Hockey Blog Beat – August 21, 2011.

Introducing a new feature on Spector’s Hockey, in which I post up a roundup of the most interesting posts each day, culled from various NHL  hockey blogs.

In today’s blog beat, how Brendan Shanahan can avoid failure as league disciplinarian, Crosby and concussions, suggesting Matt Duchene for Avalanche captain, why the Devils will make the playoffs in 2012,and debating the best teams furthest from the salary cap.

IN LOU WE TRUST: John Fischer offers suggestions on how new league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan can avoid the pitfalls and controversies that marred the tenure of his predecessor, Colin Campbell. He suggested hiring someone from outside the game in an advisory role, who could then establish a framework for discipline, and reviewing past incidents which required supplementary discipline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen how Shanahan handles his new role and how much improvement there might be, but in my opinion he can’t do any worse than his predecessors, and being a well-respected personality as he is, I’m optimistic we’ll see at least some improvement in league discipline.

HOCKEY INDEPENDENT: Adrian Fung weighs in on the thin line between optimism and pessimism regarding recovery from concussion, particularly that of Sidney Crosby. Fung commends the Penguins for their caution in how they’ve handle Crosby’s recovery, but he also wondered if Crosby will be the same player he was prior to his injury, noting the decline of Pat Lafontaine, Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya following their concussion injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good points by Fung, though I would also suggest part of the reason for the decline of Lafontaine, Lindros and Kariya was concussions and recovery from post-concussion symptoms weren’t well understood over ten years ago. Hopefully, the caution being used by Crosby and the Penguins in his recovery might have a different outcome from what happened to those three.

BLEACHER REPORT: Kevin Goff suggests Matt Duchene, who’ll be entering his third NHL season, as a good candidate for captain of the Colorado Avalanche. Goff acknowledged Duchene’s youth and inexperience, but pointed out Duchene’s skills, versatility and work ethic have earned the respect of his teammates. If named captain, he would be the fourth-youngest in NHL history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ultimately, it comes down to leadership ability and respect of your peers. Some, like Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, has it despite their youth and league experience. If Duchene has those qualities with the Avs, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give him the “C”, but that’s ultimately up to the coaching staff.

HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: Todd Cordell believes the New Jersey Devils will bounce back and not only make the 2012 playoffs, but could also “make some noise” in the post-season. Cordell believes the Devils as a team will be motivated, plus a full season with scoring stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise playing together gives the Devils the scoring punch needed to make the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Team motivation and healthy scoring stars are certainly two critical factors, but how well the Devils perform for new head coach Peter Deboer, the overall performance of their blueline, and of course, the play of aging future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur could be more determining factors. 

RED LIGHT DISTRICT HOCKEY BLOG: Ryan Porth and Anthony Curatolo square off to determine the best team furthest from the salary cap, with Porth suggesting the Nashville Predators, while Curatolo counters with the NY Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both guys make excellent points, but I give the nod to Porth, as the Predators have outstanding goaltending, a strong defense corps, are well-coached, well-managed, and have more experience than the promising, but still rebuilding, Islanders.



  1. That the Preds are sitting about 7M below the cap midpoint is quite disappointing considering the season they just came off of. We’ll be the 3rd lowest team in payroll as things stand right now once the Jets sign Bogosian. This despite the Preds ownership stating that the 11/12 payroll would be higher than it was in 10/11. This would all be fine if we had no glaring weaknesses to fill on the roster, but we clearly need scoring help. Still plenty of time to add someone, but it’s time for Poile to get busy.

  2. Hopefully Crosby’s age will make a difference for his recovery as opposed to those other three as well. Lindros was a similar age when he got his first major one, I think, but he did play at a high level after that before concussions really ruined his career. Kariya had some other injuries that hurt his career too and his age factored into his decline as well, and Lafontaine had to retire earlier than he should’ve but he was still in his 30’s.

  3. I just hope shanny can bring consistency to the NHL’s discipline it hands out. Guys getting 10 games for a side punch after watching a teammate get crushed from behind, but Chara gets nothing for breaking a guys neck 15 feet away from the puck because of a love tap on his numbers after a overtime goal. It was sickening. Guys get four games for interacting negatively with fans with some sort of physicalness but Nathan Horton can squirt fans with water then throw the water bottle at them and it’s not even a fine or even reviewed. It just made the league look like a bush league or professional wrestling where it seemed like some teams can just do what they want because it’s part of the act. Really tested my resolve as a hockey fan last year. I wouldn’t even have watched the rest of the playoffs had the canucks not been in there as it was pretty clear which team was given the all clear to do whatever they wished (black and gold). Two year before it seemed like the pens could do no wrong and were getting away with everything too. The rules shouldn’t change for the postseason. The league talks about skill and wants to make crazy nets, smaller goalies, blah blah blah, to show off the skill, then the playoffs start and they let all these skill guys get dirted all over the place with no calls and call it “playoff hockey”. The problem is all these dinosaur type old school people working in the NHL that don’t want change. But owners, fans, and probably families of the players want their investments, teammates, fathers/sons to be able to play a game safely. It’s a GAME not war. Players aren’t executed for losing, there’s no consequence for losing other than pride. So why is it like pulling teeth to get this league to consider a hard stance on player safety/respect??? Who here wants to see the NHL’s best player out because of a hit to the head when he didn’t have the puck??? No one. Watch your favorite team play and have one of your best young forswear about to get a partial break only to see him thrown into the stanchion and collapse on the ice not moving then find out he’s concussed and has a couple broken bones in his neck. Now think of how that would feel as a fan. Then find out that the league these men play for did absolutely nothing to give them justice for a reckless act against them. It was only when the league was threatened with losing major sponsors did they start looking hard at this last year and then they started suspending everyone for hits that were way less impactful than the two I mentioned above. Too many dinosaurs at the top of the league who don’t understand that it’s just a game and these are people with lives, loved ones, and their health that need to be considered. When you let people get away with things the next offender is going to take another inch and another until someone is paralyzed on the ice infront of kids. And for what? A game. Cmon.

  4. Sorry if theres spelling mistakes or weird words. I’m ways typing from my iPhone and sometimes it changes things around lol.