NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2019

by | Dec 6, 2019 | News, NHL | 17 comments

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.

Nathan MacKinnon said he’s willing to accept less money to re-sign with the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

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.


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.


  1. Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau for Coach of The Year. The only good news for longtime Leaf fans today, other than Toronto having the night off.
    Not sure how the Wild are doing it but good on them.
    A hat tip to the Penguins as well – amazing what a group can accomplish if every guy plays hard for sixty minutes. Is there an advanced stat for team effort?

  2. Using last season’s cut-off points East (98) and West (90), and purely from a statistical perspective, here is what each team needs to do the rest of the way based upon a % of potential points left in their schedule – listed in order of lowest % needed to the highest followed by % gained so far

    East (98 pts)
    Bos .491 – .793
    Was .496 – .783
    NYI .527 – .741
    Pha .578 – .638
    Pitt .593 – .607
    Car .594 – .604
    Fla .609 – .574
    Nyr .609 – .574
    TB .616 – .558
    Buf .632 – .535
    Mtl .642 – .517
    Tor .654 – .500
    Clb .667 – .464
    Ott .687 – .431
    NJ .691 – .407
    Det .779 – .283

    West (90 pts)
    St.L .462 – .700
    Col .481 – .679
    Ari .500 – .621
    Wpg .510 – .617
    Dal .529 – .583
    Veg .539 – .565
    Min .547 – .552
    Van .547 – .552
    SJ .533 – .558
    Cgy .533 – .558
    Nas .555 – .537
    Ana .574 – .500
    Chi .583 – .482
    LA .623 – .414

    • You must have a typo there…Arizona in first? C’mon really🤔 yay! And yes it’s early but nice to see.

      • Not quite first – but so far they’ve been racking up points at a .621 clip and, to reach 90 – if last year’s cut-off remains about the same – they only need to play at a .500 pace the rest of the way. From what I’ve seen they are more than capable of doing that.

    • George you forgot Edmonton?

      • Oh crap. Thanks Robo. They should be listed right after Arizona at .510 need the rest of the way and playing at a .617 pace so far. I don’t see a collapse there either. That 5-2 loss to Ottawa should go down well as a lesson that you can’t take a night off against ANY opponent.

      • I somehow got Edm and Wpg screwed up – Wpg should be shown as .509 – .621 and listed just ahead of Arizona. Damn – gott have at least 2 coffees before I try that again.

      • Don’t see a collapse for Edmonton, but they haven’t been playing well of late. Can they play .510 the rest of the way? I think so, but might be close.
        They miss Nuge, which has forced Tippet to separate McD & Drai. Another reason not to chase hall. They need to resign RNH long term.

    • BCLeafFan, Thanks for the shout out for the Pens, it has been a crazy year with all the injuries. I hope the Leafs can turn it around this year and get to raise the Cup in the near future!

      • If Toronto can ever play as hard, night in and night out, as Pittsburgh and Boston, for example, things would definitely get better.

      • SJF928 and BCLeafs fan

        Hope you got to see the game the other day

        Zip all around; enthusiasm ; happiness abound; no eclipse of the goalie ; no Blue left uncovered in front of net ; crisp breakout passes ; only one unforced icing ; no player playing on pins and needles (when a certain player is also on the ice)

        Same opponent …. one gargantuan difference ….

        ….. no JJ…. at first I thought that finally Sully had come to his senses … then they announced that he was sick

        Previous game against the Blues … JJ fully responsible for 2 goals and shared responsibility for another; and if not for spectacular saves by Murr and a sliding block by McC; JJ would have been responsible for 3 more GAs. He repeatedly left a Blue uncovered in front of the net just to join his D partner already engaged with puck carrier in HIS (not JJ’s ) corner. He blew breakout passes several times and had 3 unforced icings . All teammates played trepidatiously when JJ was on the ice….

        JJ …26:38 on ice …. Pens lose 5-2 (even though they outshot Blues)

        JJ … 0:00 …. Pens win 3-0…. shots against …. just one more than last Sat …., high danger chances plummeted

        The loss last Sat was NOT Murr’s fault …. if you stretch it …. call one goal as his fault

        Sully …. I hope you took note of this

        Please give JJ a month off to fully recuperate … it would be a nice gesture

        GMJR …. you could fix things big time by “accidentally” putting in the paper-work to NHL head-office for JJ to be on LTIR (once it is in it can’t be reversed) …… no skin off his nose …. he rests for 4 weeks and gets fully paid …. team breathes a massive sigh of relief and chances of making the playoffs sky-rocket

        It’s 5 mins to prep the paper-work then a quick fax …. make sure you keep the “fax received” acknowledgement

        Rant over

        🤞🙏 For victory tonight

        Go Pens Go

    • Thanks again George for all that work

      Greatly appreciated

      For Leafs …. to me; nothing is more critical than the next 6 games …. if they don’t win at least 3 …. they then need at least a 675 clip to get to the playoffs

      Win 5 if 6 (and technically they could at that time; still be sitting outside a WC spot) and they will need a 630 clip to bring it home

      I will go “waaaaaay” out on a limb (read sarcasm) and declare right now …. Bruins and Blues make the playoffs ; Wings, Kings, Devils …. miss 🤓🤪

      GO Leafs GO

      GO Pens GO

      … and fingers crossed for my third fav team VGKs

      • You’re welcome Pengy. Lots to read into that list, of course, but just on the surface it appears the only shoe-ins for a top 8 slot in the East are Boston, Washington and NYI. Barring complete collapses, probables are surprising Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (especially when Crosby gets back). The remaining 3 slots are more wide open to conjecture. You have to think Tampa will finally get its act together and are quite capable of playing the rest of the way at .616 (need to get to 98 points). This is, after all, essentially the same team that had a .781 clip last season. The other 2 spots will be a dog-fight involving Carolina, Florida, NYR, Buffalo, Montreal, and Toronto. The rest are also-rans – with the Dead Things revisiting their zombie years.

        Out west, the shoe-ins are the defending champs St. Louis and Colorado, with probables being Winnipeg, Arizona, Edmonton. Dallas and Vegas. That leaves 1 spot. As with Tampa, you’d have to think San Jose gets off their asses and gets into the top 8, which would leave early-season favourites Calgary and Nashville out in the cold (the Duchene curse??). Neither Vancouver nor Minnesota have the depth to hang in there through the upcoming mid-December to trade deadline day crunch. Anaheim, Chicago and L.A. are dead in the water.

  3. One of the most underrated coaches in the NHL is Bruce Cassidy even though he was nominated after his first full season going 50-20-12 losing out to Gerald Gallant no complaints here.

    When Julien was fired and replaced by Cassidy there was a lot of noise and media talking heads saying Sweeney didn’t know what he has doing.

    When Julien was fired Boston didn’t look like they were going to make the playoffs but Cassidy brought in a more up-tempo style to create more offense one of the biggest impact was he shift of philosophy on how he deployed the Bergeron Marchand Pasternak line.

    Bergeron was dominate in the face off circle where Julien was a defense 1st guy we would always but out in the defensive zone for the draw. Cassidy his best offensive line should start in the offensive zone.

    Bergeron has back to back 30 goals season with Cassidy at the helm it’s no coincidence that line has become dominate with Cassidy behind the bench. The line is still one of the best defensively because of Juliens teachings but the added more offense because of Cassidy offensive mindset.

    • That sums it up nicely Caper

  4. Like how Cassidy addresses the media tells it exactly how it is and what he is thinking leaves nothing for the imagination.

    • He learned that from his junior coach Brian Kilrea with the ’67s. Always upfront and to the point.