NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2011.

In today’s roundup of notable NHL morning news: The latest suspension from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan…Mixed reviews for Shanahan’s moves thus far…Flyers Simmonds won’t face discipline for supposed homophobic slur…London police may have culprit in “banana scandal”…Brian Rolston set to return to action…or Fans pack arena in Kansas City for Penguins-Kings game…Who plays on Eric Staal’s wing? 

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox reports of “indications” some NHL general managers believe new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan may be stepping beyond his boundaries with his recent suspensions.

VANCOUVER SUN: Cam Cole wonders how long Shanahan will continue laying down the stiff suspensions, if he’ll target star players with the same punishments, and the reaction from general managers if star players are given lengthy suspensions.

NEW YORK POST: reports Martin Brodeur isn’t a fan of the recent head shot bans, suggesting the lengthy suspensions aren’t good for the game.

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  reports the Sabres have mixed opinions on Shanahan’s efforts, agreeing with the two-game suspension levied upon teammate Brad Boyes for his head shot on Maple Leaf Joe Colborne, but were unhappy Leafs forward Colby Armstrong pummeled Sabres center Paul Gaustad from behind and received no discipline.

RDS.CA: reports Josh Gorges and Mathieu Darche of the Montreal Canadiens praised Shanahan’s efforts thus far, calling it a step in the right direction.

KUKLA’S KORNER:  Shanahan suspended Anaheim Ducks forward J.F. Jacques for the remainder of the preseason and five regular season games for leaving the bench during a recent Ducks-Canucks game during a legal line change for the purpose of starting a fight with Canuck Mike Duco (video included).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shanahan will be damned if he maintains the hard line on head shots and hitting from behind, and damned if he doesn’t. It was only a matter of time until Shanahan’s suspensions resulted in some blowback. I certainly hope he’s allowed to continue to bring down the hammer, not just on marginal players, but on stars as well who violate these rules. If we want to get dirty hits out of the game, allowing Shanahan to do his job is the only way.

PHILLY.COM: reports Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds won’t be penalized for his alleged homophobic slur levied at NY Rangers forward Sean Avery in a recent Flyers-Rangers game. The league cited lack of evidence for its decision.

NATIONAL POST:  Bruce Arthur believes the NHL can do more to stop homophobic slurs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Arthur. While it is inconclusive what Simmonds said, there’s no denying gay taunts and insults are tossed around a lot in the heat of the game. While most players aren’t bothered by them and laugh them off, those taunts are for homosexuals every bit as hateful as hurling racial epithets or insults at a player like Simmonds.

LONDON FREE PRESS: reports the London police have a suspect in their search for the fan who threw a banana at Simmonds in a recent NHL preseason game.

RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER: reports the Carolina Hurricanes are still trying to find the right wingers for team captain Eric Staal’s line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have bolstered their defensive depth, but their offensive depth is another matter, and one which could prevent them from reaching the playoffs this season.

NEW YORK POST: reports Brian Rolston is getting closer to fully recovery from a groin injury and joining the NY Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Rolston can make a full recovery, he could provide the Isles with that veteran experience at forward some folks seem to believe they need at forward.

KANSASCITY.COM: reports hockey fans in Kansas City packed the Sprint Center for a Pittsburgh Penguins-LA Kings game, but there’s no urgency to move an NHL team to the city.



  1. Either the league is going to get serious about head shots or they aren’t. I think Shanahan is so far doing a good job with them, and the video summaries he puts out are awesome.

  2. NHL General Managers are going to be upset over lengthy suspensions because of the adverse affects to their team; this is blatently obvious. The NHL needs to clean up the dirty plays in the game and Shanahan is doing a fine job by getting players where it hurts most, their wallets. I hope Shanahan keeps it up and has the fortitude to give a long suspension to a star player, i.e. Ovechkin, if/when they commit a suspendable offence.

  3. Has Shanahan blown any calls? Has he missed or wrongfully nabbed a player for an marginal hit/call? One can argue that he has missed some calls (Armstong) or maybe even Neil’s hit on Grabovski (at the time of writing no discipline yet handed out) – which is exactly the types of plays that we need out of the game. Maybe the punishment isn’t fitting the crime, but isn’t punishment supposed to be a deterrent? So if a lengthy penalty is what it will take to make such players from acting like idiots and respect one another, than slap away with the heavy penalties, just for the love of god be consistant.

  4. What is even more amazing about the Shanahan situation is that these hits keep coming even after all the suspensions. I think this can only mean that the teams are not behind him and not telling their players to toe the line. They’re still telling them to win at all costs or risk losing your spot. So the hits keep coming and instead the GMs will start complaining that Shanahan is going too far. Great. I hope that the NHLPA gets behind this … or are the run by …. what was that Avery called Brodeur when he refused to shake his hand? Don’t get me wrong, Marty is great goalie but maybe not such a great league administrator.

  5. All the same, Brodeur is entitled to his opinion. And a lot of regulars being out for games is not good for the game as the quality deteriorates. It is however worth seeing players suspended for their own safety and to be a deterrent.

    For whoever said that players are not respecting this, it is very new that the NHL actually has someone competent handing out suspensions, so the players will adjust over time and the number of players being suspended will be going down. Shanahan has made his statement and hopefully the players heed it.

    btw, the video releases are a great way of showing how the decisions were reached. Even if someone does not agree, at least it is not a random unexplained number like Campbell seemed to do >.>

  6. Brodeur is right that the stiff suspensions are bad for the game…in the short term. What will hurt the game more is when star players (Crosby) is taken out of the game permanently by a bad hit. Even with Crosby being out short term is bad for the game, as it is better with him there. If any GMs are grumbling they are hippocrites. They are some of the first people to send n videos and ask for suspensions when one of their players gets crushed…and now they are crying foul when the sword cuts the other way? Please.

  7. Its our position that if a player says anything on the ice at all it should remain there and no punishment should ever be taken period. Its a high pressure/violent game. Political Correctness(PC) has NO place here. Players should agree to stop the whining and get over it.

  8. Perhaps we can credit the refs for maintaining the boundaries of on-ice/off-ice behavior. Clearly they were asked to corroborate Avery’s charge. To which they obviously replied “I didn’t hear it.”

    I hope the league continues its efforts to educate the players and fans. Maybe we’ll have refs issue warnings to players who use such terms. If the player continues (in the same game) the refs can always assess an unsportsmanlike conduct. How many times have we heard, “He must have said something the ref didn’t like.”, and we never got a full explanation.