NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

by | Mar 8, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest on Brandon Carlo, Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: First-period goals by Anders Lee and Brock Nelson 62 seconds apart powered the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Isles’ fifth straight victory and the Sabres’ seventh consecutive loss. Nelson scored twice while Jeff Skinner tallied his first of the season for Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders (34 points) hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 714 and Ilya Samsonov made 36 saves as the Capitals downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Before the game, Ovechkin weighed in on teammate Tom Wilson’s seven-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, calling it “a kind of joke.” Wilson will not appeal the suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Ovechkin is sticking up for his teammate but I wonder if he’d feel the same way if, say, Brad Marchand (like Wilson, a skilled player with a history of reckless play) hit one of the Capitals in the same way Wilson did to Carlo.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood turned in a 40-save shutout to blank the Bruins 1-0. Kyle Palmieri tallied the only goal. Speaking of Carlo, he was released from the hospital on Saturday and is listed as week-to-week with a head injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Four of their goals came on the power play as they extended their points streak to eight games. Yanni Gourde led the way with two goals and two assists. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy received a match penalty for a dangerous hit to the head of Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and could face supplemental discipline. The Hawks also played without rearguard Calvin de Haan, who’s ailing from blocking a shot during Friday’s game between the two clubs.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 1,000th career NHL game. With the win, the Hurricanes (35 points) are one point behind the first-place Lightning in the Discover Central Division and one point ahead of the Panthers.

A three-point performance by Kasperi Kapanen helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 5-1. The Penguins blew the game open with three goals by Kapanen, John Marino and Sidney Crosby within 61 seconds in the second period. Pittsburgh (29 points) moved two points ahead of the Flyers into fourth in the East Division. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba picked up an assist in his first game since suffering a broken thumb on Feb. 16.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Roman Josi. The Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals to force overtime and the shootout.

A shootout goal by Drake Batherson gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, who dropped their second straight game since firing head coach Geoff Ward.


TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto was fined $3, 854.17 for tripping Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson during Saturday’s game.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. He hasn’t practiced in five weeks and there’s no timetable for his return.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers president John Davidson reached out to Barry Beck after the former Rangers captain recently wrote a scathing Facebook post blaming the Rangers, USA Hockey and the NHL for the death of former teammate Mark Pavelich, who passed away last week at age 63.

Beck believes Pavelich’s struggles late in his life were attributable to head trauma suffered during his playing career with the Rangers in the 1980s. He criticized the club and USA Hockey for what he considered their lack of support of Pavelich. He also called the NHL “cowards” for avoiding discussion about the lasting effect of brain and head injuries suffered while playing. Pavelich’s death is still under investigation.


  1. Until the league, the players, and the fans stand up and say “we are tired of encouraging this” “we are tired of our peers doing this to us” and “we are tired of watching a product that ignores if not promotes head injuries “ then nothing will change. Who knows how many marks are currently playing in the nhl. That being said I do think things are slowly improving as far as player safety goes…. glacially slow but definitely moving in the right direction

    • Agree Chrism, the coach and player are better off saying nothing, then supporting such a hit.

      This is the kind of garbage the league need to rid itself of.

      In if it was Marchand i would same the same thing. Just like the disgusting licking.

    • Chrisms–You caught my attention when you mentioned the league possibly promoting head injuries. Is the traditional size of the ice surface a way of promoting more banging and less skating? Is the league too steeped in tradition to consider an area change, even if it would improve player safety, or would that measure be bad for the game?

  2. Is the Rangers’ Keith Kinkaid the first NHL goalie ever to wear #71?

    • First and only.

  3. Re Ovi and “kind of joke”

    Here is not “kind of joke” but “ridiculously hilarious”:

    Yamamoto was fined almost 9 times what Ovi was when you look at it as a proportion of their incomes

    Yamamoto’s crime (and I believe this is his first admonishment from DOPS)… tripping.. that was the call on the ice… not into the boards, not into a stick or net…. no injury…. yes trip was done with his foot… it was a slew foot (seen every other night around the NHL)… on a massively bigger player… no injury. Slew foot is wrong… I get it…. but to get proportionately fined almost 9 times that of Ovi….

    Ovi’s crime… as a Mohel in hockey gear; armed with a 6’ fibreglass lance, attempted unwanted gender re-assignment on his opponent

    WTF is going on at DOPS?

    • Not surprising to see Ovi criticizing Wilson’s suspension. What you’d expect from one of Putin’s apologists. Wilson is lucky he didn’t get a lengthier suspension given his history.
      As for Murphy, he deserves at least 5 games. That was exactly the type of hit the league must eliminate. He left his feet and the head was the principal point of contact.

    • Good analogy Howard

      Yep… just watched the Murphy hit…. that was targeting the noggin on the upswing

      I have no idea on how DOPS penalizes this

      Their recent decisions on Ovi; Yamamoto ; Wilson are all over the map

      I would (as others have posted on here) also like to see the team punished in some way for these egregious hits

      The player is punished by suspension (and thus loss of pay) but if team is also punished…. they should internally start to reign in this behaviour by diminishing playing time etc

      Perhaps…. whatever games are suspended… the equivalent Cap hit is lopped off the top for next year….

      Wilson ….. 7/56 * $5.2 M…. $0.65M…. so Wash starts next season at $80.85 M Cap ceiling instead of $81.5 M

      …. and to avoid brining ip league minimum thugs to head hunt….. Min Cap hit penalty is based on greater of actual cap hit for player or league average Cap hit based on 23 man roster….. about $3.25 M

      Perhaps that will stop this

      Right now… die to his SB paid; and lower sal (suspension and loss only in Sal) ; and with escrow and taxes…. Wilson out only about $110 K take home.,… for coming close to ending the career of a 24 year old rising star who only has his Sal protected (by ins) until end of this season (when he is RFA)

      Parros …. smarten up

  4. So what did Barry Beck do to help Pavelich? Big talk Barry …

  5. Ovi did what everybody does, stick up for his guy and in this case Wilson isn’t suspended for a headshot, it was called for boarding and based on past history.

    Every time a player gets crosschecked in the face the offender coach calls it a hockey play, a slewfoot is called a hockey play.

    The issue is the league giving the DOPS a bigger stick or let the players police themselves and bring consistency to managing the game.

  6. Lyle, a $3,854.17 fine for “tripping”??? I didn’t see the game but there had to be something more to it like “intent to injure.”

    And what’s with the ridiculous amount? $3,854.15 I might see but since we don’t have the penny any more in Canada why didn’t they round it off? 🙂

    Boy, if they’re going to start issuing fines for mundane things like tripping the NHL coffers will be overflowing.

    • Hi George

      It was a slew foot… no one else around.. Yamamoto with at least a 40 lb disadvantage swept the feet out… no injury… was penalized for tripping

      Slew footing is certainly not sportsmanlike but happens every other night in the NHL

      No idea what Parros had against Yamamoto and he was certainly afraid of doing more on the much more deserving Ovi

      The odd figure has to be percentage of Sal … can’t think of any other reason

      The disparity in that fine to Ovi’s castration move is incredulous

    • He took an elbow (uncalled) to the mouth George , retaliation was a slew foot. Tripping , kind of , nothing out of the ordinary comparing it to other unfined and fined incidents. Sometimes the coin lands heads , others tails is all I can conclude

      • Lyle, a $3,854.17 fine for “tripping”??? I didn’t see the game but there had to be something more to it like “intent to injure.”

        And what’s with the ridiculous amount? $3,854.15 I might see but since we don’t have the penny any more in Canada why didn’t they round it off? 🙂

        Boy, if they’re going to start issuing fines for mundane things like tripping the NHL coffers will be overflowing.

      • WTF – I didn’t repeat my first post – or at least I didn’t think I did. What I said was “thanks, guys, for the info. Why don’t they just introduce a new penalty called “slew-footing?” They already brought in new infractions some time ago for “embellishment” and “diving.” As far as I’m concerned they should add heftier fines for “faking.”

    • TSN says that the fine was “the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement,” which suggests the amount of the fine is a set figure, but it is puzzling that the amount should be the maximum allowable. Maybe, because the infraction is happening so often?

  7. A couple years ago Rasmussen Ristolainen got fined $176,000 (Canadian) for speeding in his home country. They base the fine on a percentage of income.
    I said at the time that if the NHL was serious about preventing head shots they should follow suit.

    • The NHL does this for suspensions, as the player forfeiting salary proportionate to the # of games suspended.

      But that doesn’t make them serious about eliminating head shots.

    • Komarov, also Finnish got a similar fine while with the Leafs. He tried to argue he was unemployed and therefore should pay nothing % of 0 is 0 (at the time of the lockout). Didnt work with the judge but was another display of Komi’s doing whatever it takes in effort to win. I miss him on Leafs but Lou way over paid to lure him to the island.

  8. The Bruins top line don’t score they are in trouble …. PP has cooled off big time

    • That’s the rub Joe.
      It’s all about goal differential.
      On the season they have scored 10 more than they have given up.
      5 on 5 they are plus 3 in GF vs GA, which is dues to a slightly higher save% than the league. They give quite a few more quality scoring chances than they generate 5 on 5.
      I would be willing to place a wager they finish the season as a minus 5 on 5.
      On special teams they are plus 7.
      Fewer PP’s in the playoffs.
      Unless something changes, and it can, I can’t see much success in the playoffs, if they get there, and they will have a battle to get there, especially with their blue line beat up at the moment.

  9. I think we can all say we all agree to get head shots out of the game. I’m pretty sure the NHL also wants it out of the game. However the problem is how to do it because let’s face it people are people and if there’s an opportunity to make a good hit sometimes you’re going to hit the head it just happens.

    In the past they decided to protect the players by putting on helmets visors more padding etc. for the rinks they made the boards and glass able absorb some of the impact from the hit.

    So to me the solution must be somewhere in between what we’ve done so far and players awareness… the only way I can think of helping the situation is stop using hard plastic on the elbows and shoulder pads and mandate that league wise. I’m sure we would see less running guys over and more rubbing guys out. The only place you really need that is waist down where the hard puck spends most of its time. Right?

    • The NHL can fix this by doing away with principal point of contact or giving DOPS more leeway and clear interpretation.

      Right now they are ruling a hit to the head that deflects off the shoulder, however slightly, as the head NOT being the principal point of contact.

      I could be wrong, will have to check the stats but my eye test tells me that fighting is up around the league. The teams might be sending a message.

      • What always bugged me about “hits to the head” interpretations is, how in hell can a guy the size of a Chara deliver a body-check on someone 5′ 8″ and NOT hit the head?

      • He quit hitting them for the most part George and simply started to “contain” them.

  10. Re Chara, George, we used to say in basketball that a player was given a foul for being big. Same thing with Chara and other big players.