NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2019
The latest on Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson claims his injured groin is back to normal after surgery in May. The nagging injury sidelined Karlsson for several games during the regular season and hobbled him during the 2019 Western Conference Final. He doesn’t regret holding off surgery until the off-season.
“I most likely would have missed the whole year,” he said. “Now it feels that it’s something that shouldn’t affect anything else moving forward, and it shouldn’t be a problem that I have again.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are counting on Karlsson to be fully recovered. In June, they re-signed him to an eight-year, $92-million contract. If that injury remains an issue they’ll have a very expensive problem on their hands.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Evgeni Malkin is among several Pittsburgh Penguins entering this season with something to prove. While his offense (72 points in 68 games last season) remains strong, he faced considerable criticism for his sloppy defensive play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Malkin took the criticism to heart, working hard to improve that aspect of his play and stepping up his offseason training. A motivated Malkin will be crucial to the Penguins’ postseason hopes.
NHL.COM: Speaking of something to prove, Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar expects better from himself and his teammates after missing the playoff last season. He believes new head coach Todd McLellan can bring about a turnaround in the club’s fortunes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t be easy. Core players such as Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, and Dustin Brown are aging and the club is starting to transition toward youth. Their once-vaunted defense is depleted while injuries are taking a toll on long-time starting goaltender Jonathan Quick.
OTTAWA SUN: For the second straight year, the Senators won’t be naming a team captain. They’ll instead go with three alternates drawn from the ranks of their older, more experienced players. They don’t want younger players such as Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and Colin White dealing with that burden this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makes sense. Give those youngsters another year to develop and to learn from their more experienced teammates.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Mike Green and Frans Nielsen are among five Red Wings who could rebound in 2019-20. Justin Abdelkader and Jonathan Bernier could also have bounce-back performances while promising Filip Zadina looks to crack the roster on a full-time basis.
NBC SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils promoted player personnel directors Tom Fitzgerald and Dan MacKinnon to front-office vice president positions.