The Pacific Division wins the All-Star Game, David Pastrnak named tournament MVP, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Vancouver’s Elias Petterson scored twice and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl tallied the game-winner as the Pacific Division edged the Atlantic Division 5-4 to win the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. The Pacific Division all-stars received a check for USD 1 million for winning the tournament.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak is the MVP of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game (Photo via NHL Images).
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak was named tournament MVP through a fan vote on social media.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Despite scoring five goals, including the tournament winner, Tomas Hertl was left off the tournament MVP ballot. The Sharks winger was unperturbed, “I’m happy we won and we won the prize, so it’s exciting,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I watched the ASG because it’s my job, but it was such a farce that I was more absorbed in following social media comments about the game. While the ASG still matters as a locally-staged event, this glorified pond-hockey contest tends to be a national TV ratings dud in the U.S. and Canada. Los Angeles Times’ hockey writer Helene Elliott put it best:
I love hockey. This is not hockey. I wish the NHL could figure out a better way to showcase the sport because this no-hit, no-try exhibition isn’t it.
Bob Duff, meanwhile, pitched several suggestions on how to improve the NHL ASG format. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs recalled Jake Muzzin and Trevor Moore from their conditioning stints with the Marlies.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin should provide a welcome boost to a defense that became porous during his absence.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: A source claims the Dallas Stars are a “highly considered” candidate to play games in China next season. Their opponent, as well as dates and locations, are unclear. It’s also uncertain if the NHL will stage games in China in 2020-21.
Results from the All-Star Game skills competition, the all-decade team, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal upset Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid for the title of the fastest skater at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game skills competition. Barzal’s time was 13.175 seconds.
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal won the fastest skater contest during the 2020 NHL All-Star Game skills competition (Photo via NHL Images).
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber won the hardest shot competition at 106.5 mph. St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington delighted the hometown crowd by winning the save streak with 10. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin won the accuracy shooting in 9.505 seconds, while Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane won the shooting stars with 22 points.
In the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 game, Canada edged the United States 2-1 in an exciting, fast-paced contest. Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston scored for Canada while Hilary Knight countered for the U.S.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl brought some levity to the save streak challenge by wearing a Justin Bieber mask when it was his turn to shoot on Jordan Binnington. Bieber and Binnington have a bet on for a breakaway challenge in which the winner donates $10K to the charity of their choice.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane highlight the NHL’s all-decade First-Team All-Star roster for 2010 to 2019. Defensemen Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury were also selected to the first team.
The Second Team consists of Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlson, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
SPORTSNET: The NHL and the NHL alone will decide if it participates in the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to commissioner Gary Bettman during his state of the league address. He also indicated puck and player tracking will be up and running for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the league will continue spotlighting the world’s best women’s players, and it’s expected the NHLPA will soon resume collective bargaining discussions.
Bettman also confirmed the 2021 NHL All-Star Game will be hosted by the Florida Panthers.
Wayne Gretzky is rooting for Alex Ovechkin to break his goal-scoring record. He believes the Capitals captain has “a real, legitimate chance” to surpass his record of 894 career goals. With 692 goals, Ovechkin is 202 goals away. “I’m a big believer that records are made to be broken,” Gretzky told NHL.com. He also feels Ovechkin breaking his goal-scoring record would be good for the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of Gretzky’s records, such as most assists and points, might never be broken. The goal-scoring record was once considered unassailable. That Ovechkin even has a reasonable shot at reaching it is generating a level of excitement and interest that will surely grow the close he gets to it.
PIT has Andreas Martinsen on unconditional waivers to terminate. If it occurs, will take Penguins down to 47 contracts (of the maximum 50).
PHWA midseason award winners, All-Star Game skills competition participants announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the midseason favorite for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).
The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced their 2019-20 Midseason NHL Award winners. Among them are Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Calder Trophy). The PWHA also named Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander as their comeback player of the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring serious injury or a significant decline in performance, McDavid is a lock for the Hart, Carlson for the Norris, and Makar for the Calder. Hellebuyck’s had an outstanding first half, but he’s struggled of late, which could affect his Vezina chances over the remainder of the season.
Participants for the skills competition for the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis were announced yesterday.
CALGARY SUN: The upcoming All-Star game is a family affair for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. The brothers grew up watching their father Keith play for the St. Louis Blues in the early 2000s until his retirement in 2010.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The effects of Kendall Coyne Schofield’s participation in the skills competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game are examined in a new documentary.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner voiced his support of general manager Doug Wilson despite the club’s disappointing season. “While we are all very disappointed in the team’s performance thus far this season, Doug has a long history of leading our team to success,” said Plattner. He pointed to the club’s quick turnaround under Wilson after missing the playoffs in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Plattner’s confidence of Wilson, but I think the Sharks GM is facing the biggest challenge of his management career. He’s saddled himself with expensive veterans and doesn’t have much to draw upon in the prospect pipeline for trade bait.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin’s imminent return is good news for a Leafs blueline that’s struggled in his absence.
CBS SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve.
TSN: Marc Methot believes his playing career has come to an end. He underwent knee surgery a year ago while with the Dallas Stars, but the knee continues giving him pain. The 13-year NHL veteran spent five seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Methot said he hasn’t made an official decision yet on his future.
Milestone nights for Alex Ovechkin, Zdeno Chara and Carey Price, Artemi Panarin has a five-point performance, Leafs’ Morgan Rielly sidelined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to surpass Teemu Selanne for 11th place (686 goals) on the all-time NHL goal list in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves for the shutout.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin takes over sole possession of 11th place on the NHL all-time goal-scoring list (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin needs just five goals to surpass Mario Lemieux and move into the top-10. With nine more goals, he’ll pass Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier to move into eighth place.
The Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 5-2 deficit to upset the Boston Bruins 6-5 on Travis Konecny’s shootout goal. The game ended when Bruins winger Brad Marchand grazed the puck at center ice as he overskated it, resulting in a failed shootout attempt and sealing the Flyers’ victory. Travis Sanheim scored twice for the Flyers and Sean Couturier had a three-point game. David Krejci scored twice for the Bruins. Zdeno Chara became just the sixth player to play 1,000 games with the Bruins.
New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin matched his career-high of five points in a single game to lead his club over the New York Islanders 6-2. Panarin scored twice and set up three others while teammate Jesper Fast had a three-point game.
Carey Price picked up his 46th career shutout as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Calgary Flames 2-0. Jordan Weal and Ryan Poehling were the goal scorers. Price tied Ken Dryden for the third-most shutouts in franchise history.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth straight win and their ninth consecutive home victory by downing the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Brayden Schenn collected two assists. The Blues hold a nine-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo, and Calgary Flames goaltender Cam Talbot are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 12.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Speaking of Vasilevskiy, he will replace Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Rask has opted to skip the All-Star Game to spend time with his family and rest up for the second half of the season. He’ll serve a one-game suspension following the All-Star break.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was named captain of the Metropolitan Division in the upcoming All-Star Game.
USA TODAY: This year’s All-Star Game will also feature a three-on-three game between Canadian and American members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly will be sidelined eight weeks with a fractured foot. The Leafs have recalled defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly is the Leafs best defenseman. This is a big loss to their blueline corps.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Zack Kassian received a two-game suspension for his altercation on Saturday with the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier will be sidelined at least five games with an undisclosed injury.
WGR 550: Buffalo will continue hosting the NHL Draft Combine through 2022.
Patrick Marleau reaches a notable milestone, bad blood between Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian, the “Last Men In” for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored the winning goal in his 1,700th career NHL game as his club defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2. Marleau is just the fifth player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Gordie Howe is the all-time leader with 1,767 games. Before the game, Stars center and former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski received a lengthy standing ovation from the San Jose fans in his first game against his old club. Pavelski spent 13 seasons with the Sharks before signing with the Stars last summer as a free agent.
San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored in his 1.700th career NHL game (Photo via NHL Images).
The Calgary Flames rolled to their fifth straight win by nipping the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Elias Lindholm scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s first-period highlight-reel goal was overshadowed by teammate Zack Kassian raining punches on Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in the second period after Tkachuk nailed Kassian with a big hit behind the Flames’ net. The two had choice words for each other during their post-game interviews.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another shot fired in the ongoing Battle of Alberta. The two clubs face off in back-to-back games on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. Circle your calendars, folks, this series should be a dandy.
The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their 10th straight win by blanking the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 23-save shutout while Pat Maroon tallied the only goal. Maroon subsequently left the game with an apparent right-shoulder injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Lightning (58 points) have surged past the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the Atlantic Division.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their eighth straight home victory by downing the New York Rangers 5-2. David Perron extended his goal streak to four games while Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Zach Sanford, and Ivan Barbashev each collected two points.
Four third-period goals by J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen, and Loui Eriksson lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Boeser tallied two goals on the afternoon, while Sabres captain Jack Eichel collected two assists to extend his points streak to six games.
Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime as the Boston Bruins edged the New York Islanders 3-2. Isles center Mathew Barzal had two points in a losing cause. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.
Caroina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer kicked out 42 shots to blank the Los Angeles Kings 2-0. Nino Niederreiter and Teuvo Teravainen were the goal scorers. The Hurricanes have won three straight.
Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Emil Bemstrom, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg were the goal scorers. The Jackets have won 15 of their last 17 games.
Nico Hischier scored twice as the New Jersey Devils upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. Louis Domingue picked up the win with 33 saves as Mackenzie Blackwood missed the game with an upper-body injury.
Dominik Kubalik scored twice and Robin Lehner made 35 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. The Ducks have lost six of their last seven contests.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s first goal as a Montreal Canadien was the game-winner in a 2-1 overtime squeaker over the Ottawa Senators. It was the Habs first win in nine games while the Senators have dropped seven in a row. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 41 saves.
IN OTHER NEWS…
St. Louis Blues winger David Perron, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes were voted by NHL fans as the Last Men In for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25.
TORONTO SUN: Toronto Marlies assistant coach Rob Davison was released from the hospital yesterday following a grand mal seizure before Friday’s AHL game against the Texas Stars. He’s returning to Toronto and will be away from the club indefinitely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Davison in his recovery. I have a family member who suffered similar seizures, so I know how scary it must have been for the Marlies players and staff to witness what he went through.
NEW YORK POST: Former NBC NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick apologized for joking about wanting to have a sexual threesome with colleague Kathryn Tappen on a podcast in late December.
OTTAWA SUN: On Friday, the Senators named Jim Little as their new CEO. He’s a former executive with Shaw Communications.