Midseason NHL Sophomore Stock Watch for 2019-20
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.
Flames coach Bill Peters accused of making racial slurs to a former player, Henrik Lundqvist reaches another milestone victory, former Leafs coach Mike Babcock criticized for bullying tactics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their points streak to five games with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Jake Guentzel netted the winning goal in overtime. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an undisclosed ailment on Nov. 4.
During the game, former NHL player Akim Aliu took to Twitter insinuating Flames coach Bill Peters uttered racial slurs at him when the two were in the minors a decade ago. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the club will make a complete investigation before commenting on Aliu’s comments.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aliu didn’t directly name Peters but referred to the Calgary airport code. He played for Peters on the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. That’s when the former defenseman claims the remarks were made.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 455th career win as his club edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. He moved into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Tony DeAngelo scored the winner in overtime. During the game, Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello was given a video tribute and a nice ovation by Rangers fans. Zuccarello spent nearly nine seasons with the Blueshirts.
The Dallas Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight win as they doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Alexander Radulov scored twice and set up another as the Stars extended their points streak to 12 games. Stars defenseman John Klingberg collected three assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After dropping eight of their first name games, the Stars have roared back in November. They now sit third overall in the Western Conference.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 26 saves to blank the New York Islanders 3-0, snapping the latter’s franchise-record 17-game points streak. It’s the Isles’ first regulation loss since Oct. 11. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.
Shorthanded third-period goals by Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Palat also collected two assists. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who left the game with a concussion.
Jakub Voracek scored the tie-breaking goal as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Sean Couturier also tallied for the Flyers, while J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, who’ve won just three of their last 11 contests. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced winger Antoine Roussel (knee injury) was heading to their AHL affiliate in Utica for a conditioning stint.
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo turned in a 25-save shutout in a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. Oliver Bjorkstrand netted the game’s only goal.
The Nashville Predators blew a 2-0 lead but went on to down the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Daniel Carr. Blues goaltender Jake Allen made 37 saves. Winger Troy Brouwer finally made his season debut with the Blues following a wait for his work visa to be approved.
After blowing a 3-0 lead, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on an unassisted overtime tally by Patrick Marleau. Timo Meier also scored twice for the Sharks.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 24, 2019.
TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock is under criticism for his treatment of winger Mitch Marner during the latter’s rookie season. Babcock asked Marner to rank his teammates based on their work output, then shared the results with his teammates. The players were reportedly more upset with Babcock than they were with Marner. Babcock confirmed the story to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, claiming he was trying to focus on work ethic and role models with Marner and apologized at the time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock also came under fire from former NHL players Mike Commodore and Mark Fraser. They claim most of the players who skated for the long-time NHL coach hated him, as he used his power to turn teammates against each other. The emerging stories have dimmed some of the luster from Babcock’s otherwise stellar NHL record.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, center Alexander Kerfoot received a two-game suspension for boarding Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrick Bergeron will be sidelined for two games with a lingering lower-body injury.
YARDBARKER: The Florida Panthers demoted goaltender Sam Montembeault to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
NJ.COM: Tom Fitzgerald has stepped away from his assistant coach duties with the New Jersey Devils and returned to his position as their assistant general manager.
The latest on P.K. Subban, Cody Ceci, Rasmus Dahlin, Karl Alzner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and former U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn announced their engagement on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the happy couple.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci and his partner Jamie Thompson filed a statement of defense Friday against an $8.6-million lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured during an incident at Ceci’s home last year. She suffered third-degree burns during an accident with a tabletop fireplace.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin feels better prepared and is more driven to help his club become playoff contenders this season. A Calder Trophy finalist in 2018-19, Dahlin wasn’t happy with the Sabres’ second-half collapse. He’s hoping for a better result in his sophomore campaign. “I feel more prepared. I feel more mature,” said the 19-year-old blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong performance from Dahlin will be crucial to the Sabres’ postseason hopes in ’19-’20. Having gone through the rigors of his first NHL season, he now knows what to expect and how to adjust to a long schedule.
TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner hopes to avoid spending another season in the minors. He saw action in just nine games with the Habs in 2018-19. Alzner hasn’t requested a trade but that could change if he’s demoted again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For most of Alzner’s NHL career he was a steady stay-at-home defenseman. However, the increased pace of the NHL game in recent years made it difficult for slower players like Alzner to contain fleet-footed opponents. Unless he’s somehow found a gear we never knew he had, he might not crack the Canadiens’ blueline this season.
SPORTSNET: The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise could reveal their team name around this season’s All-Star Game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m partial to the Seattle Expansions or, as the Face Off Hockey Show’s Scotty Wazz suggested, the Seattle Your-Name-Here. 😉