Zach Parise’s stellar performance on Scott Niedermayer Night…Steven Stamkos becoming on-ice leader for Lightning…Henrik Sedin speaks out about his and his brother’s critics…Fans returning to Wild games…Blues continue to play well…Semyon Varlamov to face former team…Tomas Vanek has 4-point night for Sabres…Sean Avery frustrated by lack of playing time…Mike Milbury facing charges for assaulting a minor.

NJ.COM: Zach Parise commemorated Scott Niedermayer’s number retirement ceremony with a four-point performance as the Devils downed the Dallas Stars 6-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumormongers will point to Parise’s continuing improvement and claim it increases his trade value, but as long as the Devils are in the playoff chase, Parise won’t be dealt this season.

Stamkos emerging as on-ice leader for Lightning.

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Steven Stamkos is emerging as a vocal on-ice leader for the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to veterans Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, this is Stamkos’ team now.

TORONTO SUN: Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin is puzzled the trash-talking aimed at he and his brother still remains after all these years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A combination of jealousy over the Sedins incredible talent, their apparent “aloofness”,  unwillingness to be goaded into fights, and the idiotic perception Europeans in general, and Swedes in particular, are “too soft” for the NHL game is behind the taunts and trash-talking. Through it all, the twins have consistently been the Canucks best players since 2006-07, the first brothers to win the Art Ross trophy, and rank among the top forwards in the league. Any team would be thrilled to have these guys in their lineup, but because they don’t drop the gloves or play a more physical game, they’re labeled as wimps, while comparable North American-born players don’t face half as much verbal abuse. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The improved performance of the Minnesota Wild is bringing back their fans, who in recent years had begun drifting away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild fans are no different than fans anywhere else. They’ll come out and support a team if they believe the front office is committed to building and maintaining a winner, and if the players perform to the best of their abilities. In recent years the perception was the Wild front office wasn’t willing to improve the team, while the dull quality of the product was a turn-off. The Wild’s style of play still has its critics, but there’s no denying they’re a better, more entertaining team this season.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues have a record of 9-2-1 this season against other teams in the top ten of the NHL’s overall standings. Head coach Ken Hitchcock believes beating teams with good records is giving his club more confidence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Blues this season, they’re finally playing up to their potential as well as their fans’ expectations.

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov will face the Washington Capitals for the first time since the Capitals traded him to the Avalanche this summer.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Tomas Vanek had a four-point night as the Sabres down the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Sean Avery is becoming frustrated over his recent lack of playing time.

CBC.CA: Hockey analyst Mike Milbury is facing charges after allegedly grabbing and shaking a 12-year-old minor hockey player who was playing against his son in a tournament last week.

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4 Responses to NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2011.

  1. Chris says:

    Did Milbury beat the kid with a shoe?

  2. SmielmaN says:

    Jacques Martin has been fired. Randy Cunnyworth is the interim head coach.

  3. Joey says:

    It would seem once again that any team who’s Power Play is ailing, need only to play against the Leafs to snap out of their funk as once again, the Leafs gave up 3 Power Play goals

  4. Sean says:

    They arent labeled as wimps cause they dont fight, theyre labeled as wimps because although they dont fight or hit or play an aggravating style of game, they have the nerve to drop to their knees like little crybabys and grab their faces to try and get a call whenever somebodies stick comes within 3 feet of their faces–They have no sportsmanship. Its one thing to generate a call against, but when video highlights show you diving time after time you become an embarrassment to the sport

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