Would The Real Boston Bruins Please Step Forward?
Bill Peters releases a statement regarding his alleged use of racial slurs, the Boston Bruins re-sign Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Elias Lindholm. Flames defenseman TJ Brodie collected his first points since returning to the lineup after collapsing during practice on Nov. 14. The Sabres have just one win in their last six games. They also announced Vladimir Sobotka is sidelined indefinitely following surgery on his right knee while Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion.
The Flames’ victory was overshadowed by the ongoing controversy surrounding head coach Bill Peters. He was accused of uttering racial slurs toward former NHL player Akim Aliu when both were with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs a decade ago. Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan also accused Peters of kicking him during a game in 2015-16.
Peters was not behind the bench against the Sabres, having returned to Calgary as the club investigates his previous conduct. Read below for further details.
Brad Marchand scored his fifth goal in four games as the Boston Bruins nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The Bruins have won five straight games. The club also announced the re-signings of Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner (details below).
The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their third straight win under new coach Sheldon Keefe by crushing the Detroit Red Wings 6-0. Andreas Johnsson scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves as the Leafs peppered the Wings with 54 shots. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard left the game in the first period after suffering a mid-body injury. An ailing Jonathan Bernier took over, giving up three goals on 40 shots.
St. Louis Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist scored twice as his club held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. He subsequently left the game with a lower-body injury. Ivan Barbashev also collected three assists. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored and picked up two assists.
The New York Rangers picked up their third straight win by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves for the win as his teammates tallied three first-period goals.
Evgeni Malkin had five points while teammates Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each had four as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 6-3 deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-6. J.T. Miller and Adam Gaudette each tallied twice for the Canucks.
The Washington Capitals picked up their first win in three games by defeating the Florida Panthers 4-3. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby kicked out 37 shots. The Panthers are winless in their last three contests.
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 15 saves in the third period to preserve a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers extended their points streak to four games.
Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Paul Stastny’s overtime goal as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Nashville Predators 4-3. The Knight snap a three-game winless skid. Earlier in the day, they placed forward Valentin Zykov on waivers.
Arizona Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak scored twice in the first period and buried the winner in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Coyotes have won four of their last six games.
The Colorado Avalanche tallied three third period goals to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avs, who ended Edmonton captain Connor McDavid’s points streak at 11 games.
Dustin Brown and Alex Iafallo each collected two points as the Los Angeles Kings downed the New York Islanders 4-1. It’s the Isles second straight loss coming off a 17-game points streak. The Kings also activated Trevor Lewis from injured reserve.
Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine collected three points as his club tallied five straight goals to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the win while Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each picked up two points.
Calgary Flames head coach Peters issued an apology yesterday in a letter to general manager Brad Treliving, calling the incident “isolated and immediately regrettable.” TSN’s Frank Seravalli noticed a discrepancy in the statement. Peters claimed he immediately returned to the dressing room and apologized to the team following the racial slur aimed at Aliu, but the latter claimed that didn’t happen even after the team captain confronted Peters.
Seravalli also pointed out that Peters didn’t acknowledge the incident with Jordan. However, Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour acknowledged that incident took place, as well as another in which Peters punched an unnamed player. Brind’Amour was Peters’ assistant coach when those episodes took place. He claimed the incidents were addressed by the players and management and never happened again.
Former Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. claimed then-Hurricanes GM Ron Francis never informed him about Peters’ alleged physical abuse of the two players. He claimed he would’ve fired Peter “in a nanosecond” had Francis told him about those claims.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman cites a source claiming a face-to-face meeting between Peters and the league will likely occur, depending on the Flames’ own actions. That raises the possibility of league-mandated punishment along with whatever the Flames do.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Peters remains coach of the Flames. His statement hasn’t done anything to dampen calls for his firing. This situation could result in more players coming forward, either on their own or through the NHLPA, with their own stories of mental and physical abuse by NHL and minor-league coaches.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday re-signed forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year contract extensions. Coyle inked a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5.25 million while Wagner got a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s contract was the most notable, as he was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s become a valuable part of the Bruins’ lineup since being acquired in a trade last season from Minnesota. He’s proven to be a versatile two-way third-line forward who can play center or on the wing but also move up to the second line when the need arises. The term seems a little long and the salary a little high but the Bruins are willing to pay it to keep him in the fold.
The latest Islanders and Rangers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE FORWARD OPTIONS FOR THE ISLANDERS
THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently explored where the New York Islanders could turn to add a top-nine forward before the season begins. Free-agent options could include Brian Boyle, Tobias Rieder, Devante Smith-Pelly or former Isles winger Thomas Vanek.
Looking at the trade market, Goldman listed Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Vegas’ Cody Eakin, the Rangers’ Vladislav Namestnikov, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, or Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers. If Toronto needs to clear salary to re-sign Mitch Marner, perhaps Kasperi Kapanen or Zach Hyman become available.
Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson could be on the move if the Canucks need to free up cap space for Brock Boeser. LA’s Ilya Kovalchuk or Boston’s Charlie Coyle are other possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play before deciding if additional moves are necessary. Cap Friendly indicates the Isles have over $6 million in cap space though that’ll shrink a bit once Anthony Beauvillier is re-signed. That will still leave sufficient room if Lamoriello decides to bring in an affordable UFA forward.
Many of the aforementioned trade options carry expensive contracts, meaning the Isles must give up a salaried player to make the dollars fit. Some of the players on Goldman’s list (Nashville, Vegas, Rangers) have limited cap space.
The Leafs could part with Kapanen or Hyman if necessary to sign Marner. As we’ve seen, however, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has juggled his cap space this summer without hurting his roster.
The Canucks could part with Pearson but he improved in Vancouver after struggling in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh last season. They might prefer shipping out someone like Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter.
The Kings would love to move Kolvachuk but I don’t think Lamoriello is keen on a reunion with the aging winger. The Bruins could put Coyle on the block to free up room to re-sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, but talk out of Boston suggests they’ll consider other trade options.
Winnipeg could be a possibility once they get Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor under contract. They need depth on the right side of their defense and Ehlers has frequently come up in this summer’s trade chatter. Goldman suggested Nick Leddy as an option but he’s a left-side defender.
LATEST ON KREIDER, LEMIEUX AND DEANGELO
THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpinello believes New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider is more like than not to be traded before he goes to free agency next summer. Carpinello suggests Kreider’s UFA value could be in the range of seven years at $7 million annually. He doubts the Blueshirts will invest that much in a player turning 29 next year.
Carpinello also dismissed the possibility of an offer sheet for Brendan Lemieux or Anthony DeAngelo. He feels the Rangers would walk away and accept the low compensation of a third-round draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect this summer’s Kreider trade chatter to carry over into this season, provided he’s not moved before then. One way or another, this season could be his last with the Rangers.
As for Lemieux and DeAngelo, I think any club interested in either guy will go the trade route instead of the offer sheet. If a team wanted to use the latter, they could sign away either player for under $1.3 million without giving up anything in compensation.
Check out the latest on the Bruins and Blues on the eve of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
BOSTON HERALD: Trade deadline acquisitions Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson are paying dividends for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Coyle is fifth among their postseason scoring leaders with eight goals and 15 points. Johansson, meanwhile, has four goals and 11 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansson is a UFA this summer. He could be just a playoff rental for the Bruins, who have over $68 million (stick tap to Cap Friendly) invested in 19 players. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are restricted free agents due for significant pay raises.
Coyle is assured of returning with the Bruins as he has a year remaining on his contract. Given his postseason play, it’s unlikely they’ll move him in the offseason.
NBC SPORTS: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is ok after making a painful shot block in the third period of Game 3. The blueliner was visibly in pain and left the game with just two minutes remaining in the third period.
STLTODAY.COM: After being the least-penalized team through three rounds, the St. Louis Blues are awash in penalties in the Cup Final. They’re averaging 11.3 minutes per game against Boston compared to 6.8 minutes per game against their earlier playoff opponents. Blues coach Craig Berube is frustrated and befuddled by the spike in penalties against his team, adding he didn’t agree with some of the calls.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube noted his players are allowing frustration and emotion to creep into their play, especially when play is stopped. The Bruins are also very good at drawing penalties so the Blues must ensure they don’t rise to the bait. Not easy to do when emotions are running high. Given the Bruins lethal power play, which went four-for-four in Game 3, the Blues must play with more discipline in this series.
TSN: Blues center Robert Thomas and defenseman Vince Dunn skated with their teammates during practice yesterday. Thomas has an unspecified injury while Dunn is recovering from concussion symptoms. Their status for Game 4 remains uncertain.
The Minnesota Wild have reportedly traded forward Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Wild will receive forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, the deal won’t be officially announced until 10 PM ET, presumably because of the Wild’s flight delay. No word yet on what year that draft pick will be in but presumably it’s this year.
This is likely the first of what could be several moves by Wild general manager Paul Fenton over the next several months. He’s received permission from ownership to do whatever he deems necessary to shake up his roster for the short- and long-term, even if it jeopardizes their playoff hopes. With the Wild currently clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Fenton has evidently seen enough and isn’t wasting time retooling his roster.
Coyle, 26, is a native of Weymouth, Massachusetts so this move to Boston will be like coming home after spending his entire NHL career with the Wild. He’s a versatile forward who can play center or wing, possesses good size (6’3″, 220 lbs) and decent scoring touch, reaching 56 points in 2016-17. He could fill that second-line winger role or third-line center spot for the Bruins. Perhaps this move turns Coyle into the 35-goal scorer he was projected to become when he joined the Wild.
Donato, 22, can also skate at center or on the wing. While smaller than Coyle (6′,193 lbs), he has offensive potential but found it difficult cracking the Bruins’ roster. He’s earning $900K this season and should be an affordable re-signing for the Wild, who also clear Coyle’s $3.2 million salary-cap hit through 2019-20 from their books. Donato recently said he believes he can become a full-time NHL player. He’ll get his opportunity with the Wild.