NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2023
Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild over the Lightning, the Red Wings make some roster moves, the 2023 Winter Classic ratings improve over last season’s, plus updates on Nicklas Backstrom, Max Pacioretty and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and Calen Addison had a three-point performance in a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kaprizov has 22 goals on the season as the Wild (22-13-2) move to within three points of the second-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division with 46 points. The Lightning (24-12-1, 49 points) remain four points back of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning’s Brayden Point also tallied his 22nd goal of the season.
The New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Dougie Hamilton and Alexander Holtz each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (24-11-3), who hold a three-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. Lucas Raymond replied for the Red Wings, who fell to 16-13-7 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri made his season debut since suffering a lower-body injury last March. Jakub Vrana cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids while goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was assigned to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.
No surprise that Vrana cleared waivers. With a large number of teams carrying less than $3 million in salary-cap space, there were no takers for his $5.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson turned in a 35-save shutout to upset the Dallas Stars 2-0. Mason McTavish scored and collected an assist on Adam Henrique’s goal as the Ducks sit with a record of 11-24-4. The Stars (23-11-6, 52 points) remain two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.
NHL.COM: 1.8 million viewers tuned in on Jan. 2 to watch the Boston Bruins down the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. That’s up 31 percent over the 2022 event.
ESPN.COM: The NHL has revamped its All-Star Game selection process to make it more inclusive for fans. The league’s hockey operations department has selected the first 32 All-Stars (one from each team), leaving the fans to vote for the rest.
THE ATHLETIC: Nickas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are close to making their season debuts for the Washington Capitals. Backstrom has been recovering from hip resurfacing in June while Wilson underwent surgery on his right knee in May.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals will have to free up cap room when Backstrom and his $9.2 million AAV come off long-term injury reserve. They could put defenseman John Carlson ($8 million) on LTIR as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a facial injury suffered on Dec. 23.
SPORTSNET: Max Pacioretty could soon make his season debut with the Carolina Hurricanes as the club activated him off LTIR. The 34-year-old winger has been sidelined since suffering a torn Achilles during offseason training.
DAILY FACEOFF: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk reportedly suffered a fractured fibula. It’s uncertain if he suffered the injury during the Winter Classic (when he scored both goals for the Bruins) or sometime afterward.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers activated goaltender Carter Hart from injured reserve. He’d been sidelined with a concussion since Dec. 23.
OTTAWA SUN: Cam Talbot is willing to re-sign with the Senators. The 35-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s interested in signing a contract extension but indicated there haven’t been any formal discussions yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That conversation might not happen until the end of the season. Much will depend on how the Senators end the season and if Pierre Dorion remains general manager under the club’s new ownership. It’s expected the team will have a new owner in place sometime in March.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Jimmy Vesey to a two-year, $1.6 million contract extension. The average annual value is $800K.