NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2011.

Concern over Claude Giroux’s health, Zdeno Chara sidelined for a week, Jimmy Howard playing like an All-Star, Blackhawks edge Sharks in OT, Rangers pound Panthers, Sabres struggling on the power-play, Cam Ward vowing to stay calm, the reason behind the Lightning’s struggles, and Keith Tkachuk enters US Hockey Hall of Fame.

PHILLY.COM: While Flyers star Claude Giroux is apparently feeling better after being accidentally kneed in the head by a teammate during Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, his status remains uncertain as he’ll be re-evaluated today.

BOSTON.COM: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is expected to miss a week due to a leg injury suffered against Columbus on Saturday.

Howard playing like an All-Star.

DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard may not be on the All-Star ballot, but is getting votes as a write-in candidate. Howard’s numbers this season rank among the league’s top goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the write-in campaign proves unsuccessful, Howard is leaving little doubt he’s among the best in the league this season. If Howard keeps it up, he won’t be left off the ballot for the 2013 ASG.

SUNTIMES.COM: Patrick scored netted the winner as the Blackhawks edged the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in overtime.

NEW YORK POST: Derek Stepan had a three-point night (2 goals, 1 assist) as the Rangers thumped the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Sunday, winning their 14th game in their last 18.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl on the Sabres recent offensive woes, particularly on the power-play, which over the past couple of weeks has plummeted from seventh to 19th overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Is it me, or have the Sabres gone into a funk since Ryan Miller was run over by Boston forward Milan Lucic? I’d love to hear from Sabres fans on this. One has already written in claiming the Sabres lack grit, believing they could benefit from an Andrew Ladd-type forward.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward is vowing to be calmer, following a private chat with head coach Kirk Muller. Ward was visibly upset after being yanked midway through Friday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a tough season for Ward, to the point where it boiled over in that game. It wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, and he’ll be fine the rest of the way after speaking with a sympathetic Muller. It’s not Ward’s fault the team in front of him lacks depth, which is something Hurricanes management must address, if not this season, then certainly next summer.

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson reports the Lightning’s sputtering offense is to blame for the club’s recent struggles.

STLTODAY.COM: Former Blues star Keith Tkachuk will be inducted tonight into the US Hockey Hall of Fame, joining fellow inductees Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick and Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snider.


  1. I’ve listened to Detroit radio station 101.1 the Riff and one of their dj’s is touring around Detroit giving away free stuff while campaigning for votes for Howard. Great idea. Chara must be getting a lot of sympathy from around the league *rolls eyes like R Dangerfield*

  2. The Sabres Power Play woes may be coming to an end soon as they play the Maple Leafs on the 16th and 22nd of this month and with Ryan Miller, their nemesis, likely in goal for both games, this could be the break the Sabres have been looking for.

  3. The Sabres do lack grit and while I like Jason Pomminville – he is too laid back and soft to be their Captain. At this point I would say they need to get more from Pomminville, Stafford, Roy and Ennis. They need some leadership and I think Vanek would have been a better choice as Captain as he holds himself accountable and is willing to mix it up in front of the net and has some grit and energy. I think the reason why he wasn’t made Captain is because he does take too much upon himself. Another choice for Captain would be Kassian in a couple of years – love the style of play that the kids have brought up to the lineup.Sabres management needs to make a statement to the team and I think trading Stafford or Roy might get the message across. I would love to see a trade for a Bobby Ryan, Evander Kane, Dubinsky or even Clutterback.

  4. I been calling the Sabres soft for a while now, and while that’s still a problem, their softness has been less suspect of late. In light of their best player getting run at a few times now, they’ve focused more on being tough and that’s taken away from their finesse game. It’s kind of interesting to see a team that can only do one or the other. Not the good kind of interesting, though. More like the “I feel bad for their fans … totally remember when the Rangers were there” kind of interesting.

  5. A couple games against the Leafs won’t turn around a horrible PP… Look how we faired against one of the worst defensive teams in the league (Ottawa). Not even having Ryan Miller in net will help the fact that we cannot score… Darcy needs to make changes it may be coaching but for real Roy and Stafford should have played there last season in Buffalo this year… That’s my one and only Xmas wish…