NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2011.

In today’s roundup of notable NHL morning headlines: Vertigo concerns fading for Jonas Hiller…Three-way goalie battle for the Islanders…Sabres hope for more production from Boyes…Matt Niskanen showing improvement with Penguins…Jason Arnott out a week for minor eye surgery…Panthers lose Santorelli to shoulder injury…NHL suspends Flyers’ Sesito for two games…Infamous “banana tosser” claims action wasn’t racially motivated.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Lingering concerns over a possible return of Jonas Hiller’s vertigo-like symptoms are fading after two solid preseason performances by the goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of preseason games don’t make an entire season, but if you’re a Ducks fan, you have to be feeling some relief over this news, and it does bode well for Hiller and his teammates heading into this season. Let’s hope he’s put that problem behind him.

NEW YORK POST: It appears the Islanders will start this season with Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya battling it out for the two goalie spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cynics will suggest it won’t be much of a battle if DiPietro gets hurt again, but if he stays healthy and plays well, it’ll come down to Nabokov and Montoya, and one of them could end up shopped later this season. It could be Nabokov, as he would probably have more value, but if he and DiPietro are forming a strong tandem, one which might help the club contend for a post-season berth, they could retain Nabokov and demote Montoya, or perhaps move the latter. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres are hoping for more offensive consistency from forward Brad Boyes this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boyes looked terrific when he joined the Sabres down the stretch last season, but was a disappointment in the playoffs. He’s in a contract year and needs a solid effort if he hopes to boost his stock.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: After struggling through a season split between Dallas and Pittsburgh, defenseman Matt Niskanen has been a pleasant surprise for the Penguins during preseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation Niskanen could be dealt but if he’s playing well to start the season the Pens will likely retain him, at least for the first half of the season. He would be a valuable depth blueliner, especially if any on the top four struggle or are sidelined by injury.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Forward Jason Arnott is expected to miss a week following cataract surgery on his right eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s minor surgery and not expected to have any lingering after-effects.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Center Mike Santorelli could miss between 3-4 weeks to a shoulder injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough break for Santorelli, who was among the few bright spots for the Panthers last season. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.

TSN.CA: The NHL has suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sesito for the remainder of the preseason and two regular season games for hitting NY Rangers forward Andre Deveaux from behind.

LONDON FREE PRESS: Christopher Moorhouse, 26, was arrested and charged with engaging in a banned activity under the Ontario Trespass Act, for tossing a banana at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds in a recent preseason game in London, Ontario. Moorhouse denied the move was racially motivated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen what the outcome of this is for Moorhouse, but I’m guessing he’ll



  1. How did I know that the ‘nanner-tosser was one of the Juggalos of the NHL?

  2. I know a lot of people wrote off Matt Niskanen after being dealt and expected him to end up playing elsewhere by now (part of me was in that camp), but he has been nothing but solid this season and showed signs of being solid late last season. I attribute last season to being more fitting into a new place than anything anyway. I expect a strong year from Niskanen with decent point totals where he can take a step forward. Depending on how much he will want in the future, he may even be a good fit more longterm than solid trading bait.

  3. Guessing he’ll what, Spec? Don’t leave us in suspense like that.

  4. Lets drop the puck on the season already.

  5. Since Boyes was picked up by the Sabres, he played a total of 28 games . His regular season numbers were 21 games, 5-9-14, +2. In the playoffs, he had 1 goal against Philly, with a -2. What was the difference? He played center versus his normal wing, due to injury. When Boyes shifted to center, his production disappeared.

    This year, he should go back to playing right wing and his numbers should improve. Boyes helped Buffalo get to the playoffs and the trade was unique in that it was an example of new ownership’s committment to building a stronger team. The difference this year versus last year is that Buffalo has four legitimate scoring lines, backup players just itching to get their chance to be called up or get on NHL ice, a more mature, skilled D and a backup goalie that we are not hesitant to use. Boyes, Hecht, Kaleta, and Gaustad’s contracts expire this year – so I’m sure they have an added incentive to play. Although, based on what I have read……all players are pumped up and energized this season!

  6. The islanders have a cap dilema.They have 25 players on their cap roster.They will have to have enough salary on their 23 player active roster to be above the cap floor when they submit it to the league by 5pm next wednesday. Don’t be surprised if Washington and Buffalo to make trades with the Islanders, to be cap compliant as far as the upper limit.

  7. @Coach: Buffalo is cap compliant after demoting Shaone Morrison and Ales Kotalik. Washington could be a potential trade partner, but no idea who they may want to move. Looking at their roster on CapGeek, no one stands out as a trade candidate. I have to wonder if McPhee is regretting his decision to pay Joel Ward $3 million per season.