NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2021

The Canucks remain unbeaten since their coaching change, the Flyers’ Claude Giroux reaches a milestone, changes made to COVID protocol rules, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on an overtime goal by J.T. Miller. Ducks Sam Carrick opened the scoring but Tanner Pearson tied it for the Canucks. It was a costly loss for the Ducks as defenseman Cam Fowler suffered an upper-body injury in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An impressive turnaround by the Canucks since hiring Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. With 32 points, they’re just four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

Claude Giroux collected his 600th career assist as his Philadelphia Flyers picked up a 3-2 overtime victory against the Seattle Kraken. Giroux now sits second all-time among Flyers scorers with 884 career points. James van Riemsdyk scored twice including the game-tying goal that set the stage for Ivan Provorov’s game-winner. Martin Jones made 34 saves for the win.

The Washington Capitals blew a 3-0 lead but rallied to down the Nashville Predators 5-3 on third-period goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carl Hagelin. Washington defenseman John Carlson finished the night with a goal and three assists. With 45 points, the Capitals moved to within one point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Third-period goals by MacKenzie Weegar, Carter Verhaeghe and Anthony Duclair carried the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 30 shots for the Panthers as they picked up their league-leading 15th home win. Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist.

The St. Louis Blues extended their home points streak to 10 games by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and two assists for the Blues. With 41 points, they’re one back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first game since being sidelined by an ankle injury on Oct. 19.

New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The win snaps a six-game losing skid for the Devils. Sabres forward Tage Thompson scored twice.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHL Players Association agreed to reduce the isolation period for a positive COVID test from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated players and hockey operations staff, including coaches. That’s in line with new guidelines announced earlier this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. However, the 10-day isolation period remains in effect in Canada based on federal and provincial guidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet if the federal and respective provincial governments in Canada will also lower their isolation guidelines or provide exemptions for the NHL.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser and Pittsburgh Penguins Kasperi Kapanen were among a handful of players added to the COVID protocol yesterday.

NHL.COM: The International Ice Hockey Federation yesterday canceled the remainder of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship after the United States, Czechia and Russia forfeited games when players tested positive for COVID-19.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: IIHF president Luc Tardiff said the federation hopes to continue the WJC in the summer of 2022 in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of NHL draft picks were participating in this tournament. It was also an opportunity for fans to catch their first glimpse of notable prospects such as the Kingston Frontenac’s Shane Wright, considered the favorite to be the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

There’s also talk that players in this tournament who turn 20 before next summer will be allowed to participate in the IIHF’s plans for a summer event. There are also said to be plans afoot to stage other canceled tournaments this summer, including the recently canceled Women’s Under-18 Championship.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anze Kopitar recently picked up his 673rd career NHL assist to move past Wayne Gretzky into second place among the Kings’ all-time scorers in that category. The milestone came during the Kings’ 6-3 loss on Tuesday to the Vegas Golden Knights.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2021

The NHL & NHLPA withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Lightning beat the Golden Knights in the final game before the extended holiday break, the Flames ownership walks away from its arena deal, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Multiple reports indicate the NHL and NHL Players Association intend to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases among NHL clubs which forced the postponement of a number of games. A formal announcement, however, has yet to be made.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the delay in the announcement is the PA had to do its own internal process involving a number of calls to players. The league and PA also have to talk to the International Olympic Committee before it becomes official.

**UPDATE** 

The NHL and NHLPA officially announced this morning they will not send players to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The adverse effect upon the NHL schedule by the recent COVID outbreak is the reason behind the decision. LeBrun indicated the league scheduler is already at work to determine how to make up those postponed games and fill dates during that three-week period in February that was scheduled for the Olympic break.

Chris Johnston indicates there is no ability for individual players to take a leave of absence in February to participate in the Games. He also said this decision will not affect the 2022 All-Star Game scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Withdrawing from the Olympics is a disappointment for the players who would’ve been selected to represent their countries and for hockey fans looking forward to the tournament. Nevertheless, the league and the PA had no choice.

Those postponed games have to be made up in a timely fashion without derailing the schedule or pushing it further into the spring, which would’ve meant another postseason going deep into the summer. Neither side has any intention of shortening the schedule because that would adversely affect hockey-related revenue.

NHL.COM: Steven Stamkos scored the winning goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in the only game remaining on the schedule before the NHL’s extended holiday break that takes effect today and runs to Dec. 26.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Stamkos’ goal was his 65th game-winner, surpassing Martin St. Louis for the most in Lightning history. Golden Knights winger Mark Stone scored twice but left the game in the second period after tweaking a previous injury.

The Lightning played without head coach Jon Cooper, who entered COVID protocol before the games. Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and winger Evgenii Dadonov also entered the protocol yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet has a full list of players and coaches currently in COVID protocol that is updated daily.

CALGARY SUN: The owners of the Flames released a statement yesterday indicating they’re walking away from its multimillion-dollar plan with the city of Calgary to replace the aging Saddledome. Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corps cited the growing price tag of the planned new arena, which would’ve been built under a cost-sharing agreement with the city.

The sticking point is reportedly less than $10 million (1.5 percent of the projected $634 million) for infrastructure and climate change mitigation that the city is asking the Flames ownership to pick up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This seems like a squabble over a pittance when factoring in the total cost of the arena plan. The Flames will reportedly continue to use the Saddledome but they can’t stay there forever.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman got involved in smoothing things over when the plans for constructing Rogers Place in Edmonton threatened to derail several years ago. Perhaps he’ll have to do the same in Calgary.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril will miss the remainder of this season with a torn ACL in his right knee. He underwent surgery last week.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek could be sidelined for a while. He was spotted wearing a sling on his arm following an injury suffered during their 7-4 loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday.

SPORTSNET: The province of Alberta has announced restrictions on the capacity for sporting events that limits attendance at Flames and Oilers home games to 50 percent. Those restrictions also apply to the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton and Red Deer.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the World Juniors, Montreal Canadiens prospect Kaiden Guhle was named captain of Team Canada while Ottawa Senators prospect Jake Sanderson will captain Team USA.