NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2023
The player assignments for Friday’s All-Star skills competition are revealed, Vladimir Tarasenko is uncertain of his future in St. Louis, Rasmus Dahlin replaces Tage Thompson in the All-Star Game and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: The league announced the player assignments for the All-Star skills competition at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida starting at 7 pm ET.
Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will be teaming up in the Breakaway Challenge. Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will also take part in this event.
Ovechkin will also be among those participating in the hardest shot challenge.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers will participate in the accuracy shooting competition. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov are among those who’ll take part in the fastest skater competition.
Former Vezina Trophy winners Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers are among eight goaltenders participating in the “Tendy Tandem” competition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete list of skill events and competitors.
SPORTSNET: Vladimir Tarasenko acknowledged this season could be his last with the St. Louis Blues. The 31-year-old winger is in his 11th season with the Blues and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Tarasenko acknowledged that this weekend’s All-Star Game could be his last in a Blues sweater as a trade is possible following this week. He deferred any questions about his future in St. Louis to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Tarasenko’s a goner, if not following this weekend then at some point before the March 3 trade deadline.
He requested a trade in May 2021 because of his unhappiness over the quality of treatment he received for multiple shoulder injuries from the Blues’ medical staff. He reportedly never rescinded that request. He was also left exposed in the 2021 NHL expansion draft but was passed over by the Seattle Kraken.
Tarasenko remains a productive scoring winger when healthy. I can see a contender in need of experienced scoring depth pursuing him as a playoff rental.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin takes the place of teammate Tage Thompson in this weekend’s All-Star Game. Thompson suffered an upper-body injury during Wednesday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There is no indication about how long Thompson might be sidelined. The Sabres’ next practice is on Feb. 9.
TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Ilya Mikheyev underwent successful knee surgery and will soon begin his rehab process. He will be sidelined for the remainder of this season.
THE ATHLETIC: A poll of participants at this year’s All-Star Game revealed most of them favored extending the 3-on-3 overtime format from five minutes to 10 to reduce the number of games decided by a shootout. Of the 16 participants, 12 would like to see the overtime period expanded.
Fourteen of those 16 participants don’t favor expanding the playoff format to an NBA-style “play-in” format involving the 7-10 seeds in each conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those All-Stars seem in line with most fans and pundits about extending the overtime format. They also share NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s opinion that there is no need to expand the postseason format. It would be interesting to see the poll results if those questions were posed to the full membership of the NHL Players Association.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Senators could be about to enter its final stages. Interested groups are expected to make their formal bids before mid-February. If all goes as planned, the front-runner could be known as early as March.
It’s believed Hamilton businessman Michael Andlauer and Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel remain the front-runners. Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds will also be in the thick of the bidding.
Speaking of the Senators, they relieved Troy Mann of his duties as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Belleville. Assistant coach David Bell takes over the head-coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings sent winger Filip Zadina to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint after activating him from injured reserve. Zadina hasn’t played since Nov. 5 after blocking a shot during a game against the New York Islanders.