NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2012.

Another medical update on Sidney Crosby….Bruins GM keeps a low profile…Blue Jackets fan protest draws attention around the league…Lightning founder Phil Esposito’s daughter dies suddenly…Islander to play game in Brooklyn…Rangers coach’s gamble fails…Steven Stamkos comes through in OT for Lightning…Sabres win over Canadiens costly…Patrick Sharp back sooner than expected…Panthers goalie controversy?…Semyon Varlamov loses “show me” game…Wild suffers dispiriting loss…Andrew Cogliano hits career milestone in Ducks win.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has now been diagnose with soft tissue injury to his neck, not a broken neck as had been earlier diagnosed.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Crosby denied he had a rift with the Penguins medical staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a more promising diagnosis which could bode well for Crosby’s return this season, though the people treating him have been having a tough time trying to nail down the true reason for his nagging injury woes. I also realize some readers are growing weary of the seemingly constant reports of Crosby’s injury status, but remember, he’s the best player in the game, and that’s why we’re hearing so much about it. Yes, I know, some of you will dispute that, or just plain hate his guts. That’s your problem, deal with it. The fact remains, Crosby is considered the best player in the game, so there’s going to be a lot of focus on his health.

ESPN.COM: A profile of Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, who has quietly built the Bruins into a powerhouse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli has become one of the best general managers in the game, and has done so without drawing much attention to himself.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: A recent rally of over 250 Blue Jackets fans protesting the direction of the team has drawn considerable attention around the league, as well as of team ownership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the protest will result in any positive changes for the Jackets in the near future. And spare me the jokes about “the entire Blue Jackets season ticket base turning out to protest”. In the hockey hotbed of Montreal, less than that number turned out to protest the Canadiens decision not to re-sign Alex Kovalev (which turned out to be a smart move by the Habs) and the Canadiens decision to promote Randy Cunneyworth as interim head coach.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning founder and Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito’s daughter Carrie Selivanov died on Monday in Germany from a sudden illness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Esposito and his family.

NEW YORK TIMES: The NY Islanders will play the New Jersey Devils in a pre-season game this fall at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a move seen by some as a warning shot to Nassau County the Islanders could move if their current arena isn’t refurbished or replaced.

NEW YORK POST: John Tortorella’s decision to play backup Martin Biron instead of starter Henrik Lundqvist proved costly as the Rangers fell  in a shootout to the New Jersey Devils.

Stamkos comes through in OT for Lightning.

TBO.COM: Steven Stamkos scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Washington Capitals 4-3 for their fifth straight win.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens proved costly, as leading scorer Thomas Vanek was sidelined with an upper body injury.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Patrick Sharp returned earlier than expected to the Blackhawks lineup.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: A possible goalie controversy could be brewing in Florida. Jose Theodore is still considered the Panthers starter, but head coach Kevin Dineen will play backup Scott Clemmensen if it gives the Panthers the best chance to win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers coach won’t fool around. His club is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so he’ll go with the hot hand in goal. I daresay Theodore will understand the situation, and it’s up to him to step up his game to ensure he gets the bulk of the starts.

DENVER POST: Semyon Varlamov suffered another loss in goal for the Avs, as they fell 3-2 to Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are another club battling to make the playoffs. If Varlamov doesn’t pick up his game, he’ll be warming the bench while J.S. Giguere gets most of the starts.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild suffered a dispiriting loss to the Nashville Predators, blowing a 4-1 lead to lose 5-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That loss could be the backbreaker for the Wild’s season. They’ve been in free-fall since mid-December, and losing a game like that can be a massive blow to the team’s confidence.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Andrew Cogliano netted the first hat trick of his career, scoring three goals in less than seven minutes as the Ducks downed the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1.


  1. Aww Lyle come on, the CBJ season ticket holder joke was funny! 😉

  2. Thanks for the line about chirping the fans protest. I thought that was one of the most asinine chirps from someone who consistently makes asinine chirps. Don’t forget the anti-violence protest from last year. Maybe Habs fans should consider a protest like BJ fans did. At least it seems to have had some effect. I mean, the Habs are still led by Gauthier and the deadline is quickly approaching. I still maintain the biggest problem is the GM. Still dressing 7 D-men and Engqvist played 4 minutes. Where’s LeBlanc? And can someone please pass Subban’s phone number to Shanahan.

  3. the only good thing about sidney crosby getting hurt is the seriousness being applied to his comeback. so much attention to detail is being spent on him that its leading to new advances in concussion treatment. on tsn, they listed several players who were though to suffer from pcs but were infact suffering from soft tissue injuries of the neck, if it wasnt for crosby no body would have thought to make this link. this could be the link in treating many players and leading to a proper diagnosis. p.s the penguins medical staff should all face a review and explain how the missed a neck injury.

  4. Can I just say for the nth time that Larry Brooks is a jackass?

    The the Rangers were in control of the game, leading 3-2. They were never behind in the game through 65 minutes. A bad bounce with 45 seconds left sent the game to overtime. It went directly to Clarkson in the slot. Lundqvist wouldn’t have stopped that either. The only goal in the shootout was Kovalchuk, who’s scored something ridiculous like 89% of his shootout attempts on the season. How is that Biron’s fault? It’s absurd.

    Tortorella was planning to give Lundqvist a break before the All-Star weekend, a plan that began at the beginning of the season to give Lundqvist about 20 games off this season (a point Brooks acknowledges). Unfortunately, Biron had the flu and couldn’t go. Why wouldn’t Tortorella find another game for Biron to start?

    That’s fine though, let’s talk about the voodoo head games and things that, for professional athletes, shouldn’t be a factor in a game. Let’s go ahead and bring up the fact that Lundqvist has a winning record against the Devils because he’s Lundqvist. Because it was so obviously Lundqvist who got Brodeur off his game in the 2008 playoffs and definitely not Sean Avery. What a load of bologne.

    But for a lucky bounce, the Rangers had the Devils’ number last night. And Larry Brooks remains an idiot.

  5. Anybody who hates Crosby, fine, your choice – silly, but your choice. Denying he’s the best in the world is the height of ignorance and no amount of trying to suggest he whines to refs or other stupidity (things Gretzky and Lemieux would never do right? complain to refs? never) will change that. If you don’t like him, that’s your choice, but he is unquestionably the best hockey player in the world right now, followed closely by the Pens 2nd line centre, some guy named Malkin

  6. I have a hypothetical question for Mr. Richardson, and anyone else out there that wants to give their input. If Crosby was to retire and never play again, do you think he will get into the HOF?

    side note, Cal O’Reilly got claimed today by the Pens. Maybe he will start producing like his brother now?

  7. RK – hard to say with such a short career – Cam Neely is in, Eric Lindros isn’t.

    Crosby has a WJC, a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal, won every possible junior award he could, (literally, all 11 he could have possibly won, he won) he’s got a Hart, Pearson, Rocket Richard, Art Ross.

    So hard to say, but I’d vote him in

  8. I’d say if Crosby did retire (which hopefully doesn’t happen for another 15ish years) he’d get in. He’s done everything on every level. Also he’s been a great ambassador for the sport. What did lindros ever do except refuse to play for the nordiques?

  9. Most Habs fans knew it was time for Kovalev to go, and when they held the rally, he was already signed by Ottawa, so the rally really did not matter, so why turn out? And in regards to Cunnyworth, majority of Hab fans don’t care if he speaks french, they just want a coach who will win. Its the french press and hard core sepratists who say MTL needs a french speaking coach, and makes it seem like thats what the people want. The proof was in their protest. No one cares.

    Quebec taxes the Habs and its players like crazy, cuts them no breaks. They are a private business and therefore politians should stay out of their business. Molson should grow a backbone and stop being influenced by outside “wants” and get the team back on track! Maybe if the politicians cared as much for the buildings, bridges and roads as the language, Montreal would not be literally and physically falling apart.