NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2011.

In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: another update on Sidney Crosby…Vincent Lecavalier off to a strong start…Flyers attempt to muzzle outspoken Ilya  Bryzgalov short-lived…Jaroslav Halak showing signs of improvement…Flyers and Penguins team up to fight realignment proposal…Lease extension for Predators arena likely…Canadians want head shot ban, but also love hockey fights.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby wouldn’t offer up a firm deadline for his long-awaited return from post-concussions symptoms. He traveled with the club on their Western road trip but ruled out returning to action during it. It’s rumored he could return on November 11th, the team first home game back from the road trip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know there will be folks who are weary of these “non-update” updates from Crosby, but this is what he and the Penguins have been reduced to, after being raked over the goals this summer by their silence on his status, which spurred wild speculation of premature retirement. It’s expected he could return at some point this month, but when is entirely up to Crosby and the Penguins. 

Lecavalier's off to a good start.

TAMPA BAY ONLINE: Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, no longer hampered by injury or distracted by trade rumors, is off to a strong start to this season, with 8 points in 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lecavalier looked like he was returning to form down the stretch and into the playoffs last season. If he can avoid injury this season, he could post up his best numbers in years.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers efforts to limit media access to loquacious goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was short-lived after one of the Philadelphia hockey beat reporters complained to the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He’ll now be unavailable for interviews only during game mornings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They knew when they signed him that Bryzgalov was  a talkative guy. Silly to try to limit access to him.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues struggling starter Jaroslav Halak showed improvement despite losing his last outing, a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the possibility of losing his job to backup Brian Elliott, who has played very well recently, will spur Halak to improve his performance.

TIMESHERALD.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, arch-rivals on the ice, are teaming up to fight a proposed realignment plan which would shift the teams out of the same division, meaning they wouldn’t face each other as often during the regular season and playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I certainly understand their concern, but the league has to make divisional adjustments in the wake of the relocation of the Atlanta franchise to Winnipeg. Whatever move the league makes, they won’t please everybody, but eventually, they’ll get over it and accept whatever decision is made.

THE TENNESSEAN: The city of Nashville could end its annual incentive payments of $7.8 million to the Nashville Predators by serving notice at year’s end, but it’s expected the lease will be extended.

TORONTO STAR: A new poll finds  80 percent of Canadians, and 83 percent of those who consider themselves devoted hockey fans, want illegal head shots banned from the game, but only 43 percent of Canadians, and only 21 percent of those considered devoted fans, want fighting banned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Most of us don’t want blindside hits in the game, but an overwhelming majority of us are okay with players pummeling their opponents in the head with their fists. Anyone else beside me find that result funny? 


  1. Halak stood on his head in that Edmonton game. The score flattered the Blues; it could have easily have been 6-2 or worse.

  2. I highly doubt the validity or reliability of the Toronto Stars poll. If you dont want fighting in the game, watch another sport that doesn’t have fighting. How can you call yourself a devoted fan if you don’t like some of the most imposing rule on the game itself? People rake other players with their cleats, in Lacrosse people cross check and slash like crazy, players careers in the NFL typically last less than a season. So why is it, that the media around the NHL actually impacts the rules of the game? The media is there to report, not politicize the rule makers in the NHL… the way I see it, the NHL has already taken out player-types like Wendel Clarke who fight, hit and score at an incredible rate with their anti-fighting rules.

  3. Spector,

    About the statistics on fighting, how does that surprise you and why is it funny? People love fighting, we are barbarian. Every fight energizes the croud and generally causes a standing ovation. People do not like it when players are blind sided, but when two people are willing combatants, then its ok. These hockey players are adults who understand the risks they put themselves in. Violence sells. It sells in football, boxing, ultimate fighting, in the bench clearing brawls in baseball. Violence is a part of us, violence sells. Why do you think women’s hockey isn’t popular. Is it because they aren’t talented? Is it because there passing and shooting are subpar? No, it’s because male hockey has hitting and fighting. Fighting is an integral part of hitting in the game. If you don’t allow players to let out some steam once in a while, all you will end up with is dirty hits, which is exactly what has been happening since the instigator rule has been implemented. Hockey is a very fast paced game and tempers flare. Hockey is the only sport that has contact and is as quick. Football has short bursts of action and long pauses. If you remove hitting completely from the league, cheap shots will get a lot worse and eventually it will ruin the game. The good intentions of the league lead to unintended consequences that make the overall game a little worse.

    A great example of this is the new visor rule they are looking at adding. The league says that the visor will protect players from sticks to the eye. In theory that makes some sense, but how about you ask Saku Koivu how his visor saved him. With a visor, the stick gets stuck in between the visor and the face, doing more damage as the player tries to regaim his stick. Chris Pronger will be out for about three weeks, Saku was out for how long? How long was he in the hospital.

    I am by no means a backwards person, if there is a way to make the game safer without changing the game, then by all means do so. I was all for the wearing of helmets, the adding of the kevlar socks, the plastice protection to the skates, the neck protection to goaltenders, but these were changes that did not affect the core of the game. If you affect the core of the game, you ruin the game in my opinion. If you think players should play without risk, you have to stop sport all together. Injuries happen in all sports. Injuries that could have been prevented. Do you have any idea how many concussions occur in cheerleading?

    The point is that life is a risk and it should be up to the individual to decide if that risk is worth taking, that is what a free society means. Everybody is ok with sending soldiers like I used to be into combat zones where they get maimed, or killed, often on TV but they go crazy when willing players want to fight in hockey. If you ask me that’s what hypocracy is.

  4. What’s funny about wanting cheapshots banned but not fighting? There is a huge difference in charging full speed into a guy’s head when he can’t see you coming and two players agreeing to fight each other in the same way players have been fighting each other for a hundred years.

    You should probably read this article, Spec http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/bones-joints-and-muscles/articles/2011/10/21/hockey-fistfights-rarely-cause-injuries-study-claims

  5. I have no problem with fighting under certain circumstances. I agree that Staged fighting is a problem .. But anybody who has played the game knows that if liberties are taken with a player/goalie and the refs do nothing about it well you gotta stick up for your teammate or yourself.

  6. Spector was just saying on the surface, it sounds funny that people don’t want head shots, but want punches to the head.

    .. and that does sound funny.

    Hardly worth crazy long comments or getting ones panties in a knot.

  7. Bingo, HABS_FTW. Glad to see someone got the inference…;)

  8. I don’t think anyone got their panties in a twist. Just as Spector gave his opinion on fighting, so did others. I, for one, totally agree with Coof’s point in regard to the hypocrisy he discusses. I also agree fighting in hockey is what prevents punks like Sean Avery from taking cheap shots. When the ref misses something important, someone has to step in to keep the situation from getting worse.

  9. Fighting talk aside, I enjoyed the pun. Or whatever it was.