NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2016
World Cup of Hockey scores plus the latest on Phil Kessel, Roberto Luongo & more in your NHL morning headlines.
NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon scored in overtime to give Team North America a thrilling 4-3 victory over Team Sweden in World Cup of Hockey preliminary round play. The Swedes had rallied back from a 3-1 deficit with Nicklas Backstrom’s third-period goal forcing the extra frame. Sweden has already clinched a berth in the semifinal. The North Americans can secure a berth if Team Finland defeats Team Russia today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this game was Team North America’s final one in this tournament, it was an exciting way to go out. For me, this was the best game of the tournament thus far. Lots of back-and-forth action, plenty of good scoring opportunities and two highlight-reel breakaway goals from MacKinnon and Johnny Gaudreau.
Jonathan Toews scored twice and set up another and Logan Couture had a goal and an asset to lead Team Canada to a 4-1 win over Team Europe. The Canadians clinched top spot in Group A with a 3-0-0 record and await either Team North America or Team Russia in the semifinal. Team Europe is also in the semis, where they’ll face Team Sweden this weekend.
ESPN.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel denied that his sarcastic tweet following Team USA’s elimination from the World Cup of Hockey on Tuesday was aimed at the players. “Just sitting around the house tonight w my dog. Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn’t put my finger on it,” tweeted Kessel at the time. Team USA players David Backes, Zach Parise and Derek Stepan said they hoped Kessel’s comments weren’t aimed at the Team USA players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obvious Kessel wasn’t addressing the players, but Team USA’s management for twice snubbing him. Kessel’s offseason wrist surgery prevented him from participating anyway, but the selections were made before he suffered the injury. I thought it was a subtle, worthwhile dig.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: A source claims Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo received medical clearance to play without limitations. The 37-year-old netminder was recovering from offseason hip surgery. He’s now expected to be ready to play in the Panthers’ season-opener and could even get in a couple of preseason games.
THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals yesterday signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a one-year, $2.57 million contract. A disagreement over role and playing time, rather than contract terms, was reportedly behind the delay in getting Orlov re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals also have limited salary-cap space for the upcoming season, which also explains the terms of his current deal. If Orlov plays well this season in an expanded role, he’ll get a more lucrative, long-term contract from the Caps next summer.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul reportedly failed his team medical last week and could start the upcoming season on long-term injured reserve. He underwent sports-hernia surgery in February. Lupul is expected to address the media today.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger David Clarkson failed his pre-training camp medical because of chronic lower-back pain. It’s unclear when, or if, Clarkson will play again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll also likely start the season on LTIR.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames have signed unrestricted free agent forward Lauri Korpikoski to a professional tryout offer.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former Sabres defenseman Richie Dunn died yesterday at age 59. He spent nine of his 12 NHL seasons with the Sabres (1977-78 to 1988-89). He also spent two seasons with the Hartford Whalers and one with the Calgary Flames. In 483 NHL games, he tallied 176 points, along with 18 points in 36 playoff games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Dunn’s family and friends.