NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2020
Flyers on the rise, salary cap could significantly increase next season, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their seventh straight victory by beating the Washington Capitals 5-2. Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (85 points) as they moved to within one point of the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals. It was a costly win, as winger James van Riemsdyk is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a broken hand blocking a shot. The Flyers have 16 victories in their last 21 games, while the Capitals have just four in their last 10 outings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are surging at the right time and could supplant the slumping Capitals atop the Metro. They’re a deeper team thriving under head coach Alain Vigneault this season. It’ll be interesting to see how they cope without van Riemsdyk, who tallied 31 points in his last 41 contests.
An overtime goal by T.J. Brodie gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. With 77 points, the Flames opened a three-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks for third place in the Pacific Division. The Jackets (78 points) picked up a point to move into the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-1 deficit to double up the Canucks 4-2. Carl Soderberg and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist as the Coyotes (74 points) moved into a three-way tie with the Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, though the latter two hold the last two wild-card berths with 34 wins each.
Rickard Rakell’s overtime tally lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Colorado Avalanche 4-3, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists. Colorado has 88 points, two behind the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues.
The salary cap for 2020-21 could rise to between $84 million to $88 million, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. The cap is currently at $81.5 million. The increase will depend upon the NHLPA triggering its annual escalator clause. Daly also said the league is discussing a formula with the PA that could provide general managers with an annual cap figure earlier than they do now. That formula is part of ongoing CBA extension talks with the Players’ Association.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I assumed the cap could reach $84 million next season, but that potentially higher total surprised me. It will certainly benefit clubs with limited salary-cap space, such as the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk required 90 stitches after being struck near his left eye in the face by a skate blade during Tuesday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens. His eye was undamaged, but he’ll remain sidelined until the swelling goes down and his eye opens again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boychuk wears a visor, but it couldn’t provide full facial protection from a fluke injury like that.
CBS SPORTS: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider faces a four-to-six week recovery from a broken foot suffered last week against the Flyers.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators dismissed CEO Jim Little following what he described as a heated argument he had with team owner Eugene Melnyk. A team source claimed cited “a pattern of behavior, not just one incident, among other things,” that led to Little’s dismissal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That source’s name wouldn’t rhyme with “Meugene Elnyk”, would it?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The NHL is prohibiting its employees from making work-related trips outside North America over concerns about the coronavirus.