NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021

by | Mar 7, 2021 | News, NHL | 23 comments

Recaps of Saturday’s action, Tom Wilson receives a seven-game suspension, Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his father Walter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The New York Rangers got two goals from Ryan Strome to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Adam Fox opened the scoring for the Rangers with a beautiful end-to-end goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils (16 points) looked like they could contend for a playoff berth several weeks ago. Their recent skid sent them tumbling toward the bottom of the MassMutual East Division standings, one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. They could be joining the list of potential sellers at the April 12 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Sabres, they dropped their sixth straight in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal’s between-the-legs game-tying goal launched was the start of a four-goal outburst in the second period for the Islanders as they extended their points streak to seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Islanders (32 points) sit atop the East Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images)

Evgeni Malkin scored and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Flyers winger Travis Konecny also had a goal and assist as his club is tied with the Penguins (27 points) but holds fourth place in the East on win percentage (.643) with two games in hand.

A hat trick by Noel Acciari powered the Florida Panthers over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (34 points), who are tied with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Discover Central Division. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Matt Duchene on injured reserve. He will be sidelined three-to-five weeks with a lower-body injury.

Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to sweep their two-game set. Canucks goaltender Thatcher kicked out 37 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko’s play has improved since mid-February. He’ll likely get the bulk of the starts in the coming weeks as the Canucks (24 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves while Lance Pitlick tallied twice for the Coyotes. The win puts Arizona (25 points) just two behind the Wild for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division.

Carey Price turned aside 28 shots, Brendan Gallagher notched two goals and Tomas Tatar collected three assists as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Josh Anderson scored in his first game with the Habs after being sidelined for three games by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most convincing Canadiens win since their 6-2 victory over the Canucks on Feb. 1. They’re now 2-1-2 in their first five games under interim coach Dominique Ducharme.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a nine-game winless skid with a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks blew a 2-0 lead but overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Troy Terry and Kevin Shattenkirk to set the stage for Ryan Getzlaf’s game-winner in the extra frame. Terry scored twice and Rickard Rakell had a three-point night. Mikko Rantanen replied with two of his own for the Avalanche.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist for the Stars to snap their four-game losing skid.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s season debut following offseason shoulder surgery couldn’t help the St. Louis Blues from dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Adrian Kempe tallied the game-winner while Anze Kopitar scored twice for the Kings. Tarasenko was held scoreless while teammate David Perron had a goal and an assist. With 25 points, the Kings sit two back of the fourth-place Wild in the West Division.

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading fourth shutout in a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Alex Tuch scored twice to extend his goal streak to four games. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Vegas sits atop the West Division with 33 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got goals by Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid to edge the Calgary Flames 3-2. McDavid also had two assists on the night. The Oilers (30 points) sit two up on the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division and two back of the Jets.


NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL suspended Capitals winger Tom Wilson for seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Friday. Carlo was taken to the hospital for treatment overnight but was released yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Wilson’s history of reckless hits resulting in four fines and three suspensions it’s not surprising the league handed down this judgement. He’s now been suspended for a total of 30 games in the NHL career.

SPORTING NEWS: Wayne Gretzky eulogized his father Walter during the latter’s funeral yesterday in Brantford, Ontario. “He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family,” said Wayne. “We’d be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad.” He also pointed out COVID-19 played no part in Walter’s passing, indicating he’d suffered a bad hip injury several weeks ago. He passed away last week at age 82.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Walter. Your legacy will live as long as your son’s.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights were left scrambling for new accommodations after the San Jose hotel they were staying in abruptly closed due to bankruptcy.

THE SCORE: A small number of NHL players in the United States have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Some received it because of the city where they lived where the vaccine became available.


  1. And yet no word from the NHL about suspensions to those beer league officials who called no penalties on Wilson for the hit.

    • AZHN


      What a farce

      I would expect that the head of officiating will have a meeting with them

      To me 7 games not enough… I can’t believe (per TSN) that OPS had to go with the rule about boarding (to get a suspension) because they said it was NOT a hit to the head

      NOT a hit to the head?


      My degrees are in Finance so Science (anatomy in particular) is not my forte…. but the head is still that roundish thing on top of the neck right?

      Should have been minimum of 10 games

      Next suspension better be 30…. and I have no doubt he’ll do this type of hit again…. after that 30… the one following better be permanent ejection from NHL

      The other crap thing is that due to the fact that he had high SB this year … his suspension only hits him on Sal… he only loses a tad over $260 K

      Not a fan

  2. Re Leafs… didn’t deserve to win.. better pull up their socks

    Oil… McD is back ….. nice GWG

    Re Stone injury

    I watched the game… all of a sudden he goes to dressing room… I didn’t see him get hurt

    Anybody know what the injury is

  3. IMO those plays involving head shots or high sticks should be automatically reviewable. Help the refs out.

    • If they called a major they can review and decide if the call should stand. These four idiots didn’t think of doing that. They should be suspended longer than Wilson.

    • They should, Slick, but that doesn’t always solve the problem. The NHL has reviewed several clear incidents of head shots this year, mumbled and farted, and then said … all good.

      A pro league with a clown school masquerading as player safety. Wilson got suspended because he was involved and Carlo got carted off the ice. Otherwise Bozo Parros might have just shrugged it off again.

  4. So The Scum of the Earth only got 7 games? What a joke but what do you expect when you have a goon like George Parros making those decisions … Peter Laviollette should be ashamed of himself for calling that a clean hockey hit … he’d a been better off saying nothing .. and what about Vrana cross checking Carlo in the back in the head while he was crumbling to the ice? I guess that was a clean hockey play …

  5. Milan Lucic …D Nurse fight last night was spirited Lucic with the upper hand

    anyway the Bruins can get him back with the Flames sending some $$$ the Bruins way he looks to be skating better than he has the last few years

    • The scary thing joe is lucic let up and wasn’t fighting angry , he and nurse are buddies . Nurse stepping in gave the boys a boost like mcdavid alluded to . This guys going to step in and fight the big man , what are you going to do ? Well done Darnell

    • Milan Lucic is where plays go to die.
      Ya, he has been better in CGY than EDM, but that is a really low bar. Again, I am a B’s fan living in Edmonton, I have watched 100’s of this guy’s games.
      Not only is he slow, he has frying pans for hands. Great to whack against a guys head in a fight, not so much for taking or giving a pass, winning a puck battle, or putting home a rebound.
      Still has a place as a 4th line winger, but is paid like a first. Can’t play on the PK or the PP.
      No thanks.

  6. I would be shocked if the Bs want back a player who has scored 10, 6, and 8 goals in the last three previous seasons.

    Lucic is 32, way past his best before date and his skating is at best ponderous. He is tied for last amongst forwards at – 10. The Flames should have bought him out at the beginning of the season and brought someone else in. After this season, the temptation surely will rise.

    • Hi LJ

      Lucic buyout is a tough call off-season for Flames… he is still owed $5.5 M in SBs… which is due in full even if he’s bought out

      Cap savings next year for Flames only ~ $1.7 M; then following year savings less than $0.4 M followed by two years of dead cap of ~ $0.5 M

      If they could; trading and retaining 50% is better

      A to-through retention trade… Flames retain 50% (of their already 87%) ; mid team retains 50% of that…. end team gets Lucic for $1.3 M on the annual Cap; cash outlay is just shy of $1 M AAV

      Mid team (with space)…. total outlay is $2M …..

      Let’s say mid team is Sens… don’t shoot me George

      Flames give Sens Lucic @ 50% retained and Pelletier for Sens 3rd (‘21)

      Sens then retain a further 50% (of the now 44%) and add SJ’s 2nd in ‘21…. to Bruins ; for Studnicka

      Flames rid $2.6 M in Cap; save cash; get a 3rd, at a cost of Pelletier

      Bruins get SJ’s 2nd; Lucic at $1.3 M in Cap; for Stunicka

      Sens “buy” Studnicka and Pelletier for a 3rd; an extra 2nd they have; and $2M in cash

      George, setting aside the tight fisted Melnyk …. to me that’s a win win win trade for 3 teams

      Flames cheaply rid $2.6 M in Cap
      Sens get two good prospects in expensively
      Bruins get the “heavy” for cheap Cap hit; and a low 2nd at the cost of the (so far) not often used Studnicka

      • Well done on the cap analysis, Pengy. But I just don’t see a team that would want Lucic.

      • Not – A – Chance

      • First of all, convoluted deals like that just don’t happen – and especially now with quarantine rules in place.

        Secondly, the Senators have far too many of their current top prospects ready for – or soon to be ready for – new deals.

        Third, what the hell would they want with Studnicka and Pelletier? They have all kinds of better prospects at various locations in their system and at C they’ll slot in Stutzel to go along with Norris, Tierney and probably White.

      • Hi LJ

        Few for sure would want Lucic; but “some” may take him at $1.3 M Cap

      • Hi George

        Yes to-through deals are rare and it was only last year (on the Lehner deal) that I found out a team can have a player on their roster that is at less than 50%…. each team can retain 50% of what they have …. Flames currently have 87.5 % ; so could retain 50% (down to less than 44%) of that; then be flipped again for 50% of that (ending up less than 22%)

        I think it’s a very creative way to work the CBA

        In this flat cap era; I truly believe THIS is the time to try and work the deals like this

        Rare also in that you have to have a cooperating “middle-man”

        I chose Sens only as an example; Covid as you pointed out does create an issue IY but not in offseason

        Detroit likely more appropriate IY (quarantine waaay less) and owner a little less tight fisted

        I cede your thoughts on better players already in Sens ststem

        I was just fiddling around with prospects on Boston and Flames to come up with a scenario

        Always better to have more prospects that always could be flipped later in a bigger deal when the middle team (currently in rebuild) is at TDL in 2-3 years; pushing to go deep

        The point I was trying to make was that there is an opportunity with to-through retention trades that can be a win-win-win

        The choices of trade pieces and prospects that I used didn’t fit ; but again it was just an example that there is a workable move that could get Lucic on Bruins at a reasonable hit; and I was following up on the talk of Lucic to Bruins

        Are to-throughs likely this year…. possible but I’ll agree likelihood low

        But I do believe it would be a great move and great to see

  7. DOPS has been soft on head shots all year so I don’t know what the surprise is,

    Tyler Meyers head shot to Joel Armia went unpunished. in January. He was concussed and just came back recently

    Dillon Dube headshot to Jesperi Kotkaniemi went unpunished in February, wasn’t even penalized. Even the players on the ice stopped skating till the ref yelled no whistle.

    I’m guessing that most teams have similar situations and it isn’t a “hab” thing.

    For all of the honour we try to ascribe to hockey players they have always and will continue to push the envelope and get away with what they can.

    Case in point I have never seen players regularly show their numbers on the boards, to the point of turning to draw a hit as opposed to adjusting to avoid the hit because ticky tack boarding calls are the vogue now.

    I remember Pat Burns being infuriated with Claude Lemieux diving that he refused let the trainer go on the ice when Lemieux was writhing. He left him out there on his own till he “struggled” to the bench on his own.

    Point being that if the league allow it, the players will take it and the DOPS is giving them a green light.

    • Maybe the solution to all is replacing Parros and Walkom???

      • The NHL chose Parros. They should have begged Paul Kariya.

      • Hi Shaun

        Kariya is one of my all time favs

        Yep … he’d have given Wilson 30 games

        They’d be hard pressed to get him (Kariya) to come in from the surf nowadays

  8. It is hard to believe that Ovechkin got away with the Speer on Frederick. It is fast becoming “Who you are” int he NHL. Coplete crap!

    • With you 100% Smitty

      The nut-stabbing should have been a pair of games (for a pair of balls…. sorry… had to)

      Ovi does get away with crap

      Sid as well; but much less often and usually for hooks

      JT also gets away with the hooks and trips

      That said; my eye test seems to think the Refs are less forgiving on McD and Mac K