NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2011.

In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: The Flyers stall tactics against the Lightning last night raises eyebrows…Eric Staal talks with New York media regarding brother Marc’s concussion…Penguins James Neal leading the league in a notable stat…Peter Mueller soon to return to Avalanche lineup…Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy on the Penn State scandal and his opinion on how Hockey Canada is handling sexual abuse today, compared to when he was a junior player.

TBO.COM/PHILLY.COM: The Flyers stalling tactics against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 1-3-1 system in the first period of last night’s game between the two generated considerable discussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Media consensus sided with the Flyers, blaming the Lightning for not sending a forechecker into the opposing zone, and keeping one defenseman back so deep in their own zone he was nowhere near the action. It’s expected the league will look at this situation, and could implement a rule change forcing teams to at least advance a forechecker into the opposing zone, regardless of the system they’re using.

Eric Staal (R) addressed NY media over injury status of brother Mark.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Eric Staal met with the New York media yesterday to address his brother Marc, a NY Rangers defenseman, and his post-concussion symptoms which has sidelined him indefinitely. Eric was responsible for the hit on his brother during a late-March game which led to the latter’s ongoing concussion symptoms. The two teams will face each other on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been suggested Eric’s offensive struggles this season are tied to his concern, perhaps even guilt, over his role in his brother’s injury. That’s only conjecture, but it would be only natural for Eric to be upset over this situation and perhaps blame himself.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins forward James Neal not only leads the league in shots, but is on pace for 350 this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big reason why Neal has regained his scoring touch this season.

DENVER POST: All signs indicated oft-injured forward Peter Mueller should return to the Avalanche lineup tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mueller can stay healthy for the rest of the season.

CALGARY SUN: Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy weighed in with his opinion on the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. Kennedy, whose playing career was ultimately derailed due to sexual abuse he suffered as a junior player, had praise for the abused former football players having the courage to step forward. He also had praise for the strides made by Hockey Canada for being proactive in the fifteen years since his sexual abuse was revealed, thanks in part to Kennedy’s tireless efforts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kennedy’s playing career was destroyed by what happened to him, and he battled addiction and depression for years afterward, but Kennedy will now have an enduring, positive legacy upon hockey for his efforts to protect youngsters  from sexual abuse.


  1. I a fan of neither of these teams. I don’t see where the NHL thinks they need to adopt some rule to stop teams from playing their system. That is what makes the game of hockey unique. All thirty teams have a unique style of play in each of the three zones and to penalize one teams system is wrong. What I gathered from last nights game is that the flyers conceded that their offensive system was inferior to Tampas defensive scheme and would rather have held the puck for 60 minutes (if allowed to) than be beaten. Lo and behold they were beaten anyway

  2. The team with possession of the puck (the Flyers) have the onus to progress the play as outlined in rule #72. By no means are the lightning at fault, or “chickens”. In fact, the Flyers are the chickens for not even wanting to attack.

    If I were Holmgren, Laviolette would be getting an earful today.

  3. I don’t understand the framing of the Flyers calling the Lightening chicken for playing whatever system, when they were too chicken to take the puck to them and try to beat them. Opposite day. Weird. The image is that Philly is a tought team and TB is soft, so who knows, maybe if they hadn’t eased up the pressure and let TB recouperate for so long, they might have turned the tide in their favour. Nice strategy idiots.

  4. The Flyers-Lightning thing isn’t a big deal. The Flyers stopped advancing the puck for a solid minute. That breaks rule 72, where the possessing team has to attempt to press forward. They didn’t. Washington did the same thing in the playoffs. It’s on the team with the puck.

    If the league decides Tampa Bay can’t play that system anymore, then they better revoke New Jersey’s cups from the 90’s and 00’s. Very little difference between 1-3-1 and the trap.

  5. As most of the guys here said, it’s not TB’s responsibility. If any team is to blame it’s Philadelphia. They have control of the puck, do something with it.
    The 1-3-1 can be beaten, but it means moving your feet with speed, something the Flyers obviously lack.

  6. While I am not a big fan of the 1-3-1, it is effective and it is up to the other team to figure out a way to “beat it”. Philly chose to hold onto the puck instead of playing offense. In sports Offense is the action of engaging an opposing team with the objective of scoring. Certain times during the game last night, Philly chose not to play offense. Instead they decided to hold the puck, make lateral passes and mock Tampa Bay. Why they would mock TB for their own lack of offense is beyond me. Laviolette should be fined for not controlling his players and for his response to Tampa’s 1-3-1 which exhibited a lack of class and immaturity.

    In addition, the announcers who were very pro Philly should be ashamed of themselves. Tampa has been playing the 1-3-1 and because Philly exhibited their dislike of this system by holding the puck and mocking players of another team – the announcers decided to jump on the band wagon. The 1-3-1 is not pretty – but it is effective and it seems to generate offense for TB.

  7. Seriously, no one is cheering fire-wagon hockey if they lose the game, ie. Winnipeg. TB won. Period.
    Eric Staal is clearly playing with a sick heart.

  8. Unlike most post I believe that Tampa is at fault. If you all believe that the Flyers are at fault and should be penalized, then every team in the league must stop going behind their own net and either waiting for a line change to complete or the play to progress. Should a player not be allowed to turn back into his zone? If the Flyers chose to wait for a fore-checker to enter their zone to open a passing lane that is well within their right.
    Would anyone have an issue with all five Tampa players placing themselves on the goal line?

  9. I agree with the flyers 100 per, and the announcers it is bad for hockey and tampa bay are chickens lets say every team did this goal scoring will drop games would go in to overtime 0 to 0 i given peter credet for being the first team to have the balls to do this the nhl will step in and stop teams for doing 1-3-1

  10. The 1-3-1 is a decent system, but will not stop a good team. Neither team gets good publicity from the situation, but sometimes things just happen. While Philly should have advanced, TB was just sitting back too. Hopefully this is just an anomaly.

    As for Neal, shooting a bit more is not necessarily why he is having a lot of success. Confidence is. During his last 20 games with the Pens, using that over an 82 game season he would have had a new career high of 213 shots. The problem was he was hanging around the perimeter.

    Once he put in that softie in on Luongo (Oct 6th for anyone curious), he got some confidence off the get-go and has started using his large frame to get into scoring areas. In the scoring areas, no doubt he will put up numbers, problem was, he was not going to them last year.

  11. As a Sabres fan I dispise Philly, but I must side with them. I see nothing in the rule that obliges a team to leave its defensive zone. Mike makes a great point in that reading the rule that way is greatly problematic. Shall we encourage referees to blow the whistle when the defending team gains possesion on the penalty kill and desides to pass it back or side to side within their zone to kill some time? Kudos to the Flyers for making a stand. I hope this forces the NHL’ s hands to address the trap once again.

    Those who disagree, stop by my house and I’ll tie you a chair in front of a pre-lockout Sabres-Devils game. You will dispise the trap as much as me!

  12. Kerry Fraser, former NHL Referee, agrees that it’s a problem with Philly: http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/kerry_fraser/?id=380181

    I mean the concept of the game is to take a 3″ galvanized rubber disc and put it in the 6×4′ goal at the other end of the ice. If Chris Pronger’s standing over the puck with his stick in the air, and only one of his teammates is moving around, that’s not playing hockey. They weren’t flipping the bird to Guy Boucher’s system, they were telling the rest of the NHL they’re gonna take their ball and go home if you don’t play a defensive system for which they approve. They took the spirit right out of the game, and that ought to embarass them.