NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2019
Connor McDavid nets five points against the Flyers, Evander Kane pots a hat trick against the Hurricanes, attendance is down for most Canadian teams, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored a goal and set up four others in a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen made a career-high 49 saves while Leon Draisaitl scored twice. Flyers winger Jakub Voracek tallied two goals and added an assist. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced Joakim Nygard is sidelined two-to-four weeks with a rib injury while Joel Persson is in concussion protocol for seven-to-10 days.
Evander Kane netted a hat trick to give the San Jose Sharks a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones kicked out 36 shots and Tomas Hertl had three points. After dropping their first four games, the Sharks have won three straight.
The Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Brandon Tanev’s shorthanded overtime goal. His shot caromed in off the stick of Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon each scored in this contest. Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola made his season debut as a fourth-line winger.
Three quick second-period goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson rallied the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Carlson collected three points in his game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another shaky effort by Leafs backup Michael Hutchinson. That could raise concerns over Toronto’s goaltending depth.
Sonny Milano’s highlight-reel third-period goal was the winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on to nip the Dallas Stars 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Jackets head coach John Tortorella was behind the bench after undergoing minor surgery on Tuesday to remove skin cancer from his forehead. Corey Perry made his season debut with the Stars.
The Anaheim Ducks all but neutralized the Buffalo Sabres’ league-leading power play en route to a 5-2 win. The Ducks killed off six of seven penalties. Adam Henrique tallied twice and Jakob Silfverberg collected three points for the Ducks.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero downplayed speculation head coach John Hynes could be replaced as assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald joins the coaching staff. It was Hynes’ idea to have Fitzgerald, a former assistant coach, join him behind the bench to provide additional perspective.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils poor start (0-4-2) has some of their supporters calling for Hynes’ dismissal. Shero is willing to remain patient but the pressure for a coaching change will grow if things don’t improve soon.
Nemeth (illness), DeKeyser (mid) & Erne (upper) all sound doubtful for Thursday. Wings have 12 F, but Blashill said Red Wings might go 11 F, 7 D at Calgary.
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) October 16, 2019
Strange night in the NHL. Four of the five Canadian teams that played at home failed to sell out. Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal below capacity. Toronto sold out. Huge attendance problems in Ottawa. Not good for the NHL when Canadian teams struggle at the gate. — Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) October 16, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A variety of factors could be at play here. A roster rebuild amid fan disenchantment with cantankerous owner Eugene Melnyk could explain the Senators’ poor numbers. A recent winter storm in Manitoba, the time of year, and the fading novelty of the NHL’s return to Winnipeg have been cited for the Jets’ slumping attendance. Economic factors and high ticket prices could also account for the decline.
Whatever the reasons, Campbell is correct that’s not good news for the NHL. Those seven franchises account for between 35-40 percent of league revenue.
LAS VEGAS SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes sports betting could help grow the league’s audience and in turn its revenue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league could need that revenue if the Canadian clubs keep slumping at the gate.