NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2017

by | Oct 18, 2017 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Game recaps plus latest on Wayne Simmonds, Loui Eriksson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby scored the game-tying goal and Evgeni Malkin potted the overtime winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the New York Rangers 5-4, pushing the latter’s record to 1-5-1 to open the season. Malkin also collected three assists and Phil Kessel three points, while J.T. Miller also had three points for the Rangers. The Penguins welcomed back defenseman Ian Cole (facial injury) to the lineup but blueliner Matt Hunwick is sidelined with a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This loss could put pressure upon Rangers management to either shake up the roster or make a coaching change. They cannot afford to slide much further. 

Michal Neuvirth kicked out 40 shots while teammates Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere each collected a goal and an assist to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds left the game for precautionary reasons because of a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Simmonds’ status could be released today. He’s their leading goal scorer so they’ll be hoping his injury isn’t serious. 

Frederik Andersen turned in a 30-save performance as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0. Connor Brown and Nazem Kadri scored for the Leafs, giving them a 5-1-0 record.

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov scored for the seventh straight game but it was the New Jersey Devils who emerged from their contest with a 5-4 victory. Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in a shootout and Drew Stafford scored twice for the Devils, who also have a 5-1-0 record. Steven Stamkos had three points for the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are among the pleasant early-season surprises. Part of the credit goes to rookies such as Will Butcher, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier, who are among the Devils’ leading scorers. 

The Vancouver Canucks spoiled the return of Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson with a 3-0 shutout. Anders Nilson make 30 saves and Brock Boeser had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced winger Loui Eriksson will miss four-to-six weeks with a knee sprain.

The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their fourth straight win by defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. The Jackets also have a 5-1-0 record, matching their best start in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have so far proven last season’s 108-point performance was no fluke. 

Cam Ward turned aside 48 shots while Jordan Staal had a goal and three assists to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-3 win over the struggling Edmonton Oilers, whose record now stands at 1-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers entered this season projected as a possible Stanley Cup contender but they’re really struggling at both ends of the ice. Superstar Connor McDavid has six points on the season, but three of those (all goals) came in their season opener against Calgary. 

Logan Couture scored twice and set up two others as the San Jose Sharks picked up their second win of the season with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, extending the latter’s winless streak to five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The punchless Canadiens (1-4-1) face the LA Kings tonight and Anaheim on Friday. Lose those games and they fall into a very deep early-season hole. 

Roman Josi returned to action with the Nashville Predators, scoring a goal and setting up another to lead his club to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Preds also recalled Frederick Gaudreau and placed Yannick Weber on injured reserve. 

The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 4-1 deficit to force overtime before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 on a goal by David Perron.

Radek Faksa had a goal and an assists as the Dallas Star beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1, leaving the Coyotes the only winless team (0-5-1) in the league this season.


SPORTSNET: The reelection of Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi could ensure talks with the Flames regarding a replacement for the Scotiabank Saddledome remain dicey. The two sides are currently engaged at a standoff over funding for a new arena.

TSN: The NHL could consider adding high-definition security cameras and facial recognition software in league arenas. 



  1. So the NHL is looking into hi-def security cameras for facial recognition in arenas – much like theme parks where they can snap a crystal clear picture of you on a roller coaster at 70 mph. But bank cameras can’t get a clear shot of a robber standing still.

  2. There have been some positive and negative surprises this year from a lot of teams. Just for fun, I will go through a chunk of them and give my take on what they are doing and why I think that it might continue or why they might change direction (and also why I think they are a surprise). Obviously I know it is still early, and by making this many predictions, I know I will be wrong on several, but this early in the season, just repeating it’s too early to tell doesn’t give us much to talk about.

    Rather than one long post, I will do this by division (still probably gonna be long though).

    Tampa Bay – Not so much a surprise, as a proof that they were ready to rebound. If they struggled people may start to think that last year may not have been a fluke. They have been riding on top of insanely hot starts for Kucherov and Stamkos, however they have actually been outshot and outchanced, and they haven’t outscored opponents by much overall considering their record. Overall though, they have game breaking talent, meaning they can likely score more than most teams on fewer chances, even if they don’t turn that aspect of their game around, so I think they will likely be a force in their division all year.

    Toronto – Again, many had them making the playoffs, but there was some debate over whether or not they were in the mix for a top tier team, or again a bubble team with some still predicting that the softmore slump could see them on the outside. They have been scary dominant this year. Outshooting, outchancing, outscoring, and outplaying their opponents for the majority of most of their games. Throw in some very improved depth all around, talent that should expect to score on a higher percentage of their chances, and they are doing this with a goalie playing well below his norm, and I think they are likely to continue being in the conversation for the division crown for most of the year. Their Defense is still suspect, and I could definitely see them being a team that has a great season, but goes into the playoffs with that Capitals type target where people wonder can they win playoff rounds with the same style that is winning them regular season games.

    Ottawa – They are more surprising because of the lack of Eric Kalrsson than because of their record. I would expect them to look like a playoff team with him in, but they not only held in their, but they did so by outshooting their opponents (not something they often do when Karlsson isn’t on the ice) and actually picked up a good number of points before his return, and I think they should be a good bet to make it with one of the 3 divisional spots.

    Buffalo – I expected Buffalo to be improved at least somewhat, but their awful start is well earned. They look like a mess, and I think they may be in for another basement dwelling season.

    Montreal – On one hand, Montreal has Carey Price, who is almost guaranteed to bounce back considerably, and they have been out shooting and out chancing their opponents, so they aren’t likely to be basement dwellers all year. On the other hand, they Need to out shoot and out chance their opponents, because most of the good teams have better forward talent and they will need to outwork most good opponents to beat them. Their defense isn’t great, and doesn’t move the puck well, and I kind of thought they would be more of wildcard/3rd, and that’s assuming Carey Price is near Vezina Calibre. With this start, there is the reality that maybe this is an off year for him, undoubtedly he will be better than he has been, but if he’s just good, or even Very good, I don’t see Montreal in the Playoffs, and if this hole gets much deeper, I don’t think they are good enough to climb out. I see them having to fight for a wildcard spot into the very late parts of the season.

  3. In the Metro

    Columbus – Off to a hot start after a great season. They have one of the best goalies, good talent, and underrated blue line, and are out shooting, out chancing, and outscoring opponents consistently. They need to be considered a contender by now, there is no reason or sign to indicate that they may not be what they appear to be. Not really sure if they constitute as surprise, but I know a lot of people that were looking at them thinking last year could have been a bit of a fluke. I don’t see it.

    New Jersey – They are a great story, and probably are playing a lot better than most expected. However they aren’t outshooting opponents, and I don’t think their talent is at the level where I think they can win over the long run while being outshot. They have a very good goalie, and their hot start is a sign that they are probably better than they were, but I think they are a bubble team by years end, and if they hang on to a wild card spot, it will have to be because of whatever points they can squeeze out of this early season run.

    The Rangers – They have not been good in any facet, and they certainly don’t have the talent or pieces where they can get outplayed consistently and still scrape together wins. Lundqvist is no longer elite, and they are down the middle and have a pretty mediocre blue line. While they may not be god awful in any of those areas, I don’t think there are many teams you can look at that are expected to make the playoffs where one of those items aren’t a definitive strength. I see the Rangers having a long season, and probably coming out of the basement, but probably not getting into the playoffs. Furthermore, their division is tough, and no other team in it is struggling like they are, and some teams are just creating a very big gap early in the season.

  4. Central

    Chicago is a good team doing well, so not much of a surprise, and every team is on pace for 82+ points so nobody is really struggling. The big early surprise is probably that Colorado is competitive, and they have been pretty mediocre all season. I don’t mean that as an insult, by mediocre I mean they have played like a team that would be around 18th-12th by seasons end. That would be a huge improvement. They have a good goalie, good centers, some good wingers, so the talent was there to be at least semi-competitive. I will go out on a very well supported limb and say that they end up missing the playoffs again. If they stay relatively competitive, it will likely require Duchene to keep playing well, and if he does, his value will go up and he likely gets traded, and Colorado will suffer. If he doesn’t keep playing well, they will likely not be able to keep this up. It’s a double edged sword, so I think they are destined to fall out. Throw in that it’s a tough division with 4 teams that are just more talented, and I don’t see them staying in the race.

    Maybe the biggest surprise is that nobody has dug themselves a hole. Seems statistically unlikely that none of the 7 teams has had a bad start.

  5. The Pacific Division – Probably the one chaulk full of the most surprises.

    Vegas – Easily the biggest surprise of the season. 10 points in the bank means that they already have nearly 20% of the points that many had projected they would have. That’s pretty huge. They are playing like a scrappy team, winning games where they are they have less talent available, and are getting out played and outshot, so I don’t see it continuing all season long, but this start will likely elevate them above a lot of early projections, and is maybe a sign they can be competitive a little sooner than some expected.

    Los Angeles – I find their start surprising, and given that they weren’t really a bad team, just a team in decline, I think this start can likely get them back into the playoffs this year. I don’t see them regaining true contender status however, as they are yielding more shots per game than they did in their prime, and while they still hold a slight edge in possession and shots, it is still on it’s way down, and they were a team that relied heavily on grinding their competition into the ground. They don’t have the game breaking talent to win if they are only generating as many chances are their opponents, and I don’t think Anze Kopitar or Dustin Brown are going to combine for 80 goals and 150+ points this year, so I don’t think their hot start will carry them to a division title.

    Vancouver – I know a .500 start isn’t anything to write about, but I will do it anyway. I expected Vancouver to be very bad, and they are dealing with a lot of injuries, so getting 5 points in their first 5 games is a pretty big surprise to me. They also aren’t getting run out of the rink, and their kids are playing a more up tempo style than I thought they would. I still think they are way outside the playoffs at years end, but they have still surprised me.

    Edmonton – I expected Edmonton to be a very good team this year, maybe a bit overhyped, as they received the 2nd best odds to win the cup, but overall still a very good team. Their first game looked great, but since then they haven’t gotten things going. However, they have out chanced and out shoot their opponents, and Cam Talbot is likely going to put up better results over the rest of the season than he has so far, so I don’t think this will continue. If you have McDavid and Draistl, and your team can outshoot your opponent 3-2 on average, you should win more than enough games to get into the playoffs. Their start may make winning the division a little harder, but the other big threats to win the division haven’t completely lit it up, and the teams currently in the lead are more likely to regress, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

    Arizona – I had expected them to be improved enough to fight for a wildcard spot. They haven’t been very good, and their start versus another team I expected to be around that bubble (Los Angeles) is going to make that very hard now. I don’t expect them to stay right in the basement of this division, but if they don’t string together some wins soon, their playoff chances could be dead in November. Not a great result for a team that made big changes and hoping for a big improvement.

  6. Malcolm Subban has more wins then Tuuka Rask and a better sv% and gaa

  7. I’m not falling off my chair in shock over the Rangers start. In years past they could lose a player and players shifted up. Brassard, Stepan, zuccarello, Kreider etc. losing both Stepan and Lindberg made that impossible. Zibanejad and Hayes ( a natural rw) isn’t cutting it. The lines just don’t seem to have chemistry.

    I don’t see a single trade out there that makes them better. Multiple…maybe. But that won’t help chemistry. And Lundqvist, Nash and Staal make it impossible.

    • Derick Brassard – 6gp 3g 3a 6 pts +7
      Mika Zibanejad – 7gp 5g 1a 6 pts -6

      • The race is on! Haha

    • Man do I miss SLOW and steady Derek Stepan @ MSG. Even Hayes is going to be so bad in his own zone he better produce which he is not doing.

      The D pairs change period to period. With the exception of the Hagelin goal the others were from the Pens top forwards. Ranger had last change on home ice and their best could not hang with the other teams best…

      Terrible tying and OT goals.
      AV needs to go…
      I do not see a solution on where this other top center can come from-Old joe? ‘better on the wing duchene?’

      • It’s hard to put blame on AV. He’s dealing with what he was given.

        I think Duchene would make them better…. hell, a solid 2nd-3rd line center would make them better. However I don’t see Duchene or Thornton making them that much better anyway. Certainly not a competitor. So why waste the assets it would take to be marginally better?

        Unfortunately, it is what it is. Not much different than I expected back in June. This team is going nowhere. And I’m okay with it as long as they at least have a long term plan. I’m definitely not okay with it if they start trading 1st rounders or guys like Skjei, Miller or Kreider to get guys like Duchene , Thornton that aren’t going to make the difference. That’s late 90”s-2004 mentality that still had them as a team outside looking in, and not horrible enough to reap the benefits of being bad.

        Buckle up Ranger fans. This team is 2-3 years away at minimal from being what they were. And that’s hoping some of these young guys develop well, and Shestyorkin is everything he’s hyped to be.

      • Nyr4life – before the usual suspects jump in with a 10-paragraph dissertation on why it won;t happen – let’s say the Tavares saga drags on into next summer as did the Stamkos soap-opera, do you see the Rangers as a serious player in trying to get him inked to a new long-term deal? In terms of not having to move far very, and given area familiarity and all that, is that a road you could see mgt taking?

      • George I definitely see Ny chasing him. They’d be crazy not to. Doing so would be the end of Hayes, and another player or two because of cap reasons. But that’s a deal I make all day. It definitely would fast track this rebuild… oops I mean “re-tool”. Unlike Duchene or present day Thornton. This gives NY a true #1 center. I think the last real #1 was…… Messier? Gretzky? Or was it the broken and battered Lindros?

      • Whenever the subject of best centers ever comes up for ANY team, the first name I think of when it comes to the Rangers over the course of several seasons is Jean Ratelle. To me he was always the Jean Beliveau of NYR.

      • AV I assume is in charge of who dresses on D and who gets the most ice time back there. And the lack of proper backchecking blame goes to??

        anyways Rangers/Sabres deal could energize both squads. I’o d love to see ROR but that salary is insane. Would make it easier to hand the C to Eichel with ROR gone

      • No thanks on ROR. And I doubt Buffalo has any desire at this point to move him. Again, does ROR cure them? I wouldn’t hold my breath for these types of moves this year. They refuse to say it, but this is a rebuild. Very similar to the post 05 lockout “re-tool”

        As far as the d goes , again it is what it is. He may be in charge of who dresses and who doesn’t….. but who is he not dressing? The options aren’t pretty. Bench Staal and dress? Kampher? Bench Deangelo and dress Kampher? Holden?A call up isn’t even a possibility due to waiver issues. Unless there is an injury. I don’t see Graves as much of an upgrade over anyone on the current roster. Maybe Deangelo defensively.

        There are so many issues with this team, I barely know where to begin. Goaltending, not pretty. 5-5 scoring almost non existent. Turnovers…..23 last night against Pittsburgh…… 23! Some may be garbage, but it’s still a staggering number. You could put God behind the bench …..at this point it wouldn’t make much difference.

  8. if the rangers lost in OT how are they 1-5-0 ? 🙂

    • Fixed.

  9. The Penguins almost blew a game they should have won. The Rags had a good second period but that was about it. Crosby went into beast mode at the end of the game and scared the puck in from behind the goal line. The Pens defence needs to be better outside of their top pairing. Maatta and Ruhwedal are not good together. Maatta needs to play with Shultz or Letang even. At least Hunwick is out now, what a waste of cap space he is. Oh well better than signing Hainsy. How is Hainsy doing, has he worked his way out of the top 6 yet?

    • Hainsey has actually been excellent for the Leafs. He and Rielly have probably been the better defense pair, he has 3 points, is a +3, that pair is sharing time against top lines and 2nd lines, but is getting better posession numbers than the Gardiner pair. Hainsey is getting top four 5 on 5 minutes, and leads D in hits and is 2nd in blocked shots. He also leads in PK time.

      So for the investment, he has been as good as you can hope. In the end he is a stop gap solution since a viable long term solution simply wasn’t available, so that signing really wasn’t ever going to be all that bad. He is a definite upgrade to Polak or Hunwick, and he isn’t getting paid top 4 money despite having to carry those minutes.