Struggling Blackhawks Have Fascinating Future
Game recaps, Dustin Byfuglien undergoes ankle surgery, John Tavares could soon return to action, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 7-6 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Brayden Point each collected three points. Devils winger Kyle Palmieri tallied a hat trick while teammate Jesper Bratt scored two goals. Earlier in the day, the Lightning recalled Luke Schenn, Cory Conacher, and Alexander Volkov.
Brock Boeser’s hat trick powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson had a goal and three assists for the Canucks, who went four-for-six on the power play. Jeff Carter tallied twice for the Kings.
Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists and James Neal tallied his 11th goal of the season.
Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth win in the last five games by edging the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Alex Pietrangelo snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello netted his first goal of the season.
Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Carey Price made 33 saves to lead the Montreal Canadiens over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery last week in Minnesota and is expected to be sidelined until sometime in January. Byfuglien has been suspended by the Jets for salary-cap reasons as he was on a leave of absence mulling his future. It appears the Jets were unaware he had opted for surgery but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed his full support.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien’s surgery raised questions over why he didn’t undergo the precedure during training camp last month. Whatever the reason, his ongoing absence leaves a significant void on the blueline that the Jets have struggled to fill. The uncertainty over his future also make it difficult for Cheveldayoff to look for help via trade or free agency.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks blueliners Josh Manson will be sidelined five-to-ten weeks with a sprained knee.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (broken finger) could return to action as soon as Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour (broken hand) could return to the lineup by this weekend.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach will remain with the Blackhawks this season. He was the third-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
TORONTO SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory has died at age 83. In his 10 seasons as GM, the Leafs drafted such notables as Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald. He went on to become the NHL’s director of Central Scouting, executive director of hockey operations, senior vice-president of hockey operations and supervision, and chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gregory was also among the first general managers to discover European talent, the most notable being Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming. Other standouts drafted by Gregory include Rick Kehoe, Ian Turnbull, Tiger Williams, Mike Palmateer, Doug Jarvis, Randy Carlyle, and Joel Quenneville. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and associates.