NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2021
Connor McDavid calls for consistency from on-ice officials, the Blues bring back Tyler Bozak, the Red Wings re-sign Givani Smith, Jimmy Vesey among three players signing PTOs with the Devils, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is calling for more consistency from the NHL’s on-ice officials. He acknowledged they face a difficult job but wants to see an improvement in the consistency of calls from game to game and throughout the game from period to period.
Oilers general manager Ken Holland agrees with McDavid. “My case to the league is: A foul is a foul,” he said. “If the same guy is able to draw three or four penalties, so be it.” McDavid drew 29 penalties last season but none during the Oilers’ first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.
McDavid and Holland are members of the NHL’s competition committee. In July, the committee reviewed 30 incidents of cross-checking, an infraction considered an area of concern by league general managers before the committee convened.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman publicly defended his on-ice officials during last season’s playoffs, calling them “the best officials in any sport” despite criticism by fans and pundits. Given the inconsistency we’ve seen over the years, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of any improvement.
My guess is we’ll see what we always see. Early-season games will be called more closely than those later in the season. The quality of officiating will deteriorate over the course of the playoffs.
There will be questionable fouls that could affect how the rest of a game is called. Blatant attempts to injure will sometimes result in puzzling supplemental discipline or none at all. A bad call or missed call will be offset by another at some point in the game. Wash, rinse, repeat.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues have brought back center Tyler Bozak. The 35-year-old unrestricted free agent was signed to a one-year, $750K contract.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Givani Smith to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a one-way deal worth $750K per season.
TSN: Jimmy Vesey is among three players joining New Jersey Devils training camp on professional tryout offers. Joining him are Mark Jankowski and Tyler Wotherspoon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey was a well-touted prospect who signed with the New York Rangers as a college free agent in 2016. However, he bounced from the Rangers to the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks since 2019.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres fans will require proof of vaccination to attend the club’s home games this season.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins forward Fred Stanfield passed away at age 77. He played 14 seasons in the NHL, six of those with the Bruins (1967-68 to 1972-73), winning two Stanley Cups. Along with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge, Stanfield was part of the return the Bruins received in a 1967 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks that turned the club into a champion.
In 914 career games with the Bruins, Blackhawks, Minnesota North Stars and Buffalo Sabres, Stanfield tallied 211 goals and 616 points, along with 56 points in 106 playoff contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Stanfield’s family, friends and former teammates.