NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2020
Patrick Kane reaches 1,000 points, Justin Williams tallies the game-winner in his return to the Hurricanes, the latest on Gerard Gallant, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane collected an assist for his 1,000th career point in a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Alex Nylander, Erik Gustafsson, and Connor Murphy led the way with two points apiece while Robin Lehner made 36 saves. Jets forward Adam Lowry left the game in the first period with an injured arm. The surging Blackhawks are tied with the Jets (54), sitting just three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks and Jets are moving in opposite directions approaching the All-Star break. The Hawks have won five in a row and seven of their last 10, while the slumping Jets dropped two in a row and six of their last 10.
Justin Williams scored the deciding goal during a shootout in his first game of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the New York Islanders 2-1. Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Canes while Anders Lee countered for the Isles. The Hurricanes snap a three-game losing skid and hold a one-point lead (59) over the Philadelphia Flyers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
The Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. Sidney Crosby picked up two assists while Bryan Rust tallied the winning goal.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks picked up a win in his NHL debut backstopping his club to a 2-1 over the New York Rangers. Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied both Jackets goals.
JOURNAL-PIONEER: Former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said he was surprised and disappointed by his firing last week. Gallant has returned to his hometown of Summerside, PEI, and is hoping to quickly return to coaching. He said if the right opportunity came up for himself and long-time assistant coach Mike Kelly, he’d definitely consider it. Kelly was also relieved of his duties by the Golden Knights.
Gallant was slated to coach the Pacific Division in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game. “I talked to the NHL about it and they sort of left it up to me, but I didn’t really feel comfortable (going),” said Gallant. “I just said I’d sooner pass.” Arizona Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet will replace Gallant.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given his credentials, the 2018 Jack Adams Award winner won’t be unemployed for long. I expect he’ll be back behind an NHL bench before the end of 2020.
NJ.COM: Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood suffered a concussion and lost four teeth when struck in the mask by a shot during Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers. He was symptom-free by Friday and briefly played in Saturday’s loss to Columbus.
TSN: The Edmonton Oilers assigned defenseman Matt Benning to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield on a conditioning stint.
How soon do the rumours start about Columbus trading a goalie to the Leafs? Of course Columbus would want Bracco because, according to Leaf fans, 30 other teams want him. The Leafs won’t even give him a shot!
On the surface. Bracco seems like a real head-scratcher when you consider that, after being drafted in the 2nd round (61st overall) in 2015, and finishing 2nd in AHL scoring last season with 22g 57a 79 pts, he has yet to appear in the Leafs line-up, even with all their recent injuries up front.
At 5′ 11 185 he has decent size and there’s no negative side to his skating, but his regression to just 3g in 40gp this season, combined with the following assessment, suggests the Leafs have a dud on their hands in terms of his being unable to adjust his game:
“Bracco is a one dimensional perimeter player who needed heavily sheltered usage and power play time in order to produce near the top of the league. The point of the AHL (if you ask the NHL franchise) is to develop players for the top league in the world. These prospect rankings are meant to determine who can provide the most value to the Leafs. In these areas, Jeremy Bracco did not have a good season. The points are a mirage that mask what his actual output would be if he were to be tasked with NHL minutes.”
An upcoming RFA, this is one where the Leafs make a bottom-drawer offer or just let him walk
Found the link where that quote came from: Interesting take on Bracco. Sounds like a clear case of buyer beware.
Penguins played their worst first period of the year and Murray was really bad. They came out in the second amped up and started hitting every Bruin in site and the game got chippy but they found a way to claw their way back and win. Murray was phenomenal in the second and especially the third. Playoff intensity level game, would love to see them be the conference final teams this year. Good hockey.