NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2012.

Tuukka Rask unhappy in Boston?…Brenden Morrow still suffering with nagging neck injury…Blackhawks tailspin continues…Red Wings notch 19th straight home win…Sabres still win against the Stars…Jordan Staal returning to action today…Ilya Kovalchuk shining with the Devils…Patrik Berglund learning not to battle himself…Michael Del Zotto playing well on Rangers blueline…Dominic Moore fined…”Nordiques Nation” set to invade Ottawa.


Rask denies he's unhappy in Boston.

ESPN.COM: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask clarified a translated report he recently gave to a Finnish news site which suggested he was unhappy in Boston, claiming that, while he’d prefer more playing time, he’s happy to be a Bruin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some rumormongers have seized on that Finnish report to suggest Rask could be traded at the deadline. That won’t happen.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Brenden Morrow continues to suffer from nagging pain in his neck, shoulder and upper back, which will need another couple of weeks for recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has bothered Morrow for some time. I know his name is in the rumor mill, but if I were an NHL GM, I wouldn’t touch Morrow if he’s still hampered by this problem come deadline day.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks dropped their seventh straight game, falling 5-3 to the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the Blackhawks offense was rolling it was able to compensate for their defensive and goaltending issues. Now that teams have focused on shutting down that offense, those issues are costing them games.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 for their 19th home victory, one shy of the NHL record.

BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres extended their unbeaten streak to six, beating the Dallas Stars 3-2 in a shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres last season rallied in the second half from a mediocre first half to make the playoffs. Could another second half charge be in the works?

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jordan Staal returns to the Penguins after missing 15 games to a knee injury.

NJ.COM: Ilya Kovalchuk is enjoying his best season so far with the Devils and emerged as a complete team player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks point to his reduced offensive numbers and that lengthy, expensive contract and scream “epic fail”, but those who’ve paid attention have seen Kovalchuk evolve from a one-dimensional offensive player into an all-round one. BTW, he’s on pace for 81 points, which would mark the seventh time he’s reached 80 or more points.

STLTODAY.COM: Patrik Berglund is learning under coach Ken Hitchcock not to be down on himself if he doesn’t produce.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is earning praise for his play at both ends of the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s made significant improvement this season. I doubt he’ll have to worry about being demoted to the AHL again.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Dominic Moore was fined $2,500.00 by the league for his shoulder-to-head hit on Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko.

OTTAWA SUN: More than 2, 000 fans from Quebec City will be in attendance for today’s Edmonton Oilers – Ottawa Senators game to send a message to the league they want the NHL back in their city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Their prayers could be answered in the near future, depending on how things go with the Phoenix Coyotes ownership, and the efforts to get a new arena built in Quebec City.


  1. Trading Rask? Won’t they need him when Thomas is placed on LTIR for his psyc, eval.?

  2. When I was younger Kovalchuk was my favorite non-Canadiens player. The guy is huge, can shoot, and got excited about the game. I actually rooted for the Thrashers just because of him. I know a lot of ppl don’t care for him, but I’ve always respected that guys mega skills. I was pissed when he signed that bull crap huge deal with the devils because I’m not a big fan of NJ and it meant I would never see him play for the habs. I’m happy he’s brought his game back to his normal level. Hopefully he can keep it up.

    I think I heard on TSN that Seattle might be next in line for a franchise? That came out of left field for me. I thought the next US based franchise would be Las Vegas. I hope the Nordiques come back. Then all the bloc québécois hockey fans can cheer for them and leave the Canadiens business alone. Seriously, I visite Montreal once a year and virtually everyone speaks English to you first and no one looks at you different when you can’t answer in French. Would also be cool to have the rivalry back.

  3. I was listening to the Fan590 yesterday and they were saying that one of the French Media outlets is looking to higher a bunch of hockey people with a start date around September. So they think there might be some rumblings behind the scenes of the Yotes going to Quebec.

  4. What do you think of jordan Staal, lately he has been injured a lot so consistency in his play is hard to find but when he plays he is a great two way forward, the one thing that he is always going to have is being behind Crosby ( if he returns) and Malkin, his contract is up after next year and Pittsburgh Will also have to resign Neal before then and Crosby next year. A lot of money coming up, could Pittsburgh make him available?

  5. Smielman: Heard the same thing about Seatle. They also mentioned it was a race to finish/offer an NHL arena. I think Quebec gets the edge here as the plans/money is there to get one built in the next few years and an ownership group is poised to step in. I’ve heard nothing of the like from Seatle.

    Innovator: I have no doubt about what you heard. I tend to take stuff from the French Sports media with a grain of salt though. They are simply adding fuel to the Nordiques fire. I would not be surprised if people start looking at who would do what for the Mordiques but as I said before, none of this goes forward until the rink is on its way.

  6. Casey: Me thinks it’s the people obsessed with Thomas since his snub of their hero in the White House who may need need that psychological exam. 😉

    I’ve always thought Houston would be the next best market for a US based team. Kansas City has a nice shiney new arena waiting for a team to reside in as well.

  7. A Portland-based billionaire has plans for an NBA arena in Seattle and is currently in negotiations with the city of Seattle with intentions to relocate the Portland Trailblazers to Seattle. He has approached the NHL about the possibility of buying the Coyotes and relocating them to Seattle as well. Bettman told the media he is not considering relocating the Yotes at this time, but that Seattle is a viable plan B. This is where the rumors re: Seattle are coming from. Whether this happens or not is anyone’s guess. If no one buys the Yotes by the end of the season with the intention of keeping the team in Arizona then Bettman has no choice but to allow the team to move.

    As for Quebec, they will get a team but my guess is an expansion team. I also think Southern Ontario will get an expansion team around the same time. The owners will be keen to split that $1 billion expansion fee pie. Remember the new conference format the NHL unveiled this season? It was unbalanced: 16 teams in the Pacific/Central conferences and 7 a side in the two Eastern conferences. Expanding to 32 teams is the only way to fix that disparity. The NHL will never contract a team.

  8. I think the only logical move in terms of realignment would be a move to a conference system much like college hockey in the States. You would get more revenue from conference playoffs, and also solve the bickering and complaining of teams, owners, and fans about travel times and ease of schedule. If a team didn’t like there situation they could conceivably move to a different conference. Thus each team could regulate what they wanted for competition, traditional match ups and travel costs.

  9. @Jrd18
    Can’t imagine that Staal would be even remotely available till at best next trade deadline or off-season. By that point, the money that Sully is getting will be off the books if resigned this off-season and if there is a exempt buy-out, Martin should be gone, so they should be able to give him a decent raise anyway. If they trade Staal without a realistic sense that Crosby is back and healthy long term, then that’s insane.