In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: Bruins believe referees watching them more closely…Blue Jackets president expresses concern over team’s record…No hearings for hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher…Martin Brodeur has pre-existing shoulder injury…Rangers plan to recall Sean Avery…Realignment could affect Flyers-Penguins rivalry…Jose Theodore may have lost starter’s role with Panthers.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports the NHL may be paying closer attention to the Boston Bruins this season, as the club has been whistled for “a bevy of penalties” early this season, which has had an impact upon the Bruins performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the refs are watching the Bruins a little more closely, but I don’t believe that’s the reason, or even a significant factor, in the defending champs slow start to this season, nor should it be used as an excuse. Put simply, the Bruins lack energy and discipline everywhere except in goal, and that’s why they’re struggling early.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets team president Mike Priest “vehemently denied” reports he had discussed a potential return of Ken Hitchcock as head coach, or reached out to former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button to take over the GM role with the Blue Jackets. Button and Hitchcock also denied the reports. Priest, however, warned that the club’s losing skid cannot continue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That these reports surfaced indicates just how desperate the situation has become with the Blue Jackets. If this team doesn’t pull out of its current skid (they won only their second game of the season on Sunday), changes will be coming, either in the front office, behind the bench, or the roster. The next two-three weeks will determine what happens.
USA TODAY: No further disciplinary action will be levied upon Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin for his hit on Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher, or upon NY Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski for his hit on Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can understand why no action was taken on Beauchemin, as that appears to be a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, not a head shot. The hit by Wolski, however, is another matter, as that looked like a deliberate blindside hit to Alfredsson.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur reaggravated a pre-existing right shoulder injury back on October 13. Brodeur admitted his right shoulder has been troubling him for several years now, but up to now he’s been able to play through it. He also admits his shoulder will probably never be 100 percent, as it’s something that surgery cannot repair, but said it was not a torn labrum.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Add this to the list of reasons why Brodeur might call it a career after this season.
ESPN.COM: The New York Rangers plan to recall winger Sean Avery by placing him on re-entry waivers today. It’s not expected a rival team will claim him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things must be getting desperate if they’re hoping Avery will bring a spark to the Blueshirts lineup. It’ll be interesting to see if he has a positive impact.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli expressed concern a rumored NHL divisional realignment plan for next season could see the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins moved to different divisions, which could have an adverse effect upon their rivalry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We won’t know until next summer what plans the NHL has for realignment. They won’t be able to please everyone, and there’s bound to be a rivalry, perhaps the Flyers-Penguins one, which could be affected.
MIAMI HERALD: Jose Theodore could be losing the starting goalie role with the Florida Panthers to young Jacob Markstrom if the latter continues his strong play. Theodore doesn’t mind, as he’s happy to tutor Markstrom and has been very happy with the young goalie’s performance so far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Theodore has matured over the years and knew it was possible when he joined the Panthers that one of their young goalie could challenge him for the starter’s role. He’ll handle this professionally and be a good team player. Besides, it’s still early in the season, and Theodore could return to the starter’s role if Markstrom should struggle at some point.