NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2019
Game recaps, Oilers fire GM Peter Chiarelli, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings was overshadowed by the club firing general manager Peter Chiarelli following the game. Assistant GM Keith Gretzky takes over for Chiarelli on an interim basis until a full-time replacement can be found.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This had an air of inevitability about it. The Oilers have foundered since their promising 103-point performance two years ago. While Chiarelli drafted superstar Connor McDavid in 2015, that was a no-brainer because the Oilers won the draft lottery and McDavid was the best player available.
A string of bad decisions – signing Milan Lucic to an expensive long-term contract, trading two draft picks (one of whom became Mathew Barzal) to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart, shipping Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils straight up for Adam Larsson, sending Jordan Eberle to the Isles for Ryan Strome, who was later dealt to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner – led to Chiarelli’s downfall.
Whoever takes over as Chiarelli’s full-time replacement must improve the defense, bring in a scoring winger for McDavid’s line and bolster their secondary scoring depth. That could mean shopping some promising youngsters (Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto) and their 2019 first-round pick.
Speaking of the Oilers, Spooner and Ty Rattie cleared waivers yesterday but will remain on the roster.
Alexander Ovechkin and Tomas Hertl engaged in dueling hat tricks, with the latter potting the winner in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 7-6 victory over Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had a four-point game while Capitals winger T.J. Oshie collected three points. Washington’s losing skid is now at six games.
The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth win in their last eight games by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice and added an assist.
Shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Toews also scored the game-tying goal.
Mikael Backlund’s overtime goal gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, extending the Flames’ points streak to nine games (8-0-1).
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said the club is engaged in a “healthy dialogue” on a contract extension for center Auston Matthews. The Leafs hope to get the extension completed as soon as possible to provide long-term salary-cap clarity.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the mutual decision between the Leafs and Mitch Marner to postpone contract discussions until the offseason, getting Matthews under contract before season’s end will give them a better idea of how much cap space they’ll have to re-sign Marner and their other notable free agents, as well as what’s available for other roster moves. I’m guessing Matthews could receive over $12 million per season.
CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights confirmed winger William Carrier is sidelined by an injury and not an illness as originally reported by the club. He’s already missed the team’s last seven games and there’s no timetable for his return.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Cameron Gaunce had his 2017 Stanley Cup ring stolen from his home.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping they quickly catch the thieves and Gaunce’s property is returned.