NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2011.

In this morning’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Hockey Canada hopes to elevate draft age to 19, Don Cherry apologizes to 3 former enforcers, Ducks Jason Blake out three months, Kings Drew Doughty sidelined, John Tavares power Isles to win over Rangers, Fabian Brunnstrom awaits his chance with Red Wings, and a new book reveals how close the Pittsburgh Penguins came to moving to Kansas City.

CALGARY SUN: Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson has submitted a nine-page document calling for the NHL to raise its eligibility age for its entry draft from 18 to 19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve been calling for this for years now, and fully support Nicholson’s recommendation. Obviously, there should be an exemption for special players who at age 18 are “can’t miss” prospects, so I would go so far as to support allowing 18-year-olds to be drafted in the first round only. Most young players aren’t ready for NHL competition by age 18. Increasing it by even a year allows them more time to mature both as players and as individuals. Here’s hoping the NHL will implement Nicholson’s recommendation in the near future.

CBC.CA: Hockey Night in Canada personality Don Cherry apologized on air to former enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson for his ill-informed, derogatory comments at them during his ‘Coach’s Corner’ segment on October 6th.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether it was a genuine sense of remorse for his earlier comments or the threat of a lawsuit from the three, it’s good to see Cherry finally admitted he was wrong about the trio and to publicly apologize to them, which was all they were seeking from Cherry in the first place.

USA TODAY: Anaheim Ducks forward Jason Blake will be sidelined for three months following surgery to repair tendon damage in his left wrist after he was inadvertently gashed by the skate of Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully Blake hasn’t suffered any permanent damage which could affect his play.


Doughty out 7-10 days.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be sidelined 7-10 days with an undisclosed upper body injury following a clean, open-ice hit from Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo during the Kings 3-2 victory over the Flyers on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately, Doughty didn’t suffer a concussion, which was the original concern after he left the game.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: NY Islanders forward John Tavares potted a hat-trick as he led his team to a 4-2 victory over their arch-rivals, the NY Rangers, Saturday night.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Fabian Brunnstrom has yet to make his regular season debut with the club but is happy to still be in the NHL.

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: A new book from reporter Andrew Conte called “Breakaway” reveals just how close the Penguins came to being relocated to Kansas City as team ownership encountered obstacles in their quest to get a new arena in Pittsburgh built.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s hard to believe now – with the Penguins led by young superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, having won a Stanley Cup in 2009, playing in a new arena and among the most popular teams in the NHL – just how close this team came to being moved only a few years ago. 


  1. Don should have apologized sooner. It now looks like he was directed to do it or was afraid of a potentially embarrassing litigation or both. Everyone has to retire sometime and it’s starting to look like it may be his time.

  2. Don called them out on a Saturday night hockey night and Canada and choose to apologize then also it works for me.

    I don’t really see the point in raising the age. Most 19 year olds are not ready either, nor 20 year olds. It is a good system the way it works now. If you can’t make the NHL you go back to a Junior club and only the “can’t miss” guys stay anyway.

    Blake was cut from San Jose’s Brent Burns. Don’t know if you want to edit that part.

  3. Cherry’s apology must have been sincere; as we have been told time and time again, he’s no hypocrite.

  4. can someone go ahead and let the rangers know the season has started? they been playing lousy since opening night and i really don’t want to hear the ‘we had to travel to europe’ excuse. don’t think it’s unreasonable to be frustrated that they only have two points in three games where they scored only four times.

  5. Have to disagree with Lyle on the draft age eligibility issue. Would someone like Cam Fowler have been considered a special case situation as an 18 year old? Trying to decide which 18 year old is worthy of being drafted and which are not is just to difficult to do. The teams that draft these kids have the most vested interest in seeing that they don’t get put into a situation that may harm their long term future, I think they’ll make the best decision as to where that 18 year old should play at.

  6. I agree with Lyle on this one. How many sports that draft have so few players actually sticking with their new teams after the draft? And the ratio seems to only be getting worse. The development process for the modern NHL has become so long that allowing more time in the lower leagues before the draft not only removes cost from NHL teams (important for struggling franchises) but also increases the quality of the lower leagues as a spectacle. Personally I would even push it 20 and, as Lyle suggests, allow drafting the 18 and 19 year olds in the 1st round only.

  7. How does changing the draft age effect the time a kid plays in Juniors or college? Players can remain in Juniors or college until their early 20’s if the NHL team that drafted them keeps them at that level. It’s only kids who can handle playing at the pro level that will get promoted up to the NHL. I can’t imagine that Junior leagues would want guys in their mid 20’s still playing in those leagues.