A Cultural Shift Is Taking Place Around the NHL
The Bruins crush the Canadiens, the Flames continue an investigation into allegations of racism and abuse leveled at coach Bill Peters, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 thumping of the Montreal Canadiens. He now has a league-leading 23 goals on the season. Teammates Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly each collected three points. Canadiens goalie Carey Price was pulled early in the second period after giving up five goals on 11 shots. The Habs are winless in their last five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ defensive weaknesses have been on full display over the last five games. Price can usually offset those issues, but when he’s not on his game – which he hasn’t been lately – the Habs suffer. Some pundits believe the Canadiens could pursue a big-ticket scorer like Taylor Hall. They’d be better served to shore up their blueline.
Corey Crawford turned in a 32-save shutout backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane, and Connor Murphy were the goal scorers.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Suter’s broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Wild extended their points streak to seven games.
CALGARY SUN: Bill Peters will not be behind the Flames’ bench when they face off tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Management is investigating allegations of racism and abuse leveled at Peters by two former NHL players.
Akim Aliu said Peters hurled racist remarks at him when the two were with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs in 2009-10. On Tuesday, Michal Jordan claimed Peters kicked and punched him from behind on the bench during a game in 2015-16 when they were with the Carolina Hurricanes. Both incidents have been confirmed by multiple sources.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At one point yesterday there was a report claiming the Flames had fired Peters, but the club quickly denied it. Nevertheless, there’s a growing sense among the punditry that management could have little choice but to relieve him of his duties.
Jordan’s allegation is also raising questions over the handling of his situation by the Hurricanes management and coaching staff at the time. That includes current head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant under Peters when the incident allegedly took place. Brind’Amour declined to comment.
The Peters situation comes on the heels of allegations of abusive behavior leveled at former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock following his firing last week. Some observers believe this could be the start of a culture shift as players speak out against the abuse by so-called old-school coaches.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury left the team yesterday for Quebec because of a family illness.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Alex Martinez is expected to make a full recovery following surgery for a wrist laceration suffered during Monday’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha will be sidelined at least two weeks with a lower-body injury.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is sidelined seven-to-ten days with an upper-body injury.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak received a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Dahlin, who’s sidelined with a concussion.
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.
Game recaps, Blackhawks trade Nick Schmaltz to Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Noah Hanifin and Mark Jankowski scored twice (with each tallying a shorthanded goal) to lead the Calgary Flames to a 6-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Flames head coach Bill Peters required eight stitches after being struck on the jaw by the puck during the second period but he returned to the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like their players, hockey coaches are tough. And speaking of the Coyotes…
Following the game, the Coyotes traded forwards Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Nick Schmaltz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another example of two stumbling teams swapping struggling players in hopes the change of scenery will help them regain their once-promising form.
Schmaltz is coming off a 21-goal, 52-points sophomore campaign but managed just two goals and nine points in 23 games this season. He’s more of a proven commodity than Strome and Perlini. If he rediscovers his scoring touch he’ll provide a welcome boost at center for the faltering Coyotes.
Strome, the third-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has yet to play up to expectations, with just six points in 20 games this season. Still, the 21-year-old is considered to have plenty of upside. He and Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat were teammates on the Erie Otters so it’ll be interesting to see if Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton reunites those two. If they reestablish their old offensive chemistry, it’ll provide the Hawks with a solid second scoring line.
Perlini had a promising 17-goal sophomore campaign in 2017-18 but just two goals and six points in 23 games this season.
The Los Angeles Kings snapped a five-game home losing skid by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick for the Kings. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed winger Carl Hagelin (MCL sprain, week-to-week) on injured reserve.
Auston Watson’s hat-trick gave the Nashville Predators a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators were playing without center Kyle Turris, who was placed on injured reserve before the game. Turris was injured in Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
Four first-period goals powered the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Brendan Point scored twice for the Lightning.
SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks placed right wing Darren Archibald on waivers to make room for defenseman Alexander Edler.