NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2022

Results of the All-Star skills competition plus Commissioner Gary Bettman talks about Flames and Coyotes arenas, Canadian teams, the 2022 Draft and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.com: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the hardest shot competition at 103.2 mph while St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou was the fastest skater with a time of 13.550 at the 2022 NHL All-Star skills competition in Las Vegas on Friday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho won the accuracy shooting in 10.937 seconds while Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell and Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy combined for nine consecutive saves in the Save Streak event.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski was the Las Vegas 21 in ’22 winner, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski won the Fountain Faceoff Challenge and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo won the Breakaway Challenge.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Pietrangelo, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras should’ve won the breakaway challenge for his blindfolded Dodgeball trick shot routine. Honorable mention to Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov for mimicking his idol, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin.

A stick tap as well for former USA Women’s star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson for finishing third in the Fountain Faceoff, which saw the participants attempting to hit targets while standing on an island in the Bellagio Fountain. At one point, she led by hitting all of her targets in 16.253 seconds.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed the Arizona Coyotes plan to temporarily play at a 5,000-seat venue at Arizona State University, provided the club secures commitment to building a new arena at Tempe. Bettman made the remarks during a press conference along with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly prior to the skills competition yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes would spend at least the next three seasons at the ASU facility while awaiting the building of their new venue. This season is the last for the Coyotes at the Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale announced it was terminating the club’s lease.

Bettman also approved of the Calgary Flames decision to skate away from a new arena deal with the city of Calgary but stressed the club remains committed to the city despite the collapse of the agreement. He believes the team’s ownership worked hard to get a deal done but felt the city pushed too hard to include additional costs that the team would have to pick up. Bettman believes the sooner both sides figure out how to get a new arena the better given the long-term cost of maintenance at the aging Saddledome.

The commissioner also raised the possibility of the 2022 NHL Draft moving from Montreal to another location if the city and the province of Quebec remain under strict COVID regulations. The draft is scheduled for July 7-8, 2022 at the Bell Centre.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman also indicated the slow reopening of Canadian NHL arenas has affected the revenue of the Canadian teams, prompting some of them to look into playing games at other locations where COVID restrictions on attendance aren’t as strict. So far, the league isn’t going that route but that could change depending on how long the current Canadian restrictions remain in place.

Bettman announced the Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, the 2023 Winter Classic will be hosted by the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park while the 2023 NHL Stadium Series will feature the Carolina Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Bettman excused Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz for his “emotional moment” during a Wednesday townhall when he lashed out at two reporters who asked what measures the club had implemented to protect its players in the aftermath of an investigation into the sexual assault allegations by former player Kyle Beach against Brad Aldrich, the club’s former video coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wirtz’s “emotional moment” was a PR disaster that has his critics questioning whether he should remain in his role.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they continued conducting interviews for the vacant position of general manager with Kyle Davidson and Eric Tulsky. Davidson is currently their interim GM while Tulsky is assistant GM with the Carolina Hurricanes.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced Shawn Horcoff has taken over as assistant GM. He replaces Pat Verbeek, who was hired as the new general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’s David Schoen reports Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer said Jack Eichel will be cleared for contact drills following the All-Star break.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

Patrick Kane says he didn’t know anything about sexual assault allegations against the Blackhawks former video coach, the Canadiens will host the 2022 Draft, James Neal is among the latest PTO signings & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he has participated in the investigation into allegations the club’s former video coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010. The 32-year-old winger denied having any knowledge about the incidents at the time.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s remarks run counter to those of former teammate Nick Boynton, who claimed everyone knew about the incidents during an interview with the lawyers hired by the Blackhawks to investigate the allegations. “I said talk to Torch (former assistant coach John Torchetti). I called out Brian Campbell, and said talk to Patrick Sharp and talk to Kaner (Patrick Kane),” he told TSN on July 29.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The NHL announced Friday the 2022 Draft will be held in Montreal at the Bell Centre on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8. The 2020 Draft was originally scheduled to be held there but was instead conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first round will be on Thursday evening and rounds two through seven the following day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Returning to a live venue should significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for teams to make their selections. The recent virtual drafts saw teams take an inordinate amount of time selecting prospects, with each round taking much longer to complete.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced the signing of wingers James Neal and Michael Frolik to professional tryout contracts.

TORONTO SUN: Nikita Gusev was invited to Maple Leafs training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils inked center Fredrik Gauthier to a PTO.

SPORTSNET: Zack Smith is hanging up his skates after 12 NHL seasons, all but one with the Ottawa Senators from 2008-09 to 2018-19. He spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith, 33, tallied 98 goals and 204 points in 662 career regular-season games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Smith and his family in his future endeavors.

PHILLY.COM: Former NHL forward Lou Angotti passed away Thursday at age 83. He spent 10 seasons in the league from 1964-65 to 1973-74 with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. Angotti was the Flyers’ first-ever captain. He had 103 goals and 289 points in 653 career NHL contests. He also went on to coach the Blues for two seasons (1973-74 to 1974-75) and the Penguins in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Angotti’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

The Lightning thump the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, expansion and NHL draft TV info announced, information on special events for 2021-22 revealed, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts broke the game open in the third period as Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up Steven Stamkos for the fifth goal. Brayden Point had three assists on the night.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

It was a rough game for Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. He skated away with a bloodied head after tangling with Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

Canadiens winger Joel Armia took a private jet from Montreal to Tampa Bay to rejoin his teammates after emerging from COVID protocol on Monday. He had been held out of the lineup after entering the protocol on Sunday. His spot in the lineup for Game 1 was taken by Jake Evans, playing his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in Game 1 of the Habs second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominating performance by Tampa Bay from start to finish. Despite the score being 2-1 after two periods, there was a sense that it was a matter of time before they blew the game open.

The Canadiens seemed tentative through much of this contest as they struggled to adjust to the Lightning’s game plan. This series will be over quickly if the Habs fail to find a solution.

Poor puck management proved costly for the Canadiens. The Lightning’s first three goals came from offensive-zone turnovers. Lightning coach Jon Cooper also used his home-ice advantage of having the last line change to good effect in keeping the Point line away from the Canadiens shutdown line.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended the performance of the league’s officiating during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “It seems every season, it’s a playoff ritual for me to address some aspect of the officiating,” said Bettman. “Let’s be clear. Our officials are not only the best hockey officials in the world, they’re the best officials in any sport.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an annual playoff ritual because there’s an obvious difference over how games are called during the regular season and how they’re called in the playoffs. The commissioner, however, seems unconcerned that this is a growing issue for fans and pundits.

ESPN2, NHL Network and Sportsnet will broadcast the NHL expansion draft on Wednesday, July 21 at 8 pm ET. The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will be televised on ESPN 2, Sportsnet and SN NOW on Friday, July 23 at 8 pm ET.

The Vegas Golden Knights will host the 2022 NHL All-Star Game with the date to be determined. The 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. The 2022 Stadium Series game will be held Feb. 26 , 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville between the Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. The league also plans to stage a Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic game in March 2022.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2022 NHL Draft.

THE SCORE: The NHL’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remains “a work in progress,” according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. He suggested the continued uncertainty over COVID-19 and the games being held halfway around the world doesn’t make it necessarily an ideal Games to elect to go to. NHL participation remains contingent on negotiations with the International Olympic Committee as per the CBA extension agreement with the NHLPA.

YARDBARKER: The NHL confirmed the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division as part of its realignment with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The decision to move the Coyotes was made by the league board of governors in December 2018.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins star David Pastrnak and his family are mourning the heartbreaking death of their infant son on June 23. He was five days old.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Pastrnak and his family on their loss. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have hired the law firm Jenner & Block to lead an “independent review” of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich and the Blackhawks’ internal handling of those allegations.

SPORTSNET: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league only recently learned of the allegations, adding it will await the results of the independent investigation before deciding how to proceed.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara was honored at a ceremony celebrating his home country of Slovakia’s 28th anniversary “for extraordinary merits in the field of sports and for extraordinary dissemination of the good name of the Slovak Republic abroad.”

NEW YORK POST: ESPN has hired Chris Chelios to join fellow Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier as part of the network’s top hockey studio team.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken announced the Charlotte Checkers will be their AHL affiliate starting in 2021-22.

TSN: The Hockey Hall of Fame announced it is moving forward with its induction ceremony for 2020-2021 on Nov. 15.