NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2021

A look at the top potential trade targets now that Jack Eichel’s off the market in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy and Matt Larkin examined several possible trade targets now that Jack Eichel is finally off the trade market.

Kennedy kicked things off by suggesting Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel as the most obvious choice. He also wondered what the market would be for defenseman Kris Letang if the Pittsburgh Penguins decide the postseason isn’t in the cards for them this season. Despite his injury history and age, the 34-year-old remains a solid offensive blueliner who could fetch a decent return should the Penguins decide to rebuild.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is going to be traded at some point between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer who doesn’t fit into the rebuilding Coyotes’ plans and he wants a chance to earn a new contract by playing with a playoff contender this season. He’s being paid only $1 million in actual salary but his $6.8 million cap hit likely means cap-strapped suitors could wait until closer to the trade deadline.

Like Kessel, Letang is a UFA next summer. While his name briefly surfaced in trade speculation over the past couple of years, he has indicated his desire to finish his career with the Penguins. He won’t be going anywhere if management feels the same way.

Kennedy noted that Letang has a modified no-trade clause allowing him to be moved to 18 teams. He’s also earning $7.25 million in cap hit and actual salary, meaning he would be a more likely trade candidate near the deadline if he and the Penguins decide it’s time to move on.

Larkin suggests center Tomas Hertl as a trade candidate if the San Jose Sharks slide out of playoff contention. Another one could be Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano, prompting Larkin to wonder if the Calgary Flames might attempt to reacquire their former captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl could be the most desirable trade target depending on what the market looks like after the calendar flips to 2022. The 28-year-old center hopes to soon discuss a new contract with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson but there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement on an extension before the trade deadline.

The Kraken making Giordano their captain suggests they’re confident of signing the 38-year-old defenseman to a contract extension. If that doesn’t work out, they could consider moving him before deadline day. Maybe the Flames would try to bring him back as a rental but that will depend on what their needs are as the trade deadline approaches.

Returning to the Penguins, Larkin noted Evgeni Malkin is also in the final year of his contract. The 35-year-old center is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Once he returns to the lineup the club will have a better idea of how the standings might shake out. Malkin could be a player they could get a lot for in the trade market if they decide it’s time to move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin’s in the same boat as Letang. He’s also hinted that he’d like to finish his career in Pittsburgh. He has a full no-movement clause and is earning $9.5 million in cap hit and actual salary. He would generate plenty of interest if the Penguins shop him but moving that contract won’t be easy.

Larkin also mentioned Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as a trade candidate. He suggested the Edmonton Oilers as a club that might want to kick tires on Fleury or current free agent Tuukka Rask.

Staying with the Blackhawks, Larkin raised the possibility of Patrick Kane as a trade chip, noting he’s got a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit. He acknowledged that would make it difficult to move the 32-year-old winger but he would be appealing as a two-year rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has popped up in recent weeks as a potential trade chip for the Blackhawks later in the season. His $7 million cap hit ($6 million in actual salary) and 10-team no-trade clause would make it difficult for a team with little or no cap space (like the Oilers) to acquire him.

As for Kane, I don’t see the Blackhawks having that conversation with him until the offseason unless he asks to be moved before the deadline. The Hawks need a long-overdue rebuild. Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews could be shopped if they don’t want to be part of it. They both carry identical contracts with full no-movement clauses, which is why I believe any attempt by the Blackhawks to move either guy will have to wait until next summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2021

Could the struggling Blackhawks trade Marc-Andre Fleury to the Oilers? What other moves should they make this season? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill

YARDBARKER: TSN’s Chris Johnston and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman have speculated over whether Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury could become a trade candidate at some point during the season.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Fleury was at the top of Friedman’s list of potential Blackhawks trade assets. He hinted Edmonton could be a trade destination during an appearance on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer.

Johnston, meanwhile, expressed his view that it’s reasonable to link the 36-year-old goaltender to the Oilers during a recent podcast. “I think that they (Oilers) understand what this season means. I see them trading for a (defenseman) before the deadline and I see them getting another goaltender and that goaltender might be the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.”

Acknowledging the Oilers aren’t the only team that could use a goaltender and has a chance to be competitive, Johnston wondered if Fleury would like the idea of playing for a team as good as the Oilers look thus far this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Blackhawks looking to move Fleury at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. Whether the Oilers can land him, however, is another matter.

Fleury’s contract will be a problem for the Oilers. Cap Friendly shows them sitting over $5 million above the salary cap with Oscar Klefbom, Josh Archibald and Alex Stalock on long-term injury reserve. He carries a $7 million cap hit this season and a 10-team no-trade clause. They’ll have to shed salary or convince the Blackhawks to retain part of his cap hit to make this work.

The Oilers are already carrying Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen as their current goalie tandem. One of them will have to go to make room for Fleury. The automatic assumption would be Koskinen but he has a 15-team no-trade and a $4.5 million cap hit. He’s been playing well thus far this season but he still has a history of inconsistent performance.

The possibility of playing for the Oilers could be enticing but there’s no certainty they’re among his choice of preferred trade destinations. If they’re not, there’s no certainty he’ll waive his no-trade clause to go to Edmonton.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski suggested the Blackhawks should approach Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to determine if they wish to finish their careers in Chicago if the club goes into a full rebuild. A former NHL general manager told Wyshynski the Blackhawks should attempt to move them to a club with Stanley Cup aspirations in hope of reaping a return that can help the rebuilding process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski duly noted both players are signed through 2022-23 with identical $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to find out whether they’re on board with being part of a full-fledged roster rebuild. If they’re not, then they need to give management a list of preferred trade destinations.

Wyshynski believes the Blackhawks should retain Dominik Kubalik. The 26-year-old forward is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but could be part of the solution along with young players like Alex DeBrincat and a few others. He recommends trying to move the rest of their pending free agents, including perhaps trying to ship Fleury back to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Blackhawks must also make a decision about recently acquired defenseman Seth Jones, whose eight-year, $76 million contract kicks in next season. There’s no chance they’ll recoup what they gave up to the Columbus Blue Jackets (two first-rounders, defenseman Adam Boqvist and a second-rounder). Wyshynski wondered if they could find a taker for Jones if they opt to go into a full rebuild or if he’ll become a pillar for the Blackhawks to rebuild around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be easier to find a trade partner for Jones if he were playing as well as he did prior to last season. The ongoing decline in his performance coupled with that big contract could make him almost impossible to move.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers report the Blackhawks aren’t in any rush to find a full-time replacement for recently fire head coach Jeremy Colliton. Derek King has taken over the role on an interim basis. Interim general manager Kyle Davidson said the club will conduct that search during the offseason.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

What’s next for the Blackhawks after firing their head coach? Will the Stars make a cost-cutting deal soon? Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WHAT ELSE IS IN STORE FOR THE STRUGGLING BLACKHAWKS?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers wondered what other changes could be in store for the Chicago Blackhawks after interim general manager Kyle Davidson replaced Jeremy Colliton as head coach yesterday with Derek King on an interim basis.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks GM could spend the next 10-15 games to determine if moves need to be made to help the club improve or nudge it toward getting worse and improve their chances of keeping their 2022 first-round pick. That selection was part of the deal in acquiring Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets but Powers points out the Blackhawks would retain that pick if they finish low enough in the standings and have the draft lottery balls drop in their favor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the details of the conditions for the Blackhawks’ 2022 first-round pick.

Powers feels the Blackhawks have a handful of players they could move this season, suggesting Marc-Andre Fleury and Dominik Kubalik as trade candidates. Fleury, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Kevin Lankinen are among their notable upcoming unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury’s struggling behind the Blackhawks’ porous defense. However, there could be playoff contenders willing to bet the 36-year-old netminder will regain last season’s Vezina Trophy-winning form on a better club. His $7 million cap hit, however, could keep him in Chicago until the weeks leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

Kubalik carries an affordable $3.7 million cap hit and is just two seasons removed from his 30-goal NHL debut. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitrations rights next summer, which could make him a more enticing option for teams seeking a scoring winger they can keep beyond this season.

Prior to Colliton’s firing, Mark Lazerus pondered the fate of Dylan Strome. The 24-year-old center has been a healthy scratch in most of the Blackhawks games this season and often sees checking-line duty when he gets into the lineup. Given the club’s struggles, Lazerus wondered why they won’t at least move Strome up in the lineup and put him with some skilled linemates.

Lazerus noted the Blackhawks have tried trading Strome for nearly a year, suggesting the recent management change clouded his situation. Even if they could find a team to ship him to, they’d be selling low right now on one of their best trade chips.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks might have to accept a lesser return for Strome. There’s obviously not much of a market for him right now and they’ve done him and themselves no favors by keeping him in the press box for most of this season. Like Kubalik, he’s an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes there are players the Blackhawks shouldn’t consider trading, such as Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. However, he suggests Davidson should contemplate shopping long-time stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. While they each carry $10.5 million cap hits, they’ve got just one season left on their contracts following this one. Proteau thinks a team poised for a long Stanley Cup run could be willing to take on one or the other.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It comes down to whether Toews and Kane will agree to be moved. Both carry full no-movement clauses and might not be keen to waive them despite the Blackhawks’ struggles. Perhaps that decision is made next summer. It would be easier if they approached management and requested to be traded but there’s no certainty they’ll do that.

LATEST ON THE STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is now technically eligible to come off long-term injury reserve. However, that decision remains with Bishop and general manager Jim Nill.

Bishop’s been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery last fall. The 34-year-old goalie has been practicing with the Stars but they lack sufficient cap space to take him off LTIR. They can accomplish this by sending players to the minors or via trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars already have two goaltenders in Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin. Holtby, 32, has seen the bulk of their starts this season and sports a solid 2.46 goals against average and .924 save percentage. He also carries an affordable one-year, $2 million contract and lacks no-trade protection. Perhaps he becomes a trade candidate when the Stars decide to reactivate Bishop.










Blackhawks “Dynasty” Forever Tarnished

Blackhawks “Dynasty” Forever Tarnished

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.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2021

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.

GAME RECAPS

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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

Stan Bowman steps aside as Blackhawks general manager as the Blackhawks make front office changes in the wake of an investigation into sexual assault allegations involving their former video coach. Details plus recaps of Tuesday’s game and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Chicago Blackhawks team president and general manager Stan Bowman stepped aside following the release of details of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made against former video coach Bradley Aldrich by a former player over a decade ago. Senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac was also relieved of his duties. The news was announced in a virtual press briefing yesterday that included Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and Jenner & Block lead investigator Reid Schar.

Former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman (NHL.com).

In addition, the NHL has fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” in its handling of this matter. Aldrich left the Blackhawks following the 2009-10 season.

The investigation found Bowman and MacIsaac met with then-president and CEO John McDonough, executive VP Jay Blunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, head coach Joel Quenneville and mental skills coach James Gary after the Blackhawks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in May 2010 to discuss the allegations. However, nothing was done until three weeks later after the Blackhawks won the Cup.

TSN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman intends to meet personally with Cheveldayoff and Quenneville in the near future. Cheveldayoff is now the GM of the Winnipeg Jets and Quenneville is the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The full 107-page report, based on interviews with 139 people, has been released to the public (warning: contains graphic and disturbing details). It reveals the Blackhawks organization ultimately put winning a championship over pursuing prompt action against a sexual predator in their midst.

When they finally acted, they didn’t go to the police. Instead, Aldrich was given the choice of stepping down or being subjected to an internal investigation. He got severance pay, a playoff bonus, a day with the Cup and a complimentary reference letter from Quenneville. Nearly four years later, Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail and five years probation on criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from his alleged involvement with a high school player.

At every level, the Blackhawks failed to protect “John Doe”, who was also reportedly later ostracized and mocked by several teammates following his ordeal. They chose to cover it up for years, doing immeasurable harm to Aldrich’s victims and tarnishing a once-proud organization. The only positive to come out of this is “John Doe” finally received some measure of justice for his ordeal.

This story never would’ve seen the light of day without the determined reporting by TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang. Their reports earlier this year led to the long-overdue investigation into the allegations.

The fallout from this story is ongoing and the aftermath will be felt by the Blackhawks, and the NHL, for a long time. We can only hope there will be lessons learned by the league to ensure victims of sexual assault at any level within its ranks never have to face what “John Doe” endured for the past decade.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken won its first home game in franchise history by downing the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Brandon Tanev scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected a goal and an assist. The hapless Habs have lost five of their first six games this season. Earlier in the day, Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin said sidelined teammate Shea Weber is essentially retired though he hasn’t officially done so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin said out loud what everyone knows. Injuries have ended Weber’s career but he’s still under contract through 2025-26. He’ll remain on long-term injury reserve. If he officially retires, the Canadiens would only face a salary-cap recapture penalty of $200K per season until his contract expires. His former club, the Nashville Predators, would get hit with $6.1 million annually as they were the ones who matched his contract offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored the tying and winning goals 19 seconds apart in the third period to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Andrew Copp also had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Calgary Flames picked up their fourth straight win by dropping the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Andrew Mangiapane scored two goals for the Flames. Pavel Zacha replied with two for the Devils.

A 28-save performance by Andrei Vasilevskiy gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the Lightning’s first regulation win of the season. Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh each had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their second win of the season by beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Robin Lehner made 26 saves while Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist. Both clubs have 2-4-0 records.

Cam Talbot made 22 saves as the Minnesota Wild held off the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Matt Dumba scored the eventual game-winner as the Wild have won five straight games. The Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has traveled to Vancouver and will join their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. He did not report to the club in September and was placed on leave while dealing with a personal matter.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had two assists and goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 28 shots in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Predators.

IN OTHER NEWS…

STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly was placed on the non-roster COVID-19 protocol list yesterday, joining winger Brandon Saad. They will be sidelined at least 10 days.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and center Henrik Borgstrom were placed on the club’s COVID protocol list.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan will be sidelined eight weeks after fracturing his wrist in Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Coyotes goaltender Carter Hutton is expected to miss two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Conor Timmins is out eight-to-12 weeks (lower body) while winger Ryan Dzingel has suffered an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed forward Ross Johnston to a four-year contract extension. He’ll earn $1.1 million annually.