NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2011.

In this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines: Listless Capitals drop fourth straight…Mikko Koivu leads Wild to league-topping win over Blues…Bruins win 8th straight…Sharks atop Pacific Division after win over Stars…Panthers PP key to victory over Penguins….Avalanche trying to establish an identity…Former Leafs fill Hurricanes lineup…Radim Vrbata and Twitter star Paul Bissonnette lead Coyotes to win over Sabres…Review of “The Devil and Bobby Hull”.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals dropped their fourth straight game as the Toronto Maple Leafs shelled them 7-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Caps current slide, coupled with the decline in Alexander Ovechkin’s play this season, has not only generated speculation over what’s troubling the Capitals captain, but spurring debate over what this team must do (Fire coach Bruce Boudreau? Trade Alexander Semin? Consider moving Ovechkin?) to improve. Expect management to remain patient, as this team went through a nasty slump last December, then rallied in the second half, but that won’t lessen the media chatter and speculation.

Koivu leads Wild with two goals over Blues.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, the subject of scorn so far this season for his low production, potting two goals in regulation – one a shorthanded marker, the other on the power-play – plus scored in the shootout, as his club edged the St. Louis Blues 3-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few more games like that, and Koivu will silence his critics for the remainder of the season.

BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins won their eighth straight, thumping the sinking NY Islanders 6-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hard to believe a month ago the Bruins were lurching through October, falling to the bottom of the Eastern standings, leading to panicky calls for trades by their supporters. Nothing like rattling off eight straight wins, most of them lopsided, to restore calm in Beantown.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks vaulted atop the Pacific Division with a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, as goalie Antti Niemi made 30 stops while Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each had two assists.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Jose Theodore made 39 saves while Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss each netted power-play goals as the Florida Panthers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s now late-November, and the anticipated collapse of the Panthers has yet to materialize.

DENVER POST: The now-struggling Colorado Avalanche and head coach Joe Sacco are still trying to establish an identity.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have become a popular stop for former Toronto Maple Leafs, as Tomas Kaberle, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jiri Tlusty, Tim Brent and Jay Harrison now suit up for the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just a theory, but perhaps part of the Hurricanes troubles this season is too many Leafs castoffs in their roster?

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Radim Vrbata scored twice and Paul Bissonnette – renowned more for his Twitter account than his scoring ability – potted the game-tying goal with his mother in attendance, as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice effort by Vrbata, but the goal by “BizNasty” got most of the attention around the Twitterscape.

The rise and fall of The Golden Jet.

SI.COM: Stu Hackel reviews the book “The Devil and Bobby Hull” by Gare Joyce.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m really looking forward to reading this one. In his prime, Hull was one of the game’s greatest stars, and his rise and fall is a compelling story. I’m looking forward to this one, and judging by the review, it should be on every hockey fan’s Christmas wish list. I know it’s on mine.



  1. The Broons are probably a better team this year than last year because of Seguin’s emergence.

    The Caps made a big mistake naming Ovie as their captain, but it was the players who elected him, not the coach or GM.

    I didn’t realized Bobby Hull had a fall. He was a star until the end of his career. Maybe off the ice, but not on it.

    Rutherford has done a horrible job the last few years as Canes GM, yet he gets an extension and Maurice will probably get fired.

  2. You’ll remember that Jim Rutherford was one of the “big name” potential Leaf GM’s before Brian Burke was hired. It surely would have been a markedly different four years with Rutherford at the helm – a little more peaceful and quiet perhaps, maybe a little more productive?
    Kessel and Seguin – a good deal for both teams?
    If I were Bruce Boudreau, I might be calling my hockey buddies about an exit strategy – a healthy Mike Green might solve a lot of the Caps’ problems though.
    The Bobby Hull saga needs to include his off-ice story as well, regrettable as it is. He certainly was a hockey god but his actions away from the rink diminished him greatly.

  3. I think the Canes have a good cast of characters up front, but are lacking on the back end. They’re in desperate need of some defensive stalwarts. They’re not flashy, but they get the job and and support the goalie a hell of a lot more than guys like Pitkanen and Kaberle, who are too soft in my opinion.

    They have some very promising young dmen in the system that a lot of GM’s and coaches would froth at the mouth over, such as Faulk, Murphy, and my personal favorite, Dumoulin. I wouldn’t move Dumoulin at all, I believe he’ll be the real deal in the next few years. He’s big, smart and plays with exceptional poise for his age. But they could get a pretty solid return for Faulk and/or Murphy if they were to move on of them. They’ll still have the aforementioned Dumoulin in the system as well as establishing young players like McBain and Joslin.

    Gleason likes to agitate, so put him on a wing for a few games .. see what happens .. what do they have to lose at this point?

    I’m not sure what they’re doing with Dalpe either, perhaps he’s not ready yet. If that’s the case, give him another year with the Checkers and then see how he reacts to a full time role next year? They have a lot of guys that can play center, and none of them are retiring soon, so perhaps they’ll have to move one or more of them. Sutter seems to have the 3rd line center role locked up and it’s a good fit I think. Staal needs some help, on more than one level. He’s traditionally a slow starter, but this year is a little much. Don’t bench him, but maybe sit him for a couple of games, let him get his thoughts straight. It’ll be interesting to see how his game is after his brother Marc comes back from that concussion.

    Oh and Bruce Broudreau is on his last leg. Ovie has lost his game on his watch, he’ll take the fall soon if they don’t turn it around.

  4. not sure what happened with Washington, when they picked up Brouwer and Ward i thought that was exactly the kind of players they needed, then they got a goalie dumped in their laps and were able to get a first rounder for a goalie they would’ve likely had to send to the minors . the way Ovechkin is playing is making them regret his contract and Semin just needs to go.

  5. The capitals are not regretting ovi’s contract not even close. He’s still ovi, Washington needs a offensive coach. I’m sorry but they were a better team when their mentality was to out score the opponent. Now they just try to win, a couple of playoff exits and they forget what brought them there in the first place. Bruce spends too much time worrying if ovi is playing defence or not. Let the man breathe! Let him be him and light the night up. If they were to trade him they’d be the laughing stock of the league for the next 50yrs. Hey guys remember that ovi guy that use to play in Washington… Ouch.