NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2019

by | Mar 1, 2019 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Game recaps, Senators fire head coach Guy Boucher, plus injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators fired head coach Guy Boucher, naming Marc Crawford as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having purged their roster of their top pending unrestricted free agents, the Senators are getting an early start on shaking up the coaching staff. This move marks the sixth coaching change since 2009.

Given the Senators’ decline since the start of last season, it’s unsurprising Boucher got the boot. While a lot of their issues weren’t of his making, his coaching style seems to have a short shelf life. The players buy in for the first season or two and then they start tuning him out. 

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders welcomed John Tavares back with a 6-1 beatdown of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Islanders fans jeered and booed Tavares (who signed with the Leafs last summer) at every opportunity, including during the Isles’ video tribute to their former captain.

Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares was jeered mercilessly by New York Islanders fans as their team rolled to a 6-1 victory on Thursday (Photo via NHL Images)

Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk avoided serious injury after being cut under his chin by the skate blade of Leafs winger Mitch Marner. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced defenseman Travis Dermott will be sidelined four weeks with a shoulder injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most fans will jeer and boo their departed stars when they play their first home game against their former team, but usually put that aside to applaud during the video tribute. Not so for Tavares, as Isles fans feel he betrayed them by signing with Toronto.

This could also be the result of over three decades of pent-up anger and frustration among a fan base whose team put them through a lot of embarrassment and humiliation prior to this season. Tavares’ departure was just one more kick in the teeth for Islanders’ supporters, making his return an easy outlet for their emotions. The fact the Isles are exceeding expectations and sit atop the Metropolitan Division made taunting their former franchise player more cathartic for their long-suffering fans.

Brad Richardson tallied four goals to lead the Arizona Coyotes (67 points) to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks, moving to within one point of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Canucks now sit five points out of contention.

Seth Jones’ overtime goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. With the win, the Blue Jackets (75 points) rose to third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Three third-period goals scored within a minute and 28 seconds powered the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins extended their points streak to 15 games while halting the Lightning’s win streak at 10 games.

The Dallas Stars moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings, handing the latter their 10th straight loss. Roope Hintz tallied the winner in the extra frame

Reilly Smith scored twice while Shea Theodore tallied the game-winner in a shootout as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Florida Panthers 6-5. Panthers winger Mike Hoffman also scored twice and teammate Jonathan Huberdeau had a four-point performance.

Goaltender Mikko Koskinen made 35 saves as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat.  Connor McDavid scored his 33rd goal of the season as the Oilers (61 points) sit seven points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced winger Jesse Puljujarvi will undergo season-ending hip surgery.

SPORTSNET:  New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall under arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week but it’s unclear if he’ll return before the end of the season.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton is questionable for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins after “tweaking” a lower-body injury during practice yesterday. Forward Vladimir Sobotka (upper-body) and defenseman Marco Scandella (lower-body) are listed as day-to-day.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price recently spent several minutes with a young fan whose mother promised to do everything she could to help the young boy meet his hero but who passed away from cancer before it could happen. Price comforted the youngster with a long hug, signed his jersey and gave him two autographed sticks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carey Price: class act. 



  1. Once again people taking their connection to “their team” a little too far.

    It’s a business! Maybe some of that venomous hatred should be directed at ownership and management for not seeing the writing on the wall and getting a return for him at last years deadline? ….. Nah, Tavares is the bad guy here.

    I said last year, I didn’t think the islanders were worse off without Tavares. What did that man ever accomplish there anyway? His major reoccurring headlines were how desperate he needed a winger.

    • Yeah going to a few teams and them kissing his ass, thats what he likes. No loyalty from him, all about money from the leafs. And everybody knows do not touch him in toronto because you ill get a penalty. All about personal goals for him.

    • The Islander fans have every right to boo who ever they want. There is a reason they threw snakes at JT. If JT can’t handle it, too bad for him, get thicker skin. Absolutely JT right to go follow his childhood dream but don’t blame the fans for not liking how he went about it.

    • I disagree. The fans are the most important part of the team. If it makes them happy to boo then have at it. Honestly the isles production people might have considered waiting a year or so to play the video. Unless they were doing it to feed the fans.

      • Chrisms, I was thinking the same thing yesterday. All the indications were there that it wasn’t going to go well. Fans right to cheer or boo right now they feel betrayed but don’t know how much a next season tribute would’ve made but certainly wouldn’t of been worst.
        A standing o during the tribute and then the chants for the rest of the game would’ve been perfect. Don’t think you can change emotions like that though.

    • Totally disagree. It was how Tavares handled his departure that irked fans not the departure itself. The endless statements of loyalty, desire to spend his career as an Islander, and flat out statements he wasn’t interested in being a Leaf while he was the team capatain of the Islanders followed by his immediate departure the second it wouldn’t cost his favourite team any assets was what triggered the response. It was the complete lack of integrity or honesty that angered the fanbase, not pent up frustration that triggered the anger and hatred for most of the fans. Tavares never revealed his child hood dream, or even hinted at it, until about 15 minutes after it wouldn’t cost his favourite team anything to acquire him other than cash.

      We’ve seen almost every pending free agent handle this better than Tavares did. They’ve expressed an appreciation for team, fans, and teammates without suggesting they’ll never leave and actively attempting to prevent their team from making an informed decision about trading them or not.

      JT hasn’t helped the situation with comments like I guess I’m just hungrier around the net when explaining his increased goal production this year.

      I found his teammates virtual no show last night a telling comment on how devoted they are to him as a teammate and leader. Much like Tavares they say all the right things but there actions suggest they just don’t give a crap.

      I find it odd NYR4life that you’d make this statement given that Rangers fans still spew hatred and chants aimed at Denis Potvin over a decade after he’s retired.

      • Denis Potvin wasn’t a departed Ranger either was he? Apples to battleships.

        Leetch, upon his return, standing ovation, and chants of “bring him back”…

        Messier, standing ovation, cheers every time he touched the puck.

        Girardi, Mcdonagh, Miller. Standing ovation, won the game, people still cheered….

        Again, I think it’s almost like fans sometimes get this delusional entitled, feeling that players owe them something.

        They owe you S—t! Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zero…

        THEY are entitled to choose their path without the fan base approval.
        Again, The Islanders messed up ROYALLY, by not taking precautions and failing at asset management.

        “Obviously it’s a big decision and there’s a lot that goes into it. That’s a big reason why I’ve taken my time,” Tavares said. “I think for me personally, you realize you don’t know how many opportunities you get to get to this point and possibly see what the landscape is. And I don’t even necessarily know if that’s what I really want to do yet.”

        “I’ve always stated how much I love it here. It’s emotional either way. Great organization, great place to play. So obviously I want it to work out here.”

        “I want it to work out”…..

        That doesn’t sound like a guy promising crapola!

      • Btw,

        The above comments were his thoughts in April… not June or July.

      • NYR4life – I think you really need to get over yourself more than any Isles fans need to. I’m not sure why you care. You’re a Ranger fan, right? Maybe if Messier in his prime said all the “right” things about how he wanted to be a one team man and retire a Ranger, let his agent take the team for a “long walk”, and asked not to be traded and hamstringing your perpetually rebuilding team, etc. you’d have a different perspective. And, just because other guys were received warmly after they moved to a new team (BTW, a significant number of those guys you listed were traded which makes it completely different) you might have a different perspective.

        But, what I really can’t understand is some people in the media, online, wherever, trying to tell Isles fans they’re not entitled to their own opinions or saying “Tavares had the right to free agency” so Isles fans don’t have a right to have thoughts or feelings about his choice. Nobody rooting for the Islanders really disputes Tavares’s right to leave, but we didn’t like they way he did it. And, while it is his right to leave in free agency, he does not have the right to avoid any criticism. Criticism is a natural consequence of his choice. Had he chosen to stay an Islander, the Toronto media may have written a couple hit pieces about Tavares too. They were certainly engaging with and insulting Isles fans as a whole and individually on July 1 (yes, I know they took some heat from Isles fans; they couldn’t take that their prognostications were unpopular with a fanbase? boohoo). He’d be criticized either way. So, if you don’t like that, skip over the headlines about it and tell all your Ranger fan buddies about it.

        Love the arguments we should all be angry at management and ownership instead of Tavares. What makes you think we’re not? Why does it have to be such an obtuse binary choice? We can only be mad at Tavares or ownership? Why not both? I also love how that argument seeks to imply that the fanbase had some level of control over management’s actions and therefore the fans that are upset at the departure are to blame for it, despite their effusive support of their team and the player leaving. That’s moronic. The fans paid a lot of money to have billboards erected near Barclays Center calling for the firing of the ineffective GM that let Tavares walk (before Tavares left, BTW), one of the Isles owners rides the train to games and took that criticism from the fans, #islestwitter is completely unhinged, but also provides a social media response. I can go on.

        I also love the notion that we’re not allowed to hate the way Tavares left because “the team sucks”, so of course he left. If that was the case, what was keeping him from being up front and asking for a trade or informing the team mid-season that he’s going to free agency like Panarin did? Overall, that just goes back to Tavares’s right to leave. He had the right, we didn’t like the way he acted on that right, so, so what?

        Take your Rangers fandom and enjoy being the rebuilding team for once. It’s a great time. You get to read all about all of the prospects out there and think about what could happen 1-3-5 years from now. And, you don’t even have to worry about the team getting sold again because it was actually purchased as part of a real estate deal local politicians have been shooting down for 30 years which was more or less the case from the late 80’s to 2016 for the Isles.

        For the rest of you, including Toronto fans, sorry if you don’t like people criticizing your shiny new player. He’s doing great up there. Enjoy that. Sorry not sorry about the 6-1 beatdown. It was exactly what Isles fans needed. As long as the Toronto media lets this go, the April 1 game likely won’t be the same and we can all get on with our lives save for some fringe people who will never let things go.

      • I really am not in the mood to read a novel here….

        And I really couldn’t even get passed “ you need to get over yourself” ….”like … do I” ?

        There’s really nothing to get over. I have no idea what you spewed on in your never ending post. The only ones that need to “ like get over themselves “ are the ones that have this unnatural attachment to players they think owe them something!

        But MJS, next time you change jobs, wipe your butt or “like” do anything…. I’m going to need you to clear that with me first!

    • Okposo and Franz both got great receptions when they came back to the island. BOTH chose to leave in free agency. So based on example of fan behavior, what’s the difference? The comments and actions of an individual which gave the IMPRESSION that he didn’t want to leave.

      If you are going to call the potvin comment apples to battleships, then bringing up traded rangers as comparable situations is also fruit of the poison tree.

      Islanders fans don’t owe JT anything, he is not on their team anymore. But I will say that for there to be THAT much hate and vitriol, they sure must have loved the guy a ton to be that hurt.

  2. That Carey Price clip is about as good as it gets.
    Who’s cutting onions?

    • Yeah, I had something in my eye watching that clip too.

    • Carey Price has always been classy. Great connection to the fans and game.

    • Thanks for mentioning this, I hadn’t seen it. Wow. It’s amazing when athletes get what it means and what impact they can have on some folks. Price has always seemed to be such a good person.

  3. Leafs got pumped last night.

    Good luck signing any FA’s – islanders, I think it was more embarrassing than the 6-1 score

    On another note, saw the Carey Price video yesterday. Pure class! Made that kids day, month, year!

    • Yeah I’m pretty sure no one wants to play in front of a passionate fanbase who clearly loves their team. Guessing that’s why a lot of the Leafs players were commented how much they loved the atmosphere afterwards

      • It’s funny leaf fans talking about the isles fans having their opinion too boo, wasn’t long ago leaf fans were throwing jerseys on the ice. Tavares deserved every bit about what he got, like former teammates say Tavares is just there for a paycheque he didn’t lead the islanders to anything in his time there

  4. Carey Price you are an amazing human being. The boy really needed the hug. I sensed a little release of pain from the boy when Price hugged him. Stay strong kid…..

    As for my Toronto Maple Leafs…last night was classic example of toothless TIGER is like. ISLANDERS were like the pack of wolves, they were relentless. Clearly Mr. Trotz had a game plan in dismantling the LEAFS. First they focused on Muzzin as he is the only player in Leafs Jersey capable of physical response when things get tough. Islanders attacked Muzzin early and often, taking turns in hitting. It was like breaking down the door that kept the Leafs SAFE. Once that door crumbled it was full out assault. Everytime a leaf player touched the puck he got HIT no matter where the play was Ozone Dzone didn’t matter they just HIT. TORONTO had no ANSWER to the assault.

    I have been saying over and over for the whole year, TO is not made for playoffs. The game last night is what playoffs are like. Too many Ballerinas and ZERO Warriors. We need CONCRETE wall at the blueline not HAY stacks. We need some BANGERS in the fourth line. A line that would intimidate the living shit out of their opponents. Dubas, Babcock and the management has missed the boat two consecutive years.

    I didn’t understand why Babcock sat out Matt Martin in the press box last year in the first round against the Bruins. I suppose he prefers Ballerinas over Warriors.

    I have constantly been a proponent of bolstering the roster with more toughness. Seriously, does anybody think that the LEAFS can go through BOSTON, TAMPA, and anyone of WASHINGTON, ISLANDERS or COLUMBUS. ABSOLUTELY impossible, TO would be physically DAMAGED goods after the first round, and by chance they do survive Boston, Tampa would finish off whoever that survived Boston and put them in the stretchers.

    Gudas, Reaves, McQuaid, Ferland…I mean these guys could have been had for. And none of them would be rentals as you need guys like them to balance out the team moving forward. With these guys on the ice the Islanders wouldn’t roam around the ice looking for HITS.

    I said it before when Dudas acquired Muzzin that it was an excellent trade and an important trade, BUT Dubas can’t stop there. He must sign 2 or 3 more likes of GUDAS, McQuaid and Ferland to have impact in the playoffs. I really thought Dubas would have acquired Gudas at the TDL. Muzzin can’t do it all by himself. You need 3 or 4 guys in the team. This is why Trotz isolated Muzzin early because he knows once Muzzin is taken care of the rest of the the Leafs are easy picking.

    Shanahan at some point need to address this need. Of all people he should know best as he is the type of player every team sought for come playoffs.

    I feel the PAIN my fellow Leafs fans… hopefully Dubas and Babcock come to their senses come this FALL.

    Go Leafs Go

  5. I dont mind the boos, the fans have the right to cheer or boo. They pay the price for tickets, it was like Exorcist type boos. The equivalent to getting a restraining order type of boos. Anyways, the booze was flowing hard at the tailgate according to couple co-workers who made the trip.

    Boston looks mean, they are playing ugly tough hockey. They will dust Toronto in round one and if continue to fire on all cylinders will give any top team in the east or west a good f’ing go at the cup. I cant wait for the playoffs, it’s good stuff!