NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2020
Corey Perry receives a five-game suspension, the Canadiens sign Ilya Kovalchuk, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist while Esa Lindell collected three assists to give the Dallas Stars a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Stars have won four straight games. Before the game, the Stars honored Pavelski for playing his 1,000th career NHL game.
Ilya Samsonov made 38 saves as the Washington Capitals held off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (50 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Corey Perry received a five-game suspension for elbowing Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the 2020 NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Ellis suffered a possible concussion and was placed on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s two previous suspensions on his NHL resume and the severity of Ellis’ injury were contributing factors in the league’s decision.
Speaking of the Stars, former head coach Jim Montgomery is checking into a rehab program for alcohol abuse. Montgomery released a statement indicating his recent firing was the appropriate call by the club. He took responsibility for his actions, saying the loss of his job served as a wake-up call to get treatment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Montgomery. Here’s hoping he lands another NHL coaching job soon. He did a good job with the Stars and should get another shot elsewhere.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A spate of injuries and a recent slide in the standings prompted Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to make this move. Kovalchuk is no longer a dominant scorer and probably won’t improve the Habs’ performance, but it’s a low-cost, low-risk move. If it doesn’t work out, Bergevin has sufficient salary-cap space to make a more impactful move.
WGR550: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson will miss the next five-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed forward depth before their recent acquisition of winger Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames. Olofsson’s injury could push them back into the trade market.
TSN: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will pass on playing in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He will be replaced by Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Fleury felt it better to use the All-Star break to rest and prepare for the remainder of the season and playoffs. He’ll be suspended by the league for one regular-season game. A small price to pay for the Golden Knights to rest their top netminder.
Speaking of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, Washington’s Todd Reirden, Boston’s Bruce Cassidy, St. Louis’ Craig Berube, and Vegas’ Gerard Gallant will serve as coaches for the event.
SPORTSNET: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is out for the remainder of the season with an injury to his Achilles tendon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big loss to the Isles’ blueline. Pelech is considered their most dependable rearguard and won’t be easily replaced.
CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan is sidelined indefinitely with a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid received a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.