NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2019
Nathan MacKinnon willing to accept less on his next contract to stay with the Avalanche, the Stars scratch Alex Radulov, Joe Thornton punches a goaltender, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took a 3-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens and held on for a 3-2 victory. Avs winger Gabriel Landeskog scored in his return to the lineup after being sidelined 16 games with a leg injury. Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau made 32 saves in his NHL debut. Habs center Jesperi Kotkaniemi left the game after falling awkwardly on his head following a questionable hit by Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Earlier in the day, Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon said he had no regrets over his current contract. He also said he’ll accept less money on his next deal because he wants to win with the Avs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon inked his current seven-year, $44.1-million contract following the 2015-16 season, when he was coming off three inconsistent, injury-hampered performances. At the time, it was a significant raise for the young center coming out of his entry-level contract. It was also a gamble that turned into a long-term bargain for the Avs as MacKinnon blossomed into a dominant 90-plus point player.
I don’t doubt MacKinnon’s sincerity about accepting less than market value. He’s taking a page out of his buddy Sidney Crosby’s book. However, he’s still going to get a hefty pay raise on his next deal.
When MacKinnon’s current contract expires in 2023, the salary cap could reach $90 million, meaning the highest-paid players could command between $14-$15 million annually. MacKinnon could get between $12-$13 million per season if he’s still racking up 90-point seasons by that point.
The Dallas Stars snapped a four-game winless skid with a 3-2 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra period. Joe Pavelski tallied the game-winner for the Stars, who raised eyebrows earlier in the day by announcing winger Alexander Radulov would be a healthy scratch from this contest. Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen each collected two points for the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov has 15 points in 29 games this season. He has five points in his last 10 games, with three of those coming against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 25. He was held scoreless in his last four contests.
Andrei Svechnikov scored the only goal in a shootout as the Carolina Hurricanes nipped the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Svechnikov also had a goal and an assist in regulation play. During the second period, Sharks center Joe Thornton laid out Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrazek with a punch to the mask when the latter objected to Thornton jabbing at the puck after the netminder covered it in the crease. Mrazek recovered and finished the game.
Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the season as the Calgary Flames held on for a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who’ve won three straight games. Earlier in the day, the city of Calgary reached an agreement with the Flames and the Calgary Stampede on a deal to construct a new arena.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can finally put to rest those silly rumors suggesting the Flames would relocate if they didn’t get a new arena. Despite public posturing by Calgary’s mayor, I had no doubt the city would eventually agree to construct a new arena.
The Minnesota Wild picked up their fifth straight victory by upsetting the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner and collected two assists for the surging Wild, who’ve climbed from dead-last in the league over a month ago into a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel scored twice as his club downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. The Coyotes have won eight of their last 10 games, moving into first place in the Pacific Division.
New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored against his former club in a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexandar Georgiev made 45 saves for the win, handing the Jackets their third straight defeat.
Ryan Pulock’s overtime goal lifted the New York Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov kicked out 31 shots for the win. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Golden Knights roster following a leave of absence to spend time with his dying father. He was the backup for this contest.
Jonathan Toews scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. The Bruins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Dylan Strome scored and added an assist for the Blackhawks.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Brent Sopel released a statement yesterday clarifying comments he made a year ago describing encountered with Marc Crawford that could be considered abusive behavior by the former NHL coach. “It was not my intent to make any allegations against anyone or any organization,” Sopel said as part of his statement “I was only speaking to how Coach Crawford affected me. I cannot speak for how others were affected by him.”
TSN: A former NHL Players Association executive has filed a lawsuit against the PA claiming it covered up theft of over $100K in association funds by one of its executives. The PA is denying the accusation.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have sent struggling defenseman Erik Brannstrom to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.