NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2017

by | Apr 4, 2017 | News, NHL | 6 comments

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate their win over the Florida Panthers to clinch the Atlantic Division crown.

Game updates, stars of the week and the NHL opts not to participate in 2018 Olympics in your morning coffee headlines.   

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens clinched their second Atlantic Division title in three years by downing the Florida Panthers 4-1. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice for the Habs and call-up goalie Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves. Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 30th goal of the season. The Habs played without defenseman Shea Weber, who will miss another game with a lower-body injury. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs moved backed into second place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Auston Matthews scored his 39th goal, breaking the record for American-born NHL rookies and setting a new points record (67) for Leafs freshmen. The Leafs (93 points) sit one ahead of the Ottawa Senators.

The Senators, meanwhile fell 5-4 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings. However, they picked up a point to push the Boston Bruins (92 points) into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Senators captain Erik Karlsson return to action, but Cody Ceci, Marc Methot and Zack Smith could miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries

The NHL yesterday announced it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, citing an overwhelming reluctance on the part of the team owners to shutter the league for two weeks and the risk of injury to star players participating in the tournament. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this announcement among NHL players and the punditry is largely negative. I’ll have my take on this subject later today in my Soapbox section. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin, Washington Capitals winger Marcus Johansson and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 2, 2017.

ARIZONA SPORTS:  Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will miss the remainder of the regular season on a leave of absence following the recent death of his mother. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zack Werenski (shoulder injury) is listed as day-to-day. 

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues center Jori Lehtera is ready to return to action after missing 12 games with a concussion. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled winger Bryan Bickell from the Charlotte Checkers. Bickell was diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Dalton Prout received a two-game suspension for his hit on Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Radko Gudas.


  1. It’s unfortunate the NHL won’t play in the Olympics but I don’t really care to be honest. I like everyone love watching the best play the best but am not a fan of the season being shut down.

    This is all about money, marketing & growing the game. The Olympics has done none of the above for the NHL, the benefit of Salt Lake City & Vancouver were nominal, Korea Zero.

    The IOC will concede the concessions the NHL wants for China or they won’t attend there either. The threat from the IOC about missing Korea means missing China, the NHL’s all good with that 2.

    The NHL is growing rapidly in the US. All you need do is look at the influx of Americans coming from places like Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, California, etc.. In 4 years when the current NBC contract expires the NHL will be able to negotiate it’s 1st major US TV contract. It will be significant. Not as high as any of the other 3 majors but significant none the less.

    • I never understood the arguement about pros growing the game around the world, it’s not like places such as South America or Asia that don’t follow hockey will know the difference in good amature players or professionals, all anyone has to do is go to a junior game or watch world Jrs the frozen 4 Calder or Memorial cup to see that hockey can be a pretty exciting game no matter who is playing it doesn’t take professional players to grow the game. The Olympic committee (IOC) is just as money grubbing and likely more corrupt than any NHL owner. I have no issue with the NHL saying no, and realistically a lot of owners will likely let some players go anyway, they just don’t want to lose the revenue of no games in their buildings for 2 weeks more than anything else.

      • Shticky, I get your point and I do agree. The issue I would have is twofold. 1) a mish mash of pro talent with amateur talent would make for some really lopsided and poor games. All pro or all amateur. Olympic hockey before the Wall came down (except 1980) sucked because the Red Army team was basically a bunch of pro creaming a bunch of amateurs. 2) For players it means a real Olympic window. They really need to hit their stride at the perfect moment or they do not get a shot at the Olympics because they are too good (draft and play pro, which is a problem if the NHL says no). The point is you do not get to see best on best hockey, ever. That is why pros came grow the game and show what hockey can be at its very best.

    • I really want the NHL to go to the Olympics. I did not watch or really care about the World Cup of hockey and I really do not feel it will ever match up to the Olympics. If the NHL does not care about growing the game in China, why are there going to be two preseason games played there next year? The reason the NHL does not care about the threat of a ban if they do not go to Korea is that they are confident that the IOC will cave in 2022, with good reason.

      Establishing a solid and thriving hockey market in China would be great for the game. The NHL would still be the top league in the world so any really top talent would want to make it to the NHL, not the professional Chinese hockey league, as happens now with baseball (MLB), soccer (European leagues), and basketball (NBA). The Olympics can and will help that cause

      We also have to remember the Korea and China are in the same time zone, meaning the games can be played at prime TV times in both countries. Salt Lake and Vancouver did not have that benefit nor did Sochi. For America, they always need to be the top team. If America is not #1, they tend to ignore it. With more chances, America has a better shot at winning gold. That would give a boost to the game in the US. The talent pool in the US is growing and it is a matter of time before they achieve it. Each Olympics they miss wastes an opportunity. 1980 did help motivate people to grow the grassroots of hockey in the US.

      The NHl claim that they are worried about injuries is total crap. Why risk it for the World Cup? Especially when guys are just getting back into the swing of hockey again? IMO they would be more likely to get hurt. I know there is still issues here but the Olympics does have ideals beyond money. The athletes absolutely feel it. Fans do too, but less than the athletes. The host city and country feel it for exactly two week, but not before, nor, sadly, after. The World Cup, never.

      If you do believe and want the NHL to go to the Olympics, the best way to send the right message is to boycott the NHL when the Olympics are on. Do go to games during those two weeks, watch Olympic coverage for those two weeks. The NHL will continue without you, you can keep an eye on thing on-line or in the paper for those two weeks and come back to it and still see all the really super important games.

      • There is a shorter window of recovery before the playoffs start as far as injuries go during the olympics.

  2. Too bad if they don’t go to the Olympics it grows the game around the world so much and with the nhl trying to get into China not being able to go 2022 will definitely hurt. Hopefully the players just go and screw the money grubbing owners