NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2020
Game recaps, stars of the week, the latest on possible NHL participation in future Winter Olympics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime. With 77 points, the Lightning sits just three behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. The Jackets (70 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, they revealed defenseman Seth Jones is sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Milan Lucic had a goal and two assists to lead the Calgary Flames over the San Jose Sharks 6-2. David Rittich kicked out 34 shots for the win as the Flames (64 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the West. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic (upper-body injury) returned to Calgary earlier in the day for further examination.
The Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game winless skid by dumping the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each picked up two points and defenseman Quinn Hughes collected three assists for the Canucks (67 points), who remain atop the Pacific Division. With 59 points, the Predators remain four points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.
Two first-period goals by Anthony Beauvillier powered the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each picked up three assists. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin remains two goals shy of 700 for his career. Washington (77 points) sits atop the Metropolitan Division, seven points up on the third-place Isles.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 30 saves to backstop his club over the slumping Florida Panthers 4-1. Hart was sidelined nine games with an abdominal strain. James van Riemsdyk scored a goal and collected an assist for the Flyers (69 points), who hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, meanwhile, have dropped three straight and remain two points behind the Leafs.
The Arizona Coyotes overcame an early 2-0 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Jakob Chychrun tallied the game-winner with a power-play goal in the final minute of the third period, while teammate Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist. Canadiens center Phillip Danault left the game after being struck in the mouth by a shot from linemate Tomas Tatar. The Coyotes, meanwhile, played without goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who suffered an injury earlier in the day. The Coyotes (63 points) remain just outside the Western Conference playoff picture, while the Canadiens (61 points) remain five back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division.
Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor, and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 9.
SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said his sore knee is unrelated to the more serious injury he suffered at the end of last season. He bruised the knee during Saturday’s game against Nashville and remains questionable for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins rookie defenseman John Marino underwent surgery on Monday to repair a facial injury. There is currently no timeframe for his return.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha will return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. He’d been sidelined since Dec. 21 with a rib injury and a punctured lung.
TSN: NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider called last week’s meeting with the International Olympic Committee as “really positive” and “a good gesture” on the IOC’s part. The news generated hope of future Winter Olympic participation involving NHL players, but league deputy commissioner Bill Daly struck a more cautious tone. “From an overall perspective, I would say we have a long way to go. I wouldn’t get overly excited,” he said. Collective bargaining talks between the league and the PA are expected to resume today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly further tamped down expectations in an email yesterday to the Associated Press. “We aren’t there yet. In fact, we aren’t even close to being there,” Daly wrote.”At this point in time, we continue to believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.”
Those “negatives” include the travel and insurance costs for the players, as well as allowing the league and the PA to access video and images to market their players. Until those issues are suitably addressed, the league won’t participate in future Olympic games.
ESPN.COM: The coronavirus could soon affect the NHL’s stick supply. 75 percent of the composite sticks are made in China, where the virus has reduced transportation and exports to a trickle.