NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2022

by | Feb 26, 2022 | News, NHL | 45 comments

Two Blackhawks tally hat tricks in a win over the Devils, the Kings’ Jonathan Quick reaches a milestone for US goaltenders, the Avalanche remains dominant in the overall standings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrick Kane and Brandon Hagel each tallied a hat trick as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the New Jersey Devils 8-5 to end a seven-game home losing skid. Alex DeBrincat and Seth Jones each collected three assists for the Blackhawks. Jesper Bratt scored twice while Jack Hughes and Jonas Siegenthaler each had a goal and two assists for the Devils.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (NHL Images)

The Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots to become the fourth US-born goaltender to reach the 350 win plateau in a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Adrian Kempe tallied two goals and added an assist as the Kings moved into second place in the Pacific Division with 63 points. The Ducks (59 points) remain just outside the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of hat tricks, Gabriel Landeskog scored three goals to lead the Colorado Avalanche over the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Nathan MacKinnon netted two goals and Mikko Rantanen had three assists as the Avalanche opened a four-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 80 points. The Jets, meanwhile, remain six points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 59 points.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, moved into first place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points by blanking the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0, snapping Jackets winger Patrik Laine’s 11-game points streak. Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen made 19 saves for the shutout while Jackets netminder J-F Berube kicked out 46 shots. The Hurricanes sit one point up on the Florida Panthers.

St. Louis Blues winger Jordan Kyrou scored two goals and set up another as his club held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Ivan Barbashev had three helpers and Ville Husso made 35 saves for the Blues as they hold a three-point lead with 68 points over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

The Arizona Coyotes got a 43-save performance by goaltender Scott Wedgewood to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Nick Schmaltz’s two unanswered third-period goals sealed the deal for the Coyotes. With 62 points, the Golden Knights have dropped four of their last five contests and slide to third in the Pacific Division.


THE SCORE: Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin voiced his concern yesterday over the war in Ukraine during a post-practice meeting with reporters. Referencing his family in Russia and friends in Ukraine, he expressed hope for the war to end soon. “Please, no more war,” said Ovechkin. “It doesn’t matter who is in the war – Russia, Ukraine, different countries – I think we live in a world, like, we have to leave in peace and a great world.

Ovechkin, 36, has been an outspoken supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. When asked if he still supports Putin, the Capitals captain replied he’s not into politics and hoped the situation would end quickly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s previous support of Putin was going to draw questions from the media (and criticism from some) regarding his opinion on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, he also has to worry about the well-being of family and close friends back in Russia, a concern likely shared by other Russian NHLers about their own loved ones.

One need only recall what happened to New York Rangers’ left winger Artemi Panarin last season for his outspoken criticism of Putin. A former Russian coach (and Putin supporter) accused Panarin of assaulting a young woman over a decade ago during his tenure in the KHL. The allegations were quickly discredited but Panarin had to take time away from the Rangers to deal with the situation.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens provided an update on the status of sidelined goaltender Carey Price. His off-ice workouts are said to be going well but he’s not expected to return to the ice in the upcoming week. The 34-year-old Price has yet to play this season as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until we hear differently, it appears Price is still hoping to return to action at some point this season. His return won’t save the Canadiens’ season but could help him gauge his performance and the health of his knee for next season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Matheson also carries a $4.875 million cap hit. If he ends up on long-term injury reserve and is out for the season, perhaps the Penguins will use that to bolster their roster leading up to the trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Sean Avery’s attempt at a professional hockey comeback ended yesterday when the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears released the 41-year-old from the contract he signed just two days before. The former NHLer last played pro hockey in 2011-12.


  1. Something seems amiss on the Avery situation. The Solar Bears thought he was good enough to warrant a contract, then 2 days later decide he wasn’t good enough? Or he thought he was good enough and later decided he wasn’t, which was certainly something that could have been figured out beforehand.

    Either something isn’t on the level, or their scouting staff (such as it is) really dropped the ball and wasted everyone’s time. Or, perhaps, a third thing I’m not thinking of.

    • He was told no beer in dressing room 😁🍺

    • I hadn’t heard of that team till 2 days ago so I’d say the stunt worked.

      • yeah, Chrisms, that’s what I meant by ‘not on the level’. It just reeked of ‘stunt’. Aren’t we beyond that by now? Or maybe it’s just me (grumpy old-ish man) wishing we were beyond that.

  2. The ECHL is a legit league, one level below the AHL and they have ties to NHL teams.

    Its one way that NHL teams can spread their prospects.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if Tampa Bay (parent) nixed the Avery fiasco

    • Just imagine Avery on the 4th line with Corey Perry and raising the Cup

    • I strongly disagree on your assessment of the ECHL. It’s where players go to die, not where they’re born.

      Do you see a lot of players that find their way to the NHL to the NHL? I don’t.

      • ECHL to NHL.

      • Obviously you don’t know much about the ECHL. They consider themselves development league. They have a limit on the number of veterans that a team can have, and a lot of NHL players have played in the ECHL. A few have even come from Mississippi including an NHL head coach.

      • Some tenders have started there Captain. Vladar comes to mind as the B’s started him there. Limited spots in AHL and they take longer. Would have to think some position players have done the same, but can’t think of any.

      • Burrows with Vancouver, is one for sure. Ryder with Montreal is another.

      • Biloxi,
        Apparently I know more than you think.

        Yes a couple of goaltenders have emerged from the ECHL. Tim Thomas, Quick , Vokoun, etc. a few other decent players, Girardi, Streit,

        But when Derek Boogard (rip)Derek Englend , Cory Conacher round out the top 20 players to make that jump,

        I just may be on to something!!!!!

        When I say players go to die there, it’s not an age reference, it’s a career reference.

        I’ll be waiting here hitting refresh for your list of what I don’t know.

      • Shore,

        Yes there are a few examples. Burrows , Peverly, Brunette, etc.

        But that’s exactly my point. A few examples. To say it’s just a “level below the AHL” would be a bit of a stretch.

        To start this year, 70 former ECHL players made a roster spot. (Most are probably floaters and not ft players today) And if I listed them, most people would think it was just a random list of names.

        Most are pretty unrecognizable.

      • It’s a minor pro league. Affiliated with the NHL.
        A good place to hone ones game and skills while trying to advance one’s career.
        Pretty wild league to be sure. Technically a step below the AHL. In reality, quite a bit lower tier, but minor pro, nonetheless.

      • Pretty impressive list there! Too bad most of it is compiled of caching staff, officials etc. Thank you for furthering my point Chrism.

        I said players. And again when Cory Conacher makes the top 20 list, I’m not exactly following?

        Maybe we can meet up for a beer the day he’s inducted into the hall?

        56 players, none of which people would know if they tripped over them.

        Pretty standard for ECHL players that have made that jump. Outside of a handful.

      • Shore,

        I’m definitely not going to argue that it’s a starting point or NHL affiliate.

        But I’d say a cliff below the AHL, not a step.

        I’ve been to a bunch of games. Good time, fun to watch. But it’s not exactly a talent pool that feeds the NHL with anything more than mediocre to decent players.

      • And by way of comparison, the AHL represented 597 players to open this season to the ECHL’s 56.

        Cliff may be an understatement. Maybe more like the bottomless pit King Leonidas was kicking people down in 300?

        You’re welcome !

        I’ll be here all week!

      • Yeah, I’m not disagreeing with you in the least, CO. Just named a couple of guys that came to mind, because of your point, that it’s not exactly rare, but somewhat uncommon.

      • That list is only for 2021 cap. Since most nhl teams affiliate with an echl team it seems they value having the professional tier below ahl. My pens have gotten some decent players from the nailers over the years. Not stars by no means. It’s kinda like the echl is a training grounds for back ups and 4th liners and bottom pairings.

      • I know, like I said there have been a few decent players that have come from the ECHL.

        But comparing it to the AHL or even close is stretching it.

        597 making the jump this year from the AHL to NHL vs. 56 from the ECHL is a very wide gap.

        I have mad respect for ECHL players. These guys get paid about as much as people in the fast food industry!

        Fun games, good entertainment. But hardly a feeder of talent.

        Most ECHL players will never even sniff the NHL.

      • Fair enough I’m too lazy to google how many make it to ahl. Those guys make a decent enough living.

      • The minimum salary is $500 per week.
        Mute cap is 13-14 k per week per team. That’s an average of $631 dollars a week. Before taxes.

        I’m not sure I’d consider that decent. That’s damn near poverty level if you’re not still living home with your parents.

      • I was referring to the ahl. Were you?

      • My bad, I was talking ECHL.

      • Nice link Chrisms

        I knew there were some ECHL “grads” playing in the NHL; but didn’t realize that there were that many…. and some fairly good ones to boot

        I also didn’t realize that Panthers had at least 5 last year; and this year’s Panthers (one of the top teams in the League); have at least 4 regulars that played in the ECHL…Lomberg, Weegar, Vehaghe, Marchment

  3. I watched the Ovie interview and as much as the reporter pressured Ovie in hopes of a global statement, Ovie held his own.

    Ovie stated peace not war and at the same time to be careful of what he said.

    Ovie parents and wife live in Russia. The reporter has nothing at risk.

    Tough situation for any Russian player.

    • Have you seen Dom Haseks tweet? Wow! Strong take on Russian players, for sure.

      • https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/dominik-hasek-calls-ovechkin-chicken-shit-wants-nhl-suspend-all-russians-143643183.html

        I agree 100% with Hasek. As Winston Churchill once observed “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

        While Ovechkin and other Russians sit by and, in effect, refuse to condemn the actions of Putin, thousands of other Russians in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities are demonstrating to show their condemnation – and in doing so are facing arrest and confinement. Along with their families.

      • I have – and I agree with what he says 100%.

      • I’m thinking all Russian citizens in the us should be put in camps. Even if they have dual citizenship. You know. For their own good.

      • You made me curious enough to searh the tweet out. It’s shocking enough thet, thinking it would interest everyone, I tried but failed to post a link. Maybe, the tweet is too radical to be presented here.

        I also learned that a Finnish team in the KHL has dropped out ot the KHL playoffs in protest.

      • Francis S – I tried posting the link this morning – no dice. Too controversial for her I guess. Just Google “Dominik Hasek calls Ovechkin a ‘chicken sh-t’, wants NHL to suspend all Russians”

  4. Ovi and every Russian citizen living outside of Russia have to be feeling social network heat. When your country does something the rest of the world condemns you should. End the aggression

    • If the West wants to put as much internal pressure on that psychopath S.O.B. as they can – without resorting to an all-out shooting war – then do as that Ukraine cabinet minister suggested from her darkened bomb shelter in an interview with the C.B.C. – round up and send back to Mother Russia every privileged university student in their universities who are off-springs of the oligarchs – where maybe they’ll add their voices to the ongoing protests. And, while they’re at it, do the same with hockey and soccer players raking in millions in the West while maintaining residences in Mother Russia.

      Unfortunately, the problem is, in a democracy you believe it or not – in a dictatorship you believe it or else.

      • Rounding up people is a term I associate more with dictator than democracy

      • If they choose to make their off-season home there, and choose not to condemn the invasion, then they are, in effect, supporting the dictator’s actions. Maybe the bullets haven’t yet begun to fly between Russia and the western democracies but make no mistake, the actions taken to date by the west in squeezing them financially is an act of war.

        What gets me about that megalomaniac is that he had the colossal gonads to brand the Ukraine government as “Nazi” – while he, himself, is using Hitler’s blueprint in justifying his actions for war in the name of meeting the wishes of pro-Russian factions within the Ukraine. Remember the Austrian Anschluss, the Sudetenland, Danzig? The rest of Czechoslovakia? While the wimps of the west sat by wringing their hands.

        You think it all can’t happen again? Geezus Krist wake up.

      • Imagine Ukraines trust going forward in NATO or the west in general?

        What’s going on is an absolute slap in the mouth to the people of Ukraine.

        “Yeah, we got your back with bs sanctions and strongly worded emails!”


      • Not disagreeing with most of that George. Just pointing out a poor choice of words.

      • Chrisms, I offer no apology for use of the perfectly legitimate term “round up” ( collect a number of people together for a particular purpose) – simply because it’s been associated with nefarious actions in history. It is what it is. How else would you describe the action – “collect” “gather together” ??

        One thing I am not and that’s “politically correct.”

    • Should’ve added its an interview by 17yr old Gretzky after being benched in the 1st period by Sather.

      The composure for a 17yr old is very impressive