NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2023

by | Feb 28, 2023 | News, NHL | 51 comments

Connor McDavid reaches 50 goals and leads the three stars of the week, the Leafs acquire two players from the Blackhawks, an update on Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to reach the 50-goal plateau for the first time but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Boston Bruins from winning the game 3-2. Pavel Zacha snapped a 2-2 tie with 30 seconds remaining in the third period as the Bruins picked up their seventh straight win and improved to 46-8-5 to open a nine-point lead atop the overall standings with 97 points. The Oilers (32-21-8) remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 72 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is the first player to reach 50 goals this season and holds an eight-goal lead over Boston’s David Pastrnak. He also remains the points leader with 115, sitting well ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, who sits in second place with 89 points.

Bruins winger and former Oiler Taylor Hall missed this game as he’s returned to Boston with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

The Colorado Avalanche collected their sixth straight victory by blanking the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 with a 31-save shutout by Alexandar Georgiev. Mikko Rantanen scored twice to reach the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career as the Avalanche (34-19-5) sit in second place in the Central Division with 72 points, three back of the division-leading Dallas Stars. The Golden Knights (35-19-6) hold a two-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 76 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights goalie Laurent Brossoit missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said it’s too early to determine whether captain Mark Stone will return to action this season. He’s been sidelined indefinitely since undergoing back surgery on Jan. 31.

Speaking of the Stars, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on an overtime goal by Andrei Kuzmenko. The Stars (31-16-13) had rallied back from a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame on goals by Roope Hintz and Nils Lundkvist. Anthony Beauvillier and Quinn Hughes each had three points for the 24-31-5 Canucks, who got a 34-save performance from Thatcher Demko in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Dec. 1.

Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux had a goal and three assists to lead his club to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Thomas Chabot had three points and Brady Tkachuk tallied his 25th goal of the season for the 29-26-5 Senators (62 points) as they sit five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Tyler Bertuzzi and David Perron replied for the Red Wings (28-23-8) as they remain three points behind the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings activated winger Lucas Raymond off injured reserve for this game but placed defenseman Jordan Oesterle on IR.

The Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Troy Terry had a goal and an assist for the 20-34-7 Ducks as they stretched their win streak to three games. Max Domi and Tyler Johnson each had two points for the 21-33-5 Blackhawks.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 26.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Jake McCabe, forward Sam Lafferty, a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2025 from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2025 (top-10 protected), a second-round pick in 2026 and forwards Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev. The Blackhawks also retained 50 percent of McCabe’s $4 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues shoring up his roster with this move coming on the heels of his acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues. Unlike those two, McCabe has two years left on his contract while Lafferty is signed through next season.

Some observers have criticized Dubas for trading away too much of his club’s future in his recent moves. For the Leafs GM, however, the future is now. In the final year of his contract, he has to deliver if he hopes to garner an extension. He’ll be out of a job if the Leafs fail once again to get out of the first round. The further the Leafs go in this year’s postseason, the better his chances of staying in his job.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson acknowledged the recent trade of winger Timo Meier to New Jersey indicate there’s no quick turnaround coming for his club’s fortunes.

I’ve been around the game long enough to understand what needs to be done from an organizational perspective, and it just sucks that it happened to be where I’m at in this stage of my career.”

Karlsson said he hasn’t been approached by management about waiving his no-movement clause. General manager Mike Grier admitted it would be difficult to move the 32-year-old defenseman’s hefty contract before the approaching trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s on pace for a career-high 105-point season. There’s plenty of interest in him, especially from the Edmonton Oilers. However, his $11.5 million annually through 2026-27 remains a significant obstacle in the path to a trade.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Travis Konecny will be out for an extended period of time with an upper-body injury.

TSN: Florida Panthers forwards Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett will be sidelined until this weekend with minor injuries.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (lower body) on injured reserve.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks traded defenseman Riley Stillman to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for prospect forward Josh Bloom.


  1. Same old, same old with the Bruins. McDavid gets the headlines, Boston gets the win.
    What a season they are having.

    • Yep, and as I predicted yesterday it will be a Boston-Colorado finals … the Avalanche are movin’ on up – 7-1-2 in last 10 including 6 wins in a row, now just 2 pts back of Dallas with 2 games in hand.

      Once Landeskog comes off LTIR, and with the (maligned) veteran Johnson back in the fold they move well to the head of the class out west. And I fully expect to see Sakic make one more big move at the deadline to go hard for a repeat.

      That would be one helluva final series!

      • You predicted?. That and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee…big deal

      • Hey, there’s Mr. Phony Snarl … who couldn’t predict s*&t in a barnyard

      • and what do i know… i thought Sakic should tool up for next season with all his current injuries exit.

        who is even the favorite in the West outside of the champs?

  2. Oil Bruin game was very high tempo like playoffs Some scares for bruins. Hall sent home with injury. Then March take blade on leg needed to be stitched then Krechi takes his own stick in face for some stitches. Then Bergy too Can’t afford to lose any of those guys for success in playoffs

    • Mrbruin4, that was more like a playoff game and I’ve noticed several games with that “vibe” the past week or so. Even Ottawa came out with that approach last night in physically man-handling Detroit.

      Winning back-to-back against a good team like the Red Wings won’t be easy, however, as they’ll have Husso in nets tonight, after starting Hellberg last night.

      • Wings had no answer to Tkachuk , he was on a mission last night.

      • George

        Yes games in general are getting the ramp up now. Good for us fans for sure

  3. Ray Bark, you nail it! At season start I asked the over / under on Foligno and you replied you could see him getting 10.

    Boston bruins have won against every team in the NHL this season.

    Just saying it took 3 tries to beat Ottawa

    • And his goal last night was a sweet one to boot

    • Ya Foligno looked good last night, was skating well. Hit everybody he could.
      Plenty of B’s jersey’s on our section, probably a quarter, so well represented!
      Great energy in the building, fast well played game. The building was amped up from the get go.

      Watched Orlov a lot, he is a very composed, smooth player. Won most of his battles and smart with the puck and can skate himself into some time and space to make a better pass. They had him with McAvoy last night against McDavid quite a bit when they could. Just one game but he looks good.

      Stay healthy boys, gonna need everyone, as your right MB4, the tempo is picking up. B’s deserved the win IMO, but could have easily gone either way.

      • Good game last night with the Oilers & Bruins,👌

        Bruins look very good in a 3-2 win….. young Skinner played well, in goal… Nurse was Mediocre yet again.. for $9.M dollar d/man he should be able to shoot the puck better….⁉️😳
        If the Oilers had a better d…. We could have Won

        Nice to see young DeBrusk get his game back he was buzzing All night…,
        It was funny his Dad Louie was the commentator on live TV…. Hard for him not to say too much about his son and the Bruins last night think he cough himself a few times……😂

  4. George

    Did you mean Colorado – Toronto finals ..

    Sometimes you get confused , just trying to help you out !

    Yours truly,


    Ps . Kerfoot is a goner by Friday

    • Ken – lol – no, that I don’t see in my crystal ball … not as long as Dubas avoids shoring up the goaltending somehow.

      Putting any hope in Murray is a lost cause, and as decent as Samsonov has been throughout the season, I just don’t see him (or Woll) holding off both TB and the Bruins through 7 game series, nevcer mind beating Colorado in a finals.

    • I hope it’s Engvall, not Kerfoot. Kerfoot has heart, Engvall floats.

  5. Can’t please maple loaves fans..he does nothing and you complain…he goes all in and you complain

    • Oooh “maple loaves” … clever, original dig. Pathetic.

      • I prefer to call them the Make BeLeafs….

      • Just out of curiosity Tim Thurmeier … why? I mean, it’s one thing to dislike a team (for a variety of reasons) but why resort to what amounts to juvenile schoolyard epithets?

        Hell, I’m no fan of the Leafs … that’s been well-established in here over the years … the main reason being the openly fawning bias of certain elements of the so-called “national” media.

        But as to the players and management – when they’re among the topics of discussion I’ll be critical where I see it pertinent … but also complementary when warranted.

        Then let the debates begin as counter-opinions surface.

      • I like what the Leafs have done this deadline.
        So far.
        Any of TB, BOS or TOR can easily come out of the Atlantic, and at least one of them will be gone after round 1.
        Then as a reward you have a super tough team coming out of the Metro with CAR, RAGS or even NJ, but they seem pretty young to have success already in playoffs.

        Really tough road in the east, and they seem to be doing most of the quality adds this deadline.

    • Which “fans” are you calling fans of the Leafs here? The guys that speak like they are fans but only see deficiencies and limitations, or any possible shortcomings the team may or may not have based on this persons narrow and limited view?

      No only has Dubas done his job, he’s done it well and in terms of the flexibility he has set up for the team going forward. If you look at the contract/cap situation when Matthews is due to re-up or bolts to Arizona or wherever 🙄 they will have a blank slate with only a handful of players (excluding Rielly) for under $2M already signed to facilitate his or McDs 🤩 new contract depending what world you live in.

      Not only has Dubas done a great job gob at filling out the roster by addressing all the flaws on the team this season with quality players but also gave the team a ton of flexibility, now and in the future. That’s enough of a reason to make the repeated notion that says Dubas is a goner if the team has another 1st round exit really ignorant and shortsighted.

      • But Ron – who are any of us to delineate between “ignorance” and “opinion” – as each sees it?

        I wouldn’t call Lyle’s views “ignorance” where he says

        “For the Leafs GM, however, the future is now. In the final year of his contract, he has to deliver if he hopes to garner an extension. He’ll be out of a job if the Leafs fail once again to get out of the first round. The further the Leafs go in this year’s postseason, the better his chances of staying in his job.”

        I’ll go on record here as agreeing to what he says – and not just Dubas, but Shanahan as well.

        Care to go on record as saying both will retain their jobs of they go out in Round 1 again?

  6. He goes all in on the wrong players. AGAIN.
    Orlov was exactly what the Leafs needed. Oh look Boston got him.

    Lets wait a few more days and get some of that hot steamy Chicago garbage.

    • @dark
      whats the Vegas line for Chicago’s next two games? over/under 25 minutes of ice for Domi?

    • Based on what Dark G?
      McCabe has more hits by a wide margin over Orlov. He has blocked twice as many shots than Orlov.

      He comes in at 2M for the next two seasons so we have a pretty stable defense for next year too.
      Brodie, Reilly, McCabe, Sandin, Gio, Liljigren and Timmins as a 7th.

      Lafferty leads the league in short handed goals and plays with a nasty edge too.

      With Tampa loading up on nastiness, we needed both these guys.

      Taking nothing away from Orlov but why is it so obvious that he was the one?

      • all valid points Taz , good take

    • Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      Wouldn’t have mattered what player dubas acquired. People just hate the leafs…period.

      The east is unreal this year. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see a western team win with how bad the east’ path to the cup will be to get there first.
      Whichever team, not to take anything from the Western Conference…but boy are they going to be bloodied. I predict most series will go 7 games.

      • FD you’re completely right both on Dubas and the playoffs. Last year, only one series in the east went 6 games, the others went 7. Rounds 2 and 3 pretty much the same with the exception of the Panthers WTF series.

        There will be no easy outs in the east with all the top teams bulking up, only means the second tier teams will be building themselves over the coming days to make sure that they will be that much harder to eliminate.

  7. @Dark G

    I like Orlov as well

    I don’t see Chicago games ..
    What is it about McCabe and Lafferty you don’t like , I am hoping McCabe is a shutdown defenseman ?

    Lafferty had a back injury in Oct,, November and December , only had 2 assists ..

    All of his points are this year , has 4 short handed goals

    I will await your feedback
    Thankyou !

    • McCabe is a two way defenseman, not the classic shut down. He plays with an edge, hits and blocks a lot.
      He can also play both sides, LD and RD. I believe Orlov only plays LD.

      • Taz, Orlov played RD most of his first game with B’s as they sat Clifton. Last night they sat Grz and he played LD.

        Orlov is more the proven playoff vet. Moves really well too.

        Can’t say I’ve watched many Blackhawk games so don’t know McCabe, but the scouting report is what you say as well. Just difficult to judge D on a crappy team.

      • Good to know Ray, I didn’t realize he played RD.
        Orlov is definitely a good add for an already beast mode bruins team.

        With tunnel vision its easy for some to forget that there are 31 teams outside of the Leafs, all of whom want to improve now or in the future and making competitive bids.

    • Orlov is a good player and fit for the Bs. He’ll help in the d zone but really add some offense from the back end that the Bs can use. He’s also under 6’ standing 5’11, expiring UFA and sports a pretty big cap hit so how exactly would that be a match for the Leafs is beyond me considering what has been said about their particular needs.

      McCabe is supposedly a good Dman which if you’re a fan of the Leafs you’d remember how good he was on those bad buffalo teams when they played the Leafs to see a bit of his game. We won’t know how well he’ll adjust once he plays here but the bottom line is as much as Boston or Tampa bolsters their teams, the Leafs made themselves a harder out, and that’s all you can really ask for. Hopefully luck with be with the Leafs this year.

  8. I am sure most Bruin followers are aware of this ..,

    1. Bergeron – 2.5 mil/ year
    2. Krejci 1.0 mil/ year

    I know they both signed hometown discounts , scratch my back , I will scratch yours type of contracts , show me Lord Stanley

    I didn’t know their deals were any where near this level …
    Talk about commitment , loyalty to a team
    Holy jumpin Jack flash Batman !

    This salary cap is a nightmare , otherwise !

    • Ken, they both have performance bonuses too.
      Bergeron is at $2.5M and Krecji at $2M.
      The way it looks now these will be on next year’s cap.

      But ya, steal of a deal.

      Gio is playing for cheap in TOR, Sammy is a good contract too.

      Dubas has been pretty good at getting quality goaltending at a bargain price last few years. He deserves some credit for that.

      • If ROR comes close to bringing Toronto a Cup he could sign for hometown pricing
        but what about Bunting? he is a UFA?? he needs to take his first real payday so he will not be a Leaf

      • Bunting is from Toronto, grew up in Scarborough and has talked about not being able to imagine plahing anywhere else. Hopefully they can fit him in at something fair they can both live with. Bit hard to judge his value as well, with the line he plays on. He could be a 3rd liner on another team. Maybe they should just trade him for 17 draft picks?

    • To some money isn’t everything…but having played so long and made a truckload of money makes that stance so much easier.

  9. The Oilers need a cheap RW if the move Jesse Pulijarvi ❓

    I wonder if they would look at one of Connor McDavids old line mates from the Eire otters…
    RW Taylor Raddish who has been playing 3rd line with the Hawks this year could be a nice option ❓🤔

    • Re;
      The Oilers need a cheap RW if the move Jesse Pulijarvi ❓

      Now he has moved and the Oil have $4.4 M in Cap space to help get a good forward & A big physical Winger Sandpaper 👀✅

      A Trade for a D/man…. hopeful coming down in the next 48hrs….🤔

  10. It will be another interesting off-season for the Leafs. As per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have 14 players signed for next season and only $7,743,550 in cap space. They have 8 UFAs and only 1 RFA (Samsonov). If Matthew Knies can make the leafs out of training camp, that will help a bit, but it will be hard to hand out raises to Bunting and Samsonov and fill out a full 23-player roster.

    • kevjam, look at the details. Not nearly as bad as it appears. Included in CapFriendly’s summary are all the guys on LTIR. Plenty of time to sort out the roster – all summer.

      Muzzin ($5.625 M) will likely stay on LTIR.
      Samsonsov is RFA; can be traded, QO is only $1.8 M
      Murray ($4.7 M), worst case scenario, can be bought out with only a 700k hit in 23-24, then 2 M following year.
      Woll is NOT waivers exempt next season; one of the goalies will need to be traded.
      Seven D signed at a total cap hit of $19.2 M
      Victor Mete will be RFA and could provide injury relief.

  11. Oilers are finally creating some room. Jesse Puljujärvi is Carolina bound.

    • Ya heard that on the radio TheSaint, hope he does well there and my guess is a the fresh start will do wonders for him. Oil needed the space.

      Holland has circling back around a few places, something seems imminent.

      • A defence man , Ray?

      • If I had to bet $20 BCLeafFan, I would put it on a Dman.

        Holland just did a presser to talk about the JP thing and give an update. He didn’t update much.

        I think he is waiting for prices to come down.

      • My thought as well. Maybe Jesse can be an effective 1M dollar 4th liner for a bit?

        Also agreed that this was finally the cap clearing move Holland needed to bring someone else in. And it BETTER be a solid D-man.

        We will see. The action is ramping up.

  12. Penguins waived McGinn and Friedman, must be something about to happen there I hope.

  13. Lots of teams clearing Cap space…..
    More Leafs Trades❗️X 3 Today So far…..

    Dubas has been very busy Re shapping the d in Toronto…..👀

    1/ Leafs Just traded for Luke Schenn for a 3rd rd Pick from the Canucks

    2/ Leafs just traded Pierre Engvall’ and his $2.2M contract to the NYI for a 3rd rd pick..

    3/ Leafs just trading Sandin to the Caps who want to get younger for Erik Gustavsson and boston 1st pick


    Maybe Kyle Dubas is Not Quite finished yet Cap space $4.7 M… ……❓

    sitting at 9x D/men
    only 12 forwards….

    Next trade is a big one for a Forward coming in to the Leafs…⁉️

  14. Ekholm to the Oilers for Barrie, 1st and some other pieces.

    Hes signed through 24/25 I believe? I like this trade for the Edm.