NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2011.

Flyers Claude Giroux and Ilya Bryzgalov sidelined, Bruins Zdeno Chara suffers leg injury, the Blackhawks “fantastic four”, Stars call-up goalie wins first start, Oilers Andy Sutton receives a lengthy suspension, Blues edge Sharks, concerns hockey enforcer cards glorify violence, and another pundit calls for an end to hockey fights.


Giroux suffers head injury.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux and starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov suffered injuries during their club’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Giroux suffered a head injury when he was accidentally kneed in the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds,  while Bryzgalov left the game with a “lower body” injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Paul Holmgren expects to have more information available today. If Bryzgalov is out for any amount of time, they can turn to backup Sergei Bobrovsky. Losing Giroux, however, would be more serious, as he’s been far and away their best player, as well as an early candidate for the Hart Trophy so far this season.

BOSTON.COM: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was forced to leave yesterday’s Bruins-Blue Jackets tilt with what appeared to be a knee injury. Following the game it was reported Chara was walking without any apparent discomfort, and will be re-evaluated back in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Chara, who’s been having one of his best seasons,  for a significant period would be a serious blow for the Bruins defense.

SUNTIMES.COM: A look at the impressive performance so far this season of the Chicago Blackhawks “fantastic four”: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re the main reason the Blackhawks must be considered Stanley Cup contenders this season. When they’re playing at their current level, the Blackhawks are a very dangerous team.

STARTELEGRAM.COM: Call-up Richard Bachman won his first start for the Dallas Stars, making 26 saves in a 2-1 victory over the LA Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The win snapped the Stars two-game losing skid, while the Kings have lost four in a row.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues ground out a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks in the first game Blues forward David Perron has played against the Sharks since Joe Thornton’s blindside hit sidelined for nearly a year with a concussion. Perron got a measure of revenge, setting up the game’s only goal.

KUKLA’S KORNER: NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan yesterday announced Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for eight games.

CBC.CA: “Do blood-spattered enforcer cards glorify violence?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Do bears crap in the woods?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks calls for the NHL to ban fighting in the wake of a study of the brain of the late Derek Boogaard, which found he suffered from “a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe fighting, especially those “staged” bouts between enforcers, no longer belongs in the game, but I also acknowledge fights remains a popular part of the game, and why the league refuses to impose an outright ban. My opposition to fights isn’t because I’m a bleeding heart pansy who hates violence. I’ve enjoyed my share of hockey fights since I starting watching the game over forty years ago, but in recent years have reached the conclusion fighting has become an unnecessary sideshow, which hurts the quality of the product. 

 As more information about head trauma from fighting and other blows to the head comes to light, specifically about the effects of that trauma upon the brain, we could see the NHL take steps to reduce fighting, though I doubt we’ll see a ban. That would take a dramatic, horrifying incident, like a player being killed from a punch in a hockey fight, to force the NHL to do that, and even then, there would be huge resistance.


  1. I think we would call a scientist who only uses the evidence of a single test (Derek Boogaards brain) in order to argue support for a broad conclusion (NHL fighting causes degenerative brain disease), a pretty bad scientist. And I also fail to see how the media can pressure the NHL to remove fighting because it causes head trauma, when clearly Boxing, MMA, Football and all other contact sports obviously include occasional strikes to the head and therefore likely cause the same trauma, if not even at a higher rate. In 2011, when the UFC just became legalized in Ontario (with broad media support, who used evidence of massive ticket sales to help pressure Ontario into legalizing the sport), I find it difficult to understand why all the pressure comes down to hockey? Sure, we can change the rules to minimize the negative health effects of playing hockey, but that would also constitute changing the rules of the game. Just like, you can change the UFC to prevent hits to the head, or force fighters to wear padded head protection.

  2. Considering that there is no fighting in the NFL and players there have also been shown to have brain symptoms like those of these deceased NHL enforcers, why are many jumping to the conclusion that it’s fighting that’s the culprit here? Could it not be hard checks and open ice hits that lead to these alleged brain injuries? Why is there no call from the fighting abolitionists to ban checking as well? For some, that’s next on their agenda, for others it seems to be a need they have to be seen as more enlightened and progressive thinking than the rest of the rabble they must coexist with.

    I’m personally 50/50 on the whole fighting thing, but people should be more honest as to why they want fighting banned from the game.

  3. “I find it difficult to understand why all the pressure comes down to hockey?” It does not come down to hockey. All sports have people that oppose it. Your just reading a hockey article so that is why its hockey related.

  4. Really considered ripping Brooks again, but what’s the point. The guy writes like a blogger in the msm world, and anything I say won’t change the fact that he’s published by the Post and I’m published by nobody.

    When the clock reads 19:59 and the puck has just been dropped, I don’t want to see two fourth liners doing the yardsale on the wing. Toss ’em and make someone on the ice serve their majors. That’d be okay. Maybe it’s me but I like to see hockey at hockey games, and if there’s a reason to fight then so be it.

    For example, the run the guy took on Niedereitter the other night. He had to defend himself for his action, and why not? It was a pretty brutal hit. Niedereitter was too busy bleeding from the ears on the ice, so his teammate stepped in for him. Sure, that’s hockey if you ask me. Eye for an eye, you hit my teammate I hit you. That’s a good hockey fight.

    There’s no evidence that dirty play would pick up if fighting were ever outlawed in the NHL, because fighting has never been outlawed in the NHL. But by that same logic, when’s the last time we had a canned hockey fight in the Olympics? Certain fights are stupid, but I’d like to see the players in the NHL allowed to react when questionable things come up on the ice.