NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2011.

This morning’s roundup: Capitals owner addresses questions about Alexander Semin…Senators owner denies he’s selling the team…Five Flyers to watch in training camp…Pre-season questions about the Sharks…Rangers coach John Tortorella could become an HBO star…Pavel Kubina adds voice to calls against head shots…A proposal which would keep Blue Jackets in Columbus to 2039…NHL implements social media policy…Hurricanes add veteran blueliner.

WASHINGTON POST: reports Capitals owner Ted Leonsis answered questions about winger Alexander Semin in a recent interview, saying he didn’t understand Semin’s unpopularity and hopes he’ll “come in with focus” this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cryptically, Leonsis also suggested he didn’t know what the future held for Semin, who’s on a one-year contract. In other words, if he doesn’t come in with focus this season, he’ll be playing elsewhere next season.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: reports Senators owner Eugene Melnyk admitted he lost a lot of money operating his team last season but shot down talk he might sell the team, saying he’ll never sell the team as long as the fan base remains interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What will make those fans more interested, and earn Melnyk more money, is rebuilding the team into a playoff club again, something management began to address since the middle of last season. They probably won’t make the playoffs this season, but with their young talent, could perhaps make it in a couple of years.

PHILLY.COM: listed Brayden Schenn, Matt Read, Michael Nylander, Andreas Lilja and Zac Rinaldo as five players to watch in Flyers training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is the one who’ll likely face the most attention. A once-highly touted LA Kings prospect, he joined the Flyers this summer as part of the return in the Mike Richards deal.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: offers up five questions facing the Sharks as they enter training camp, including who pairs with new Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, and where new Sharks forward Martin Havlat fits in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Sharks fans I’ve conversed with suggest Marc-Edouard Vlasic as Burns’ defense partner, while Havlat might end up on the second line if speculation of Joe Pavelski moving up to the first line are true.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: reports HBO’s “24-7″ crew showed up recently at the Rangers practice facility, as part of their preparation to film the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for their Winter Classic matchup. The report suggested Rangers coach John Tortorella could become a star the same way as Washington’s Bruce Boudreau did in last year’s “Road to the Winter Classic” series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The HBO cameras will love Tortorella, one of the most outspoken and emotional coaches in the NHL.

TAMPABAY.COM: reports Pavel Kubina said the NHL needs to levy consistent punishment on head shots so everyone will know they’re accountable.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: reports a proposed deal involving casino tax revenues could help keep the Blue Jackets in Columbus until 2039 under a new arena deal. The Blue Jackets are reportedly losing $10-$12 million per season under their current deal with Nationwide Arena.

CBC.CA: reports the NHL has implemented a social media policy for its players for the upcoming season:

“Highlights of the policy include a social media blackout window before, during and after games, as well as during practice and any other team obligations. Any use of social media applications such as Twitter or Facebook in violation of these rules may be subject to an undisclosed punishment.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So no trash talking opponents from the press box by healthy scratches.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: reports the Carolina Hurricanes have signed former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mathieu Roy to a one-year, two-way contract, worth $600K at the NHL level and $150K at the AHL level.




  1. Still, this is the same management that got them into this mess by either not pushing players when needed like with Spezza, not addressing problems that come up like after the 07 run with Emery and company, making stupid signings ( Gonchar and Kovalev for 5 million each? Like really?) or rushing players like Lee into the NHL, then constantly talking about how he wants to deal the kid. Murray runs through coaches like boxes of kleenex which should say a lot about his ability to either select a workable candidate or enforce the selection with the power to get the job done (even if that means benching star players). Apparently Murray was done at the end of last season, it was announced, yet for some reason he continues chugging along? They said they wanted change, yet I see the only change coming in a handful of new players (actually not bad ones too) and yet another new coach. The only way to get this local fan base interested in Senators hockey again is either when better teams come to town or Melnyk goes and fires Mr. Magoo and brings the change full circle.

  2. Great post AJ. I also agree that the Sens have some quality kids. I think their future looks alright already. Another top 5 pick would look good in there too though.

  3. Some of the Ottawa signings etc. noted above were done in the mistaken belief that the team would or could be a strong playoff contender. Obviously this wasn’t the case. The team has taken the correct mode of action since mid season last and seemingly has drafted and signed a number of good prospects for the future. The easy scenario would have been to fire the teams management and lay all the blame at their feet. Melnyk made a gutsy move in retaining them. Bryan Murray has had a good track record in building teams through drafting etc. and was the right choice for this team at this time.
    CEO Cyril Leeder was quoted recently as saying that the organzation now expects season ticket sales to be higher this year than last. The team has developed a strong fan base however when a team isn’t successful on the ice fan’s typically vote with their feet. Isn’t that the way it should be?

  4. Interesting comments. I can’t say I agree in respect to the signings. Signing Kovalev to a big money deal months after he was told to go home on a road trip with the Canadiens was stupid. Same as signing Gonchar for a higher amount than what he was being paid in Pittsburgh (500K higher, but still). At the time I thought they could have made more effective signings, especially if they felt they were on contention and I still feel that way. Murray has done some good recently with the Anderson and Filtov trades as well as making a couple of college signings. I am not disputing that. And he may have a good track record at building teams and frankly I think he is more suited to a specialist role for his knowledge and experience (which is why I believe he was to be given a senior management position at the conclusion of last season). But he doesn’t have a winning track record which is what is most disconcerting. Not only that, he had a team capable of winning in 07 and fumbled the ball the following year by not being tough right away before the dressing room was divided. And like I said, he apparently can’t pick a coach to save his life. It is certainly ballsy by Melnyk to retain him, however I can’t say that bringing new blood into the management of the organization would not allow for worse results moving forward. As for the fans, yes they vote as they may, but if Murray fumbles again, pushing the rebuild back, I can’t say that their numbers would be looking really good. There is a lot of unknowns in Leeder’s stats such as improved OC Transpo service to the rink, lower ticket prices this year/more packages, the sales vs opponent stats (Toronto and Montreal will sell out no matter what), the first full season with the completed Hwy 417 to Kanata and the fact that they have no officially talked about this being a “rebuilding year” but rather a year for improvement as “rebuilding” tends to turn people off. Not that I am saying he’s wrong, but rather me wondering if any of these are playing a factor.