NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2017
NHL training camps are open. Check out the latest news in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CSN MIDATLANTIC: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin issued a statement conceding he won’t be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea. While remaining defiant (“It sucks that we will not be there to play!”), Ovechkin acknowledged the decision was no longer up to him. The NHL and IIHF aren’t allowing players under NHL contract to take part in the 2018 Games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s statement also puts to rest the notion that he could retire from the NHL in order to play for Russia in the 2018 Games. I’m assuming this issue will be among several that will prompt the players to exercise their early-out option from the current NHL collective bargaining agreement in September 2019.
THE DENVER POST: Center Matt Duchene has reported to Colorado Avalanche training camp, but he doesn’t seem happy about it. “Guys, to start, I’m not taking any questions right now. I’m here to honor my contract, I’m here for respect of the fans, and I’m here for my teammates. I had a great summer training and I’m in good physical condition, so thanks so much I’ll see you in the next couple days, OK?” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Duchene, the subject of non-stop trade speculation for months, thought he might belong to a new club by now. His unhappy demeanor will only stoke the trade chatter. I’ll have the latest in my Rumors section.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders captain John Tavares said he’s comfortable talking contract extension with management during the upcoming season. The two sides have had limited discussions, mostly tied to the Isles efforts to secure a location to build a new arena. He said communication with management hasn’t been an issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. His future with the Isles will continue to draw attention throughout this season.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg clarified comments he made to a Swedish news agency last month suggesting he might only play two more seasons. Zetterberg, who has four years remaining on his contract, said he intends to play out the remaining tenure of the deal but adds it will depend upon his health. Zetterberg’s been plagued by back injuries but he said it’s been getting better the last couple of years.
BOSTON HERALD/CSNNE.COM: The Boston Bruins yesterday re-signed right wing David Pastrnak to a six-year, $40-million contract. The annual average cap hit is $6.67 million and comes with some no-trade protection in the final two years. Meanwhile, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he’s interested in re-signing captain Zdeno Chara, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak’s new deal is a reasonable one for a 21-year-old winger coming off a 70-point breakout performance. The Bruins went a little higher than their original offers worth $6 million per season, but it’s considerably lower than the rumored $7.5 million asking price of the Pastrnak camp. Should the young winger continue to put up 70-plus point campaigns, this deal will be considered a bargain for the Bruins.
As for Chara, he’s no longer the dominant defensemen he once was but he’s still an effective blueliner. I can see him getting a two-year deal or a one-year, bonus-laden contract with the Bruins.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed center Bryan Little to a six-year, $31.7 million contract extension. The annual average value is $5.291 million. Little, 29, was eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The underrated Little wants to spend his entire career with the Jets, who obviously had no qualms accommodating his wish. Though his offensive numbers will likely decline in the final two or three years of the deal, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff complimented his “200-foot game” and his professionalism. Little will be a crucial part of the Jets’ quest to reach the playoff this season.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Marcus Foligno to a four-year, $11.5 million contract. The annual cap hit is $2.875 million. The Wild acquired Foligno last June in a multi-player trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators winger Clarke MacArthur failed his training camp medical yesterday, though the club wouldn’t say if it was related to his concussion history. They hope to have an update on MacArthur’s status in the near future.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger James Neal will likely need another two-to-four weeks to recover from a broken right hand suffered during the 2017 Western Conference Finals .
NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal is nursing a sprained ankle suffered during recent offseason training.
TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs have given defenseman Roman Polak a professional tryout offer. Meanwhile, GM Lou Lamoriello also announced the Leafs are content to play this season without a team captain, instead icing four alternates.
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL player Jeff Parker has passed away at the age of 53. His brain will be donated for examination. Parker, who played parts of five seasons in the NHL during the late-1980s and early-1990s, was part of the concussion lawsuit filed by former players against the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Parker’s family and friends.