NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2012.

Penguins coach claims Sidney Crosby not upset with team medical staff…Avalanche center Matt Duchene still sidelined…Blackhawks Jonathan Toews returns to action…Blues hoping to get two of their best forwards back soon…Coyotes feel rejuvenated for second half…Wild optimistic about playoff chances…Time running out for Lightning’s playoff hopes…Ducks vying for 2014 All-Star game…Panthers seek loan to refurbish arena…Shootout here to stay.

TSN.CA: Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma claims team captain Sidney Crosby is not unhappy with the team’s medical staff for failing to diagnose him with two broken vertebrae in his neck. Crosby has resumed skating but there’s no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation had arisen Crosby might be upset with the team doctors, which could adversely affect his future with the team. Yes, it’s a leap, but the thought of Crosby deciding not to re-sign with the Penguins was too juicy to pass up for some observers.

No imminent return for Matt Duchene.

DENVER POST: Injured Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene remains sidelined indefinitely with a left knee injury suffered a month ago, and could be out for weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are 6-5-1 without Duchene, so it’s obvious they miss his presence in the lineup.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returns to action tonight as his team faces off with the Vancouver Canucks, while Patrick Sharp is hoping to return to the lineup soon.

BND.COM: St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is hoping forwards Alex Steen and Andy McDonald, both sidelined by concussion injuries, will return to the lineup soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How long it takes for these two to return to action, and how well they play when they do, could determine possible moves by Blues management near the trade deadline.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes feel rejuvenated from the All-Star break after completing a grueling six-week stretch in which they traveled over 28,000 miles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might account for their winning only four games over that period. With a friendlier schedule in the coming weeks, the Coyotes might gain ground in the standings.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild return from the All-Star break feeling optimistic over their chances of clinching a playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries and a prolonged losing skid saw the Wild tumble in the standings, to where they’re currently barely clinging to the final playoff berth in the West. They’ll need a healthier lineup going forward to secure a playoff spot.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Time is running short for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff hopes.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hope to host the 2014 NHL All-Star Game.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers are seeking a $7.7 million loan from Broward County to refurbish their arena.

TSN.CA: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said league’s research has found overwhelming support amongst NHL fans for the shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect the shootout to be eliminated from the game in the next round of collective bargaining.

11 Comments

  1. The shootout is an abomination.

    If they keep it, which they will, then:
    3 points for a regulation win;
    2 points for an OT win;
    1 point for a shootout win; and
    No points for losers at any stage of the game.

    This would increase the excitement of the game, as teams would try harder to win in regulation.

  2. Dabroons……I agree, If your a loser there should be no reward.

  3. But detract from the overall excitement of the NHL. A game being worth 3 points? That would eliminate a lot of the most exciting races in the NHL. I like the new point system, it keeps teams close and gives teams a better chance to sneak into the playoffs where anything can happen. I personally hate the shootout, but would rather a shootout and two points awarded one way and one the other, then a tie and 1 point to each team.

  4. I’d also like to see the 1 point for regulation tie removed from the game, and the shoot-out as well. The problem is this; the 1 point for an OT or Shoot-out Loss will be with us for a long time, and I highly doubt they’ll change the point structure whatsoever, as it’s the main reason for the illusion of parity in the league. Take that 1 point away and there are not as many play-off races .. and those races don’t last as long. Ultimately driving fans (and revenue) to the arena to watch games .. and keeping fan’s attention and support for a longer period during the regular season, and gets their hopes up for the next year as well.

  5. I think an equal number of points should be allocated in every game. It does not make sense to me that sometimes 2 points are awarded (a regulation-time win) and sometimes 3 points are awarded (2 to the overtime / shootout winner and 1 point to the loser). Given that the sentiment is that a point should be awarded to the loser of a game decided by overtime or a shootout, I think 3 points should be distributed in each game: 3 points to the regulation-time winner and zero to the loser of the regulation-time game; and 2 points to the team that wins in overtime or a shootout and 1 point to the team that loses in overtime or a shootout.

  6. I think another modification to the SO should be if you score a goal, it counts towards your yearly total. It’s not exactly easy to do so players should be rewarded for it. Also the goals should count towards a goalies GAA and Save %. I do agree with the removal of the point for the loss. You see a lot of teams doing like it was before the SO, just playing it safe to get to OT for the point.

  7. I think the shootout is exciting, and in some instances the best part of the game (i.e. when the Devils and Islanders play to a 2-2 tie… boring!).
    I am in favour of keeping the shootout.

  8. Pouslty is exactly right. Why mess with a system that allows teams closer in a race than they would otherwise be long out of? Its a great find for the league and I doubt anyone but the fans want to see it out. If you go to the standings and you deduct those extra 1 point for a SO or OT loss and you’ll see just how spread out the standing really are… then ask yourself, if you were running this league, is that better or is it better to have teams bunched up closer for longer?

  9. I dont think alot of teams care for the shootout.I would hate for my team to miss the playoffs because of a shootout if i was a player.I understand the leauge wants the teams to look like they are all close together and tight playoff races but some of the teams really only get in because of the shootout wins.take a look at the standings and take away that one point makes a big difference.

  10. I completely agree with Dabroons’ point proposal. They made that change (to 3 points for a win) in soccer some years back and it’s far more reflective of what is actually happening in the league. Also agree with Poultsy that it’s the chronic need for injecting parity at every corner of the game that will keep the point structure as it is. A team that wins 6-0 gets the same amount of points than a team that wins in a shootout. It’s a disgrace, really.

  11. Keep the point system in place. I like the tighter races it creates, hell the leaf fans should love it, you’d be floundering around what 45-50 points and having little hopes of making the playoffs otherwise!