NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2011.

Sidney Crosby to miss two games…Several questionable hits last night could be up for suspension review…Stars Mark Fistric suspended three games for charging…Alexander Ovechkin’s  high and low moments against Senators…Jaromir Jagr not looking back..Ray Emery to start against Islanders…Hurricanes get first win for coach Muller…Claude Giroux lead Flyers in comeback win over Sabres…Paul Bissonnette helps the homeless…NHLPA head Fehr talks CBA and realignment…Graham James pleads guilty to sexual assaulting Theo Fleury

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will take the next two games off as a precaution after taking a hit in a recent game against the Boston Bruins. He passed a neurocognitive test, but he and the team feel it would be best to err on the side of caution. Crosby recently returned from a concussion injury that saw him miss 61 games since the middle of last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already some posts out there wondering if this is the beginning of the end for Crosby’s career, but I would suggest not to leap to conclusions. As the TSN panelists noted last night, a player tends to feel a little paranoid over his condition after returning from a concussion. It’s better safe that sorry. The good news is he didn’t suffer any concussion-like symptoms which could be determined via medical screening.

KUKLA’S KORNER/PUCK DADDY: Three hits which may result in reviews by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan: Buffalo’s Ville Leino’s elbow to the head of Philadelphia’s Matt Read, Buffalo forward Nathan Gerbe boarded by Flyers’ defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon, and Edmonton’s Andy Sutton’s “leaping headshot” on Carolina’s Alexei Ponikarovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All look like they should draw suspensions. Let’s see what Shanahan decides.

PUCK DADDY: Shanahan suspended Dallas Stars’ Mark Fistric for charging NY Islanders rookie Nino Niedereitter.

Ovechkin has high and low moments in win over Senators.

WASHINGTON POST: Alexander Ovechkin sparked the Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators, including scoring a goal that can be considered “vintage Ovechkin”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The one blemish was Ovechkin’s spearing Ottawa forward Chris Neil. It could be described as accidental, but a player is supposed to be in control of their stick. It’s been suggested it could draw a suspension from the league, but I doubt it.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Flyers star Claude Giroux had a four-point night, leading his team to rally from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is certainly an early candidate for the Hart Trophy.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Flyers and former Penguins forward Jaromir Jagr is focused on the present and doesn’t think about what might have been had he returned to the Penguins this season rather than signing with the Flyers.

SUN-TIMES.COM: Blackhawks backup Ray Emery will get the start tonight against the NY Islanders as struggling starter Corey Crawford will use the extra time to work on his game with goalie coach Stephane Waite.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes got their first victory under new head coach Kirk Muller, downing the Edmonton Oilers 5-3.

TSN.CA: NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr discussed the PA’s desire for additional information on the new realignment of conferences, and touched on issues important to the PA in the next round of collective bargaining; specifically, the escrow clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the NHLPA agreeing to a reduction of their percentage of revenue from 57 percent to perhaps a 50-50 split with the league in the next CBA in exchange for either the elimination of escrow, or capping the percentage at under 10 percent. It’s a bothersome issue for the players, but one which I believe they’ll be able to work to their favor.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Phoenix Coyotes Paul Bissonnette helped pay for the cost of transporting 100 homeless people to a recent Coyotes game plus paid for their food at the game. The Coyotes had donated the tickets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second straight year Bissonnette has done this. Way to go, “BizNasty”

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets have hired former Pittsburgh Penguins executive Craig Patrick as a senior advisor.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Former junior hockey coach Graham James pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting former NHL star Theo Fleury when Fleury played his junior hockey with James.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jail time isn’t enough for what James did to Fleury and others, but it’ll have to do.


  1. Here is my take on the questionable hits last night. Suspension for Ville Leino and Andy Sutton but no suspension for Ovechkin or Bourdon. Phillie is a protected team and Ovechkin would need to kill somebody to get a suspension. I know Ovechkin has had suspensions before but this is Shanahan, the most incosistent person I have ever seen.

    And by the way, Shanahan’s comments that he isn’t biased against Montreal even though the fans think he is, we don’t think he is biased against Montreal, just biased for teams and players that have a connection to him or have bought him or pay his salary.

  2. Player and team reputations seem to play into calls on the ice as well as who gets suspended or doesn’t get suspended a little too often. Although Ovechkin has been struggling a bit this season he’s still a major star so it’s highly unlikely a suspension or review will be conducted. There should have been a call on the ice but perphaps the referee didn’t see it (or didn’t want to see it). Neil did look at the ref but who wouldn’t?

  3. how is “philly” protected?

  4. Phillie is known for questionable plays and they get away with murder way too often. Chris Pronger, the cheapest player in the league is the captain. Enough said

  5. Maybe Sutton gets suspended, but ponik was targeted for the hit due to his knee on knee to Smid earlier in the game. Two wrongs dont make a right but Alex’s play was just as dirty and Smid is lucky he didn’t end up like booth.

  6. 1. Very selfless gesture by BizNasty
    2. Great move by Columbus, and might be the best move they’ve made in years .. lol.
    3. Graham James .. set that focker on fire!!!
    4. In no way do I condone what Ovie did (spearing), but he needs to get his nasty back to be the Ovie of old.
    5. Better safe than sorry with Crosby .. but sitting out a couple of games after a collision does make some fans worry .. and rightfully so.
    6. I’m not advocating hitting from behind, nor am I attempting to defend the offenders of such hits .. but holy shit .. some (not all) of these hits can be avoided by the “victim”. I’m sick and tired of players continuously putting themselves in dangerous and vulnerable positions, it makes me cringe when I see it, and I’m not just referring to any of last night’s games, as it’s happening league wide. Not only do we need to continue to teach kids how to “stop” hitting from behind, but we also need to teach them how to expect and absorb checks along the boards. Both hitting from behind and turning your back to an oncoming player along the boards are both STUPID moves!!! These hits from behind were not as prevalent in the past as players were taught how to protect themselves at a very young age, it almost seems that is no longer the case. Instead we are teaching them, even if subconsciously, that hitting from behind is illegal, so don’t worry, just protect the puck. I realize some of you will disagree with me, but the main point I’m trying to make here is; “Hey coach, please teach my kid how to play hockey AND how to protect his or herself”. Is that too much to ask?

  7. I agree with you Poutlsy. A lot of these ‘hits from behind’ are caused by players turning there back and putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Also, a vast majority of these big open ice hits are a result of players skating with their head down. (don’t confuse this type of hit with the blind side hit). I learned at a very young age to keep your head up or your going to get killed. It almost seems like this is being forgotten.