NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2018
Check out the latest noteworthy NHL headlines from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27, 2018. Game recaps will return on Dec. 29.
NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov were the NHL stars for the week ending Dec. 23, 2018.
NHL fans elected Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Pacific), Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Atlantic), and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (Central) as captains of their respective divisions in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (61 points) took over the lead in the NHL scoring race with a four-point performance in a 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. He also set a franchise record for most points (26) in one calendar month.
TSN: The St. Louis Blues will host the 2020 NHL All-Star Game.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will miss the club’s upcoming three-game road trip with a lower-body injury. The Canadiens also recalled defenseman Karl Alzner from the AHL and placed David Schlemko on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to the seriousness of Price’s injury. He was previously sidelined by groin and knee injuries in 2015-16 and last season.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed winger Jake Guentzel to a five-year, $30-million contract extension. The annual average value is $6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel, 24, is on pace for a career-best 35-goal, 75-point campaign this season. He’s also proven himself a clutch playoff performer, tallying 13 goals and 21 points during their 2017 championship run and netting 21 points in just twelve contests last spring. It’s a heck of a pay raise for Guentzel. Considering how well he’s fit on Sidney Crosby’s line, Penguins management felt he was worth it.
His new cap hit, however, pushes the Penguins’ 2019-20 cap payroll to over $73 million invested in 14 players. Assuming the salary cap rises to $83 million next summer, general manager Jim Rutherford won’t have much room to fill out the rest of the roster. It means kissing UFAs like Derick Brassard goodbye this summer. Rutherford might also consider shedding some payroll once the playoffs are over.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba will miss at least three months recovering from chest-muscle surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild will miss Dumba’s production from the blueline. Heading into Dec. 27, his 12 goals this season placed him second among NHL defensemen.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Craig Anderson suffered a concussion on Dec. 21. He won’t accompany the club on their next two games (Thursday and Saturday).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Anderson’s bloated goals-against average (3.58) and average save percentage (.905) this season, he’s stolen several wins for the Senators this season. Indeed, his stats reflect the porous defense in front of him this season. If he’s out for a lengthy period it’ll crush any hopes they have of climbing back into the playoff chase.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators activated defenseman P.K. Subban and winger Viktor Arvidsson off injured reserve.
NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller and winger Jake DeBrusk all returned from injuries for Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.