NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2017

by | May 31, 2017 | News, NHL | 3 comments

Capitals GM MacLellan addresses Ovechkin trade speculation.

Latest on the Capitals, Stanley Cup Final updates,coaching hires & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: In his first press conference since his club’s second-round elimination, Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said Barry Trotz will return next season as head coach. However, it was MacLellan’s comments over the possibility of trading captain Alex Ovechkin that raised eyebrows.

While MacLellan said such a move wasn’t in the club’s best interest and he wasn’t stripping Ovechkin of the captaincy, he said he would “maybe” consider it if the right deal came along. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacLellan went on to stress that trading Ovechkin didn’t make sense from an organizational viewpoint and that the superstar is “a big part of this franchise, and he’ll continue to be going forward.” However, the focus of the headlines seems to be that MacLellan might one day consider trading him if a legitimate hockey trade offer came along.

Could Ovechkin be traded someday? Sure. As the old saying goes, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can. Will it happen anytime soon? No, and certainly not if team owner Ted Leonsis refuses to endorse such a move.

Besides, I think the Capitals could have a bigger issue on their hands if Ovechkin is determined to play for Russia in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. If the NHL enforces its determination not to allow players under contract participate in those Games, there’s a possibility Ovechkin could retire from the NHL in order to play for his country next winter. 

CSN MID-ATLANTIC: MacLellan also denied a recent report claiming his club was close to re-signing pending free agent right wing T.J. Oshie. He said the club remains interested in signing Oshie to a new deal but nothing is imminent. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang spoke to the media yesterday for the first time since undergoing season-ending neck surgery on April 13. While unable to skate with his teammates in the Stanley Cup Final, he’s serving as a special player adviser for the club during its playoff run. Letang remains confident of his club’s chance of repeating as champions and also hopes to return to skating in the near future. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators fan who tossed a catfish onto the ice in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was charged with three misdemeanors by Pittsburgh police. Tossing a catfish onto the ice became a tradition in Nashville since 2003. To date, the Nashville police hasn’t cited anyone for the Predators pastime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As in Detroit, if you’re going to toss dead sea creatures onto the ice, do it in your team’s home arena where the cops are more likely to turn a blind eye. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Derick Brassard will under surgery on his right shoulder and will require four-to-five months of recovery. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky underwent wrist surgery and will require three months to recover.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights will have a 72-hour window (10 am ET on June 18 to 10 am ET on June 21) to determine their selections for the expansion draft. They also have a similar window for signing unprotected restricted and unrestricted free agents. 

TSN: The NHL will release the protected lists of the 30 existing franchises on June 18. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders have hired Scott Gomez as an assistant coach. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings hired Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Scott Stevens has stepped down as assistant coach of the Minnesota Wild to spend more time with his family. 



  1. The comments of the GM are in part to protect his own job. He is telling his team owner (gently and indirectly of course) that his pet player is not the solution. And, to be fair, Mr. Ovechkin is not the problem either. Ever since Mr. Leonsis bought the Capitals, he has suffered from “Pens envy.” His team has been built on imitation to what the Penguins do – not on establishing its own identity. As a result, his team has a “little brother” outlook when it comes to competing with the Penguins.

  2. Interesting situation re Brassard – you have to wonder when he suffered that injury and whether or not it was earlier in the season which COULD account (NOT saying it did) for his slow production as compared to that of Zibanejad. If that was the case, it underlines the various old adages about jumping to conclusions.

  3. The NHL has yet to say the penalty it will exact for players who violate its non-participation ruling. Perhaps, MacLellan was subtly warning Ovechkin that, if going to Pyeongchang results in a season-long suspension, he could be traded if he doesn’t want to retire.