NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2011.

In this morning’s collection of early morning NHL headlines: Ilya Bryzgalov addresses the expectations he faces in Philadelphia…The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins are anxious to start the season…Penguins defensemen looking toward a better season…Leafs MacArthur unhappy with “Shanabans”…Will Canucks Edler and Sturm face suspensions?…An unheralded defenseman could crack the Panthers blueline.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov acknowledged the heightened expectations he’ll face in his first season with the club. He’s eager to show he’s one of the best goalies in the league, but cautions he alone cannot bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt any other NHL goalie this season will face the kind of expectations Bryzgalov is going to encounter. The Flyers shipped out two popular young forwards (Mike Richards and Jeff Carter) to clear cap space for Bryzgalov’s expensive new contract. No disrespect to hockey fans in Phoenix and Anaheim, where Bryzgalov previously played, but he’s never played before a truly demanding fan base like he’s about to experience in Philadelphia. If he fails to break the Flyers two-decade cycle of mediocre goaltending, he’ll be in for a long, painful ride.

BOSTON HERALD: The defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins are looking forward to starting this new season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And why shouldn’t they? Their roster is pretty much the same one which went all the way last season. They stand a very good chance of becoming the first NHL team to repeat as Cup champions since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings.

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: Penguins second-year defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin are expecting better performances compared to last season. Michalek said he and Martin “know the system now. We’re comfortable now”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both needed a period of adjustment last season, having joined the Penguins as free agents. Michalek also missed nine games early last season to a shoulder injury, which also affected his game. If these two become more comfortable, they’ll help make the Penguins a tougher team to play against this season.

Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur isn’t pleased about being suspended over this hit.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur wasn’t pleased to be suspended from the first two games of the regular season for a recent hit to the head of Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, warning the recent spate of suspensions levied by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan could result in no hitting in the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonsense! Hitting will always remain part of the game. The league is simply trying to reduce the number of targeted hits to the head and blindside hits, and force the players to be more responsible. Had MacArthur gone shoulder-t0-shoulder on Abdelkader, he wouldn’t have been suspended. 


TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reported via Twitter there won’t be any disciplinary action on Vancouver’s Alexander Edler and Marco Sturm, as apparently there was no evidence of “targeting” by either player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d agree with that assessment of the Edler hit, but not so much about the Sturm hit. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: An unheralded rookie defenseman named Michael Kostka is making a strong case to crack the Panthers blueline this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen what happens with Kostka, but  I always like stories about unknown players who buck the odds and reach the NHL. Best of luck to him.


  1. I disagree on the Edler hit. He looked back and saw Hall coming and lifted his elbow. We shall see.

  2. There are no excuses for elder, he hit hall in the head with his elbow, suspension. Like renney said post game.. Youre 6’3 hitting a player reaching for the puck, go get the puck yourself… If hall was a Habs player getting hit like that the police would be launching a investigation.

  3. Colin Bruckel writes, Paul Gaustad was on the receiving end of a check from behind from Maple Leaf Colby Armstrong. Gaustad was the most dangerous distance from the boards at the time of contact – between three and four feet. Armstrong was assessed a two minute minor for charging.
    The fact that this wasn’t reviewed for supplementary discipline by the league is somewhat surprising given Brendan Shanahan’s spirited pursuit to clean up the game. Not only was charging likely an inappropriate penalty for the infraction, but the play could have resulted in serious injury to Gaustad in a game that has no real consequences. Gaustad had already contested the puck, had lost a physical battle to another Maple Leaf. Boarding is to be “imposed on any player who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently into the boards.” This is undoubtedly present in Gaustad’s case, and it is the rule I would apply in assessing the impropriety of Armstrong’s conduct.

    Unless Shanahan doles out the punishment for “head hunting” across the board – his new position will have no effect. You can’t be selective in your punishment – you need to review all questionable hits and he should have sent this message strongly during preseason.

  4. The MacArthur suspension was the first one that rubbed me the wrong way.

  5. I see a couple leafs fan bitching and complaining because their poor leaf player got a suspension when he deserve it.

  6. Edler’s hit looked more like he was bracing himself to be hit rather than trying to hit Hall. If Hall had actually been more upright trying to knock Edler off the puck, his head wouldn’t have been touched. HALL admitted he put himself in the vulnerable position by reaching for the puck.

  7. Someone inform Abdelkader the difference between hockey and soccer. He clearly thinks hes a soccer player.

  8. Pixie, great explain of the rule, but boarding is different than what they are trying to change, boarding rule was instituted fro the hits face first into the boards, the head shot rule, while no official name is given, is to avoid direct shots to the head via anything. As it stands a good ole hip check is a head shot if the opposing player falls that far down or the checker can jump that high.

  9. With regards to the MacArthur hit, he broke the rule. It’s still a hit where the primary point of contact was the head, and though he looked to hold up it’s still going to be considered reckless by the league. Thus the suspension. Sorry. Next time find a shoulder to hit I guess.

    As far as the flop after the contact, that was as pathetic as the dive Avery took when Jagr hit him years ago. Let’s get this guy’s name to Michael Bay so he can take up a career in Hollywood. He’d be great in The Island II….

    The Edler hit is different. Hall’s head moved significantly before the hit, and Edler was getting ready for contact just like any other defenseman would in that situation.

    However the Sturm hit is almost identical to the MacArthur hit. Not sure why that one wasn’t suspendable.

    This new head shot rule is really easy to understand. If you hit a guy in the head, you’re going to get suspended. The exception is if he leads with his head. Simply put, if you don’t want to get suspended for head shots, don’t hit people in the head. Makes perfect sense, ya?