Florida Panthers Could Face Big Changes Following This NHL Season
Game recaps, Ribeiro requests a trade, Elias leans toward retirement & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Phil Kessel scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, and set up another as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 after blowing a 3-1 lead. Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky netted two points.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored the game winner in his season debut to give the Florida Panthers a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Panthers goalie James Reimer picked up his 100th career NHL win.
Mikael Backlund scored in overtime and T.J. Brodie collected four assists as the Calgary Flames beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Before the game, sidelined Devils forward Patrik Elias (recovering from knee surgery) hinted he’s leaning toward retirement.
Sebastian Aho’s early third-period goal stood as the game winner as the Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Edmonton Oilers 2-1.
Danny DeKeyser late third-period goal gave the Detroit Red Wings a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders, snapping the latter’s six-game points streak.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro was placed on waivers after he requested a trade. He was a healthy scratch in the Preds’ last three games and in five of the last eleven. He has 21 assists and 25 points in 46 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ribeiro’s a skilled playmaker, but at 37 he’s at the tail end of his career and dropped down the Predators’ depth chart this season. He also carries a $3.5 million salary-cap hit. We’ll find out later today if there’s a club willing to take a chance on him.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola has withdrawn his nomination as President Trump’s Secretary of the Army, claiming that removing himself from his extensive business ties has proven insurmountable.
NEWSDAY: Connecticut’s governor and Hartford’s mayor have reached out to the New York Islanders, offering the use of Hartford’s XL Center if they leave Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d love to see the NHL return to Hartford, but I doubt the Islanders’ ownership and the league will consider that city as a possible replacement for Barclays Center.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Arizona State University has pulled out of a potential new arena plan that would bring the Arizona Coyotes to Tempe.
TSN: Friday’s meeting in New York between the NHL, the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation was “a courtesy”, according to IOC Thomas Bach. He said he would leave further negotiations on NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Games in the hands of the league and the IOC.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While nothing of substance was accomplished, this meeting is being cautiously considered a positive step forward.
Game recaps. Panthers owner nominated for US Army Secretary & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.com: John Gibson made 33 saves and Cam Fowler scored the game winner as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2, giving Ducks head coach and former Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle his first win in Toronto since being rehired by the Ducks last summer. A lower-body injury kept Leafs center Tyler Bozak out of the game.
An overtime goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer each tallied a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Christian Dvorak also had a goal and an assists for the Coyotes.
Ryan Ellis scored in a shootout as the Nashville Predators squeaked past the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Last night’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes was postponed because of ice problems at PNC Arena. No word yet on when the game will be rescheduled.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal are the NHL stars for the week ending Dec. 18.
The NHL’s website commemorating the league’s 100th anniversary will launch on January 1, 2017.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers majority owner Vinnie Viola’s been tapped by US President-elect Donald Trump for Secretary of the Army.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers feel Viola had a hand in some of the Panthers’ offseason roster moves, the controversial firing of head coach Gerard Gallant and director of hockey ops Dale Tallon taking over some of the general manager duties. Don’t assume Viola’s pending new job will bring some front office stability for the Panthers. Should Viola become confirmed by the US Senate, he’ll leave the day-to-day operations of the team to co-owner Doug Cifu and CEO Matthew Caldwell. In other words, pretty much the same crowd that played a role in the club’s recent moves are still running the show.
THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, 37, credits training and technology for why he’s last 19 seasons in the NHL.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Rick Nash is sidelined once again by a groin injury
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Sam Gagner hopes to stay in Columbus beyond this season. Eligible in July for unrestricted free agency, Gagner’s enjoying a bounce-back performance this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll depend upon how much of a raise Gagner seeks over his current one-year, $650K contract and the cost of re-signing RFAs such as Alexander Wenneberg and Josh Harrington, as well as re-signing or replacing pending UFA backup Curtis McElhinney. The Jackets already have over $67 million invested in next season’s payroll.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Penguins winger Tom Kuhnhackl is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
TWINCITIES.COM: Forward Pat Cannone, the Minnesota Wild’s 30-year-old rookie, will finally make his NHL debut tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.