NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2016

by | Dec 31, 2016 | News, NHL | 5 comments

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau (right) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game recaps, Islanders put Halak on waivers & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Patrick Marleau had a two-point performance (one goal, one assist) and rookie backup goaltender Aaron Dell made 21 saves for his first NHL shutout to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was struck in the face by a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot in the final seconds of the third period.  Flyers goalie Steve Mason injured his right hand in the first period. Neither injury is thought to be serious. 

Jay McClement’s third-period goal stood as the winner while Cam Ward made 27 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. The ‘Hawks also lost center Marcus Kruger in the second period to an upper-body injury and it’s expected he’ll be sidelined for a while. Blackhawks blueliner Brian Campbell was a healthy scratch, bringing his consecutive games-played steak of 423 to an end. 

Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist while Henrik Sedin scored in overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, who are 0-7 in OT this season. 

Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro each collected two points while rookie goalie Juuse Saros picked up his first NHL shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the St. Louis Blues 4-0. 

The New York Islanders yesterday placed goaltender Jaroslav Halak on waivers. If he clears by noon ET today, he could be demoted to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were riding a three-goalie system of Halak, Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube this season. It appears the front office is tired of Halak’s inconsistency. He carries a $4.5 million cap hit, and if demoted the Isles will get $950K of cap relief. I’ll have more on the Halak situation later this morning in the Rumors section. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM:  The Columbus Blue Jackets will face off tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The Jackets are riding a 14-game winning streak while the Wild have won 12 straight. It’s the first time in NHL history that two teams with win streaks of at least 12 games will face each other. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is my game of the night, folks. The league’s two hottest teams facing off with lengthy winning streaks on the line. 

SPORTSNET: Gare Joyce with a fascinating read on the evolution of Brendan Shanahan from NHL player to becoming one of the league’s most influential executives and architect of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuilding program.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz could be playing himself into the 2017 All-Star Game. He’s tied for first “among Metropolitan Division defensemen in goals (7). Fourth in assists (16). Third in points (23). Tied for second in plus/minus (plus-22). Second in Corsi For Per 60 minutes of ice time (CF60 of 61.8). Third in Shots Against Per 60 (SA60 of 28.42). Tied for first in Scoring Chances Per 60 (SCA60 of 8.28).”

NBC SPORTS: Given the current uncertainty over NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the league is working on two schedules for 2017-18. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps I’m grasping at straws, but this signals that the league and the NHLPA aren’t done trying to work out an arrangement for Olympic participation next season in exchange for extending the current collective bargaining agreement by three years to 2025. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers activated defenseman Mark Fayne off injured reserve and assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. 


  1. If the Islanders front office is tired of Halak’s inconsistency then maybe then shouldn’t give him 3-5 days off regularly so they can use a 3 goalie system. Halak showed he can still play at the World’s this summer and is the type of goalie that plays better with more work. This team will remain a joke until BOTH Snow and Capuano are fired.

    • That’s kinda my train as thought as well with carrying 3 goalies. NVM Halak how are any going to be consistent for any length of time? He has sat almost as many games as he has played. Might not be as much an issue for a guy like Greiss who is used to having to wait for starts….should be interesting to see how Greiss or Berube handle the workload now. Guess Snow has forgot what it’s like being an NHL goalie hiding by the way he has handled this mess.

  2. Sergei Gonchar has really helped Justin Schultz elevate his game! He is getting more confident in his play and will get re-upped by the Penguins for a very lucrative contract. A Stanley Cup ring already. Definitely a feel good story. Right place at the right time and coached by one of the best..ugly duckling to a swan.

  3. Lyle. Campbell played against Carolina last night. His streak was snapped the night prior against Nashville.

  4. The NHL has to create 2 schedules. That’s just good business practice & their participation may have nothing to do with extending their contract with the players. It’s just sound business to cover off an & all options.