Sabres coach fined for his role in his club’s brawl with the Maple Leafs, Panthers new owners to be introduced on Friday, plus the latest on Ken Hitchcock, Jakub Voracek, Bryan Bickell, Matt Cooke and more.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined an undisclosed amount for “player selection and team conduct” as a result of his club’s brawl with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. “It’s a clear reference to Rolston having 6-foot-8, 270-pound enforcer John Scott on the ice when Toronto coach Randy Carlyle, who had the last change as the home coach, was hoping to defuse a volatile situation by having skill players such as Kessel lined up against the Sabres”, reports Harrington.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a precedent-setting fine and could act as a deterrent in future should other coaches opt to ice a line of enforcers with the intent of starting a brawl.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Nicholas J. Cotsonika on how the Detroit Red Wings for the most part eschew the use of enforcers on their roster, preferring instead to use skill over goons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings usually do have players in their lineup who are good with their fists, but those players are usually known more for their hockey skills. In other words, they must be able to play a regular shift and contribute in other ways besides being a one-dimensional enforcer.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock believes his current roster could be a departure from the club’s frustrating past.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have a promising roster, but the biggest question mark is between the pipes. Two years ago, the tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott was among the best in the league. Injuries and inconsistency, however, has raised concerns about that tandem’s ability to carry the Blues to the Stanley Cup. Jake Allen was reportedly the best goalie in preseason but he’s being demoted for salary cap purposes.
PHILLY.COM: Winger Jakub Voracek was injured in the Flyers 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Voracek left the game with an apparent lower back injury after colliding with a goal post. GM Paul Holmgren claims the injury isn’t serious and expects Voracek to return to the lineup on Friday.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The pressures on Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell to play up to the expectations which come with his new four-year, $16 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a couple of years, Bickell showed flashes of the power forward he became in last spring’s playoffs. The Blackhawks rewarded him largely based on that post-season performance. If he fails to to meet expectations, it will be a costly mistake for the ‘Hawks.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: New Lightning center Valtteri Filppula’s puck-handling skills are impressing his new coaches and teammates. The Lightning signed Filppula as a free agent this summer.
TWINCITIES.COM: Matt Cooke is impressing his Minnesota Wild teammates with his skating and offensive skills.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooke’s always had decent offensive skills but those were overshadowed by his reputation for dirty play. In recent years he’s worked hard to put that reputation behind him, though it reared its ugly head last season when he inadvertently injured Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings are still looking for answers on left wing, with only Matt Frattin having secured a spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those answers they seek might have to come via the trade market if it becomes a significant weakness during the season.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The new owners of the Florida Panthers will reportedly be introduced to the media on Friday.