NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2019
Stars of the week, more stories of abusive behavior by former coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Jack Eichel and Johan Larsson each had three points while Conor Sheary scored two goals. The Devils have dropped five of their last seven games.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch tallied two first-period goals as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Malcolm Subban made 29 saves for the win. Following the game, the Golden Knights announced they’d sent a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Washington Capitals for forward Chandler Stephenson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Capitals had to free up some salary to make room for sidelined winger Carl Hagelin’s imminent return. Stephenson should provide a bit of a boost to the Golden Knight’s penalty kill.
The New York Islanders beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, leaving the latter winless in their last 10 contests. Jordan Eberle tallied twice for the Islanders.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen turned in a 38-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. The Blues are unbeaten (8-0-2) in their last ten games. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane’s 15-game points streak has come to an end.
Derek Grant scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 34 saves (15 in the final period) as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich, and San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1.
SPORTSNET: Hall of Famer Chris Chelios revealed former NHL coach Mike Babcock was ” a tough guy to play for” if you were a veteran player. He said Babcock told him his role during his sixth season with the Wings was to “babysit” blueliner Brett Lebda. He claims Babcock told him, ‘If you don’t like it, you can go see Kenny Holland — I’m sure he’ll trade you.”
Chelios also said Babcock attempted to scratch him from the 2009 Winter Classic. He claims the coach was disrespectful toward Mike Modano, making Modano a healthy scratch late in the 2010-11 season, thus preventing him from playing his 1,500th career game.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Chelios also said Babcock “verbally assaulted” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen during Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs against the Nashville Predators, causing the latter to have a nervous breakdown. Franzen confirmed the encounter, saying “I get shivers when I think about it. … It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.” He went on to call Babcock a “terrible person” and “a bully who was always attacking people.”
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Chelios claimed the players informed Red Wings GM Ken Holland of the incident and he came into the room, make a speech and defended Babcock. Holland, who’s now the GM of the Edmonton Oilers, said no player came forward to complain about Babcock’s behavior. Holland said he’s spoken to Chelios about the incident and the blueliner admitted it didn’t take place following the Nashville game. He said he was in the room when Holland told the players to come and see him if they had a problem with Babcock.
“The situation Chelios described had nothing to do with Franzen,” Holland said. “They were separate situations. That happened after a game in San Jose when someone had said something on a telecast about there being unrest in the locker room. I told players they could come to me if they had anything to say. No one did.”
THE SCORE: The Chicago Blackhawks announced they will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford after former NHL player Sean Avery claimed Crawford kicked him during a game while both were with the Los Angeles Kings.
Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo posted a transcript of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel talking about Crawford’s troubling behavior during a Spittin Chiclets podcast last year. Sopel claimed Crawford kicked and choked him and attacked players personally.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock’s firing opened the floodgates of stories from former players of his abusive behavior and those of Crawford and now-former Calgary Flames bench boss Bill Peters. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of these tales.
SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks have granted goaltender Jacob Markstrom a leave of absence to attend his father’s memorial service.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki foiled a robbery attempt in Vancouver. He clotheslined a thief off his bicycle, wrestled him to the ground, and retrieved the backpack the man had stolen from a car.
TSN: The Montreal Canadiens placed goaltender Keith Kinkaid on waivers and recalled goalie Cayden Primeau and forward Matthew Peca. They also announced defenseman Victor Mete will be sidelined for two weeks with an injured ankle.
The Penguins have agreed to terms with forward Stefan Noesen on a one-year contract.
The two-way deal runs through the end of this season and has a value of $700,000 at the NHL level.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 2, 2019