In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s agent lashes out against his client’s two-game suspension…Rangers flaws apparent early…Brad Marchand more than just a pest…Commissioner Bettman gets involved in Oilers arena negotiations…No need to kick Thrashers fans when they’re down…No guarantee of an arena for Quebec City.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Agent Alan Walsh, who represents Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard, lashed out at league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his client’s two-game suspension after Bouchard appeared to inadvertently cut Columbus Blue Jackets winger Matt Calvert during Saturday’s Minnesota-Columbus game. Walsh decried what he considered Shanahan’s “kangaroo court” methods of dispensing discipline, pointing out Bouchard is among the least penalized players in the league, and questioning what message Shanahan was trying to send with his suspension of the Wild winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the video, Shanahan acknowledged Bouchard’s stick rode up on Calvert’s, inadvertently striking the latter in the mouth, but claimed Bouchard is responsible to be in control of his stick at all times. While I agree players must be in control of their sticks, I’m not sure if Bouchard, who is considered among the most gentlemanly players in the league, is deserving of a two-game suspension, or from now on being considered a “repeat offender”. From what I saw on the video, he didn’t target Calvert’s head, and appeared to be retaliating to the latter jostling Bouchard prior to the puck drop by slashing at the latter’s stick. Not saying Bouchard shouldn’t be punished, but I think a fine would’ve been more appropriate, rather than a suspension, based on the fact he has no history of suspensions or of dirty play.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers flaws (lack of depth on the left wing and on their checking lines) were apparent in their first two games of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early, of course, and more time is needed for things to shake out for the Blueshirts, but those points noted by Brooks are worth keeping an eye on over the course of the season. They also need to perhaps find a short-term replacement for the injured Marc Staal, whose absence is still being keenly felt on the blueline.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Brad Marchand is proving to be a balance mix of skills, grit and fiestiness.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s pesky ways tend at times to overshadow his hockey skills, but make no mistake, this young Bruin’s talent is superior to his ability as a pest. He’s the very definition of the type of player you hate to play against, but love to have as a teammate.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has become involved in the negotiations between Edmonton Oilers owner Darryl Katz and the city of Edmonton over a new arena deal. The deadline on the land purchase options is October 31st, and Bettman’s entry into the situation might hopefully bring about some clarity toward a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point, as noted by columnist John MacKinnon, is determining compensation for Northlands, which operates Rexall Place, the Oilers current venue. Katz believes that’s the city’s responsibility, while the city believes it’s up to Katz to handle that. Mackinnon pointed out Katz is the only owner the Oilers will have not only willing to keep the club in Edmonton,but invest part of his own money into constructing a new arena. Anyone else who owns the team will also demand the city build a new arena, and might be unwilling to invest anything into it. Hopefully, Bettman can help both sides find a workable solution.
SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector believes HNiC analyst Glenn Healy’s jabs at Atlanta hockey fans during yesterday’s Winnipeg Jets-Montreal Canadiens game were unnecessary and uncalled for.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree. What point was there to kick them when they’re down? If it was reversed and an American analysts was taking jabs at fans from a former Canadian market, there’d be an uproar throughout the Canadian media.
LE JOURNAL DE QUEBEC: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said there was never a promise made to Quebec City they would get an NHL franchise if a new arena was built.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But it certainly wouldn’t hurt their efforts to attract a team by having a nice, shiny, NHL-caliber arena built and ready for a team.