NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – Monday, March 18, 2013.

Recaps of the Penguins-Bruins & Capitals-Sabres games, plus the latest on Ryan Suter, Kimmo Timonen, T.J. Brennan and more.

Penguins lose Kris Letang to leg injury in 2-1 win over the Bruins.

Penguins lose Kris Letang to leg injury in 2-1 win over the Bruins.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW/BOSTON GLOBE: Goals by Sidney Crosby and Joe Vitale and a 31-save performance by Tomas Vokoun lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. The win came at a cost, as Penguins blueliner Kris Letang left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Bruins center David Krejci left the game with an apparent knee injury after getting hit with a shot by teammate Johnny Boychuk, but is expected to return to action on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the severity of Letang’s injury, but if it knocks him out of the lineup for a significant period, it’ll send the Penguins into the market for a short-term replacement. Anyone watching this game could see what a difference his absence had upon the Penguins, which should also put to rest those silly rumors they might move him at this year’s trade deadline.

WASHINGTON POST/BUFFALO NEWS.Three goals in a six-minute stretch in the second period carried the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the floundering Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta, returning from a five-game suspension,  was reportedly furious when he learned he was a healthy scratch for this game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan Miller had a message for his teammate: “Grow up”. Kaleta should heed the advice of his more talented and wiser teammate.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Ryan Suter is growing more comfortable with the Minnesota Wild and is silencing his critics in the process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also a factor in the Wild’s 7-3-0 record of late, vaulting them into first in the Northwest Division.

COURIER POST ONLINE: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen is reluctant to speak about the fact he’ll play his 1,000th NHL career game tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations anyway to Timonen on his milestone.

MIAMI HERALD: T.J. Brennan, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres by the Florida Panthers, should see more playing time with his new team than he saw with the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the season, I suggested Brennan could be a trade candidate, but a number of Sabres fans contacted me to dismiss this possibility, considering Brennan a key part of their team’s future. I’m not mentioning this to taunt those fans, but to suggest if he thrives in Florida, this trade could  haunt the Sabres.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts reports insurance companies could soon leave NHL players no choice but to accept a mandatory visor rule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if that doesn’t come to pass, with 73 percent of NHL players already wearing visors (up from 26 percent over a decade ago), I believe we’re less than a decade away from the adoption of a mandatory visor rule. The insurance companies could hasten its implementation.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The NHL lockout had no effect upon the New Jersey Devils attendance, which is up over last season.

6 Comments

  1. The impact of the lockout on NJ attendance is to compress the games available to fans thus making increased attendance more probable … shorted regular season schedule anyone?

    • I’m not in New Jersey but will venture to guess it is also the timing of the games. If it was a shortened season that started earlier and finished earlier, would attendance still be up? Maybe not.

      Not having to compete with the NFL has to be a factor in attendance… I wish the NHL would be more creative with their scheduling and have little tournaments or something in the fall and then have the regular season start in January. Some out of the box thinking is required. Share revenue at these tournaments with visiting teams, or do something in Europe. A portion of markets don’t want to play games before Christmas and other markets would be able to fill buildings if games started in the middle of summer.

      Just some thoughts.

  2. Ok on a side note, As a Canuck fan I am lost for words on how bad this team is playing. Its got me thinking that someone will have to bite the bullet soon. Everyone is calling Gillis or AV’s name. This I think will happen in the near future that one of these guys will be gone. But for now with the trade deadline almost here, I wonder what Gillis will try and do. I am hearing Gaboriks name coming up, And I believe in the past the Canucks tried to pick this guy up, but he signed with NYR. Now that his price tag is smaller then what it once was as he was one of the best goal scorers in the NHL. His contract carrys that 7.5 mil for this year and next, and the NYR dont sound like they want to sign him again. Could the Canuck’s pitch a deal the fetch this guy from NYR? I know the cap is on the way down and the Canucks got a lot of players under contract for next year and so forth. He isn’t the first player I would pick up but I see a lot of potential here to maybe but a fire under the Sedin twins, Add the pure goal scorer that the Canucks have lacked for years now. There is some pieces that I think the Canucks could part with, and a center would be better. But still this team needs to score goals, and in almost 30 games no one on this team has hit double digits. Players that may fetch Gaborik may be. ( Raymond, Tanev, Higgins, Ballard, Schroeder, Booth, Garrison, etc). Anyways bottom line is that I am tired of seeing a team with a good core, do this bad. And I am tired of seeing Canucks trade with what I call our second farm team a.k.a Florida. We all should know that anyone on the Panthers look 2 times better then on any other team. This is cause of the minutes and lack of quality players. So everyone thinks getting a 60+ player is going to get half that production on almost any other team. This isnt for all players but id say 90% of the Panthers.

    • I will be in front of the tv watching the Canucks and Wild and I guess I will regret turning down the ot shift I could have worked.
      The Canucks have to shake things up. They have to make a trade or fire a coach or something. Poor Booth was starting to play better, taking the puck to the net, but wasn’t scoring and then is injured. I don’t think the twins should be traded unless we go into rebuild and get a crazy package for them. Can’t take on salary like Gaborik’s without trading salary. I don’t think they should trade Tanev unless another rhd is coming back. I wouldn’t trade Hansen – inexpensive/good value. Higgins – inexpensive/good value. I guess that leaves Ballard as a trade candidate, which is a disappointment as he has been in AV’s doghouse since he has been here and most times undeservedly. I guess they could also trade Garrison, but I don’t think we have seen him at his best either- still learning the system and not put into the right scenarios.

      Depending on the return, I wouldn’t be against trading Edler or Kesler when he is healthy. But don’t want to see Burrows, Hamhuis or Bieksa get traded.

      With the salary cap, it is all about trading dollars and keeping it under the cap, it doesn’t sound too difficult but apparently it is or we could all be gm’s..

      • Well I will agree the Canucks need to send cap to get Gaborik. But look at the team, We dont have a go to goal scorer, closest being Burrows. No offense to Burrows I love him on this team, But I think there is better options then him on the top line. I would not be saying anything if Grabner was still around ( Worst trade I have seen in a long time for the team, He was the goal scorer type guy we need). But still I think a right winger with pure goal scoring habits is needed for the Sedins. I would never consider trading Kesler or Edler. Kesler is probly to most reliable player we have, He does it all for the team on offense and defense, Yes he gets injured, but that is because he plays all out and puts the body on the line, he will go to the dirty spots and corners and most on the team wont. Elder is the same, Why trade the closest thing to a #1 defense man the team has, He is really solid, Yes he does have hick ups but most do. He just seems to be under the magnify glass more then others. Garrison is garbage, He was bad news since day one. He has a bad groin that hasn’t stopped him yet but it will. He was on a weak team playing close to 30 min a game. And ran the point cause Campbell is a pass first Dman. No wonder why he lit it up for the Panthers. But now hes on a deep team and will never get #1 minutes again. Hes just not what we need, and is cap space that could be used for other purposes. Canucks need a center but it wont be easy to pick up one. I think our draft picks should be kept off the table so the farm can establish itself with some talent again. But a scoring winger would be alot easier to pick up then a center that are few and far apart on the trade table. Canucks need to dump contracts fast, cause it will make it alot harder in the off season. Hands down I think almost anyone on the team is touchable for a trade, but I see a scoring winger and maybe a 3rd line center with some offense and a RH Dman will make a big difference for this under producing team. We have pieces to trade but it has to happen right away.

  3. Two things for the Sabres:

    1.) Miller’s grow up message to Kaleta should be taken seriously by everyone else. The team needs to grow up to win games.

    2.) Darcy Regier’s trades that involve trading away a future core player for a draft pick end up haunting the Sabres later on. Instead of using that pick with other players in a package deal for, say a playmaking, point-producing first line center, Regier continues to stockpile on picks and keep rebuilding the team through the draft. Rebuilding teams take more than draft picks and should not last six seasons.