NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2022

by | Feb 15, 2022 | News, NHL | 31 comments

Milestone nights for the Leafs Mitch Marner, the Wild’s Matt Boldy and the Oilers’ Stuart Skinner, Jack Eichel to make his Golden Knights’ debut on Wednesday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner reached 400 career points with a goal and two assists in his club’s 6-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. He joins the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid as the second player from the 2015 NHL Draft to achieve that milestone. With 65 points, the Leafs are three points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild rookie winger Matt Boldy tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 7-4 romp over the Detroit Red Wings. Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and collected an assist as his club opened a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators (60 points) for second place in the Central Division. The Wings (50 points) remain seven points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba missed this game and could be sidelined for several weeks with a lower-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner kicked out 20 shots for his first career NHL shutout to blank the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Oilers forward Evander Kane was held scoreless in his first game against his former club since the recent termination of his contract. The Oilers (53 points) moved within two points of the Anaheim Ducks for the final Western Conference while the Sharks (48 points) remain seven points back.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 31-save performance to backstop his Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Alex DeBrincat snapped a 1-1 tie in the third and Brandon Hagel got the insurance marker. The loss leaves the Jets (48 points) seven points away from a Western wild-card berth. Jets defenseman Neal Pionk missed this game due to border restrictions as he’s ineligible for one more day to cross the border despite emerging from COVID protocol last Thursday.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Jack Eichel will make his long-awaited debut with the Golden Knights when the club faces the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. The Golden Knights also placed winger Mark Stone (lower-back injury) on long-term injury reserve, clearing sufficient cap space for Eichel to return to action. Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres last November, the 25-year-old center had been recovering from neck surgery.

The Golden Knights also announced defenseman Alec Martinez remains sidelined by a facial injury that’s taken longer than expected to recover from. He’s been out since Nov.11 after suffering a facial laceration during a game against the Minnesota Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With defenseman Jake Bischoff (716K) already on LTIR for the season, the addition of Stone’s $9.5 million cap hit ensures sufficient cap room for the Golden Knights to activate Eichel ($10 million AAV). It’s uncertain how long Stone will remain sidelined but it will stoke complaints from some fans and pundits if he’s out for the regular season but returns for the playoffs when the salary cap doesn’t count.

Yes, it’s a legalized form of salary-cap circumvention which we saw in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks (Patrick Kane) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (Nikita Kucherov) in 2021. Once again, it’s worth remembering that the league closely monitors players on LTIR with uncertain recovery timelines to ensure a fully healthy player isn’t being held out of the lineup solely for cap purposes.

The NHL had an opportunity to address that loophole during the 2020 extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The issue either didn’t come up during negotiations with the NHL Players Association or else sufficient numbers of team owners had no problem with it. Just remember, folks, it could one day benefit your team.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine, and New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier are the league’s three starts for the week ending Feb. 13.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators could return to full capacity in their respective arenas on March 1 as the province of Ontario eases restrictions on large indoor gatherings provided public health and health system indicators continue to improve.


  1. To borrow a line from the movie Billy Madison “I award you no points & may God have mercy on your soul.” Gonna be a bad night for the b’s too much fire power and I think the Rangers have who I feel may be the number one goalie in the league.

    • They haven’t even dropped the puck and you’re crying already!

      Never would have imagined that the Jets would be sellers at the deadline … problem is if I’m a Jets fan I don’t want the current GM making any big moves.

  2. Go crosby and get that 500 goal against the filthys. That’s just too storybook not to happen tonight.

    • Fingers, toes and eyes crossed

      Would be great; and as you have correctly summed up… Storybook

      One hand on the stick back hand??????

  3. Leafs: Great game Marner (Congrats on 400) ; much better Soupy. Team played with a lot more confidence

    Oil… much more complete game; if not for Reimer, this could have been 6-0. Nice performance by Skinner

    The Flower’s performance ups (again) the asking price…. certainly tough to see him acquired by Leafs or Pens…. So…. go West young man…. Please

    Re restrictions easing and possible full capacity; it seemed as part of the announcement that 1/2 capacity allowed immediately…. Which would mean possibly attending Leafs/Pens Thurs….. had my EA try…. 2 hours on phone (and multiple attempts on-line) to try to get through to MLSE for tickets….. so far SOL

    • Ya Pengy, last night the Oilers played the way they need to in order to have long term consistent success. Woodcroft has only had one practice, so may likely see some ups and downs until it gets baked in, but the effort to do it was there so promising.

      Other notable changes – 7D, 11 forwards.
      Shorter shifts.
      Ice time spread out across all players.
      Nurse was D first all night.
      Forwards on the right side of the puck most of the night.

      A lot easier to play net when there are way fewer scoring chances against, especially the high danger ones.

      Tougher test tonight against a good team on the 2nd half of a back to back.

      • Well I was impressed, and I’m a Leafs/Pens fan

        Agree bigger test tonight; adding as you said …. a B2B; AND flying (albeit a hopper and no time zone changes)

      • Last night’s game was really fun to watch. Late in the game, it was a little stressful cheering for Stuart to get that shutout.
        You can see a big difference in how the forwards are playing in their own zone. They are staying down lower and not immediately going down for a low percentage stretch pass from the defence at the hint of a turnover.
        It looks like Woodcroft has more confidence in the younger players as well. Which probably helps the younger players confidence. There were 7 players in the lineup last night that have played a significant amount of time with Woodcroft in the AHL.

  4. After returning Kucherov to the Lightning in time for the playoffs last year, fate could play against them this year. What if Vasilevskiy, Sergachev, and Kucherov were to return to Russia because of war between that country and NATO over Ukraine? There might not be any playoffs then, and perhaps no people to watch them. Nevertheless, I wonder what the NHLs Russian players are thinking at the moment.

    • Regardless of what transpires, no one on either side will expand that war if Russia does invade the Ukraine. No one is that stupid to generate a global war. There WILL, however, be major sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy and squeeze them until the pips squeak.

      None of this will effect Russians playing in the NHL.

      • Agreed George,

        To say that these players bail to go off and fight a war or get involved in any way shape or form would be a total stretch.

        When Russia invaded Georgia in 2018, did we see one single Russian player jump?

        Why would they now?

      • No one that stupid? Maybe. Someone that demented or fanatical? Definitely. You can often see them wearing explosive belts. They have no scruples about sending people out to die.

        China could see a NATO war with Russia as its chance to take Taiwan. North Korea’s people starve, while its ruler boasts he has a missile capable of reaching the U.S.

        Neither the communist nations nor NATO will allow themselves to be defeated before resorting to nuclear options.

        The 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia is an entirely irrelevant and dissimilar to the Ukraine situation. Russian NHLplayers then weren’t playing in a country that was at war with their country. If war between Russia and NATO seems imminent, it’s not unlikely that players in both the NHL and the KHL will want to return home before the start.

      • It’s a big jump from invading Ukraine to war with nato.

      • Starting with the Russian players bolting, I’m gonna go with 99.9% of what you’re suggesting not happening.

        Nuclear war? Nope. China committing economical suicide? Nope. North Korea having the capability to launch a ballistic middle further than a 6th graders science fair project rocket ? Nope.

        Russia appears to already be pulling back troops from the boarder. Most if not all of what you’re suggesting seems like a hopeful thought / punishment for Tampa being over the cap last year.

        Gaborik was amazing for Tampa last year! MVP!

        Side note (Montreal and NYI’s were also over the cap)

      • I never predicted anything. I did say “what if, didn’t I? Are you mad because I had to inform you that the Georgia invasion didn’t occur in 2018?

        I hope you’re right about none of that happening, though. I’ll be alive to congratulate you on your foresight if you are. Can you tell us the who will win the Cup?

        You being who you say you are, I’m surprised you didn’t notice that the subject of my speculation was what the Russians in the NHL think about all this. Since you didn’t, I’ll demote you to Corporal Obfuscated.

      • 2018 was an “obvious” typo. Much like “ballistic middle”.

        Your “what ifs” or predictions, whatever you want to call them are a bit over the top , extremely unlikely scenarios. No?

        As to who will win the cup? I think Montreal has a better chance than ANYTHING you’re suggesting on global war.

  5. If nothing else happens and Stone is cleared to play before the end of the regular season, the Knights will suddenly have a cap problem. Unless they’re pretty certain that Stone’s injury will keep him out for the rest of the regular season they will have to move somebody.

    • The Knights will be between a rock and a hard place if they don’t do something at the trade deadline and Stone is due back before the playoffs. There won’t be anything they can do to get cap compliant.
      I really hope this situation happens. LOL

    • Well the back injury is hard to disprove if it isn’t structural, but to be fair he has been on IR prior to this.

      The problem is easy to solve if the league wants to, teams need to be cap compliant for each playoff game.

      IE – if you put Stone on LTIR for remainder of season and he can play in playoffs, find $9M to remove from the lineup to get him in.

      So if a guy has a season ending injury, you add. If he is due back, too bad.

      • It’s kinda funny how he was healthy enough to play in the All-Star game then he goes on LTIR.

      • That is a good point KevJam. Not that the All Star game is physically taxing and it was in Vegas, so get the desire to do it. Also suggests it isn’t that serious, like out for months serious.

        If Stone is out until the playoffs start, and Vegas doesn’t shed and salaries, then ya, the finger pointing will start and the league may have to address it.

    • Hi Howard

      True if no one else (between now & TDL) goes on LTIR and both Stone and Martinez back

      5 1/2 weeks to see how things thread out

      Teams get players on LTIR all the time

      Currently on CF….22 players counting above the line(not on IR and LTIR) for a total of ~ $66.8M (see top 3 sections’ totals on CF)

      Eichel in …. then @ $76.8 M for 23…. $4.7 M in space

      If Stone and Martinez counted (replacing league min players)…. ~ $8.9 M over

      If Stone on LTIR to end of season…. No issue

      Martinez on LTIR and Stone on roster…..then Knights basically only need any one of Patches, Karllson; March; Smith; Dando; Petro ; Theo to be on LTIR to end of year

      My guess is that no moves are made (if any) until very close to OR at TDL

  6. I have to admit that move Marner did to set up that shortie….oh man never saw it coming. What a sick move starting from within his D zone and a drop pass at the mouth of the crease fooling everyone but the trailer for an easy tap in, since Marner undressed everyone. Just wow, I think he’s playing at over 2pts/game the past dozen games. Quite the star.

    • Which is why I have been saying consistently that every time I watch him he registers in my mind as a C – a wizard with the puck.

      • Might be on the defensive end of it George. C is tougher that way as you are battling down low in your own end with your D more often. Other smaller guys like Point get it done in their own end, but different kind of player. Less shifty, but a lower & wider base.

        Good defensive player from what Leaf fans say, but for some reason Marner didn’t play C, so have to think that’s what it is.

      • Well, as Toe Blake once said about Henri Richard when someone raised that very point about his size – “when you have the puck all the time there’s less emphasis on defense …” or words to that effect

      • Has Marner ever played centre before? From what I could find, in junior, he was a RWer. From everything I have heard, it’s not easy to move from wing to centre. Especially if you have never played centre before.

      • Ya, never has KevJam, so unlikely to switch in the NHL, just weird that he never has?

        Best forwards always played C when I was growing up and coaching as well. Just where the coach puts them as they have the most impact on the game.

      • I think he’s good enough defensively otherwise he won’t be on the penalty kill and make a play like he did. I think the face off dot is where he can’t be effective. They tried that when he was on the pk and he didn’t win many face offs if any. Its interesting to see the puck distributor be from the wing forcing the play to the center of the ice. It’s working for him and it worked well for Patty Kane too.

  7. I could see Marner at center as a short term move but it would really affect Matthews imo.
    Ice time would be a factor as well.
    Looking forward to seeing how many fans are at the game on Thursday. Personally I’d be waiting a few weeks longer but then I don’t have an EA.

    • So, full capacity at Leafs and Sens games eh? Leafs management will be happy – in Ottawa there will still be plenty room to spread out for Covid safety whether it’s no longer necessary or otherwise as they’ll be lucky to get 10,000. Unless the Leafs or Habs are in two then they’ll be close to 18,500 capacity. Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose.