NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

A record night for Timo Meier, the Blues retire Chris Pronger’s number, an update on Carey Price, the stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier set a personal and franchise record with a five-goal performance in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Tomas Hertl collected four assists and Erik Karlsson had three as the Sharks (44 points) opened a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is the fifth player in the past 25 years to score five goals in a game, joining Mika Zibanejad (2020), Patrik Laine (2018), Johan Franzen (2011) and Marian Gaborik (2007). The last player to tally six goals was Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler in 1976.

The Colorado Avalanche extended their home winning streak to 14 games by downing the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on a shootout goal by Mikko Rantanen. Pavel Francouz made 25 saves for the Avalanche after Darcy Kuemper left the game midway through the second period with a head injury following a collision with Wild winger Jordan Greenway. Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist in regulation. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche moved into first overall in the Western Conference with 53 points. With 47 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot.

Jason Zucker scored twice and Jake Guentzel tallied as the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3, handing the latter their fifth loss in their last six games. Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen each collected two assists as the Penguins have won 13 of their last 15 contests to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. The Golden Knights (48 points) sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a three-point lead over the Kings.

The St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on the night they retired former captain Chris Pronger’s No. 44. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev each scored two goals and collected two assists while Ryan O’Reilly had a three-point performance. Both clubs have 51 points but the Blues moved ahead of the Predators into second place in the Western Conference standings with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pronger spent nine of his 18 NHL seasons with the Blues, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named as one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history in 2017.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their eighth straight defeat. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.

Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

The Seattle Kraken snapped a nine-game losing skid by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on shootout goals by Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves.

A three-point performance by Nick Schmaltz gave the Arizona Coyotes a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the latter their sixth straight loss. The sad-sack Canadiens are dead last in the overall standings with seven wins and 19 points in 37 games.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they announced goaltender Carey Price will have to restart rehabilitation on his surgically repaired knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason but the week-long break due to COVID-19 earlier this month that closed the club’s practice facility put him back at square one in his rehab. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Price returns to action before the end of this season. His rehab was also delayed by a month earlier in this campaign after spending four weeks in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

This should also put the kibosh on that silly speculation suggesting teams in need of a proven starting goalie (hi, there, Edmonton Oilers!) would try to acquire Price before the trade deadline. His hefty contract and full no-movement clause made moving him almost impossible. The uncertain deadline for his return should kill off that slim chance.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 16, 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, that will mollify critics who believe Marchand got screwed by being passed over for the 2022 All-Star Game (end sarcasm mode).

TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown will be sidelined at least three weeks with a broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas, Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss are among the latest players to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Seattle Kraken claimed Karson Kuhlman off waivers from the Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2022

The Canucks down the Capitals, the Oilers struggle to halt their tailspin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Elias Pettersson scored two goals as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Washington Capitals in the only NHL game on the schedule yesterday. Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist while Thatcher Demko picked up the win with a 31-save effort as the Canucks snapped a three-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 26th goal of the season to tie Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for the league lead.

NBC SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is among several of his teammates at a loss to explain their club’s tailspin in the standings following a 6-4 loss to the 30th overall Ottawa Senators on Saturday. “We’ve talked about it over and over and over again in that room and obviously we haven’t found an answer yet,” a dejected McDavid told reporters following Saturday’s game.

The Oilers began the season 16-5-0. They’re 2-10-2 in their last 14 and have fallen out of playoff contention in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Steve Tambellini, Craig MacTavish and Peter Chiarelli before him, general manager Ken Holland has failed his team. Lousy goaltending, a porous defense and lack of scoring punch behind McDavid and fellow superstar Leon Draisaitl accounts for the Oilers’ woes this season.

It’s up to Holland to fix this mess. So far, his only solution seems to be entertaining the idea of adding free-agent winger Evander Kane and his personal baggage into a fragile dressing-room environment. Some observers suggest replacing head coach Dave Tippett might provide a spark but it won’t overcome the obvious roster issues.

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Los Angeles Kings forward Adrian Kempe, and Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland are among the latest players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

NHL.COM: Today is the last day for fans to vote for the final players from each division in its “Last Man In” polling.

THE BUFFALO NEWS‘ Mike Harrington reports Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson will miss the next two games with an upper-body injury. He has seven points in 32 games this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

The Panthers remain atop the overall standings, Alex Ovechkin and Marc-Andre Fleury reach more milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers (57 points) maintained their place atop the overall standings by crushing the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-2. MacKenzie Weegar collected four points, Aaron Ekblad had three assists while Carter Verhaeghe and Anton Lundell each scored two goals. Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots in the first period.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Alex Killorn lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Dallas Stars 3-1, handing the latter their seventh straight road loss. Nikita Kucherov chipped in two assists for the Lightning (57 points), who sit second overall due to the Panthers holding two games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves to shut out the New York Islanders 2-0. Alex Ovechkin scored into an empty net to reach the 25-goal plateau for the 16th time in his career. Only seven other players (Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Teemu Selanne, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Marcel Dionne) have as many 25-goal seasons. It was a costly win for the Capitals as T.J. Oshie left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. They hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Chicago Blackhawks to pick up his 70th career shutout in a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, becoming the 14th netminder to reach that milestone. Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik were the goal scorers as the Ducks drop three straight games to fall into third place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

The Los Angeles Kings moved into second place in the Pacific by beating the Seattle Kraken 3-1. Phillip Danault scored twice and Adrian Kempe tallied his career-high 17th goal. The Kings have 45 points but hold three games in hand over the Ducks.

Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves to pick up his first shutout with the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had two goals and an assist as the Avalanche (51 points) move into first place in the Western Conference with four games in hand over the Nashville Predators.

Speaking of the Predators, they fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins on an overtime goal by Taylor Hall. He and Brad Marchand each finished the game with a goal and an assist, with Marchand reaching the 20-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career. Juuse Saros made 40 saves for the Predators. The Bruins have won five straight games and hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins remain three points up on the Bruins for the first Eastern wild-card spot by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Jake Guentzel as he and Kris Letang each had a goal and an assist. Louis Domingue turned aside 40 shots for the victory. With 42 points, the Sharks hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Chris Kreider snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their seventh straight defeat. Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for the Rangers while teammate Artemi Panarin collected two assists. The Rangers sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes remain two points back of the Rangers by dropping the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist while Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots. The Canucks have lost four of their last five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After rattling off seven straight wins after hiring Bruce Boudreau as head coach it appears the Canucks are returning to earth. Trade rumors about J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat could resume if the losing skid continues.

Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and Ilya Mikheyev rallied the Toronto Maple Leafs over the St. Louis Blues 6-5. Matthews and Mitch Marner each had a goal and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored twice for the Blues. The Leafs (51 points) remain in third place in the Atlantic Division while the Blues (49 points) are third in the Western Conference.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 to hand the latter their sixth straight loss. Josh Norris tallied twice for the Senators while Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was held scoreless. With 38 points, the Oilers are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaky goaltending and porous defense continue to dog the Oilers and threaten to derail their season.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 saves for his first shutout with the Detroit Red Wings to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists while rookie winger Lucas Raymond scored and chipped in an assist.

SPORTSNET: Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Washington Capitals winger Conor Sheary were among the players placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol on Saturday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Reid Boucher had pled guilty to a third-degree count of criminal sexual assault against a minor stemming from two incidents in 2011. 

Then 17 and a member of the United States National Team Development Program, Boucher forced his then-12-year-old billet sister to perform oral sex on him twice, doing so by threatening to blackmail her with a video in the first incident and then threatening to tell people about their first non-consensual encounter.

After spending parts of six NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, Boucher has been playing in the KHL since last season. He was allowed by the judge overseeing his case to enter a plea that will result in no up-front jail time. If he successfully completes his sentence, the charge won’t appear on his criminal record. Meanwhile, his victim has dealt with the trauma of those incidents, struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders and self-harm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boucher pleads guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl twice 11 years ago, leaving her traumatized for over a decade, and gets a slap on the wrist and continues his playing career. So much for justice.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

The Panthers and Wild romp to lopsided wins, the Avalanche tie a franchise record plus the latest suspensions, COVID updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sam Bennett and Jonathan Huberdeau each had four-point performances as the Florida Panthers crushed the Dallas Stars 7-1. Bennett tallied a hat trick while Huberdeau collected three assists. Anthony Duclair scored and set up two others as the Panthers (55 points) reclaimed first place in the overall standings.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Score indicates the Stars have one of the worst road records (4-11-1) in the league, with just one regulation win away from Dallas. Head coach Rick Bowness wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. “We have some guys who are very comfortable playing at home and very uncomfortable playing on the road,” he said.

The Minnesota Wild tallied four third-period goals (including two within four seconds early in the period) to down the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Mats Zuccarello scored twice and picked up an assist while Kirill Kaprizov had two helpers. With 46 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Ducks (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division but have just three wins in their last 10 contests.

A shootout goal by Nazem Kadri lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Avs tied a franchise record by picking up their 13th straight home victory as they overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. With 49 points, they’re one point back of the Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators. Coyotes goaltender Ivan Prosvetov made 44 saves.

HEADLINES

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders forward Ross Johnston received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer on Thursday.

TSN: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan was fined $2,500.00 for a dangerous trip (slew foot) on Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Connor Brown is listed as week-to-week with a suspected broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich and Toronto Maple Leafs Justin Holl, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie were placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes star Shane Doan is taking over as the general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey team and former NHL coach Claude Julien takes over as head coach.

NBC SPORTS: Aisha Visram is believed to be the first woman to work on the bench during an NHL game as she filled in for the Los Angeles Kings’ sidelined athletic trainer during their 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Visram is the head trainer of the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Ontario, California.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

Tuukka Rask makes a triumphant return to the Bruins, the 2022 All-Star Game rosters and captains are revealed but several notable players are passed over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in his season debut as he backstopped the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. David Pastrnak tallied all of the Bruins’ goals, including the game-winner on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. With 44 points, the Bruins moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they fell 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings as the latter tallied four unanswered third-period goals, including three in a span of 1:23. Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another while Sean Durzi had a three-point performance and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves. The Kings (43 points) move into third place in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov collected two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 24 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Lightning holds a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with 55 points. The Canucks have lost three of their last four contests.

The New York Rangers Rangers got a 37-save shutout from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Chris Kreider scored twice, including his first NHL shorthanded goal. Braden Schneider scored in his first NHL game. The Rangers (52 points) sit atop the Metropolitan Division while the Sharks (41 points) still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, they were upset 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators. Nick Paul tallied twice while Matt Murray made 27 saves for his first win of the season. The Flames have dropped four straight games.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with a 33-save performance to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Andrew Copp scored two goals and Kyle Connor scored shorthanded. The Jets (39 points) are two points behind the Sharks and one back of the Flames.

A four-goal third period carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 6-0 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. Elvis Merzlikins turned in a 31-save shutout and Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Seattle Kraken 2-1. The Blues extended their home points streak to 13 games while the Kraken have lost eight straight. With 49 points, the Blues are one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

The Predators, meanwhile, saw their five-game win streak halted in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice while Aaron Dell made 29 saves for the Sabres.

Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie to lift the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Barzal’s teammates Zach Parise and Josh Bailey each collected two points as the Isles’ played their first game in 11 days.

Philipp Kurashev scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their five straight loss. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane also scored to snap a 13-game goalless drought. The Canadiens played without goalie Jake Allen, who is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. Teammate Chris Wideman also missed this game as he’s serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar were among the notable first-time selections for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game to be held in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 5.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid were named captains of their respective division squads as chosen by fan voting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link to see the full rosters as well as the candidates for the “Last Man In” for each division to be decided by fan voting.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the notables passed over for selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The exclusion of Markstrom, Rantanen and Ekblad could be a result of being overshadowed by their more well-known teammates. Marchand’s snub is likely tied to his well-earned reputation for questionable play.

Shesterkin still isn’t as well-known as he should be, though his profile should improve if the Rangers remain among the league’s top clubs. It won’t help him become a participant in this year’s All-Star Game but could help him garner recognition for next season’s event.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A partial tear in a thumb tendon has sidelined Oilers goaltender Mike Smith for at least a week, possibly two. The club has recalled Stuart Skinner from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Evander Kane could help resolve that issue…oh, wait, he’s not a goaltender…never mind…

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny are among the notable players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol on Jan. 13.

AHL’s Iowa Wild signed Eric Staal to a professional tryout contract.

TSN: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said individual active NHL players will not be permitted to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, any player under an NHL contract cannot participate in the Beijing Olympics.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Quebec finance minister Eric Girard the league isn’t aware of any opportunity at this time that would lead to a franchise returning to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one observer noted on Twitter, that was Bettman’s polite way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Oh, and for those of you saying, “What about the Arizona Coyotes?”, should that club be relocated, it’ll likely be to another American city in the Western Conference such as Houston.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

A five-point night for Joe Pavelski, a new investigation could halt Evander Kane’s efforts to land a new contract, Tuukka Rask set to return today, the mid-season scouting rankings are released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski had a had in every one of the Dallas Stars goals in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken, handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Pavelski scored twice and set up three others while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists. With 38 points, the Stars sit three back of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Marchand has tallied eight goals in his last four games as the Bruins have won six of their last seven contests. Montreal goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss drops the Canadiens into last place in the overall standing while the Bruins (42 points) opened a five-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Arizona Coyotes moved into second-last in the overall standings by upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Ryan Dzingel snapped a 1-1 tie while Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves for the win. Leafs center Auston Matthews set a franchise record by scoring in nine consecutive road games.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL has opened an investigation into how Evander Kane crossed the border from the United States into Canada on Dec. 29. Kane had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and was still under the AHL’s 10-day COVID protocol when he crossed the border. It was one of the factors that prompted the San Jose Sharks to place the 30-year-old winger on unconditional waivers and terminate his contract last Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said this will likely prevent Kane from landing a new NHL contract as teams await the results of the league’s findings. Some teams are willing to ignore the winger’s apparent disregard for league rules (including a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID passport last fall) and other well-documented issues because they feel they can get a productive player on an affordable, prorated one-year contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he wouldn’t be opposed to Kane joining his club. The Oilers are believed among a handful of clubs in the running to sign the troublesome winner.

TSN: Tuukka Rask is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins earlier this week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports recurring concussion symptoms are behind Bowen Byram’s departure from the Avalanche for personal reasons. His father said his son told him he can’t continue playing feeling the way he does. The 20-year-old defenseman has already suffered three concussions in his young NHL career. There’s no word when he’ll return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Byram can find the treatment he needs to regain his health and hopefully return to the Avalanche. It would be a shame for his promising career to come to a premature end.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are among the noteworthy players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin with Braden Holtby recently being added to COVID protocol.

ESPN.COM: The Buffalo Sabres signed minor-league goaltender Michael Hauser to a one-year, $750K contract and recalled Aaron Dell from the minors to shore up their injury-depleted goaltending. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael Subban were recently sidelined while Craig Anderson remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while Dustin Tokarski is still recovering from COVID-19.

TSN: The Canadiens yesterday claimed Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

NHL.COM: Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright tops Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking of the top North American skaters. Winger Joakim Kemell of JYP in Liiga (Finland’s top professional league) is the leader among International skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright is expected to be the top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal with the first round on July 7. The young center had a slow start to this season but his production has picked up with four multi-point games in his last five contests. TSN’s Craig Button has compared his style of play to that of Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

SPORTSNET: Two former NHL off-ice officials have filed a lawsuit against the league alleging they were fired for “pretextual reasons” after calling out two former supervisors for racist behavior.