NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2023
Matthew Tkachuk named MVP as Atlantic Division wins 2023 All-Star Game plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Sean Couturier, Robin Lehner and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Atlantic Division defeated the Central Division 7-5 to win the 2023 NHL All-Star Game with Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin tallying a hat trick. Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk was named tournament MVP.
The NHL announced the 2024 All-Star Game will be held in Toronto.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak remains unconcerned that he hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Bruins. He told reporters on Friday that his agent and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney talk every day and insisted there was no rush to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. While I understand why some Bruins followers may be nervous over his current contract situation I don’t believe they need to worry.
Pastrnak loves being a Bruin and they want to re-sign him. He’ll get the maximum eight-year contract. The only question is how much it’ll cost. Based on his performance, it will likely be over $11 million annually.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said there’s a possibility Sean Couturier could return to action before the end of this season. Couturier, 30, underwent a second back surgery last October. Fletcher said Couturier has resumed skating and is working out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t going to rush Couturier. Fletcher said they’re taking the long view with his recovery.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Bankruptcy documents filed last week by Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner and his wife, Donya, reveal they owe creditors $27.3 million against personal property of $5.1 million.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals signed winger Sonny Milano to a three-year contract extension worth $1.9 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are using the All-Star weekend to take care of business as they also re-sign Dylan Strome on Friday to a five-year deal. Like Strome, Milano has found a home with the Capitals after struggling to prove his worth with previous clubs. With 22 points in 40 games, the 26-year-old winger could exceed his career high of 34 points in 2021-22 with the Anaheim Ducks.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed forward Adam Erne on waivers yesterday. If he clears by noon ET today, he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids to make room for Jonatan Berggren.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to reporters before the All-Star Game yesterday. He said that the league has no plans to change its playoff format.
OTTAWA SUN: Bettman also confirmed that potential buyers for the Ottawa Senators will submit their bids soon. He indicated more than 15 groups have expressed an interest in purchasing the franchise.
“I want to be very clear, whoever buys this club is doing so to keep it in Ottawa,” said Bettman. “I say that so there is no speculation on the point.”
DAILY FACEOFF: Bettman said hockey-related revenue for 2022-23 could reach $6 billion “give or take”. It was around $5.4 million last season.
The commissioner also dismissed concerns over a recent report indicating US television ratings were down by 22 percent compared to last season. “Let’s not get too carried away with ratings,” said Bettman. “Viewership is up nationally.” He anticipates ratings will rise once the NFL season ends.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly claimed viewership was up 27 percent “across the board”. He also said the league will be showcasing games on ABC.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Bettman did say the league is monitoring the financial struggles of the Bally Sports regional sports networks and exploring options in case the worst were to happen. Daly said the Bally situation “may not necessarily result in bankruptcy.”
THE ATHLETIC: Bettman said the league must respect individual choice if players decide not to take part in events such as Pride Night. “You know what our goals, our values and our intentions are across the league, whether it’s at the league level or at the club level,” he said. “But we also have to respect some individual choice. And part of being diverse and welcoming is understanding those differences.”
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have offered Canadian women’s hockey star Sarah Nurse a job at the club’s future practice and community rinks at FTL War Memorial. They want her to be the face of the Panthers’ girls’ hockey program.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the two sides will be negotiating a deal.
THE PROVINCE: Hundreds of mourners filled the Musqueam Indian Band community centre on Saturday to celebrate the life of Gino Odjick. The former Vancouver Canucks forward died on Jan. 15 of a heart attack at age 52.