quenneville and Cheveldayoff. Many on social media are calling for their firings or at least suspension.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers extended their record to 7-0-0 by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for the win while Gustav Forsling collected three assists.

Cam Atkinson scored two goals and Carter Hart kicked out 34 shots as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3, snapping the latter’s five-game season-opening win streak. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin tallied in overtime as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied for the Capitals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs also rallied from 2-0 to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. William Nylander scored in overtime for the Leafs. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews came out of COVID-19 protocol yesterday and played in this game.

An overtime goal by Evgenii Dadonov lifted the Vega Golden Knights to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Jonathan Marchessault scored late in the third for Vegas to send the game into the extra frame.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is expected to miss the next eight-to-10 weeks following surgery for a lower-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will miss the next two months with a bruised knee while Sean Walker suffered season-ending ligament tears in his right knee that will require surgery.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler has returned to practice after 10 days in isolation as per NHL COVID protocols.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban received a $5,000.00 fine by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip against Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic on Tuesday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin is expected to be named GM of the USA Men’s Olympic Hockey Team at the 2022 Beijing Games.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

Is it time for the Jets to rebuild? Should the Oilers trade a top-four defenseman? Are changes coming for the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE JETS REBUILD?

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has spun his wheels since his club reached the Western Conference Final two years ago, suggesting the club is heading in the wrong direction.

Friesen acknowledged Dustin Byfuglien’s unexpected departure and an injury-ravaged roster contributed to the club’s struggles this season. Nevertheless, the Jets lack depth on defense and the forward lines. He feels it’s time for Cheveldayoff to make a big move for a second-line center and a top-four defenseman.

With several teams affected by the flat salary cap and the Jets carrying additional cap room after Byfuglien’s contract termination, Friesen believes Cheveldayoff has the cap flexibility to address his roster issues.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Cheveldayoff will feel the pressure during the off-season to reverse the Jets’ fortunes. He wonders how much rope the club’s ownership is willing to give their GM before deciding they need to go in a different direction. McIntyre feels Cheveldayoff will have to make a big move via the off-season trade or free-agent markets.

Could the Winnipeg Jets pursue Alex Pietrangelo in the free-agent market? (NHL Images)

If sidelined center Bryan Little (eardrum surgery, post-concussion symptoms) cannot play next season, they can place him on long-term injury reserve, potentially freeing up his $5.29-million cap hit for next season. Trading or buying out Mathieu Perreault could clear some more salary from their books. McIntyre considers fixing the blueline to be Cheveldayoff’s priority.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests Andrew Copp could be the internal solution to replace Little if the latter remains sidelined. External options could include Montreal’s Max Domi or Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick as both could use a change of scenery. Wiebe also pondered the possibility of Cheveldayoff pursuing a big-ticket player like St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players. All their core players are under contract, so Cheveldayoff could re-sign his RFAs to affordable, short-term deals. Still, he might need a little more cap space if he intends to land a big-ticket player, especially via the UFA market. He can send some salary the other way if he’s acquiring a player via trade.

Domi’s status has been a hot topic in the Montreal media throughout this season. That chatter recently intensified with Domi currently seeing fourth-line minutes in the postseason. Patrick, however, has been sidelined this season by a migraine disorder, which (as Wiebe also noted) would make him a risky acquisition.

Pietrangelo would be a big catch for the Jets, but that’s assuming the Blues captain wants to play in Winnipeg if he tests the UFA market. If he doesn’t, Cheveldayoff would have to look elsewhere, and the pickings for top defensemen are slim beyond Pietrangelo and Boston’s Torey Krug.

SHOULD THE OILERS SHOP A TOP-FOUR DEFENSEMAN?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Bob Stauffer’s recent interview with Brian Burke in which the Sportsnet analyst suggested the Oilers trade a defenseman like Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, or Oscar Klefbom.

Burke felt the Oilers defense didn’t play well enough, believing one or two of their blueliners might need a change of scenery. He acknowledged such moves might be difficult given the Oilers’ limited cap space for next season.

The former NHL GM agreed with Stauffer’s suggestion the Toronto Maple Leafs might be a trading partner, proposing a swap of Larsson for a winger like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson.

Former NHL GM turned analyst Brian Lawton agreed there could be some changes to the top four. He expressed concern over Klefbom’s injury history. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, meanwhile, believes Larsson could be the likely trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three Oilers defenseman, Nurse could fetch the best return. The 25-year-old is two years younger than Klefbom and Larsson and his style would make him attractive for clubs seeking a mobile, physical rearguard. Klefbom’s injury history could hurt his trade value, while Larsson’s UFA eligibility next summer could be a deal-breaker for some clubs.

Staples feels the Oilers should try and move out Kris Russell. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility, but his 15-team no-trade clause could make that difficult.

LATEST ON THE PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile pulled no punches assessing his club’s performance this season. “This is unacceptable”, he said. “This is how we have to view this result is that we have to be better and it’s not acceptable.”

Poile indicated the club’s direction in the last two years made it “clear to me that we need to make some changes.” While the Preds GM said “everything is on the table,” Skrbina doesn’t expect a complete roster overhaul.

Pending UFAs Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith might not be back. The Predators could look in-house to address some of their needs, perhaps promoting Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Skrbina also speculates Poile could try again to trade center Kyle Turris or buy him out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $72.2 million invested in 17 players, Poile will have to cut some salary if he intends to look to the trade or free-agent markets for help. Trading Turris could mean absorbing part of his $6 million annual salary or packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect. A contract buyout will leave them with $2 million annually in dead cap space to 2028.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2020

Reaction to the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft before resuming the season and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports this week will be a big one for the NHL. A board of governors’ conference call will be held today to discuss stage the 2020 draft next month, perhaps on June 5 and 6.

The league will review bids on Tuesday for potential hub cities to host games should the season resume this summer. Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Las Vegas are believed among those expressing interest. The league must also address concerns raised by players regarding potentially lengthy separations from their families.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan raised questions about staging the draft before the season resumes. He wants to know how the draft lottery will work, what happens with conditional picks, if teams will be allowed to trade players, and what happens with the investigation into claims the Arizona Coyote violated draft rules by fitness-testing at least 20 draft-eligible prospects before the league’s annual draft combine.

Las Vegas is believed among the cities interested in being a hub location for resuming the NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regan pointed out deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested using points percentage as a way of determining the draft order, as well as reverting to the previous draft lottery system where one winner is picked and can only move up four spots. However, he noted that it raises the possibility of a team winning the draft lottery and going on to win the Stanley Cup if the season resumes this summer.

Regan cited Daly’s suggestions that teams involved in previous deals involving conditional picks in this year’s draft could sort them out between themselves or the league would do it for them. I agree with his take that it’s a simplistic solution for a complicated issue. It doesn’t sound like the league will allow players to be traded.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes appear to have inside information on 20 prospects, giving them an unfair advantage in this draft. I’ll be very surprised if that isn’t raised during that conference call today.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson cites an NHL team executive expressing doubt that staging an early draft will be a TV rating bonanza. “I know we’re gung-ho to get on the airwaves but our draft isn’t like the NFL draft. Nobody knows our players. I don’t think we’ll have massive ratings. There’s no intrigue leading up to the draft if you can’t trade real players, either, it’s just picking at a draft.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comparing the NFL and NHL drafts, Matheson notes that few Canadians follow junior hockey here or in Europe with the same intensity that Americans follow U.S. college football. As he also points out, this year’s draft will lack spice because of the inability to trade established NHL players. I agree with him that the league must aggressively market this year’s prospects to NHL fans if they intend to hold the draft a month from now.

TSN: NHL teams are preparing for an early draft despite incomplete information on this year’s prospects. Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said it would be nice to see how those players perform in playoff situations. Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said they’re having to rely more on videotape, while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff added they’ll have to count on the work put in by their scouts from September to early-March. Flames GM Brad Treliving said losing the draft combine means they can’t physically test the prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every club will be in the same boat, except for the Coyotes because of their early physical testing of several prospects. Nevertheless, the inability to scout those youngsters in late-season and playoff action and evaluate their physical conditioning could make this year’s draft more of a guessing game, especially in the later rounds.

THE SCORE: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said NHL players flying into Canada from other countries while the border remains closed must follow quarantine procedures. “Certainly, at a strict minimum, anyone who arrives from another country will have to follow all the rules of quarantine in an extremely strict manner, but we’re not there yet in our discussions with the NHL.”

TORONTO SUN: Ryan Wolstat includes the Boston Bruins on his list of North American sports teams that would be hurt the most if their seasons are canceled because of the pandemic. With the NHL’s best record, the Bruins are considered this season’s Stanley Cup favorites.

Wolstat also thinks a cancellation of the season would spare the Toronto Maple Leafs the disappointment of another early playoff exit, while the last-place Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t have to complete the remainder of a meaningless schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Being the best team in the NHL during the regular season is no guarantee of a Stanley Cup championship. Since the NHL awarded the Presidents’ Trophy in 1986 to the team with the best regular-season record, only eight of those teams went on to win the Cup.

As for the Leafs, they could also exceed Wolstat’s expectations. Should the season resume following a long layoff, teams won’t be in the same state as they were when the schedule was paused.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton shaved off his iconic beard.










NHL General Managers On The Hot Seat as Trade Deadline Approaches

NHL General Managers On The Hot Seat as Trade Deadline Approaches