The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, an update on the Coyotes’ efforts to build a new arena, Gary Bettman addresses Joel Quenneville’s future, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano are each making progress in their recoveries from thumb surgeries. Kadri has been skating on his own and practicing his stickhandling while Cogliano took part in a full team practice on Friday with the fourth line.
Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche remains hopeful both players will return to action at some point during the Stanley Cup Final. However, there is no timetable for when that might happen.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will attempt to generate more traffic in front of Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. While the Lightning was outshot 38-23 in Game 1, they felt they didn’t create more havoc around the Avalanche net, especially in hunting down rebounds for scoring chances.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, expect the Lightning to try and get more bodies in front of Kuemper for screened shots while attempting to pounce on rebounds he can’t control.
TSN: The Arizona Coyotes have received approval to open negotiations with the city of Tempe to build a new arena closer to downtown Phoenix. The club hopes to have a deal for the 46-acre tract of land worked out by the end of this year, but Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez acknowledged it could take longer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A new NHL-style arena will ensure the Coyotes’ long-term future in Arizona. Until it’s built, they’ll be playing in Arizona State University’s 5,000-seat venue for the next three seasons.
NEW YORK POST: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he doesn’t know if Joel Quenneville will be returning to pro hockey. Quenneville stepped down as head coach of the Florida Panthers last October when an investigation revealed his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, mishandled sexual abuse allegations made by former Blackhawks player Kyle Beach.
Bettman didn’t rule out the possibility of Quenneville one day returning to the NHL coaching ranks. However, it would require the commissioner’s approval. He said Quenneville has indicated he’d like to be part of the game again at the appropriate time. “I don’t think this is the time,” said Bettman. “But we’ll see what happens in the future.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quenneville is among the most successful coaches in NHL history. However, he put the Blackhawks’ pursuit of the 2010 Stanley Cup over the protection, safety and well-being of Beach.
Bettman may have left the door open for Quenneville to come back but his comments indicate it won’t happen anytime soon. The argument can be made that Quenneville deserves a second chance, but one can counter that he hasn’t paid a full enough price for his role in the Blackhawks’ cover-up of Beach’s allegations.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Florida Panthers have interviewed multiple candidates for their head coaching job in recent weeks. They include Barry Trotz, Pete DeBoer, Rick Tocchet, Travis Green and potentially Paul Maurice.
Meanwhile, interim coach Andrew Brunette is still awaiting his fate. He was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, guiding the Panthers to their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can understand the Panthers conducting due diligence given the number of highly-qualified coaching candidates currently available. Nevertheless, it’s an awkward look to be talking to applicants when your interim bench boss was a finalist for coach of the year. Should Brunette win the Adams Award, one has to wonder if they’ll continue interviewing contenders for the job.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed Liam Foudy to a two-year contract extension on Friday. The first year is a two-way deal with a salary worth $725K at the NHL level and the second year is a one-way deal worth $775K. The 22-year-old forward is a former first-round pick (18th overall) in 2018.
The Bruins bounce back against the Hurricanes while the Leafs, Oilers and Wild take 2-1 leads in their respective first-round series. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 to pick up their first win of the series. The Hurricanes now hold a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each had two points while rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff victory. Game 4 will be on Sunday, May 8.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reunited “Perfection Line” of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron made their presence felt in this contest. Swayman showed no sign of nerves stepping into this contest after being the backup in the first two games.
There was a scary moment for NHL off-ice official Joe Foley as a pane of glass was accidentally knocked loose by Bruins fans and fell on him while he was working in the penalty box. He was taken off on a stretcher and sent to a local hospital for observation, where he is reportedly all right and is expected to recover.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell made 32 saves to help his club hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 in Game 3 of their opening round series. They led Tampa Bay two games to one. Pierre Engvall collected three assists while Ilya Mikheyev tallied twice for the Leafs. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. The two clubs square off in Game 4 on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning cut Toronto’s 3-0 lead to 3-2 early in the third period but Campbell’s goaltending and Mikheyev’s two late goals sealed the win. The Leafs’ depth players stepped one as their big guns (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares) were held to just one assist in this contest.
The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick from Evander Kane in their 8-2 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 to go up 2-1 in their first-round series. Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored two goals and an assist while Mike Smith turned in a 44-save performance for the win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got the hook after giving up four goals on 17 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a narrow 4-3 loss in Game 1, the Oilers have outscored Los Angeles 14-2 over the next two games. This series will be over quickly at this rate if the Kings fail to neutralize the Oilers’ offense. They’ll get the opportunity in Game 4 on Sunday.
Minnesota Wild netminder Mark-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to backstop his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 to go up two games to one in their first-round series. Jordan Greenway opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the first period. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ banged-up blueline suffered another blow as defenseman Torey Krug left the game with a lower-body injury. They were already playing without Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy as both are sidelined by upper-body injuries.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Friday and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. With starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured foot, the Penguins will turn to Louis Domingue in Game 3. Domingue replaced DeSmith during their series-opening 4-3 triple overtime win over the New York Rangers. The series is tied at a game apiece with Game 3 on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
TRIBLIVE.COM: In other Penguins news, winger Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) will be a game-time decision for Game 3. Winger Rickard Rakell (upper-body injury) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body) are listed as day-to-day.
ESPN.COM: Nashville Predators starter Juuse Saros has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Ingram is expected to get the start for the Predators, who are down 2-0 to the Avalanche in their first-round series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ingram made 49 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2. He must maintain that level of performance and hope his teammates’ popgun offense can improve if the Predators are to get back into this series.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. It’s uncertain if they’ll start Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov in goal tonight for Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.
THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will undergo further tests and research to attempt to address a nagging back injury that hampered his performance this season.
DAILY FACEOFF: cited Cap Friendly indicating only six teams (Bruins, Lightning, Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, and Winnipeg Jets) will have the full $82.5 million salary-cap payrolls to spend in 2022-23. Fourteen clubs will be affected by performance bonuses exceeding this season’s $81.5 million cap and being applied to next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Click on the link above for the full list. It ranges from as low as $25K (Avalanche) to as high as $1.25 million (Vancouver Canucks).
OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there isn’t a “for sale” sign in front of the Senators. There was speculation the club could be sold following the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March. Bettman said it will be up to Melnyk’s daughters what they wish to do but indicated the club isn’t on the market and there are “no problems”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are being by a three-man group that has had a hand in running the club for several years. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
TSN: Speaking of Bettman, he said former NHL coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t approached him about returning behind the bench. Quenneville resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers last fall for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ mishandling of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against a former video coach in 2010. Part of the conditions surrounding any plan for his return to the NHL coaching ranks is approval from the league commissioner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were recent rumors Quenneville was either contemplating a return or that a club was interested in hiring him.
NHL.COM: The dates for the announcements of the NHL Award finalists have been released, starting with the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday, May 9. Click the link for the complete list. The winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.
On June 10, 2010, one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts in NHL history came to an end. An overtime goal by Patrick Kane against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final gave the Chicago Blackhawks their first championship since 1961.
It was the start of several dominant years for the Blackhawks. Over the following five seasons, the Blackhawks would win two more Stanley Cups. Kane, team captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Duncan Keith established themselves as respected NHL superstars. Head coach Joel Quenneville burnished his resume as one of the league’s top bench bosses. General manager Stan Bowman was praised for his ability to maintain his championship roster.
Stanley Cup dynasties – teams that win three-or-more consecutive Stanley Cups – are rarities in the NHL’s salary-cap world. As a result, some observers considered the Blackhawks’ three championships in six years the closest thing to a Cup dynasty in today’s game.
Eleven years after that first Cup, that “dynasty” is forever tarnished by a scandal set in motion three weeks before Kane’s winning goal.
A small group of senior team executives, including Bowman and Quenneville, reached the fateful decision to cover up allegations of sexual assault made by winger Kyle Beach against video coach Bradley Aldrich.
They decided not to take any action against Aldrich until after the Stanley Cup Final so as not to risk the matter becoming a distraction for the players. After their celebrations with the Cup in Chicago had quieted down, the club gave Aldrich a choice of stepping down or facing an internal investigation.
That reference helped Aldrich get a job with USA Hockey and an assistant coaching job with a high school in Houghton, Michigan. Three years later, Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail on a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for his alleged involvement with a male student between the age of 16 and 18. The student filed a lawsuit against the Blackhawks earlier this year for providing a positive employment letter to Aldrich even though they knew he was a sexual predator.
Thanks to the courage of Beach and the student known as “John Doe 2” in stepping forward to tell their stories, aided by the dogged investigative journalism of TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang, the Blackhawks were forced to conduct an independent investigation.
The resulting report, released to the public last week, was damning.
Bowman stepped down as general manager while another club official was relieved of his duties. Quenneville, who’d moved on to coach the Florida Panthers, resigned from that job following a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
None of the players on the 2010 Blackhawks roster were mentioned in the report. Kane, Toews, Keith (now with the Edmonton Oilers) and others denied knowledge of the allegations. Beach, in his emotional interview with Westhead a day after the report was released, believed everyone in the dressing room knew. His story was supported by the testimony of former teammates Nick Boynton and Brent Sopel when they spoke with investigators this summer.
Only two players (Boynton and Sopel) along with former associate coach John Torchetti and former skills coach Paul Vincent, supported Beach and testified to investigators on his behalf. Nearly everyone else on that 2009-10 roster is facing scrutiny from fans and the media over what they did or didn’t do at the time the allegations were raised.
Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM at the time and took part in that fateful meeting before the 2010 Cup Final. Though he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a subsequent meeting with Bettman, he still faces calls for an apology to Beach from fans and pundits and a further explanation of his actions while with the Blackhawks.
Despite their denials, the reputations of the Blackhawks stars have suffered a significant blow. Assuming they had no knowledge of the incident at the time, they’re facing questions over when they did find out, how much they knew and why they didn’t do more to try and help Beach. The tone-deaf defense of Bowman by Kane and Toews following his dismissal was not a good look for either star.
The fallout isn’t just limited to the Blackhawks. NHLPA director Donald Fehr is feeling the heat from the player executive and rank-and-file members for his apparent inaction when Beach and his agent informed the PA of the allegations.
For Blackhawks fans, this is a devastating gut punch. The club they love and support, an Original Six franchise considered the epitome of a successful franchise in the salary-cap era, has been brought low by a handful of men who did nothing to protect a frightened young player from a sexual predator. It could take years for the Blackhawks to rebuild their standing and regain the full trust of their fans and win back those they lost from this sordid scandal
Bowman and Quenneville will probably never work in the NHL again. Kane, Toews, Keith and other players had nothing to do with how their club handled the allegations but they’ll face lingering doubts in the court of public opinion.
All of that pales in comparison to the hell Kyle Beach went through for 11 years. He was ostracized by the Blackhawks, even reportedly mocked by several teammates. He continued his playing career away from the NHL. Somehow, he found the determination to carry on every day despite his terrible burden and the courage to fight back with limited support despite the Blackhawks’ efforts to discredit him.
As more than one observer noted, Beach show more bravery and integrity than those who failed him.
Six men made a fateful decision that did immeasurable harm to Beach and another young man. That decision would eventually damage their own reputations and careers, in some cases beyond repair. It cost them their jobs, tarnished a once-great franchise, cast a dark cloud over the lives and careers of their franchise players, and stained the league’s brand.
All because they put winning a championship over doing the right thing.
That’s the dark legacy of the Blackhawks “dynasty.”
Joel Quenneville resigns as Panthers head coach while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a meeting today with league commissioner Gary Bettman as fallout from the Blackhawks scandal continues. Details plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
QUENNEVILLE RESIGNS AS PANTHERS COACH, CHEVELDAYOFF HAS A MEETING TODAY WITH BETTMAN
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joel Quenneville resigned yesterday as head coach of the Florida Panthers in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal. His resignation came following a meeting yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Assistant coach Andrew Brunette takes over as the interim head coach.
Former Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville (NHL Images).
This move is a result of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made by former Blackhawk Kyle Beach against the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Quenneville told investigators he first heard of the allegations through the media but it was determined he was part of the meeting of front office executives to discuss the matter.
The Panthers released a statement that the conduct described in the report on the investigation was “troubling and inexcusable”, adding it stood in direct contrast to their values as an organization and what the club stood for.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But not so much to keep Quenneville from being behind the Panthers’ bench against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, just one day after the report’s findings were released. It’s puzzling why they didn’t at least do that until Quenneville had his meeting with Bettman. It was a bad look for the Panthers.
According to the report’s findings, Quenneville recommended the Blackhawks wait to take action against Aldrich until after the playoffs so as to avoid any unnecessary distractions for their players as they pursued the Stanley Cup.
Quenneville was once a highly-respected NHL head coach with three Stanley Cups and a Jack Adams Award on his resume. He’s second all-time in wins (969) among the league’s bench bosses. All of that is meaningless now. I doubt he’ll ever coach another game in the NHL again.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will meet with Bettman in NHL headquarters today. The meeting was moved up from Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM and took part in that fateful meeting about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are numerous calls on social media for Cheveldayoff’s firing but a recent report indicated he had the support of Jets ownership. Where he stands following his meeting today with Bettman remains to be seen.
Kyle Beach released a statement on Twitter yesterday expressing gratitude for “the outpouring of endless love and support” he’s received since stepping forward to identify himself as the player allegedly sexually assaulted by Aldrich. He expressed the hope his story would bring about change “to promote safety, as well as the health and well-being of society as a whole.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I cannot even imagine what Beach endured as a sexual assault survivor over the past decade. I hope his story brings about the change he seeks and the peace he deserves.
The league is reportedly going to implement “enhanced training measures” specific to dealing with sexual abuse and allegations of abuse. A third party will be employed to handle this with league oversight. Any report or hint of sexual abuse or assault will be immediately reported to the commissioner’s office.
Aldrich still has his name on the Stanley Cup. TSN reports it’s up to the Blackhawks to file a petition to the league to have his name removed. So far, that has not yet taken place.
THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall called for a change in hockey culture. “This is a game that’s, I guess, what you would call an old boys’ club, and there’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change. Hopefully, they can.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Amen to that, Taylor. Here’s hoping that change happens soon.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record for their longest season-opening win streak by blanking the Boston Bruins 3-0. The Hurricanes have won six in a row as Frederik Andersen turned in a 33-save shutout. Tony DeAngelo, Nino Niederreiter and Andrei Svechnikov were the goal scorers.
Cale Makar had a goal and an assist to collect his 100th career point in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He’s reached that mark in the sixth-fewest games (108) by NHL defensemen. J.T. Compher scored twice for the Avalanche. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington received a 10-minute misconduct for swinging his stick at Avs center Nazem Kadri.
The Calgary Flames completed the sweep of their five-game road trip by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 45 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau tallied his first goal of the season.
Jake Allen also had a 45-save shutout in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist for the Habs as they picked up their first win in San Jose since 1999.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted two goals in his club’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. It was the Lightning’s first home win of the season. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.
The Buffalo Sabres blew a 3-0 lead but an overtime goal by Rasmus Asplund gave them a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Sabres’ record stands at 5-1-1 while the Ducks are winless (0-3-2) in their last five. Ducks center Adam Henrique picked up his 200th career goal.
Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Kyle Connor assisted on all three Jets goals. The Kings have dropped six in a row.
Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each collected two points as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Martin Jones got the win with 27 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks.
The Seattle Kraken got two goals by Haydn Fleury to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Philipp Grubauer turned aside 30 shots for the win. The expansion Kraken has won two straight on home ice. The Wild played without Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick as both entered COVID protocol yesterday.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov said he’s fully recovered from his undisclosed injury and is ready to return to action. He missed all of training camp and the Isles’ regular-season games to date.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has recovered faster than anticipated from a fractured rib. The club took him off injured reserve yesterday and he could be in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights signed defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a six-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.75 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could turn into quite the bargain for the Golden Knights if he should turn into a top-four shutdown defenseman.
YARDBARKER: The Golden Knights also signed blueliner Ben Hutton to a one-year, $750K contract.
Kyle Beach identified himself as one of the victims in the Blackhawks’ scandal, the ongoing fallout from the investigation, plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
KYLE BEACH STEPS FORWARD AS ACCUSER IN BLACKHAWKS SCANDAL
TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach stepped forward as the player at the center of the investigation into allegations of sexual assault by former video coach Bradley Aldrich.
Kyle Beach (right) speaks with Rick Westhead (TSN.CA).
In an emotional 25-minute interview with Rick Westhead, Beach expressed relief and vindication that “it was no longer my word against everybody else’s,” adding it was “very special and important to me to have that truth come out yesterday”.
Beach recalled what happened to him after the abuse by Aldrich, the Blackhawks’ organization’s efforts to cover up the incident and its subsequent denials. “They said they did an investigation, they said my claims were meritless. To me, I took that as them saying to the world that I was a liar, that I was lying,” said Beach.
He singled out the role of then-head coach Joel Quenneville in the club’s handling of the incident. Quenneville said in a statement this summer that he has no prior knowledge of Beach’s claims at the time until he heard about it through the media.
Multiple players with the Blackhawks at that time also subsequently made the same claim. “I believe everyone in the locker room knew about it,” said Beach.
He also voiced his disappointment over the NHLPA’s lack of action when he informed them of the details. He believed two different people spoke with PA director Donald Fehr. “And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all cost, I don’t know how that can be your leader,” he said.
Beach said he stepped forward in part because, while the report referred to him as “John Doe”, the details made it possible to figure out his identity. He indicated it was also part of his recovery as a survivor of sexual assault. He also wants to bring about change within the NHL to assure this never happens again.
“The NHL has let me down and they’ve let other down too. And they continue to try to protect their name,” said Beach. “I hope through and through that (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman takes this seriously and that he does his due diligence.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted what I felt were key highlights from Beach’s interview. I encourage everyone to follow the above link for the video interview and the full transcript.
Beach was very brave to come forward with his story. It was heartbreaking watching him recount what happened, at one point breaking down in tears and expressing sorrow for not doing more to protect Aldrich’s subsequent victim. He did nothing wrong and yet he still felt remorse that he didn’t do more.
Kyle Beach was failed by the Blackhawks at every level. Only a handful of people, including former teammates Nick Boynton and Brent Sopel, former associate coach John Torchetti and former skills coach Paul Vincent, stood by him. He endured over 11 years of trauma before finally receiving a measure of justice. Everyone involved in make his life hell for over a decade bear full responsibility for what they didn’t do to help him and for what they did to cover it up.
The release of the investigation’s findings and Beach’s interview are not the end of this story. The repercussions are ongoing and will be long-lasting, leading hopefully to positive change that ensures no player ever faces what Beach did.
TSN: The Blackhawks released a statement following Beach’s interview expressing “deepest apologies” for what he went through and the organization’s failure to properly respond when he brought the matter to light. The statement laid the blame on former team executives.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apologies and buck-passing don’t cut it. Try again.
NHLPA director Donald Fehr also issued an apology to Beach, acknowledging his courage in telling his story and admitting the system (of which the PA is a part) failed him. Fehr indicated the person Beach spoke with at the NHLPA was one of the program doctors in the player assistance program. While confidential between players and doctors, Fehr said the “grave nature of this incident should have resulted in further action on our part.” He also said the PA is committed to making changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Action speaks louder than words, Mr. Fehr.
Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews told reporters last night they wished they knew more about what happened to Beach so they could’ve done more to help him. They said they didn’t he was the John Doe in the investigation until he came forward yesterday. Kane commended Beach for his courage in telling his story while Toews said he didn’t know about the allegations until training camp in 2010-11.
Both players also commented on Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman stepping down and senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac being relieved of his duties. Kane considered it “necessary” and “the right moves” but also called Bowman “a great man who did a lot of things for me personally”. Toews felt they weren’t directly responsible for what happened and still had a lot of respect for them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus said in response to those remarks, I get why Kane and Toews are remaining loyal to those who played a big role in their lives and careers but heaping praise on those two isn’t a great look.
Former Blackhawks head coach and current Florida Panthers bench boss Joel Quenneville stood by his statement to investigators that he first learned of the allegations through the media this summer. He’s slated to meet with commissioner Bettman in New York today. Quenneville was behind the bench for the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins last night and didn’t speak to the media following the game.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports Jets ownership is supporting general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who will be meeting with Bettman in New York on Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant general manager in 2010 and was named in the report as part of the group of Blackhawks executives who met to discuss the allegations in May 2010.
In his statement, Cheveldayoff said he was first made aware of the allegations during that meeting. He believed a decision was reached by his superiors to have the hockey operations people deal with the on-ice production while they would handle the Aldrich allegations.
McIntyre reports Jets chairman and co-owner Mark Chipman will travel to New York with Cheveldayoff on Monday. Short of new evidence emerging or Bettman lowering the boom, McIntyre expected Cheveldayoff will keep his job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what Bettman has in store for Quenneville and Cheveldayoff. Many on social media are calling for their firings or at least suspension.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers extended their record to 7-0-0 by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for the win while Gustav Forsling collected three assists.
Cam Atkinson scored two goals and Carter Hart kicked out 34 shots as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3, snapping the latter’s five-game season-opening win streak. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.
Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin tallied in overtime as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied for the Capitals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also rallied from 2-0 to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. William Nylander scored in overtime for the Leafs. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews came out of COVID-19 protocol yesterday and played in this game.
An overtime goal by Evgenii Dadonov lifted the Vega Golden Knights to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Jonathan Marchessault scored late in the third for Vegas to send the game into the extra frame.
IN OTHER NEWS…
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is expected to miss the next eight-to-10 weeks following surgery for a lower-body injury.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will miss the next two months with a bruised knee while Sean Walker suffered season-ending ligament tears in his right knee that will require surgery.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler has returned to practice after 10 days in isolation as per NHL COVID protocols.
NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban received a $5,000.00 fine by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip against Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic on Tuesday.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin is expected to be named GM of the USA Men’s Olympic Hockey Team at the 2022 Beijing Games.
Pekka Rinne retires, Dominique Ducharme becomes full-time Canadiens coach, an updated list of injured Lightning players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were reported yesterday. You can read my take here.
THE TENNESSEAN: Pekka Rinne announced his retirement yesterday. A three-time All-Star, the 38-year-old goaltender spent his entire 15-season NHL career with the Nashville Predators, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2018, backstopping the franchise to its only Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne announced his retirement after 15 NHL seasons (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne had a remarkable NHL career. He holds several Predators single-season records (43 wins, .930 save percentage, 2.12 goals-against average, eight shutouts) and is their career leader in wins (369), shutouts (60) and goals-against average (2.43). Those stats could get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.
NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens announced Dominique Ducharme is their full-time head coach, signing him to a three-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a tale of two seasons for Ducharme. Injuries to key players, a grueling second-half schedule (25 games in 44 days) following a COVID-19 outbreak and limited practice time made it difficult for him to implement his system, prompting questions over his readiness to become a full-time NHL bench boss.
The Canadiens’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final changed that perception. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages the heightened expectations over the course of a full schedule next season with the Bell Centre full of fans.
NBC SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning finally revealed which players were dealing with serious injuries during the 2021 playoffs. Victor Hedman will require surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in March. His expected recovery time is two-to-four weeks. Nikita Kucherov suffered a fractured rib in the semifinal against the New York Islanders, requiring him to wear a flak jacket and undergo pain-blocking injections.
Ryan McDonagh and Barclay Goodrow suffered broken hands. Alex Killorn suffered a broken fibula that sidelined him for most of the Final.
TSN: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has waived his no-movement clause to allow himself to be exposed in next week’s expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will provide the Avalanche the flexibility to protect a defenseman they otherwise risked losing in the expansion draft. It’s unlikely the Seattle Kraken will select Johnson, who missed most of this season to injury. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $6 million and a modified no-trade clause.
The deadline for teams to request a player to waive their NMCs to be exposed in the expansion draft was yesterday at 5 pm ET. Those players will have until Friday to reach a decision.
SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken’s expansion draft will be held next Wednesday on an outdoor stage at Gas Works Park with fans in attendance.
TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel said almost every player and coach on their 2010 Stanley Cup roster were aware of the sexual assault allegations leveled by a former teammate against former video coach Brad Aldrich.
Sopel hopes more players from that team will speak out about what they were told about Aldrich. He understands the difficulty some of them feel as they’re either still playing with the club or employed by the team in other capacities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sopel is the first player from that roster to publicly claim there was wide knowledge of those allegations. Former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville issued a statement denying he had prior knowledge of those allegations, insisting he first learned about them through the media earlier this spring. He’s offered to participate in the Blackhawks’ investigation into those claims.
TSN: Former NHL forward Jordan Weal has signed a two-year contract with KHL club AK Bars Kazan. He last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Montreal Canadiens and spent this season with their AHL affiliate in Laval. Weal previously played with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes.
THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed goaltender Josef Korenar to a one-year, two-way contract.