NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2012.

Shorthanded Capitals win over Bruins…Alexander Ovechkin to skip All-Star Game…Predators on a roll…Sabres down Devils to snap losing streak…Blue Jackets struggles testing fans patience…Scott Hartnell to play in All-Star Game…Panthers blueline suffers big loss…Update on Lighting defenseman Victor Hedman and Hurricanes Joni Pitkanen…Matt Cullen recently honored.

WASHINGTON POST: Mathieu Perreault netted his first NHL hat trick as the Capitals, missing Alexander Ovechkin (suspension), Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green (injuries) downed the Boston Bruins 5-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was relegated to backup duty for that game, and his controversial decision to skip the White House ceremony honoring the Bruins championship led one Boston sportswriter to suggest the Bruins played as though their minds weren’t fully engaged.

Ovechkin to pass on attending All-Star Game.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has decided to skip this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, citing his recent three-game suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems a childish reason for Ovechkin to skip the ASG, but if other players are allowed to do it for issues other than injury, then so should Ovechkin. Evidently, the league has no problem with it.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was their twelfth in fourteen games, pulling them into a tie with Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings for fifth overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that’s why the Predators won’t trade Ryan Suter or Shea Weber at the trade deadline. When you enter the All-Star break winners of 9 of their last ten games, you don’t ship out your star players.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres snapped a five-game losing skid and 12 straight losses on the road, edging the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

NJ.COM: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur suggested his team’s loss to the Sabres indicates they’re not yet an elite team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodeur should know, he played for a few in his day. The Devils are a good team, certainly a playoff contender at this point, but they need to improve their performance if they’re to join the ranks of the Conference elite.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets failures are testing the patience of their long-time fans.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers forward Scott Hartnell will be playing in the All-Star game after all, as he’s  been named the replacement for injured Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews.

MIAMI HERALD: Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will miss 6-8 weeks following recent knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant blow to the Panthers blueline core, one which will be difficult to replace.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Injured Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, sidelined with a concussion, resumed full workouts last week and appears close to returning to the lineup.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen might not return to action until March.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Wild center Matt Cullen was overwhelmed by the team’s recent ceremony honoring his 1,000th NHL game.


  1. Oh wow. This post is full of stuff to comment on. Let’s begin.

    – Ovechkin is pouting. Deciding to skip the All Star Game is tantamount to a teenager slamming a door.

    – Good for Tim Thomas for standing up and making a quiet statement (as opposed to shouting down a political speaker, vandalizing property, writing horrific personal attacks, etc.). This is a hockey blog so I’ll limit the political discussion to that.

    – This statement had me kind of laughing, “Blue Jackets … testing the patience of their long time fans.” Come on. The team has only been around a little more than a decade and now they’re commiserating with Chicago Cubs fans about a prolonged championship drought. Come on guys, it’s not that bad. Keep that first round pick of yours and you’ll have a second Rick Nash.

    – “Devils goalie Martin Brodeur suggested his team’s loss to the Sabres indicates they’re not yet an elite team.” I’ve got news for Mr. Brodeur. Most of us have known this for like three years now.

    – I skipped this year’s Winter Classic out of protest, and I’m not watching the All Star game out of protest. I’m tired of the Winter Classic picking the same (regionally speaking) cities. Why can’t the game be played in Dallas, Colorado, California, Vancouver, Phoenix, etc. Yes, I know it’s a bit harder to keep the ice cold but they did it in Las Vegas for a pre-season game.

    As for the All Star game, the player selections were an ABSOLUTE JOKE! The Bruins, Rangers, and Flyers all have three players each going (not counting rookies) while the entire Pacific Division is sending one player each. I like the idea of a fantasy draft but deciding which players are in the draft sucks. As a result, I’m not watching.

  2. Sorry JDBGiGC I can’t agree with the you on Thomas. Going to the white house was team function, not a political statement opurtunity. He should have gone for his teammates, or just to show respect for the office that is the presidency. Imagine the rift in that locker room now, proof is in the pudding, poor play in the game following the incident. Should have sucked it up for the team and in the off season as an individual made his statement .

  3. Re: Winter Classic
    The big issue in playing winter classic is not heat, the Kings have proved that it can be done in Vegas in September, I’m guessing that the big issue is RAIN which would be a killer, that being said what’s wrong with Denver or Minnesota, St Louis or Washington at Fedex Field ?

  4. So Ovechkin skips the All Star game, boo friggin hoo. James Neal is playing in his stead. Way to go James took a moron to skip it for you to get the spot you deserved anyway.

  5. JD, good post. A couple of comments:

    1) Ovi8: The guy is a star. And without Crosby in the game.. the NHL needs him to be a leader and help to sell the game to the fans. This is quite crybabyish of him not to attend the All-star game. He is upset that he is being villified by the league and media for his reckless play and declining performance, but not going to an event designed for HIM and players like him, he will not win anyone over.

    2) Thomas: Not good on him. If he wanted to “make a statement” then he should have made a statement. What good is not showing up and then refusing to talk about it. Your government is that bad? Your country is not stricken with poverty, disease, warlords, druglords, pirates, violence, malitia etc…. But I guess the guy has ever reason to be upset at his government. What man who was given an opportunity to make millions of dollars in his lifetime (in a legitimate and legal manner) shouldnt be pissed at the way his country is being run?

    … Not to mention that he really let down his teammates by not showing up.

  6. You know….I think the Winter Classic is a game used to “grow” the NHL and why is it that the Flyers and Penguins have played in the Classic twice already when teams like Minnesota, Columbus, San Jose, Nashville, Tampa et all have not played as of yet. What would have made more sense is that you could have had warm weather teams play in cold weather team cities. I understand existing rivalries – but new rivalries can be built and interest garnered through the showcasing of young talent with such teams like Edmonton, Colorado and Winnipeg.

  7. NikK,
    Curious if you are a Canadian or an American?

  8. Ovechkin is such a petulant little boy. Not really news-worthy, he’s been a petulant little boy for years.

    This whole Tim Thomas thing is becoming old. The guy doesn’t like where the government is going, and it’s hard to blame him. There’s dissension in Congress, the President’s approval rating is awful, and I’m sure there’s something to be said about the judicial system. None of them are working together, and the State of the Union could have been made in two words: It Sucks. The economy’s swirling the drain, our infrastructure is on its way to failing and needs tremendous work, and our education system is falling behind. And meanwhile Congress argues over how to ruin the internet. Where exactly was he wrong in his opinion? Like Ovechkin, his act was a little petulant, but at least his protest wields a chance to open some eyes to the problems we face as a nation.

  9. Chris- Canadian

  10. NikK,
    This my last statement on this topic. Thomas could have gone and expressed himself at the WH and made his teammates a whole lot more uncomfortable. Take a snapshot of recent American history, say the past 3 years and look at the decline. I am not a political person but the last 3 years has opened a lot of eyes here but the US media is so left slanted. It’s nice to see someone like Thomas who is a multi-millionaire who can survive no matter what the economy is say there is a problem with the system.

  11. Chris- I understand your point.
    My point is that he could have just shut his mouth, gone with his teammates, go through one handshake, end of story = no story.

  12. For those who think last night’s game is indicative of the effect Thomas’ decision had on the team, here’s some stats; 6 games in 9 days, or 8 games in last 13 days. In the last 7 games, 6 on the road, 3-3-1 record, 23 goals for, 25 against. Their defensive structure has not been up to par, their skating and forecheck has dropped off, and the previous stellar face-off has been merely average. But yeah, i guess that’s because of this Monday.

  13. My thoughts on Ovie skipping all star game. It’s good he did. The guy is suspended the next three games. This allows others to get focused on rather than every ten seconds the camera goes to him and they talk about how he is suspended. Plus the Allstar game is a showcase for the NHL. You don’t really want a suspended player there.

    On Thomas – The media made a big stink about him not going, so he released a statement and moved on from it. I bet his team did not even think about it when they were there. It’s his choice if he wants to go or not. Want to see how much the media made this so overblown. Here is a tweet from a Dave Hodge of TSN “Dave Hodge who tweeted: “Don’t know if it’s fair to point this out, but Tim Thomas has three children named Kiley, Kelsey and Keegan.” I am surprised he’s not fired right now.

  14. @ Chris: I’m glag you brought in history. Thomas was a fool to turn down a chance to shake hands with the sitting FIRST black President. Anypne who has any concept of the Civil Rights movement should be able to appreciate what Obama symbolises. Regardless of political views that alone is a reason to go. He imbodies what the founding fathers wrote in saying “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men a created equal.” IMO.

    And in my honest biased opinion as a Canadian, it really does seem like the US takes two rights and says they have a left. The biased, in the media we see up here is so clearly slanted to the right ie CNN, Fox.

  15. Habsfan1, I think you and agree quite a bit. This whole liberal media meme clearly shows who the brain washed are.