Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov won’t be participating in international competition with his native Russia anytime soon. That country is currently not allowed to take part in such events due to its ongoing war with Ukraine.
The Bruins signed Miller on Nov. 4 but soon disassociated themselves from the 21-year-old defenseman following backlash over the signing. At age 14, Miller pled guilty to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act for a series of racially-motivated acts against a developmentally challenged classmate over a series of months.
The Bruins terminated Miller’s contract and the NHL Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf. A source tells Brooks that a settlement was reached back in February in lieu of a hearing releasing the Bruins from their obligation while paying Miller an undisclosed amount of money and granting him free agency. He’s expected to seek employment in Europe.
SUNDAY NHL RUMOR ROUNDUP
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Erik Karlsson telling the Swedish publication Expressen that he’s not okay with returning to the San Jose Sharks. While he likes living and playing in San Jose, he’s at the stage in his career where he risks running out of chances to win the Stanley Cup.
Karlsson said Sharks general manager Mike Grier knows his position and is trying to accommodate him. Still, Kingerski believes this will put additional pressure on Grier to get a deal done this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on recent reports it appears that the Karlsson sweepstakes is down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes with the Penguins considered the front-runners. The offers and counter-offers have been made and now everyone waits to see if the Penguins, Hurricanes or Sharks blink first.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby took note of Karlsson’s admission in the same interview that he’s spoken with the Maple Leafs as well as several other clubs regarding a trade.
Hornby, however, isn’t getting too excited about this. He pointed out that the Pittsburgh Penguins seem much closer to landing Karlsson. He also noted that Leafs general manager Brad Treliving likes to get into trade discussions involving elite players, “if only to wave his team’s flag.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Treliving looked into it but it’s doubtful he has a legitimate show at landing Karlsson.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Remy Mastey recently cited Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reporting the Arizona Coyotes have emerged as the leading candidates to sign Matt Dumba. The Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars also reportedly had interest along with the Sharks. Dumba, 28, is the top defenseman remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what type of contract Dumba signed regardless of which team gets him. He could bet on himself with a one-year deal in the hope of landing a more lucrative deal next summer when the salary cap is projected to rise by $4 million for 2024-25.
The Hurricanes had a deal in place with the Flyers to bring back DeAngelo earlier this month. However, the deal was held up on a CBA technicality and eventually fell through. The Flyers subsequently bought out the final year of his contract, making the 27-year-old defenseman an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Karlsson’s availability changed things for the Hurricanes. We can’t rule out the possibility of them circling back to DeAngelo but recent reports indicate they haven’t spoken with his camp since he was bought out earlier this month.
The Penguins end a lengthy losing skid, Evander Kane goes on LTIR after a serious wrist injury, Charlie McAvoy could be poised to return soon and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Two power-play goals by Kirill Kaprizov lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots for his first win with the Wild as their record improved to 6-6-1 while the Ducks fall to 4-9-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Kaprizov was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Anaheim Ducks star Trevor Zegras scored another lacrosse-style goal but “The Michigan” was overturned on a coach’s challenge as his teammate Dmitry Kulikov was ruled offside on the play.
Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight made 40 saves to shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Nick Cousins, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett were the goal scorers as the Panthers improved to 8-5-1 while the Hurricanes are 8-4-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone night for Panthers forward Eric Staal and head coach Paul Maurice. Staal skated in his 1,300th career NHL game while Maurice moved into sixth place among NHL coaches for career wins with 783. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were without goalie Frederik Andersen as he returned to Carolina for treatment regarding an undisclosed injury.
The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 shots while Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (5-6-2) while the Capitals fall to 6-7-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recorded his 901st career assist to tie Bryan Trottier for 19th on the career assist list. He’s also one point back of Trottier (1,425) for 17th on the all-time points list.
Montreal Canadiens winger Kirby Dach scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist and Sam Montembeault kicked out 31 shots for the win as the Canadiens rise to 7-6-1 while the Canucks fall to 4-7-3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens played without rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky. He received a two-game suspension for boarding Detroit Red Wings forward Matt Luff, who will be sidelined for 10-12 weeks. Meanwhile, Canadiens winger Josh Anderson served the second game of his two-game suspension for boarding Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane was placed on long-term injury reserve following surgery to repair a deep cut on his wrist suffered during Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a statement, Kane thanked the doctors, paramedics and training staffs for both teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was fortunate not to suffer more serious damage to his wrist. While it appears he won’t suffer any permanent effects from the injury, his absence will leave a big gap at left wing on their top scoring line.
SPORTSNET: Isaiah Meyer-Crothers released a statement through the Hockey Diversity Alliance claiming he’s seen no proof that Mitchell Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers suffered years of racist bullying from Miller, culminating in the latter pleading guilty at age 14 in juvenile court in 2016 to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act.
Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and has developmental disabilities, said Miller recently contacted him by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help youth. “I told him, ‘That’s all cool but where is the proof though? He didn’t give me any (proof)”, said Meyer-Crothers. “All the lies I have been told from him for so many years I don’t believe what Mitchell told me.”
Mitchell signed an entry-level contract last Friday with the Boston Bruins but they rescinded the deal on Monday following sweeping criticism from team captain Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins’ fan base. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also weighed in by saying that Miller wasn’t currently eligible to play in the league without major changes.
Meyer-Crothers detailed the years of abuse he suffered by Miller and the toll it has taken on him and his family. He indicated Miller’s friends continued to abuse him even after Mitchell was expelled from school. He also said he recently received racist and abusive messages on social media.
“Mitchell isn’t my friend. It hurts my heart what he did to me. So I just wanted to tell everyone – when Mitchell says we’re friends it isn’t true,” wrote Meyer-Crothers. “I can’t take more of this.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ signing of Miller and their clumsy handling of the aftermath poured salt on emotional wounds for Meyer-Crothers and his family that haven’t fully healed. All because management didn’t conduct due diligence in vetting Miller before signing him.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens prospect defenseman Logan Mailloux will also require clearance by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before he can play in the league. He remains on an entry-level contract with the Canadiens and currently plays with the OHL’s London Knights. Canadiens president Jeff Gorton said he and Mailloux knew that Bettman’s approval would be required since the Canadiens drafted him and when he signed his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mailloux withdrew from the 2021 NHL Draft following a report that – while playing in Sweden in 2020 – he was charged and fined by Swedish police after he secretly photographed a young woman engaged in a consensual sex act with him and shared it with his teammates. The Canadiens drafted him anyway and faced considerable criticism throughout the hockey community.
The report also said Mailloux has been more open and transparent about his ongoings since being drafted, along with signs of growth and accountability. Earlier this year, he discussed his participation in the Canadiens’ Respect and Consent program, indicating he’s undergone therapy and met with Sheldon Kennedy, the former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor who co-founded the Respect Group.
The Canadiens continue to evaluate Mailloux but it will be up to him to prove to everyone, especially Bettman, that he’s sufficiently grown as a person to earn the right to play in the NHL.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers as Charlie McAvoy is getting close to returning from offseason shoulder surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believes McAvoy could make his season debut as early as tonight’s game against Calgary. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.
DALLAS HOCKEY NOW: The Stars have sent Matt Murray to their AHL affiliate to make room for goaltender Jake Oettinger, who’s been sidelined for five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is not to be confused with Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray nor are the two related.
TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs’ Matt Murray, he could be ready to return from a groin injury by Saturday. The injury limited him to just one game this season.
The Golden Knights, Devils and Kraken extend their winning streaks, actor Ryan Reynolds is interested in buying the Senators, the ongoing fallout from the Mitchell Miller saga, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights extended their winning streak to eight games by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Reilly Smith scored the tying goal shorthanded in the third period and the game-winner in overtime as the Golden Knights (12-2-0) moved atop the overall standings with 24 points. Timothy Liljegren scored twice for the Leafs (7-4-3) as their winning streak ended at three games.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).
New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 33 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Devils (10-3-0) extended their win streak to seven games while the Flames (5-5-2) are winless in their last six contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Devils announced that goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood will be sidelined for three-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL while winger Ondrej Palat is out for eight-to-10 weeks after undergoing groin surgery last week. Meanwhile, Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Seattle Kraken extended their winning streak to five games by taming the Nashville Predators 5-1. Jordan Eberle scored twice while Andre Burakovsky had a goal and two assists for the 8-4-2 Kraken. Filip Forsberg netted the Predators’ only goal as they fall to 5-7-1.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each scored second-period goals and Jack Campbell stopped 35 shots as the Edmonton Oilers (8-6-0) held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Brandon Hagel and Alex Killorn replied for the 7-5-1 Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers winger Evander Kane left the game early in the second period after he was accidentally sliced on one of his wrists by the skate blade of Lightning forward Patrick Maroon. Following the game, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said Kane was stabilized and taken to hospital where he underwent surgery on his wrist. No word yet as to how long he could be sidelined.
Third-period goals by Adam Pelech, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee rallied the New York Islanders over the New York Rangers 4-3. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Islanders (9-5-0) while the Rangers (6-5-3) got two assists from Artemi Panarin.
The Winnipeg Jets extended their points streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Kyle Connor and Mason Appleton each had three points as the Jets’ record improves to 8-3-1. Jason Robertson replied for the 8-4-0 Stars.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Felix Sandstrom made 27 saves for his first NHL win to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-1, handing the latter their eighth straight loss. Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the 7-3-2 Flyers while Ryan O’Reilly tallied for the 3-8-0 Blues.
The Los Angeles Kings got a 21-save shutout from Jonathan Quick in a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild (5-6-1). Gabriel Vilardi netted his team-leading 10th goal of the season as the Kings improve to 8-6-1. Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was ejected for high-sticking Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick in the 2017 draft, the 23-year-old Vilardi is blossoming into a scorer after struggling through injuries and inconsistent play earlier in his career. He’s also among the league leaders in goals thus far this season.
Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and Spencer Martin stopped 37 shots to beat the Ottawa Senators 6-4 and improve their record to 4-6-3. The Senators (4-8-0) got two-point performances from Tim Stutzle and Alex DeBrincat but their winless streak is now at six.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was overshadowed by the drama for both clubs off the ice.
Actor and prospective Senators owner Ryan Reynolds took in this game at Canadian Tire Centre and received a standing ovation from the fans. Earlier this week, he indicated his interest in buying the club, which was officially put up for sale last week. However, he also told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon on Monday that he needs a deep-pocketed partner to help him acquire the team.
Meanwhile, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau defended his team’s efforts after president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford criticized their work ethic and structure. Rutherford’s recent comments have generated speculation among NHL pundits that Boudreau could be replaced or a shakeup could be coming for the roster.
The Montreal Canadiens got a 41-save effort from goalie Jake Allen as they nipped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on shootout goals by Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. Mike Hoffman scored both goals in regulation for the 6-6-1 Canadiens while the Red Wings (7-3-3) got goals from Austin Czarnik and Lucas Raymond.
Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka stopped 32 shots while Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres (7-6-0) while the Coyotes improved to 5-6-1.
ESPN.COM: The Boston Bruins face limited options after cutting ties with Mitchell Miller following a public outcry two days after signing him to an entry-level contract. The Bruins’ original intention was to send Miller to their AHL affiliate in Providence. He remains under contract with the club.
One option would see the Bruins pay Miller to stay home and then buy him out at the end of the season for one-third of the remaining value of the contract. Another would be working with the defenseman’s agent to reach a settlement allowing him to become a free agent. The Bruins or the league could also seek to terminate the deal based on Miller’s history but the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance if they go that route.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Eustace King, who represents Miller, claimed the Bruins and every team they spoke to knew about the timeline of events from Miller and the classmate he bullied as they grew up and recently as well.
Bruins president Cam Neely said on Monday the Bruins intended to terminate Miller’s contract based on “new information” about the defenseman’s bullying of his victim, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. King, however, countered that there was no new information to the best of his camp’s knowledge and believes the Bruins made the decision based on the public backlash.
King also contradicted claims made by Jodi Meyer-Crothers, Isaiah’s mother, saying Miller had never reached out and apologized to her son until recently. However, a statement from the Hockey Diversity Alliance criticizing the Bruins’ handling of this situation indicated that Isaiah had recently contacted them to express his distress over Miller’s signing.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin is expected to be sidelined for about a month following ankle surgery. Meanwhile, defenseman Bowen Byram is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury while Samuel Girard (lower body) is listed as day-to-day.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is expected to return to action on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury on Oct. 17.
THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek is sidelined indefinitely by an upper-body injury.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will retire the number of Chris Neil, who spent his entire 15-season NHL career with Ottawa from 2001-02 to 2016-17.
The Leafs, Red Wings and Panthers emerge the winners in Sunday’s game, the Bruins release Mitchell Miller two days after signing him, and the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk and the Canadiens’ Josh Anderson get suspended. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares’ 399th career goal was a game-winner in a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Erik Kallgren made 29 saves for his first career NHL victory while Calle Jarnkrok and William Nylander also scored for the Leafs (7-4-2). Stefan Noesen replied for the 8-3-1 Hurricanes.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have won three straight in early November after stumbling through October with a 4-4-2 record. Earlier in the day, they announced goaltender Ilya Samsonov was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and could be sidelined for at least a week.
The Detroit Red Wings nipped the New York Rangers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Dominik Kubalik. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 27 shots for the win as the Wings improved to 7-3-2 while the Rangers fell to 6-4-3. Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko scored for the Blueshirts.
Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour had a goal and three assists to lead his club over the Anaheim Ducks 5-3. Sam Reinhart scored two goals and Spencer Knight made 32 saves as the Panthers improved to 7-5-1. John Gibson kicked out 43 shots for the Ducks as they fell to 4-8-1.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Two days after the Bruins signed Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract, team president Cam Neely yesterday released a statement announcing they were parting ways with the 20-year-old defenseman effective immediately.
The Bruins came under heavy scrutiny for signing Miller, who had pleaded guilty in juvenile court six years ago for racially and physically abusing and bullying a Black classmate with developmental disabilities.
In his statement, Neely indicated the Bruins’ decision to sign Miller was based on “careful consideration” of the facts as they were aware of them. The club believed the incident was an isolated one and that Miller had taken “meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing development.” However, Neely claimed the decision to terminate the contract was based “on new information.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ front office faced a firestorm of criticism for signing Miller. It came not just from around the league but also from their fans, from local media, and from Bruins veterans like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Nick Foligno. Even league commissioner Gary Bettman expressed his displeasure when asked about the signing on Saturday.
Neely and the rest of the Bruins front office could’ve spared themselves all of this had they properly vetted Miller’s past in the first place. This was not an “isolated incident” as Miller engaged in physical and verbal abuse of his victim for several years A detailed report about his actions by the Arizona Republic prompted the Arizona Coyotes to relinquish his rights just weeks after selecting him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL draft. He offered no attempt at contrition until about a week before signing with the Bruins.
The fallout from this could leave a stain on the Bruins’ organization for some time.
NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk for two games for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on Saturday. Tkachuk jabbed the blade of his stick into the cage on Quick’s mask. The Kings goalie was not injured.
Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson received a two-game suspension for boarding Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on Saturday. Pietrangelo was bleeding from the nose following the hit but stayed in the game.
DAILY FACEOFF: Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina is listed as month-to-month after suffering a leg injury blocking a shot against the New York Islanders on Saturday.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild placed Jordan Greenway and Ryan Hartman on injured reserve with upper-body injuries. They recalled forwards Adam Beckman and Joseph Cramarossa from their AHL affiliate in Iowa.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Bo Byram is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
GOPHNX.COM: Dylan Guenther will be staying with the Arizona Coyotes this season. The 2021 first-round pick earned his place with two goals and six points in nine games.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks’ rebuilding process is being felt at the gate this season. They’re averaging 14, 788 fans at the United Center thus far. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2007-08.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche broadcaster and former NHL forward Peter McNab has died of cancer at age 70.
Considered “The Father of Colorado Hockey”, McNab was a standout player at Denver University and went on to play 14 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils from 1973-74 to 1986-87, scoring 363 goals and 813 points in 955 career games. He had been calling Avalanche games since their first season in 1995-96 and was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McNab’s family, friends, former teammates and broadcast partners.
Alex Ovechkin tallies another goal-scoring record, the Golden Knights take over first overall, commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on the Bruins signing controversial prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 787th career goal in his club’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He moved past Gordie Howe to set the record for the most goals scored by one player on one NHL team. However, Washington blew a 2-0 lead as Arizona rallied for the win on two goals by Nick Ritchie. The Capitals dropped to 5-6-2 while the Coyotes improved to 4-6-1.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injury-ravaged Capitals suffered another blow as defenseman Dmitry Orlov left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Vegas Golden Knights (11-2-0) took over sole possession of first place in the overall standings with 22 points as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Reilly Smith scored two goals as the Golden Knights rode a four-goal third period to victory. Nick Suzuki tallied twice and Kirby Dach collected three assists for the Canadiens as their record falls to 5-6-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Josh Anderson received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for boarding Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was unhurt on the play.
Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 lead over the Boston Bruins (10-2-0), dropping the latter two points behind the Golden Knights in the overall standings and snapping their seven-game winning streak. Brad Marchand replied for the Bruins on a penalty shot for his 800th career point. Mitch Marner collected two assists for the Leafs as they raise their record to 6-4-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov left this game with a knee injury, leaving them with just one healthy goalie in third-stringer Erik Kallgren. Following the game, the Leafs signed Toronto Marlies netminder Keith Petruzzelli to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. Meanwhile, Bruins center David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
Colorado Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had three assists to lead their club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, sweeping their two-game Global Series. The Avalanche elevated their record to 6-4-1 while the struggling Blue Jackets are 3-9-0 thus far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.
The Dallas Stars got a hat trick from captain Jamie Benn and a three-point performance from Jason Robertson to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse scored for the Oilers (7-5-0) while the Stars rise to 8-3-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was another rough game for Oilers starting goaltender Jack Campbell, who acknowledged his performance thus far this season has been “pathetic”. Signed to a five-year, $25 million contract by the Oilers in July as a free agent, the 30-year-old Campbell has a bloated 4.20 goals-against average and a measly save percentage of .874. Backup Stuart Skinner could see more starts in the coming games. He’s among the league leaders with a sparkling .944 save percentage and a 2.10 GAA in five games.
New Jersey Devils winger Fabian Zetterlund scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Devils (9-3-0) have won seven straight games to sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zaitsev scored as the Flames (5-4-1) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.
Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3 to improve their record to 7-4-1. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Owen Power collected two assists for the Sabres as they drop to 7-5-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The banged-up Sabres blueline had to make do without star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for this match. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Morrissey each had a goal and an assist as the Jets move to 7-3-1. The Blackhawks (5-5-2) had to turn to fifth-string goalie Dylan Wells after Arvid Soderblom left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.
The Detroit Red Wings got a 24-save shutout from Ville Husso in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Dominik Kubalik had a goal and an assist for the 6-3-2 Red Wings while the Islanders drop to 7-5-0. It was a costly win for the Wings as forward Filip Zadina left the game in the second period with an injured right leg.
A tie-breaking goal late in the third period by Brandon Tanev lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Yanni Gourde had a goal and two assists as the Kraken rise to 7-4-2. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the Penguins (4-6-2) as their winless skid extends to seven games.
The Los Angeles Kings got a tie-breaking goal by Gabriel Vilardi late in the third period to nip the Florida Panthers 5-4. Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the 7-6-1 Kings while Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for the 6-5-1 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.
Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux tallied his 300th career goal against the Philadelphia Flyers but his former club went on to win this game 2-1 on goals by Kevin Hayes and Zack MacEwen. Carter Hart made 31 saves for the Flyers (6-3-2) while the Senators’ record sits at 4-6-2.
A shootout goal by Matt Duchene gave the Nashville Predators (5-6-1) a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, dropping the latter’s record to 3-6-3. The Predators overcame a 3-0 deficit with Jordan Gross scoring his first two goals of his NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blown leads continue to plague the Canucks this season and will be their downfall if they don’t address this issue soon.
The Anaheim Ducks improved their record to 4-7-1 by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Adam Henrique. Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Brett Leason each had two points and Antony Stolarz made 48 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier each had a goal and two assists for the 3-8-3 Sharks.
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN WEIGHS IN ON BRUINS SIGNING MITCHELL MILLER
NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league was not consulted by the Boston Bruins before they signed controversial prospect Mitchell Miller on Friday. Speaking at the 2022 NHL Global Series on Saturday at Tampere, Finland, Bettman stated that Miller is not eligible to play in the NHL.
“What I understand and I’ve heard through the media anecdotally, what (Miller) did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” said Bettman. He indicated he’s spoken with Bruins president Cam Neely since the signing on Friday.
“He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL”, said Bettman. “I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL.” He added that if Miller ever reached that point, the league will have to clear him and his eligibility based on first-hand information at the time.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL Players Association said the league hasn’t informed them about any suspension for Miller or anything that would impact his eligibility. They added they require more information from the league regarding Bettman’s statements.
Wyshynski also reported a source claims Miller’s contract has been registered with the league and there was nothing official preventing the Bruins or any other club from signing him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story. Suffice it to say that this has become yet another black eye for a league reeling from ongoing revelations of abusive behavior at various levels of the sport.
Miller’s defenders suggest he just “made a mistake”, claiming his physical and verbal bullying and racist behavior toward Isaiah Meyer-Crothers was an isolated incident by a teenager who didn’t know any better.
Meyer-Crothers’ parents, however, indicate their disabled son was tormented for years by Miller. They said he has never apologized to them for his actions and only reached out to their son on Snapchat about a week before he was signed by the Bruins.
Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine shine as the Avalanche and Blue Jackets square off in Finland, Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes over the Sabres, reaction to the Bruins signing prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, as part of the NHL’s 2022 Global Series. Finnish stars Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine shone in front of a sellout crowd with Rantanen tallying a hat trick for the Avalanche while Laine had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. Nathan MacKinnon collected four assists for the Avs (5-4-1) while the Jackets fall to 3-8-0.
Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche and Blue Jackets will face off again at Nokia Arena on Saturday to complete the second game of their Global Series.
Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho netted a hat trick and added an assist to lead his club over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3. Martin Necas had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes (8-2-1) while the Sabres (7-4-0) got two assists from rookie winger Jack Quinn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friday was a good day for three of Finland’s top forwards.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins signed prospect defenseman Mitchell Miller yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract.
A 2020 fourth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes, the club renounced Miller’s draft rights after it emerged that he was convicted in juvenile court at age 14 for brutally bullying disabled classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, including hurling racial slurs at him and physically demeaning him for years.
Miller admitted in juvenile court in 2016 that he and a classmate made Meyer-Crothers lick a lollipop that had been contaminated in a urinal, resulting in the victim having to undergo numerous tests for HIV, hepatitis and various sexually transmitted diseases. Meyer-Crother’s mother, Joni, revealed Miller never apologized to her son for his actions for years before reaching out last week on Instagram rather than contacting them directly.
SPORTSNET: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with the media to officially announce Miller’s signing. He said he struggled with the decision to sign the young defenseman.
“Mitchell’s paid a punishment, and he’s going to carry that for the rest of his life,” said Sweeney. “We’re going to hold him to a standard.”
However, Sweeney also admitted, “This decision could be wrong…It invited a lot of negativity that we didn’t need or want.”
In an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said he was “on the fence” about the decision, saying as a team the Bruins stand for “integrity, and inclusion, and diversity obviously.” He felt that Miller’s signing “goes against what we are as a culture and as a team, and for me as a person.” Bergeron acknowledged he’d been told that Miller was working hard to make some changes but believes “the work is on him.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are catching hell for this move in the media and on social media, especially from their fans and local pundits. To make matters worse, management reportedly didn’t bother contacting Meyer-Crothers’ family during their vetting of Miller.
Some of the players in their leadership group questioned the decision when they were informed of the club’s intentions to sign Miller. If you’re a general manager or team president and your well-respected team captain is publicly questioning a signing, you might want to reconsider your plans.
Miller’s signing is just the latest in a string of recent stories of the toxic culture that exists within the game and its reflection on the NHL as a standard bearer for the sport. It gives the impression that the league in particular and the sport as a whole have learned nothing.
For better or worse, the Bruins are willing to give Miller a second chance. Like the Montreal Canadiens’ Logan Mailloux, it’s on him to prove that he’s learned from his transgression, that he’s genuinely remorseful for his actions and will never repeat them, and is willing to advocate against such atrocious behavior within the hockey community.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are officially up for sale with the condition that the new owner will keep the team in Ottawa. It’s expected the sale will take place within the coming months. There is expected to be no shortage of interested parties, especially with the Senators winning preferred bidder status to construct a new arena just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa at LeBreton Flats.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the conspiracy theorists suggesting a prospective owner could pay lip service toward keeping the team in Ottawa only to up and move them within a few years after purchasing the club. It was nonsense anyway since any attempt to do so would require NHL approval. League commissioner Gary Bettman wants the Senators to remain in Ottawa.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Beck Malenstyn will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured left finger.