NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2014

Olympic all-star team, fallout from Nicklas Backstrom’s testing positive for a banned substance, Steve Yzerman steps down as Team Canada executive director, and more.

NBC SPORTS: Carey Price was named the best goaltender, Erik Karlsson best defenseman and Phil Kessel the best forward of the Sochi Olympics men’s hockey tournament. Karlsson and Kessel were also named to the tournament all-star team.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Teemu Selanne was name tournament MVP.

IOC facing criticism over its handling of Nicklas Backstrom's drug test.

IOC facing criticism over its handling of Nicklas Backstrom’s drug test.

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside believes Nicklas Backstrom was the victim of the IOC’s drug testing policy. Backstrom tested positive for a banned substance found in allergy medication and was prevented from playing for Sweden in the gold medal game against Canada.  The NHL released a statement saying Backstrom hadn’t violated the NHL’s banned substance policy and will not face suspension from NHL play.

TSN.CA: Steve Yzerman announced he was stepping down as executive director of Team Canada.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Penguins players rushed to defend coach Dan Bylsma, who came under criticism following America’s loss to Canada in the semifinal and meltdown against Finland in the bronze medal game.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne wants to increase his workload in practice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne’s progress is promising but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to return to the lineup in time to help the Predators make the playoffs.

PHILLY.COM: Former Flyer Simon Gagne isn’t ready to hang up his skates yet.  Gagne was the victim of both his injury history and the sharp decline of the salary cap for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Gagne might try to sign with an NHL club in the off-season, when the salary cap is expected to jump to over $70 million for next season.

NBC SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed defenseman Mike Kostka off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.


  1. Hopefully that will be the end of Poile and Bylsma with Team USA. Poile missed by a mile in taking the best US roster to Sochi, while Bylsma is fine as a coach as long as he has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on his team. Without them, not so much.

    • With the way that team folded up I sincerely doubt that if you swap out a couple parts and put in Ryan and Buf (2 players with questionable attitude/commitment issues) it helps that team at all. This has nothing to do with the team Poile picked it was good enough talent wise to win. They just didn’t perform. This says more about the the guys on the team or the coach than it does the GM.

  2. Anyone else find the timing of Yzerman’s announcement a little odd? Why not enjoy the moment, bask in the accomplishment? Lots of time and opportunity to address this situation when the team arrives back in North America. I’m not sure when the preliminary ground work for team selection and who to invite to tryouts gets underway, but I don’t think it’s any time soon, particularly with NHL participation in 2018 still up in air.

    • I think he knows or at least has a strong feeling the NHL wont be returning. This could give lots of time for Hockey Canada to put together a new strategy going forward.

    • It is the fall out from the Marty St. Louis rumors and discontent

      • I very much believe that way too much is being made of the St. Louis situation. If he had thoughts of stepping down already maybe it could have helped the decision along a little perhaps maybe, but he is not stepping down because he didn’t get to put St. Louis on the team in in the first place.
        1 of 2 reasons. 1. He just plain doesn’t want to have that responsibility while there is his own team to be concerned with in the regular season or 2 He probably gets a feeling the NHL wont be returning to the Olympics and there is no sense in postponing a decision so it allows Hockey Canada to come up with its next plan.

  3. Before we say Bylsma can only will because of Crosby and Malkin.. Did we forget Crosby missed basicly a whole season because of the concussion and other injury’s and Malkin had acl/MCL surgery and other injurys.. It might be hard to believe but check his record he has more wins with Crosby or Malkin out. U.S.A. defense just wasn’t as good as the media tried to make it sound…

    • Pens, when Sid was out with his concussion – Malkin played 75 games and scored 50 goals. Seems to me when you have Malkin, Neal, Dupuis and Staal (who was a Pen at the time) anchoring your team – that’s not too shabby. But, Pitt was eliminated by Philly that year and then 2011-2012 – Shero traded for Iginla, Morrow, Jokanian – they went 6 games against the Islanders and were swept by Boston.

      With all that talent, you need to coach and after the Olympics, I just don’t think he is the best out there.

      • One last chance for DB to redeem himself in this year’s playoffs. However, with Letang, Martin, Bennett and a slew of other players injured or out, Bylsma experiment goes on…….

    • Bylsma was out coached in the game vs Canada. He didn’t use his players as wisely as he should and stuck to his plan regardless of how ineffective it was. I can’t side on a coach who had the tournaments best forward and used him around 15mins on average per game… I guess what I’m saying is, if you have a player that’s going, don’t you run with him until he doesn’t?

      • Same story as in the playoffs Bylsma gets out coached an awful lot. He is fine when things are rolling along but fails to recognize things when they are starting to shift or adapt to them once they start going south. i.e The melt downs against Boston and Philly. A coach has to take some of that responsibility when that roster per forms like that 2 years in a row, this is just a further example of the same type thing.

  4. Wow, USA loses 1-0 in the semi-finals to the Gold Medal team and it’s the coach’s fault? Check the injuries for Pittsburgh this year and tell me that the players and COACHES don’t deserve a lot of credit.

  5. Can someone explain to me how Price is named the tournaments best goalie and yet isn’t on the All-star team?
    If you’re named the best goalie of the tournament, doesn’t it follow that you make the All-star team?
    Not that I’m saying he was. He played outstanding, but he also had all world (Perhaps universe) defense in front of him. I just don’t understand how he can be one but not the other.

    • I don’t understand how he is not MVP of the Tournament. Canada’s “weak” goaltending as it was referred to going in lets in a grand total of 3 goals in 6 games.

      • Indeed Price was very solid and made the saves he needed to but he didn’t have to stand on his head to win any games. Team Canada’s strong puck possession and solid defence deserves most of the credit.

    • The olympic all-star team and MVP are voted on by the media. The “best” position awards are voted on by the tournament directorate. Because there are two groups of voters, you’ll sometimes get differing results.