NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2011.

In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Fallout from the league’s decision not to suspend Boston forward Milan Lucic…Avalanche finally name a captain…Devils could have Ilya Kovalchuk back tonight…Blues look solid in goal…Ian White’s injury could hurt Red Wings defense…Flyers win despite giving up short-handed goals…Michal Handzus still grieving death of Pavol Demitra…50-50 odds of Coyotes leaving Phoenix.

BOSTON HERALD/THE BUFFALO NEWS: have reaction from Bruins forward Milan Lucic , Bruins head coach Claude Julien, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, and NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan regarding Shanahan’s decision yesterday not to suspend Lucic for his hit on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller last Saturday, which sidelined Miller with a concussion. While Ruff stood by his comments the league’s decision means it is “open season” on goalie, Shanahan chided Ruff, calling the coach’s comments “irresponsible” and forewarning players not to take liberties on goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I admit to being surprised Lucic wasn’t at least fined for his action, given his history of borderline reckless play (yes, he is borderline reckless, Bruins fans, just accept it), though I can acknowledge Shanahan’s rationale given the current rules. I don’t blame Ruff for being angry, and this likely means the next meeting of these two teams, on November 23rd, should be interesting, one I daresay Shanahan and league officials will be watching closely. I don’t expect the Sabres to run the Bruins goalie, but I do expect someone will challenge Lucic.

Hejduk new Avalanche captain.

DENVER POST: announced yesterday they’d name Milan Hejduk their new team captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To which I ask, why wasn’t this announcement made two months ago? Because they needed to determine the best choice? He should’ve been named captain weeks ago.

NEW YORK POST: Good news for the New Jersey Devils, as winger Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to return from injury tonight against the Boston Bruins. Kovalchuk had been sidelined since November 3rd with a “lower body” (groin) injury.

STLTODAY.COM: Jaroslav Halak has made the most of the recent coaching change by the Blues, as his performance has improved, while Brian Elliott continues his strong performance.

DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings defense suffered its first serious blow of this season, as Ian White is out at least 1-2 weeks with a broken cheekbone.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers were able to overcome two short-handed goals by Carolina’s Patrick Dwyer to down the Hurricanes 5-3.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: San Jose Sharks forward Michal Handzus has been a quiet leader, despite playing with a heart heavy over the recent death of his friend Pavol Demitra, who was among those who perished in the Russian plane crash which killed the entire roster of the Lokomotiv hockey team.

TORONTO STAR: Damiex Cox reports sources claiming the odds of the Phoenix Coyotes relocating or finding a new owner after this season are “50-50″.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At the risk of being flippant, haven’t they been under those odds since they were first put up for bankruptcy by their former owner?


  1. Spoken like a true scab fan, Spector.

    The media continue to be irresponsible in stating that Lucic gave Miller a concussion. If so, then why did Miller not come out of the game then? No, the concussion occurred later when a sabre checked Seguin into Miller drawing a penalty. That’s when Miller left the game.

  2. It has nothing to do with being a Canadiens fan. And as you’ll find in an upcoming piece I’m doing on this topic for Kukla’s Korner, I’ll be acknowledging Lucic’s claim it’s questionable to consider his hit on Miller resulted in the latter’s concussion. If you look objectively at Lucic’s history, without bias, you’ll find he is borderline reckless. Yes, he’s a talented player, of that, there’s no denial, but at times his performance has come close to recklessness, which one day could end up costing him and his team.

  3. If Brian Gionta wasn’t suspended, Milan Lucic shouldn’t be either.

  4. If you watched the game, the announcers commented throughout the 1st/2nd period how Lucic was told to step up his physical game – he did. He was running into anyone and was pretty reckless out on the ice and a Sabre should have popped him earlier before he had a chance to run over Miller. I understand that Miller becomes a “regular” player out of the crease, but Lucic could have avoided him as Miller passed the puck prior to Lucic’s arrival. What was disgusting was Lucic’s smirk, attitude and justification – instead of showing some sort of concern and contritness. What is also disgusting is the Sabres reaction or lack thereof.

    You know….there is all this talk about the league having more control over hits – Shanahan just didn’t do his job on this one. The league wants to limit cheap hits – Shanahan’s action or lack thereof speaks volumes.

  5. You guys realize Shannahan can’t just suspend him because Miller got hurt, right? That undermines the entire point of disciplinary action. He’s done a good job of setting the stage for proactive action against headshots and dirty hits, while clean hits that result in an injury haven’t been the basis of his suspensions. The play was questionable and Shannahan made a decision on it. It’s really pathetic hearing all the hipsters calling for Bruins suspensions because it’s the in-thing to do these days. We don’t have enough wahmbulances for them all…

  6. Lucic couldnt be suspended because he didnt do anythin against the “rules”. They clearly state that if a golaie comes out of the crease then he is liable to get hit. They will, however, look at this rule as a possible change for next season.

  7. I wonder how much Mark Howe’s comments regarding “policing the game” comments are so applicable here in that, running guys full on like this would be out of the game especially when the men who are supposed to police the game fail as in the Lucic case.

    I don’t understand why if a play that is a penalty, in this case, charging a clear violation of the rules results in an injury does not warrant further discipline. I personally think once a goalie leaves the blue ice he is fair game, to a point. You just don’t run them but knocking them should be allowed. However any contact of a goalie in the blue ice, should be called goaltender interference everytime. The ice is painted blue in the crease for a reason – skaters stay out.

  8. Why did Ryan Miller continue to play despite his concussion? Because a concussion can cause you to become disoriented, your judgment thrown off. Awareness that something is wrong may sink in later. I know from personal experience.

  9. The Ian White injury could be a blessing in disguise. I want to see what Branden Smith can do, I am quite excited for him, as are probably most Wings fans.

  10. A. Donnybrook, NikK– despite your personal opinions goalies are not fair game as stated in the rule book.
    Steve– The Bruins have been saying that Lucic plays best when he is physical since he made the team. When he slumps it appears that he is just not involved in the game, he doesn’t hit or skate. This is not a new issue for him.
    And yeah I agree with Spec, Lucic often is reckless. He doesn’t seem to have a solid grasp on his emotions. That is probably why everyone jumped to the conclusion that he was upset that he didn’t keep control of the puck and that’s why he hit Miller. What I like least about him is his propensity to sucker punch or punch someone after that player is down.
    Now, can we talk about Cole running thru the crease and hitting Enroth last night. In OT no less. No, not as physical, but clearly premeditated.
    As I said yesterday about Lucic, I too believed a fine would be levied, both as a deterrent and to send a message that hitting a goalie will not be allowed.

  11. You have got to be kidding about Cole. The Buffalo Goalie clearly steps into Cole’s way. He was just trying to create a penalty using the recent Boston bull crap as justification thinking that the referees will be more severe against this type of hit.

    And Gionta tried to get out of the Reimer, that’s why he clipped only his head.

  12. Really??? Your going to compare what Cole did on enroth to what lucic did to Miller? Man, ppl are just out to lunch sometimes. Goalies are off limits for hitting. ITS IN THE RULES. So if a play that’s illegal in a game ends up causing injury to another guy it should definitely warrant supplemental discipline. To suggest otherwise shows ZERO LOGIC AND COMMON SENSE. In the criminal code any unwanted contact is assault unless the victim does not wish to complain (hence why hitting is in sports because guys agree to the nature of the game). In the same criminal code, an assault that causes bodily harm (cuts, broken bones, CONCUSSIONS) is a indictable offence EVEN WITHOUT COMPLAINANT because a person cannot consent to bodily harm (aggravated assault). NOW BEFORE YOU BEANTOWN DOPES STARTED CRYING I’m not saying that there should be any criminal charges. I’m saying that when a illegal play is made that directly influenced a injury to a player then the offender should be made a example of in the NHL. That’s how you stop IDIOTIC (yes, it was idiotic because if that was Tim Thomas getting drilled or a concussion by Pronger you would all be drowning in your tears) plays like that because guys know they will be suspended, they will lose money, and they hurt the team by missing games and having a closer eye on them. The NHL’s continued inconsistency is a prime example of why Mario lemeiux was right to call it a garage league. It’s more bush league. It actually appears that the guys in charge at te NHL head office have no idea what they are doing. The shift has gone from “cut the guy/break his bones/break the rules” to “skill” over the last decade but they keep making themselves look like idiots with events like this. I mean, thy take Aaron Rome out of the finals for drilling a pylon admiring his pass, but not the guy who breaks someone’s vertabre 30 feet away from the play. Oh, and that same pilon was the one who squirted fans and threw water bottles at them a week before with not so much as a fine. I’m pretty sure that during the regular season that’s an automatic fine/suspension. The league has to pull it’s heads out of their asses (or the bruins asses), give their heads a shake, and final decide what type of league they want. Thy want the league that resembles professional wrestling that kills interest in the states because they think it’s fixed? Or, do they want a credible league where the team that PLAYS better wins and not the one that hurts the most ppl because they can with no consequence. That’s great for kids to see ain’t it? Whatever, I know you old school and bruin fans are going to call me everything under the sun, just try to tale off the black and gold sunglasses for a moment or two instead of the typical Bah-Stan respahnse. Rant over.

  13. Enroth stepped into the top of his crease, which he has the right to do. Cole collided with him in the crease. Textbook goaltender interference. Good call? You bet. Stupid rule? Absolutely. However, there is no comparison between that and the Lucic hit. None whatsoever.

    Now whether or not he got a concussion there or later in the game when Seguin got into him, doesn’t really matter to me. Of course Buffalo’s going to claim it happened with the Lucic hit. They’re mad, and they should be! It may or may not have resulted in them losing their best player for a span, regardless of intent. But the league is not on their side, and it’s time for everyone hating on the Bruins or crushing on the Sabres to give it up. As far as the league is concerned, it was an accident. So it’s an accident. Stop crying over spilled milk.

  14. Not comparing the Cole hit to Lucic’s at all. But with all the talk over the last couple of days emphasizing it is illegal to hit a goalie, I just wonder about the silence regarding Cole. Enroth was in his crease, the puck was behind the net and Cole skated thru the crease and made contact. No injury, not a violent hit, but clearly not incidental. Am I calling for a suspension? No. Both Cole and Lucic received a minor. Both calls were appropriate.
    But I do think there is a valid discussion to be held regarding Cole/Lucic/goalies. Was he taking advantage of the lack of supplemental discipline? Was he taking advantage of Buffalo’s lack of response? Shouldn’t Buffalo be up in arms that this is the 2nd time in two games that their goalie has been hit? I think the NHL has a big issue to deal with. We can’t have unprotected goalies. Should the penalty be raised to an automatic major? Should it be an automatic fine? Do they need to raise the cap on fines (per the CBA) so that it is more painful for the players? How do we go about protecting goalies more? Those were my words, “…can we talk about Cole running thru the crease and hitting Enroth….”

  15. Lucic got what the rulebook said he would get.. a penalty. There was no hit to the head etc.

    While I do think it was a pretty crappy play from Lucic, what was Shanahan to do? Make something up? It was a charging penalty. If they want to make it so your going to get a more severe punishment should it be against a goaltender, awesome.

    But right now, there’s nothing in there saying anything of the sort. That’s how I see this whole thing anyways.

  16. How is the lucic hit different from the one Rome provided in game 6 of last years stanley cup finals. Miller did not have the puck for at least 2 seconds, so at the very least it was an interference penalty which Lucci got but Rome got suspended 4 games for supposedly hitting late.
    I do believe that when goalies roam away from their crease it is open season but if you hit them late then there should be some supplimentary discipline

    I think there are some double standards being demonstrated.

  17. Let’s not forget Handzus’ grief…puts life into perspective. Grief is hard to play through…

  18. Lucic ie a great player and like miller said…”i respect him for how he plays the game!”. However, there is no question that Lucic took a run at miller! It was dirty, it was gutless she it was the kind of crap that need not be part of the game. I’m disappointed in Shanahans decision, because it could have prevented further hits like these. That is not the reason for punishment, but at least a one game for that hit would have made a difference. Now the league will be watching the next match between these two teams with there hands over there eyes, praying nothing happens. Who will pull a bertuzzi? Let’s hope no one!