NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2021

by | Apr 1, 2021 | News, NHL | 41 comments

No April Fooling as the Sabres end a long losing streak, Nathan MacKinnon is ejected during Coyotes-Avalanche game, the Canucks re-sign Thatcher Demko, Connor McDavid fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres snapped an 18-game winless skid by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. It was the longest stretch for a team without a victory in the shootout era. Brandon Montour scored twice, rookie Steven Fogerty tallied his first NHL goal, and Linus Ullmark made 31 saves for the win. The Sabres played without Dylan Cozens, who’s sidelined for about a week with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s good to see the Sabres finally bring that horrible losing streak to an end. Their playoff hopes are dashed but perhaps this can be something they can build on for the remainder of the season. As for the Flyers (38 points), this loss caps what’s been a horrible month as they sit three points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Joonas Donskoi powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 9-3 mauling of the Arizona Coyotes. Colorado forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky each tallied two goals, while teammate Nathan MacKinnon was ejected in the final minutes of the third period after throwing a helmet at Coyotes forward Conor Garland following a brief scrum between the two. MacKinnon received a 10-minute misconduct and four minutes for roughing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon, the 2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner, picked up more penalities for that incident than he had throughout last season. Meanwhile, the Avalanche vaulted past the Vegas Golden Knights into first place in the Honda West Division with 50 points. The Coyotes remain in fifth place with 37 points, one point back of the St. Louis Blues.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Cal Petersen kicked out 40 shots while Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who snapped a three-game losing skid and sit three points back of the Coyotes. Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves was a late scratch with a lower-body injury while Zach Whitecloud left the game in the third period.

The Toronto Maple Leafs strengthed their hold on first place in the Scotia North Division by downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 24 goals, Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist and Jack Campbell turned aside 26 shots. Jets captain Blake Wheeler left the game following the second period with an undisclosed injury. With 49 points, the Leafs are three up on the Jets with a game in hand.

The San Jose Sharks doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Tomas Hertl collected two assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves. The Wild remain in third place in the West with 44 points, five behind the Golden Knights.

Last night’s game between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks was postponed after two Canucks players and a member of their coaching staff were placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. The 25-year-old Demko is in the final year of a two-year, $2.1 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A hefty raise on a long-term deal for Demko but one that could prove worthwhile if his performance in last year’s playoffs and throughout March is any indication of his abilities as a starter. As The Province’s Patrick Johnston observed, Demko has a career .911 save percentage in 62 starts, slightly above the NHL average. He’s also outperforming his predecessor Jacob Markstrom this season.

Cap Friendly indicates Demko’s new deal leaves the Canucks with over $60 million invested in 12 players for 2021-22 with Elias Pettersen and Quinn Hughes coming off entry-level deals and in line for significant raises. They’ll have to shed some salary in the offseason to re-sign those two and fill out the remainder of their roster.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid was fined the league maximum of $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a dangerous elbow by McDavid. Oilers fans would’ve been justifiably upset had the roles been reversed.

CBS SPORTS: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. He’s been out of the lineup since Saturday.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry missed practice yesterday and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was named GM for Team USA’s 2022 Olympic Mens’ hockey team. Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin was named assistant GM.


  1. sitting here drinking my Black Rifle Coffee looking at the Sabers stat line from last nights WIN …T Hall 15:25 minutes of play 12th most out of 18 players …out of a possible total 14 pts scored by the Buff players Hall had zero, 27 SOG he had 1 and this is a every game stat line for him…Sweeney stay away from this guy

    • Joe: How many references to your coffee do we have to endure? Enough already, we get you are a shill for the product and no one is going to run out and buy the brand because of your juvenile and clumsy boosterism.

      • Don’t like don’t read it…

      • obviously he has a stake in it and is naive enough to think that he can drive people to buy it by bragging about it daily. i don’t have a stake in meijer coffee, so I don’t mention it every day when i read this site in the morning. Which, like a lot of the people here, I do. I also don’t comment that much because I come here for insight on hockey. Not inane references to some hometown coffee brand. But to wit, Joe is right. If you don’t like it don’t read it. While it’s impossible to “unread” something it is possible to recognize people who make inane and worthless comments daily and skip by their drivel. While I drink my Meijer brand Michigan Cherry Coffee. Brewed expertly by my cheap ass Keurig Coffee maker. Sipped deliciously through my Secret Crisis Comic Shop Coffee Mug.

    • To be honest, I’m actually quite intrigued by said coffee brand. Might even get Mrs. Shoreorrpark to have a look for some.
      You ok, LJ? You’re generally quite civil on here. I genuinely hope you have a good rest of the day.

      • Yes, thank you for asking SOP. I hadn’t had my coffee yet, so maybe there is some combination of hubris and irony in my post.

        But truly, I can do without that repeated lead in from Joe.

      • In fairness LJ, it isn’t any worse than references to “Tim’s” which crop up fairly frequently. Or “Go Leafs Go” and “Go Pens Go” as a closing to each post.

      • To be fair, he is saying it in response to Lyle’s “Morning Coffee Headlines”.

    • Got to do the Freedom Roast ….enjoy & LJ treat yourself

  2. Well there goes MacKinnon’s chance at defending is Lady Byng title…

    So far this week we’ve had McDavid throw a flying elbow and MacKinnon throw a helmet at an opponent. Maybe these guys have themselves confused with Connor McGregor? Now that fans are in the stands maybe Ryan McDonough can climb up and beat one with a shoe…

  3. Who was in flyers net , for the Sabres to light them up for 6 goals. !!!
    Leafs, and Flyers !!

  4. Taylor Hall is quickly becoming a one hit wonder like Bernie Nichols or Jimmey Carson.Real hockey people will know them!Hall signed up with Buffalo to pad his points playing with Eichel.2 goals later that doesn t look so good.Bruins go after Rhinehart,Halls teammate who has 13 goals. At 23 6-7 years younger than Palmieri.

    • Bernie Nicholls, a one-hit wonder??? 475 career goals? Go watch ladies golf, it will be easier for you to comprehend … wow

    • Ignore him Steve R. When he’s not in here he goes to the local airport to boo bad landings.

      • Mostly true George, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Nicholls had 11 seasons where he had more points than games played. I’ll take a one hit wonder like that all day.

      • The one hit wonder refers to the one big season never reproduced, Nicholls had 70 goals one year and Carson had 55 goals one year.

        Neither of those seasons were representative of their respective careers.

      • Exactly. Another classic example of that is Jonathan Cheechoo – 501 NHL gp and 170 goals – 56 of which, or roughly one-third, came in one season when he scored 56.

    • You don’t have to be “real hockey people” to know Jimmy Carson (spelling corrected) or Bernie Nicholls (again, corrected). While both were not the ageless wonders of Lemieux, Gretzky and Yzerman of the same time they were get-out-of-your-seat players during the greatest age of ice hockey ever! Basically you just have to be old to know who they were… Hall won’t stand that test of time. Eichel might, but that is still up in the air..

  5. I get that McDavid probably absorbs a lot of abuse and has to protect himself.
    And should protect himself.

    But Kotkaniemi is a clean player and only 20 years old.

    That elbow to the face was a blatant, dangerous, gratuitous attempt to injure someone who was minding his own business.

    I lost a lot of respect last night.

    • Rich, yes it was dangerous and it amazes me how lightly it was taken by the majority of the media.

      It should be judge by the incident itself not who the player was thrown it.

  6. Connor McCheapshot should have been suspended but the league will always protect superstars, especially Canadiens …

    • 🤔I finally agree with you. The Habs players always seem to get preferential treatment from the leagues brass.

      Spelling is important.


      • Well played

      • SOP lol, you beat me to it. I was going to say he missing the word “the” between “especially Canadians”

      • At least the DOPS meted out punishment in this case unlike the previous clear headshots to Armia and Kotkaniemi that were flagrant and more dangerous.

        Armia missed 7 games with concussion , Tyler Meyers got nothing from DOPS.

        Kotkaniemi got hit shoulder to face by Dillon Dube and didn’t even get a penalty.

        I wish those two bums got similar treatment as the Canadian Superstar.

    • Yes Ed dazzel us with your “knowledge”. Hey are you like a young teen or just like that?

    • Chandler Stephenson was (correctly) ejected after this elbow to the head of Bjornfot.

      Unlike the McDavid elbow, the on-ice officials got this one right. It’ll be interesting to see if a lower-tier player is treated any differently by the league.

  7. Hmmm That Demko deal must come out of desperation. $5M for a goalie whose s% is only .911 and league average is .910… Like for example, some of the drum beaters here have an issue with the Leafs goalie situation. Jack Campbell has played 71 games thus far and sports a .919 s% and is taking up only $1.65M. That’s why I say must be. I think something in the $3.8 – $4.2M range seems a bit in line. $5M an overpay?

  8. Ottawa just signed 1st Round pick D-man Bernard-Docker to a 3-year entry level deal and he’s expected to join the team upon clearing Covid quarantine. Be interesting to see who he’s paired with.

  9. The league protects the stars ? Lol since when ?
    The mcdavid play wasn’t enough to knock the smile from KK face . For once I think they got it right , called on the ice for a minor and the max fine . He wasn’t reacting to a play or seeking retribution, he was pissed and flung an elbow yes , was it an attempt to injure ? God no , and as I mentioned , it was such great force , KK got up with an ear to ear grin . Like McKinnon , these guys are probably approaching the breaking point with regards to the rule book the league uses for them compared to the rest of the league

    • So…there are circumstances when intentionally elbowing another person in the face is NOT an attempt to injure them…interesting take.

      • Also, the “no harm, no foul” approach is not good for anyone. That kind of thinking will lead to more and worst injuries.
        Just because McDavid did not concuss KK, or break his jaw/nose/orbital bone does not mean the intentional elbow was not flagrant and did not warrant an ejection.

      • Lol. Great enough force to knock the big fella down, yet not enough to knock the look of astonishment (not a smile) from his face?
        Interesting take indeed.

  10. Remove that ill advised enforcer rule and voila problem solved.

    • We agree on that Wendel. I think they would also have to add a roster spot. The speed of the game and the need to roll more players makes having an enforcer/protector/attitude adjustment specialist, on the team more difficult.

      • Why just one? Add a few enforcers and they can set aside some time for fighting, even give bonus points for the added skill competition.

        A 5 minute 3 on 3 fight overtime to settle the game.

        We can add museum areas in the arenas to display brain damage, fractures, suicides and other impacts of plying their trade.

        Of course it would be mandatory for enforcers to not wear helmets identifying them as the only players allowed to fight.

        Naturally all enforcers must also wear thick black horned rim glasses, mullets optional.

      • Well that is more than I was suggesting habsfan30!
        My enthusiasm for it is to prevent guys like yesterday’s topic – Tom Wilson – from running around smoking unsuspecting players who don’t see him coming.

        The best Wilson clips are him dealing with Ryan Reaves – your excellent example yesterday – while with St Louis and then LV. There is a notable difference in his willingness to run around when he has to deal with Mr Reaves.

        I think you would have fewer guys getting helped off the ice with concussions, not more. Many complain about the DOPS on here. Fair enough, change it.

      • Ray,
        OK, on a serious note.

        Hockey has done a good job in cutting down the things it chooses to concentrate on like Cooke, Torres, DeAngelo.

        They have cut down on the number of players getting destroyed face first in the boards.

        They have cut down on the number of headshots.

        They have cut down on the number of enforces.

        Strong powerplay is one answer to teams taking liberties.

        My suggestions:

        Powerplay for the whole 2 minutes, just like for a major.

        VAR and one less ref on the ice.

        Fine and suspend coaches along with the player.

      • They have made progress on head shots, but IMO, they have regressed over last 2-3 years.
        Hits from behind within a few feet from boards isn’t dealt with. Never really has been.

        Again, sh*t happens and guys make mistakes. Others seem to look for it, with the poster boy being Wilson.

        The “enforcer” didn’t go after skill guys, or smaller guys, and I don’t think they would now either.

        I think there is a place for it. We can disagree, all good.