Top player from Wednesday in the NHL
Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers
Bob stopped 30 of 31 shots faced during a 4-1 win over the Bruins. It’s the first time the goaltender has won each of his first five starts of a season. The win pushed the Panthers to 7-0-0 to begin the year, three wins away fro matching the longest win streak in franchise history.
NHL injury, COVID news
- Nikita Kucherov injury update: he’s expected to miss 8-10 weeks after undergoing a procedure for a lower-body injury. Click here to read more.
- Sidney Crosby could return for the Penguins as early as Thursday.
- Drew Doughty‘s expected to miss at least eight weeks with a lower-body injury. The Kings also lost another defenseman, Sean Walker, for the rest of the season.
- Jets forward Mark Scheifele remains in COVID protocol, but Blake Wheeler was removed from the NHL’s list.
- Jonathan Toews played on Wednesday, while other Blackhawks staff and players remain in COVID protocol.
Highlights from Wednesday in the NHL
Here's something you don't see every day.
Evgeny Kuznetsov gets hit in the face by a stick that was being passed to Dylan Larkin from the bench. pic.twitter.com/SoOts8pOXj
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 28, 2021
As much as the Maple Leafs have struggled, William Nylander‘s been great. In an important win, Nylander scored a cool and calculated OT goal:
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 28, 2021
The Flyers-Oilers gave us a wild finish to their opening period during Philadelphia’s 5-3 win. Connor McDavid scored his seventh of the year with 17.8 seconds left to tie the game at two. But Cam Atkinson answered with 0.7 seconds to go to give the Flyers their lead back.
Wednesday’s NHL takeaways
NHL, Blackhawks, Panthers have a lot to learn following Kyle Beach interview
Among other things, Beach hopes that people learn from this, so it doesn’t happen this way again. His hopes extend beyond the NHL, hockey, and even sports.
Unfortunately, people are failing early tests.
After the Beach interview aired, the Blackhawks put out a press release apologizing for “then-executives” and their “delay taking action” regarding allegations made toward Brad Aldrich. During that interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead, Beach said he believed Joel Quenneville took a position that “winning a Stanley Cup was more important than [addressing] sexual assault.”
The second paragraph also trumpeted “a new leadership team that is committed to winning championships.”
A statement from the Chicago Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/x1XbMXDiyA
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 27, 2021
“Tone deaf” is a generous description of the Blackhawks’ statement regarding Beach’s interview.
Also tone deaf: Joel Quenneville appearing behind the Florida Panthers’ bench following the release of the internal investigation, and Beach’s interview. At the absolute minimum, it would seem wise for Quenneville to at least wait until his planned Thursday meeting with Gary Bettman before reappearing as Panthers head coach.
Instead, Quenneville’s work was uninterrupted beyond what was essentially a Wednesday non-statement.
How Joel Quenneville was allowed to step behind a NHL bench tonight is beyond me. Given what we've learned in the last 30 hours, there's no reason for him to be working while the league process plays out.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 27, 2021
After the Panthers beat the Bruins, Quenneville was not made available to the media. Instead, Panthers GM Bill Zito made this announcement.
Here is Bill Zito’s full statement on Joel Quenneville. Says Quenneville’s meeting with the commissioner is tomorrow at 2. pic.twitter.com/uqghLJu0eL
— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 28, 2021
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr released a statement late Wednesday night in response to the Blackhawks report which noted Beach informed union representatives of the abuse:
“Kyle Beach has been through a horrific experience and has shown true courage in telling his story. There is no doubt that the system failed to support him in his time of need, and we are part of that system.
In his media interview, Mr. Beach stated that several months after the incident he told someone at the NHLPA the details of what happened to him. He is referring to one of the program doctors with the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. While this program is confidential between players and the doctors, the grave nature of this incident should have resulted in further action on our part. The fact that it did not was a serious failure. I am truly sorry, and I am committed to making changes to ensure it does not happen again.”
In other notable situations, the NHL and its teams have been slow to respond to similar challenges. Ideally, the league will make the right decisions in the long run to prevent similar things from happening, and to hold those involved fully accountable.
So far, the results aren’t very promising, though.
Panthers remain undefeated, but not unblemished
Normally, an exciting Panthers team improving to 7-0-0 would be a feel-good story. And, indeed, it’s nice to see Anthony Duclair truly establish himself as a lethal scorer in the NHL.
But Joel Quenneville remaining behind the Panthers’ bench dampens just about all of those sunny feelings. Especially since the Panthers elected to have Bill Zito give the media an elaborate “no comment” after the game.
As a team that’s been irrelevant for ages, the Panthers need to fight that much more for attention. By not putting Quenneville on leave (at minimum), that decision will draw nearly all of the attention.
Thursday’s big story
Beyond Bettman – Quenneville meeting — Bruins clash with Hurricanes
Again, the hockey world fixates on the fallout from the Blackhawks lawsuits. If everyday life doesn’t already put single hockey games in perspective, Kyle Beach bravely sharing his experiences should do the trick.
That’s the biggest story in hockey right now. And it will remain on the tip of tongues, especially if the feeling lingers that those in power aren’t reacting properly.
As far as Thursday’s biggest on-ice NHL story goes, it’s likely the Bruins serving as a barometer for another undefeated team. The Hurricanes are 5-0-0, and have the rest advantage over Boston. On paper, Carolina should then be considerable favorites. We’ll see what happens on the ice, though.
(But, yeah, much of the focus will involve at least one meeting happening off the ice on Thursday.)
Wednesday’s NHL scores
Panthers 4, Bruins 1
Maple Leafs 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)
Red Wings 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Golden Knights 3, Stars 2 (OT)
Flyers 5, Oilers 3