NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

Stan Bowman steps aside as Blackhawks general manager as the Blackhawks make front office changes in the wake of an investigation into sexual assault allegations involving their former video coach. Details plus recaps of Tuesday’s game and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Chicago Blackhawks team president and general manager Stan Bowman stepped aside following the release of details of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made against former video coach Bradley Aldrich by a former player over a decade ago. Senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac was also relieved of his duties. The news was announced in a virtual press briefing yesterday that included Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and Jenner & Block lead investigator Reid Schar.

Former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman (NHL.com).

In addition, the NHL has fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” in its handling of this matter. Aldrich left the Blackhawks following the 2009-10 season.

The investigation found Bowman and MacIsaac met with then-president and CEO John McDonough, executive VP Jay Blunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, head coach Joel Quenneville and mental skills coach James Gary after the Blackhawks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in May 2010 to discuss the allegations. However, nothing was done until three weeks later after the Blackhawks won the Cup.

TSN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman intends to meet personally with Cheveldayoff and Quenneville in the near future. Cheveldayoff is now the GM of the Winnipeg Jets and Quenneville is the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The full 107-page report, based on interviews with 139 people, has been released to the public (warning: contains graphic and disturbing details). It reveals the Blackhawks organization ultimately put winning a championship over pursuing prompt action against a sexual predator in their midst.

When they finally acted, they didn’t go to the police. Instead, Aldrich was given the choice of stepping down or being subjected to an internal investigation. He got severance pay, a playoff bonus, a day with the Cup and a complimentary reference letter from Quenneville. Nearly four years later, Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail and five years probation on criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from his alleged involvement with a high school player.

At every level, the Blackhawks failed to protect “John Doe”, who was also reportedly later ostracized and mocked by several teammates following his ordeal. They chose to cover it up for years, doing immeasurable harm to Aldrich’s victims and tarnishing a once-proud organization. The only positive to come out of this is “John Doe” finally received some measure of justice for his ordeal.

This story never would’ve seen the light of day without the determined reporting by TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang. Their reports earlier this year led to the long-overdue investigation into the allegations.

The fallout from this story is ongoing and the aftermath will be felt by the Blackhawks, and the NHL, for a long time. We can only hope there will be lessons learned by the league to ensure victims of sexual assault at any level within its ranks never have to face what “John Doe” endured for the past decade.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken won its first home game in franchise history by downing the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Brandon Tanev scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected a goal and an assist. The hapless Habs have lost five of their first six games this season. Earlier in the day, Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin said sidelined teammate Shea Weber is essentially retired though he hasn’t officially done so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin said out loud what everyone knows. Injuries have ended Weber’s career but he’s still under contract through 2025-26. He’ll remain on long-term injury reserve. If he officially retires, the Canadiens would only face a salary-cap recapture penalty of $200K per season until his contract expires. His former club, the Nashville Predators, would get hit with $6.1 million annually as they were the ones who matched his contract offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored the tying and winning goals 19 seconds apart in the third period to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Andrew Copp also had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Calgary Flames picked up their fourth straight win by dropping the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Andrew Mangiapane scored two goals for the Flames. Pavel Zacha replied with two for the Devils.

A 28-save performance by Andrei Vasilevskiy gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the Lightning’s first regulation win of the season. Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh each had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their second win of the season by beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Robin Lehner made 26 saves while Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist. Both clubs have 2-4-0 records.

Cam Talbot made 22 saves as the Minnesota Wild held off the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Matt Dumba scored the eventual game-winner as the Wild have won five straight games. The Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has traveled to Vancouver and will join their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. He did not report to the club in September and was placed on leave while dealing with a personal matter.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had two assists and goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 28 shots in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Predators.

IN OTHER NEWS…

STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly was placed on the non-roster COVID-19 protocol list yesterday, joining winger Brandon Saad. They will be sidelined at least 10 days.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and center Henrik Borgstrom were placed on the club’s COVID protocol list.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan will be sidelined eight weeks after fracturing his wrist in Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Coyotes goaltender Carter Hutton is expected to miss two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Conor Timmins is out eight-to-12 weeks (lower body) while winger Ryan Dzingel has suffered an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed forward Ross Johnston to a four-year contract extension. He’ll earn $1.1 million annually.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

The Canadian government clears the way for allowing hub cities, a CBA extension could be part of the return-to-play plan, plus updates on Seth Jones, Sean Couturier, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites a Canadian Press report indicating the Canadian government has issued an order-in-council that would allow Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver to serve as one of the NHL’s two hub cities for its 24-team playoff tournament later this summer.

Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena could be among one of two host arenas for the NHL’s playoff tournament.

The order, which now awaits the Governor-General’s signature, would allow the NHL to work around Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for individuals entering the country. The league had to provide a plan that adhered to Canada’s public health requirements before the government went ahead with the order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three Canadian cities are among 10 in the running to host the tournament. Las Vegas is reportedly considered the front-runner, but it’s also believed the league prefers placing one of those hosts in Canada.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun cites a source claiming the NHL and NHL Players Association are attempting to negotiate the layers for Phase 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan while also trying to hammer out an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun’s source, who’s close to the negotiations, suggested the return-to-play plan and a CBA extension (or a memo of understanding for the latter) could be presented as one package to the players before the end of this month.

LeBrun also reports there are players with questions about such issues such as health concerns in their respective NHL cities, life under quarantine conditions during the tournament, and economic issues such as escrow payments.

Should the playoff tournament go off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup could be awarded in early October, with the draft and free agency beginning later in that month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension (perhaps to 2026) would be a silver lining in the COVID cloud hanging over the NHL. Because of the effects of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue, both sides must work together to ensure labor peace in the coming years. Given the limited timeline and the myriad of issues to be discussed, it remains to be seen if they can work out an agreement by the end of June. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports if an NHL  player tests positive for COVID-19 we won’t know what team they belong to. Instead, the league could simply say a player has tested positive. McKenzie speculates it could be part of a weekly report going forward indicating how many players have or haven’t tested positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will raise questions over which teams those players belong to, how many of them could be sidelined, and the effect upon the proposed playoff tournament. 

McKenzie thinks most of the players understand the need to return to action is an important one but there is a vocal minority raising concerns. He feels a player could be allowed to opt-out of returning if he had strong objections of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league and the PA are believed to be working on opt-out language in the plan for players who don’t want to return. Friedman also said part of the pitch will be the quarantine bubble the teams will be under will be safer than in some parts of North America.

McKenzie also said a decision on the two host cities could come next week. The league’s preference is a home team doesn’t play in its own hub. In other words, if Las Vegas is selected, the Vegas Golden Knights could play in the other hub city.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL has assured its coaches they won’t face any restrictions preventing them from doing their jobs. Those of a certain age or in an at-risk demographic won’t be prevented from being behind the bench. Health and safety protocols for coaches and their interactions with players are still being discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaches could be required to wear masks behind the bench and elsewhere in the facility. We’ll learn more details when the league and the PA release their health protocol plans for Phase 3 and 4.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (right ankle fracture and sprain) and Dean Kukan (knee injury) have been activated off injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin knows he’s at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he’s a type-1 diabetic. Nevertheless, he remains focused on joining his teammates for the playoff tournament. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from suiting up,” said Kunin.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are among the Flyers that have taken part in small-group training at the team’s practice facility.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is among several Coyotes skating at Gila River Arena in preparation for the league’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of this NHL season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo is one of two former CHL players to file a class-action lawsuit alleging they were routinely hazed, bullied, physically and verbally harassed, and physically and sexually harassed and assaulted during their junior careers. This comes days after a former Kitchener Rangers player claimed he was forced to do cocaine in a team bathroom during his rookie season in 2016.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2020

Corey Perry receives a five-game suspension, the Canadiens sign Ilya Kovalchuk, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist while Esa Lindell collected three assists to give the Dallas Stars a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Stars have won four straight games. Before the game, the Stars honored Pavelski for playing his 1,000th career NHL game.

Ilya Samsonov made 38 saves as the Washington Capitals held off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (50 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Corey Perry received a five-game suspension for elbowing Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the 2020 NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Ellis suffered a possible concussion and was placed on injured reserve.

Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry suspended five games for elbowing Nashville’s Ryan Ellis (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s two previous suspensions on his NHL resume and the severity of Ellis’ injury were contributing factors in the league’s decision.

Speaking of the Stars, former head coach Jim Montgomery is checking into a rehab program for alcohol abuse. Montgomery released a statement indicating his recent firing was the appropriate call by the club. He took responsibility for his actions, saying the loss of his job served as a wake-up call to get treatment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Montgomery. Here’s hoping he lands another NHL coaching job soon. He did a good job with the Stars and should get another shot elsewhere.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A spate of injuries and a recent slide in the standings prompted Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to make this move. Kovalchuk is no longer a dominant scorer and probably won’t improve the Habs’ performance, but it’s a low-cost, low-risk move. If it doesn’t work out, Bergevin has sufficient salary-cap space to make a more impactful move.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson will miss the next five-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed forward depth before their recent acquisition of winger Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames. Olofsson’s injury could push them back into the trade market.

TSN: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will pass on playing in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He will be replaced by Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Fleury felt it better to use the All-Star break to rest and prepare for the remainder of the season and playoffs. He’ll be suspended by the league for one regular-season game. A small price to pay for the Golden Knights to rest their top netminder.

Speaking of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, Washington’s Todd Reirden, Boston’s Bruce Cassidy, St. Louis’ Craig Berube, and Vegas’ Gerard Gallant will serve as coaches for the event.

SPORTSNET: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is out for the remainder of the season with an injury to his Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big loss to the Isles’ blueline. Pelech is considered their most dependable rearguard and won’t be easily replaced.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan is sidelined indefinitely with a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid received a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.