NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2021
The Canucks get their first win following their coaching change, the Flyers lose again despite their shakeup behind the bench, plus the stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks picked up their first win under new head coach Bruce Boudreau by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Thatcher Demko made 31 saves for the shutout, Brock Boeser tallied his first goal in 14 games and J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist. The Canucks hired Boudreau on Sunday after firing Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy Canucks fans serenaded Boudreau with “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of “Whoomp, There It Is.”
The Philadelphia Flyers replaced bench boss Alain Vigneault with Mike Yeo yesterday morning but they still fell 7-5 to the Colorado Avalanche to extend their winless skid to nine games (0-7-2). Avs rookie goalie Justus Annunen made 27 saves for his first NHL win, Mikko Rantanen and Erik Johnson each had two points and Cale Makar went end-to-end to score his 11th goal of the season. Claude Giroux scored twice for the Flyers.
Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 13 games (two goals, one assist) as the Pittsburgh Penguins trounced the Seattle Kraken 6-1. Jeff Carter also scored twice and Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists. Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer got the hook after giving up three goals on four shots in the first period.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored twice and set up another to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. The Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight victory while the Coyotes dropped their third straight. Coyotes winger Loui Eriksson played his 1,000th career NHL game.
John Carlson netted the winner in overtime as the Washington Capitals nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 to move into first place in the overall standings with 38 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin collected two assists while Ducks forwards Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano each had two points. The Capitals played without Garnet Hathaway as he joined Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the COVID protocol list.
The Ottawa Senators picked up their third straight victory by downing the New Jersey Devils 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Josh Norris netted the winner in a shootout while Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson each had a goal and an assist.
Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 5.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Neal Pionk was suspended for two games for kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Meanwhile, Leafs center Jason Spezza has an in-person hearing today via Zoom for attempting to knee Pionk in retaliation for the latter’s hit on Sandin. Spezza’s teammate Wayne Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for crosschecking Jets forward Jansen Harkins.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop begins a conditioning assignment with the club’s AHL affiliate Texas on Thursday. It will be his first game since the 2020 playoffs. He missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery in October 2020.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This brings Bishop one step closer to rejoining the Stars lineup. They’re already carrying three goalies in Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger. They could end up sending the waiver-exempt Oettinger to the minors and trade Holtby or Khudobin to make room for Bishop in their crease and their salary-cap payroll.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price isn’t expected to return to the lineup before Christmas. Defenseman Joel Edmundson suffered another setback in his recovery from a back injury but won’t require surgery. The already injury-depleted Habs got more bad news as Tyler Toffoli is expected to miss some time with an upper-body injury while Jeff Petry (upper body) and Joel Armia (undisclosed) aren’t expected to play in tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price has been skating on his own for a couple of weeks but he’s yet to begin workouts with full equipment. Don’t expect to see him until sometime in 2022.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruin Tuukka Rask served as an emergency backup for the club in yesterday’s practice with goalie Linus Ullmark among several players sidelined by a non-COVID illness. An unrestricted free agent, Rask continues to work out at the Bruins’ practice facility as he works toward returning to NHL action in January.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also an opportunity for the Bruins to get an early look at Rask’s conditioning and performance. It’s expected they will sign him once he’s cleared for game action next month.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Robert Thomas has been sidelined by a lower-body injury that could keep him out of tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Happy days are here again in Canuckland.
Careful, yesterday could just be a ‘dead cat bounce’. For those unfamiliar with the tern, even a dead cat will bounce once if you throw it off a roof top….doesn’t mean the cat is alive and well…
Jake Guentzel is just hands down killing it. He had the numbers to be a first round pick but every scout said he wasn’t big enough to play in the NHL, looks like they might have been wrong. I’m not a coach but I have a crazy thought. If they get healthy what if the lines looked liked this?
Guentzel Crosby Rust
Malkin Carter Zucker
Heinen Rodriguez Kap-man
ZAR Blueger Mcginn
I’m no saying Geno is a winger now but to work him back in slowly I think that might be the best way. That third line is so fast no one could catch them.
Fully concur re Guentz
E-Rod playing fanastico.., That line should not be split up
When Gino returns under no circumstances should Zucker ever be on the ice at the same time as Gino
Rusty works well with Gino…. has 1 less point than Zucker; but Rusty has only played 12 games; Zucker more than twice that …. 25 games
Kappy works well with Gino/Rusty
Must move Zucker (for anything….)
Zoho or Poulin or Legere
*Whatever winger Pens get in trade for Zucker (DeBrusk would be nice)
Move Zucker for Kane (50%) :
Zoho or Poulin or Legere
**HexBurkie would need to meet with Kane to be convinced that he has turned around his off ice antics
***Still need upgrade at 3RD and back-up (DeSmith was very good last night; but this seems to ne the anomaly/outlier for the year)
Could sign Duby…. Or try for O’Connor + DeSmith for Holtby
Ruhwedel + 4th for Psyk (who can play equally well at RE and RD)
My whole point was to not play Geno at centre when he first comes back. I was originally thinking putting him on Sids line but he’s a left shot and so is Jake. I don’t like the idea of Kane or DeBrusk, the goal is to get into the playoffs, not reclamation projects. Any Kane trade is a loser in the making. Zucker hasn’t lived up to expectations but it’s only a matter of time before he figures it out or he can play on that third line I mentioned. Crosby Guentzel Rust line is too effective to break up, the Blueger line is the same. Poulin and Legare have not done enough in the AHL to warrant a promotion, maybe Puustinan but that would be a gamble. Still have to get rid of Ruhwedal, he’s useless
Noted and good idea re Gino on wing to start a fee games to get acclimatized
I would however NOT break up Sid-Geuntz-ERod…. Waay too hot…. Way too much chemistry
Allows Rusty to play with Gino (good fit)
Zucker has been provided ample time …. He can , in ni circumstances; be placed with Sid or Gino
He’s expensive as 3LW…. His production can be had for a pittance in Cap hit elsewhere
I do believe DeBrusk would be an upgrade over Zucker, and cheaper
Change of scenery for both likely to work…. Bruins/Pens both vying for WC spot…. Trade unlikely
Kane (re just the on ice production) is not a reclamation project
Under no circumstances should Pens go after him on a whim (without HexBurkie speaking to him)
That said; if HexBurkie have a fair belief yhat he has chanhed the off ice antics…., Kane over Zucker on ice is a MASSIVE improvement
I have little doubt he will have s “clean “ persona for the next 7 months…. Through the playoffs
If he falters post playoffs…. At 50% the buyout is neglible both in Cap and cash…. And new owners have no care re that small a cash outlay
So a fair guarantee of goid behaviour for the balance of 21/22 with massive grit, speed, size, production increase (Kane over Zucker)…. At yhe expense of one more year with Zucker (who will s massively underperforming) and the possibility of liw cash/cap buyout
With upside…. If he is changed… 3 1/2 years of his production. For a measly $3.5 M per 👍👍👍👍
Still need to address 3RW; and back-up
Duby would sign for league min
Perhaps same for Demers
Dee–Your conceptual Pens lineup looks well enough conceived to make me ask for your take on the Pens AHL team, especially after you mentioned Poulin. Last I looked, WBS had scored fewer goals than any team in the AHL. Are they that bad?