NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2021

by | Feb 25, 2021 | News, NHL | 30 comments

Recaps of Wednesday’s games plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Tomas Hertl, Jason Zucker and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Carolina Hurricanes. Alex Killorn collected two assists and rookie Ross Colton tallied his first NHL goal as the Lightning (25 points) move to within one point of the first-place Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division.

Speaking of the Panthers, they fell 3-0 to the Dallas Stars. Anton Khudobin kicked out 43 shots for the shutout and Joe Pavelski picked up two assists as the Stars snapped a six-game winless skid.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux picked up three assists after coming off the COVID-19 protocol list as his club held off the New York Rangers 4-3. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied a hat trick and Mika Zibanejad has two assists.

William Nylander scored the tying and winning goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime. Flame goalie David Rittich made 37 saves as he was denied his second straight shutout of the Leafs.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise tallied his 800th career point and teammate Mats Zuccarello got his 400th in a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nico Sturm also scored twice as the Wild (20 points) have won four straight games to sit one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the Honda West Division.

Speaking of the Coyotes, they overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks for the second straight game. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Arizona as they took the game on a shootout goal by Christian Dvorak. Coyotes backup Adin Hill made 14 saves in relief of Darcy Kuemper after the latter left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their sixth straight victory by hanging on for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Cal Petersen turned aside 35 shots for the win on second-period goals by Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the Kontinental Hockey League said it had not been made aware of or received any complaint in relation to any incident involving Artemi Panarin back in December 2011.

Panarin’s former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov alleged the Rangers winger assaulted a young woman in a bar following a game in Riga, Latvia. The KHL said it would’ve investigated any such complaint as they take allegations of misconduct “incredibly seriously”.

To date, there’s been no corroborating evidence to support Nazarov’s allegation. No victim has come forward nor has there been any police record of the alleged incident. Kip Brennan and Jon Mirasty, two of Panarin’s former Vityaz teammates, both said they never knew or heard of the incident taking place.

Another former teammate, Mikhail Anisin, told Russian outlet Sport-Express the incident didn’t play out as Nazarov described, recalling Panarin “didn’t beat anyone, maybe pushed one girl a little bit, nothing more” in a karaoke bar. Anisin said police did come to the team hotel but left after determining the situation didn’t warrant charges. He also rejected the notion of the police being paid off as the players at the time didn’t have that type of money.

Panarin remains on a leave of absence from the Rangers as he deals with this situation. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is looking into the allegations. Kaplan said it would be uncharacteristic of the league to punish Panarin without corroborating evidence.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker also cited Anisin’s comments. She also spoke with Maxim Sitnikov, who briefly played with Panarin during that season. Sitnikov also denied the alleged incident took place, praising the winger’s character and rejecting what he called “villains” saying “all sorts of nonsense.” Walker cited two more former Vityaz players who requested to remain anonymous agreeing with Brennan’s and Mirasty’s version of events.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The allegation against Panarin is quickly falling apart. Unless Nazarov can produce evidence to corroborate his story he should withdraw his comments and issue an apology to the Rangers’ star.

SPORTSNET: The NHL postponed Thursday’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights after a Sharks player tested positive for COVID-19. Sharks center Tomas Hertl was placed on the league’s COVID-19 list yesterday. New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was also added to the list, which is now down to eight players, four of them members of the Flyers.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Jason Zucker has returned to Pittsburgh for further evaluation for what appeared to be an injured knee or ankle suffered during their recent game against the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon is sidelined at least a month with a fractured hand.

TSN: The Penguins yesterday claimed defenseman Mark Friedman off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

CBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL for roughing Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Pulujarvi on Tuesday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will soon be allowed to admit some fans to their games following North Carolina governor Roy Cooper’s announcement yesterday that indoor arenas can open to 15 percent capacity.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Gary Inness passed away on Feb. 23 from dementia at age 71. Inness played 162 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals from 1973-74 to 1980-81. He also coached the AHL’s Hershey Bears from 1981-82 to 1984-85. Following his hockey career, he became a teacher and guidance counselor at Barrie North Collegiate Institute until his retirement in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Inness’ family, friends and former teammates.


  1. Anybody here no anything on Mark Friedman.

    Other than some small sample stats I can find, I don’t know much about him

    Says he’s from Toronto; any relation at all to Elliott?

    On Capfreindly they show P-OJ sent down ; with 5 RDs and only 2LDs above

    Why not send Ruhweedel down if they want Friedman up?

    No one is claiming Ruhweedel

    • Know not “no”

      Not had my Tim’s yet

      • Tim’s?? You actually drink that sludge?

      • Absolutely George

        Tim Horton’s is the only coffee for moi

        McD’s … 👎👎

        Starbuck’s …. far too bitter🤮🤢

        Second Cup 👎👎👎

        Coffee Time 👎👎👎

        Krispy Kreme ….. 💩👎💩👎💩👎💩👎💩👎💩👎💩👎💩🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

        TH…. only way to go when looking for a nice cup ‘o Joe 😄😄

        …. maybe it’s just that I’m lazy… never having to go more than a click in any direction anywhere in T.O. to find a Tim’s 🙄

      • A few year’s ago, in a Yonge Street taste test, after 100 random tastes of, I think, 10 brands, it ranked 7th – ahead of Nabob Instant and a couple of other crappy brands. MacDonald’s was first, Second Cup second and, if I recall, Starbuck’s was third.

        I’ve always believed that the “preference” for Tim’s stemmed solely from the name and its original association.

        My choice today is Jamaica Blue Mountain (grind my own) and, if out and about, MacDonald’s.

      • The best part of waking up… 🎶

      • George

        Does your “ Jamaica Blue Mountain” contain certain grains of plant life that is now legal to buy in Canada? LOL

        That survey that you are talking about is several years old now

        I remember reading last year that not only was TH the number one seller in Canada; but also the number 1 preferred in blind taste tests.

        That said; their Dark Roast apparently is waaaaaaay down the liking list

        Regardless … I have no care on Sales volume or other people’s prefs

        The Pengy fam (that’s my whole fam BTW) has TH as their fav; by far

        Even if somehow Mrs. Pengy had an epiphany and changed to something else… I would remain Loyal to TH

        My mom (and my late father) absolutely love McDs ; as does my brother

        To each his/her own

        Please advise as to your “ Jamaica Blue Mountain” concoction 🤩

      • Grind my own, when out Macdonalds.
        Coffee is better, so is the cup and lid.
        And if you want some breakfast, the Egg McMuffin crushes the Tim’s.

      • Wow I finally100% agree with George O on something. Jamaican Blue Mountains is the best roast and not even close…kinda like the Leafs.

      • Lol. Hadda get that in there somewhere eh?

    • 64. 35+ Year Old Rule for Cap Counting

      CBA §50.5(d)(i)(B)(5) shall have no application to a multi-year SPC that has: (1) total compensation (Player Salary and Bonuses) that is either the same as or increases from one League Year to the immediately subsequent League Year, and (2) a Signing Bonus, if any, that is payable in the first year of the SPC only.

      • Oops

        This was supposed to go below my Kreici post in Rumours section


    • Mark Friedman is a decent AHL player and he was drafted by Hextall to begin with.

      He’s only 25 and clearly impressed Hextall enough to give him a shot.

      • Thanks habfan30

  2. Panarin needs to buck up and play through this nonsense … the Rangers high expectations this season are crumbling faster than a Kris Letang turnover …

    • Well Ed, they may have had high expectations, but in reality they aren’t a contender for a cup. Too young.
      I would think they wanted battle for a playoff spot, but being in the lottery again wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to them.

      • I disagree with Lyle’s assertion that Nazarov’s allegation against Panarin is falling apart. You see, in order for something to fall apart, it had to have been together in the first place. This BS was not. There was never any foundation for this whatsoever, just a bare allegation. This was an obvious fiction right from the start.

      • And don’t look for Nazarov to withdraw his comments or apologize. Putinists just don’t do things like that.

  3. Hab fans what with Dale Weiss, he is one happy guy to see Claude Julien fired.

    Just a 4th liner not happy with his ice time? Or more to it?

  4. Pengy what about your #1 trade chip and soft parameter player Willy scoring a soft? goal to tie it and a snipe that has Rittich still looking for his jockstrap in the rafters.
    Just an FYI in a regular season, he’s on place for 36 goals. Ya all of you are right, trade him, who needs a bum like that on your team?

    • Hi Ron

      Was a beauty for sure. Loved it.

      Again you keep coming back to me stating how good he is and asking why I would trade him

      I don’t ever detract from his talent or value (all the more reason to trade him…. high high value in return now…. see rationale below)

      My repeated stance on trading him lies with my assertion that Leafs are just not quite there yet for a cup and IMVHO can’t win a cup structured as they are with 1/2 Cap on 4 forwards ; need for improvement on D now; and will need space for either Freddy (at a raise) or a replacement (at a higher Cap than Freddy has now; for next year

      So…. 3 options (as JT can’t be traded w/o his permission)

      AM…In no way should they be trading the strapping Centre who is 3rd in the league in points; and was, up until a couple of games ago; averaging a goal per game

      MM is 4th in League; great value; but his Cap hit pretty well precludes almost every potential suitor

      That leaves WW… Cap hit ~$7M but effective cash remaining (due to front end SBs) average of ~$5M per year

      With his talent and performance and that contract…. should easily bring in a top 3D (Rightie) who is early/mid 20’s; with term ; and at lower cap hit (than WW)

      Leafs will score enough goals with or without WW

      This move shores up the much needed improvement on D; and provides extra cap space (Freddy Sal raise or replacement next year)

      As at now I stand firm in my stance that Leafs are not in the “League” (excuse the pun) of Bolts; Knights; Avs; and would have serious difficulty beating Bruins or Blues when it comes to playoffs.

      With the flat Cap and without moving one of AM; MM; or WW that would then lead to a subsequent D improvement; Leafs just can’t win Cup this year or next; leaving it as a gamble and still relative long shot to get a Cup in ‘23 or ‘24 before AM leaves at noon (or is it 1 PM when UFA opens) on 1/7/24

      After he is gone…. Leafs drop right down again

      Go Leafs Go

      • A good trade I have suggested a couple times is Nylander to NSH for Ekholm and Granlund.

        NSH gets the scoring they need and TOR gets a good LW/C and big top 2/4 D-man. The dollars work out close. Throw in Engvall to make it happen if needed…I just don’t see value in him at $1.25M a year.

      • Hi Daryl

        WW certainly gets more than Ekholm and Granlund (UFA)

        I like Ekholm size and ability ; but he is a Leftie and is 30

        My suggestion is for a top 3 (or trending to) RHD that is early/mid 20s; at a lower Cap than WW

        Now… even though he is soon to be 28…. Parayko for WW would absolutely and substantially increase Leafs Cup chances this year and next (and saves 1.5 M in Cap space)

        Blues (and Iowa Prince) won’t let CP go though

        Isles are not built to score but rather to “just” have slightly less GAs than opponents … the GMLL formulae…. had they not been built like that…. WW for Pullock…. that trade also absolutely and substantially increase Leafs Cup chances this year and next (and saves 2 M in Cap space)

        WW; Holl; 1st for Jones…. That puts Leafs in Cup contention… but GMJK doesn’t part with Jones

        Ekblad for WW loses $0.5 M in Cap space but would be worth it IMHO

        The penultimate would be

        WW; Holl; mid rounder ; for

        Hieskenen…. alas I dream… Dallas is not giving him up;

        Or even more penultimate (oxymoronic statement I know):

        WW; Holl; 1st, 2nd for

        Makar…. alas again I dream…. Sackic doesn’t need scoring and certainly is not parting with Makar

    • I’d take him in Ottawa in a flash. I could never figure out what, in his game, his detractors didn’t like.

      • Hi George

        No detractor like feelings here… just best; and most prudent ; trade option, for Leafs to try to get to the promised land

        Shuffling around forwards in the $2M – $4M range to balance the Cap books; while keeping same low Sal bottom 6; and same non cup contending D…. just won’t cut it

      • Hi Pengy and George O

        I agree that Nylander is under appreciated in Toronto.

        As for Ekholm I know he’s a lefty but apparently he played the right side when Ellis was out. I knew Granlund is a UFA. Think NSH throws in Fabbro if the Leafs add Dermott?

        The Leafs are going to need some depth for the playoffs. It wouldn’t hurt to have a big defensive defenceman to clear the front of the net.

        I’d like to see the Engvall experiment end. There must be a better option on the Marlies…Brooks, Agostino, Galchenyuk…

        Do you think the Leafs could pry Manson out of ANA?

    • To be fair , it was Nylander’s man in the slot he didn’t cover for the flames goal that I thought was going to end it. I was furious. Then he made amends with the extra man goal and total forgiveness for the OT roofer. From goat to G.O.A.T. (for the game) in seconds

      • Wendel, Nylander was supposed to cover the points and was. Both defensemen chased behind the goal line and left the front of the net open. It’s poor observations and understanding of hockey, ie hockey IQ that fuel dumb narratives.

        Pengy there are so many other options than trade away a cost controlled 60pt player because the cap space is more vital than great players. Another option that I mentioned and hope the Leafs look into is trading Rielly. That’s the only position the Leafs are stacked in. Losing him would suck but only a negative loss of less than 25% less offense from that replacement player.

  5. Judge players in playoffs when going gets tuff and you have way less time and space.

    • Nylander scores at a rate of .72 PPG in the regular season and .60 PPG in the playoffs.
      He’s paid to score goals/points.

      You don’t buy a thoroughbred to plow the fields…