NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2023

The Kings tie a season-opening win record, the Hughes brothers face off for the first time, plus updates on the 2024 draft, international tournaments and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings tied the league’s season-opening road win streak at 10 games by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Drew Doughty scored in overtime while Phillip Danault tallied twice as the Kings improved their record to 15-4-3. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets sank to 8-14-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine missed this game due to illness.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Luke Hughes, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and Devils center Jack Hughes (NHL.com).

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes and defenseman Luke Hughes came out on top against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes with a 6-5 victory. Jack had a goal and two assists while Luke scored a goal as Jesper Bratt opened and closed the scoring for the Devils (12-10-1). Quinn collected two assists while J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists and Brock Boeser netted his league-leading 18th goal as the Canucks (16-9-1) overcame a 5-2 deficit to tie the game before Bratt won it in the dying seconds of regulation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first NHL game to feature all three Hughes brothers.

The Ottawa Senators upset the New York Rangers 6-2. Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist, Brady Tkachuk scored twice and Drake Batherson had a goal and two assists for the 10-10-0 Senators, who remain in last place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (18-5-1), who sit in first place in the Conference with 37 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Senators learned that defenseman Thomas Chabot has been sidelined by a knee injury. An update on his status is expected on Wednesday. During the game, Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow was struck in the face by a puck in the first period and didn’t return. It appears he lost a couple of teeth.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin netted two goals in a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings (14-7-3) as they picked up their third straight win. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the slumping Sabres (10-14-2) as they’ve dropped four straight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buffalo center Tage Thompson collected an assist as he returned to the lineup from an injured left arm a week ahead of schedule. The Sabres also placed forwards Alex Tuch (lower body) and Jordan Greenway (upper body) on injured reserve and recalled goaltender Devon Levi from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The San Jose Sharks overcame a three-goal deficit to upset the New York Islanders 5-4 on an overtime goal by William Eklund. Tomas Hertl tallied a hat trick while Eklund finished with three points for the Sharks (7-17-2) as they moved out of the bottom of the Conference standings with 16 points. Bo Horvat and Simon Holmstrom each had two assists while Mike Reilly had a goal and an assist for the 10-7-7 Islanders.

A shootout goal by Filip Forsberg lifted the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ryan O’Reilly netted his 12th of the season as the Predators improved to 13-12-0. Nick Foligno scored twice and collected an assist while Connor Bedard netted his first-ever NHL shootout goal but the Blackhawks dropped to 7-16-1 and sit last in the overall standings with 15 points.

The Minnesota Wild picked up their fourth straight win under new head coach John Hynes by dousing the Calgary Flames 5-2. Matt Boldy scored twice and set up another, Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist while Mats Zuccarello picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games for the 9-10-4 Wild. Mikael Backlund and Connor Zary replied for the 10-12-3 Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames played without goaltender Jacob Markstrom as he’s sidelined week-to-week with a fractured finger. The club recalled Dustin Wolf yesterday from the AHL affiliate.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists in a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jonathan Drouin also had two assists as the Avalanche (16-7-2) remain on top of the Central Division with 34 points. Sam Carrick and Leo Carlsson scored for the Ducks as they slid to 10-15-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon also picked up his 500th career assist, joining Joe Sakic, Peter Stastny and Peter Forsberg as the only players in franchise history to reach that plateau. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a big hit by Ducks forward Max Jones.

HEADLINES

DAILY FACEOFF: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expressed concerns about the delays in the construction of an arena for the Milan 2026 Winter Olympics following the league’s two-day Board of Governors meetings in Seattle. He noted that construction had not yet begun on the venue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s December 2023. The venue is reportedly expected to be completed by the end of 2025. It seems like Bettman’s already looking for an excuse not to participate in the 2026 Games.

NHL.COM: The league continues to work on its plans to stage a four-team international tournament involving NHL players in 2025. Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland are expected to be the four countries taking part.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 2016 World Cup of Hockey had a Team Europe (consisting of NHL stars from other European nations) and Team North America made up of the best under-23 NHL stars. Team Europe reached the Gold Medal round against Canada while Team North America became a fan favorite with their fast-paced play.

For whatever reason, the league has opted not to go that route again. That means superstars like Germany’s Leon Draisaitl and Czechia’s David Pastrnak will be prevented from participating in this tournament.

TSN: The 2024 NHL Draft will be held at the Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28-29. It will be the last draft before it is decentralized with teams operating from their own facilities.

The Arizona Coyotes are in the process of trying to finalize the purchase of a plot of land in the Phoenix area for a new arena. TSN’s Darren Dreger said the mood around team owners and league governors is that the Coyotes are getting to the end of the line here. The league is looking ahead at scheduling for next season and needs to know whether the Coyotes will be able to move ahead with this land purchase early in the new year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday a report claiming that some owners and governors were running out of patience with the Coyotes’ situation. However, Bettman’s been the driving force keeping the club in Arizona with majority support from the team owners.

Nevertheless, any delays over the land purchase for a new arena could spark uncertainty over the Coyotes’ future. Dreger mentioned the possibility of relocation but that will require majority approval by the Board of Governors. Ultimately, that will come down to whether Bettman believes there are no more avenues to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2023

The Senators down the Red Wings in overtime to kick off the 2023 Global Series, the Golden Knights regain first place in the overall standings, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on a goal by Tim Stutzle in the dying seconds of overtime to kick off the 2023 NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. The Senators held a 4-0 lead at one point before the Red Wings stormed back to send the game into OT. Stutzle finished with a goal and two assists while Brady Tkachuk tallied twice for the Senators as they improved to 7-7-0. Shayne Gostisbehere netted the game-tying goal and finished with three points for the 8-5-3 Red Wings.

Ottawa Senators center Tim Stutzle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the NHL’s Alumni Association made Hall-of-Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom the inaugural winner of the Borje Salming Courage Award. It is presented each year to a European NHL Alumni member “who has been a positive influence in their community and best embodies Salming’s lasting legacy of bravery, courage, and dedication on and off the ice.”

Senators Hall-of-Famer Daniel Alfredsson was behind the Senators bench as an assistant coach at the request of Sens head coach D.J. Smith. He’ll return there again for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

Third-period goals by Logan Cooley and Lawson Crouse 28 seconds apart gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Connor Ingram stopped 39 shots as the Coyotes improved to 8-6-2. Damon Severson tallied twice for the slumping Blue Jackets (4-9-4), who have just one win in their last 10 games (1-7-2).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s got to give for the Blue Jackets. They’re in last place in the Eastern Conference and there’s no indication that they’re anywhere close to reversing their fortunes. Struggling scorers Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau were benched during the final minutes of the third period in this contest.

Coyotes forwards Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton left this game with upper-body injuries.

The Vegas Golden Knights (13-3-1) regained first place in the overall standings by downing the Montreal Canadiens 6-5. Shea Theodore had a goal and three assists while Jack Eichel and Mark Stone each had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights (27 points) as they overcame a 3-1 deficit in this contest. Jesse Ylonen scored twice for the Canadiens (7-8-2) as they’ve dropped three in a row.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj left this game in the second period favoring his left shoulder following a big hit by Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev. It is not the same shoulder that required season-ending surgery in February.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Jesper Bratt, Alexander Holtz and Tyler Toffoli lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Vitek Vanecek made 21 saves for the 8-6-1 Devils. Bryan Rust netted two goals for the Penguins (8-7-0) while team captain Sidney Crosby collected an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils winger Timo Meier missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He should be considered as day-to-day.

The Tampa Bay Lightning ended a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Brayden Point had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (7-6-4). Corey Perry and Lukas Reichel replied for the Blackhawks as they slipped to 5-9-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev on non-roster for personal reasons and recalled Filip Roos from their AHL affiliate in Rockford. Zaitsev missed practice on Wednesday and there’s no timetable for his return.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 upset of the Vancouver Canucks. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist as the Flames moved to 6-8-2 on the season. Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander scored for the 12-4-1 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes collected an assist as he, Pettersson and J.T. Miller remain tied atop the league’s scoring leaders board with 27 points each. The Canucks kept forward Andrei Kuzmenko out of the lineup for this contest as he was undergoing medical assessments after taking a puck to the face during Wednesday’s game against the New York Islanders.

The Seattle Kraken defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 as Kailer Yamamoto scored the winning goal during the eighth round of the shootout. Yamamoto finished the game with a goal and an assist in regulation for the 6-8-4 Kraken. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the slumping Islanders as dropped to 5-6-5 with just two wins in their last 10 games (2-4-4).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders forward Matt Martin missed this game with an upper-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Kings forwards Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar scored as their club held off the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-1. Fiala finished with two points while Cam Talbot kicked out 30 shots as the Kings improved to 9-3-3. Sam Reinhart replied for the Panthers with his 13th goal of the season as the Panthers dropped to 10-5-1.

The San Jose Sharks got a 44-save performance by goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to upset the St. Louis Blues 5-1. Mike Hoffman tallied two goals for the 3-13-1 Sharks while Pavel Buchenich had the lone goal for the 8-6-1 Blues.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league is hoping to stage one final draft under the current format next year. Under the current format, all 32 teams travel to the draft’s host city. The change will allow the team representatives to stay at home to conduct their draft business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports indicate the league hopes to hold the 2024 draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

The NHL is also working with the NHL Players’ Association regarding the possible staging of a World Cup of Hockey in 2025 with NHL players participating the following year in the Winter Olympics.

In other league news, Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s hopeful the Arizona Coyotes could have their new arena plan revealed by midseason…Bettman also acknowledged rumors of expansion to Quebec City, Atlanta, Houston and Salt Lake City but claimed the league currently has no plans to add teams, claiming they’re not in expansion mode…Germany could be on the shortlist to host a future NHL Global Series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is not in expansion mode unless you can come up with a $1 billion expansion fee…Not you, Quebec City! Sit down! They’re only interested in big US markets.

NEW YORK POST: There is concern for Rangers forward Filip Chytil as he’s been out of the lineup since Nov. 2 by what is believed to be the fourth concussion of his NHL career. The club could end up shopping for a center if Chytil remains sidelined long-term.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated that Chytil has been sidelined 10 different times since 2018-19, not including his two-week absence during training camp with an upper-body injury. It also doesn’t include the facial injury he suffered during the World Championships that bothered him well into the offseason.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen is currently in a neck brace as he recovers from falling headfirst into the boards during last week’s game against the Kraken. There’s no real timeline for his return but it’s believed he could be out for weeks.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Adam Erne was fined $2,018.00 by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Kraken forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Wednesday.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers assistant general manager Brett Peterson was named the GM of USA Hockey’s senior men’s national team. He’s their first-ever Black general manager. “It’s a great honor, and I’m excited to get a group of fantastic individuals together and see what happens,” said Peterson.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2023

The Ducks finally sign Jamie Drysdale, the Kings extend coach Todd McLellan’s contract, recaps of Thursday’s preseason action, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

HEADLINES

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Jamie Drysdale to a three-year, $6.9 million contract. The average annual value is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Trevor Zegras, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek gets Drysdale signed to a team-friendly bridge contract. The 21-year-old defenseman had little leverage coming off his entry-level contract. Should he and Zegras improve as projected, they’ll be well-situated to command much more lucrative terms on their next contracts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Los Angeles Kings have extended the contract of head coach Todd McLellan to the end of the 2024-25 season. He’s entering his fifth season behind the Kings bench, guiding them to the playoffs in 2022 and 2023.

Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings have made steady improvement under McLellan, finishing with 99 points in 2021-22 and 104 points in 2022-23. However, they’ve fallen in the first round of the playoffs in both seasons to the Edmonton Oilers. McLellan’s long-term future with the Kings will depend on their performance this season and next.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Kings, forward Arthur Kaliyev has been suspended for two preseason games and two regular-season games by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Anaheim Ducks forward Chase De Leo. The latter suffered a sprained MCL and will be sidelined for eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The punishment hardly seems to fit the crime. I think any player who deliberately injures another should be suspended for as long as the player he injured is sidelined. However, there’s also that grey area of determining intent or whether it was accidental. Besides, such a harsh punishment for a superstar probably wouldn’t go over well with fans and pundits.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture is considered a long shot to be in the lineup for the club’s season-opener next week. The 34-year-old center is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks already faced a challenging season as management rebuilds, er, sorry, “retools” its roster. Losing Couture to injury to start this campaign was the last thing they needed.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud underwent surgery for an upper-body injury and is listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big blow to the Golden Knight’s blueline. It’s also the third straight season that Whitecloud has been sidelined by a significant injury. He was limited to 59 games in each of the last two seasons.

SPORTSNET: The city of Calgary unveiled a preliminary deal for a $1.2 billion event center and entertainment district near the city’s downtown. It includes an $800 million arena for the Flames. Construction will reportedly begin in 2024 and the arena is expected to be opened in 2026 or 2027.

The province of Alberta will contribute $330 million to the project while the city of Calgary will contribute $537 million. The Flames will pay $40 million upfront and $17 million per year over the course of a 35-year lease with payments rising one percent per year.

PRESEASON GAMES RECAP

NHL.COM: Ryan O’Reilly scored his first preseason goal with the Nashville Predators and collected three assists in a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Juuse Saros made 40 saves for the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Predators, they will honor former general manager David Poile during a pregame ceremony on Nov. 22. Poile retired on July 1 after 40 seasons in the NHL including 25 seasons as the Predators GM.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. William Nylander scored twice, including the winner in overtime. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points for the Leafs. Shayne Gostisbehere collected two assists for the Wings.

Florida Panthers center Kevin Stenlund scored two goals in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist as his club downed the New York Islanders 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the Islanders.

The Washington Capitals doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Riley Sutter netted a shorthanded goal and collected an assist for the Capitals. Spencer Martin stopped 35 shots in his first game for the Jackets since being claimed off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks earlier this week.

Boston Bruins center Matthew Poitras tallied the go-ahead goal in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman made 22 saves. Kaapo Kakko replied for the Rangers, who finished the preseason with a record of 1-5-0.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington kicked out 24 shots to shut out the Dallas Stars 4-0. Robert Thomas tallied twice for the Blues. Jake Oettinger stopped 24 shots for the Stars.

The Ottawa Senators blanked the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 as Anton Forsberg turned in a 21-save shutout. Jakob Chychrun and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Jets defenseman Ville Heinola left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period following a collision with Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heinola suffered the injury to his left leg. “It’s not good,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness following the game. “It’s not a short-term injury.”

A shootout goal by Mats Zuccarello gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. A third-period goal by Pat Maroon tied the game for the Wild. Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard was unable to get off a shot during the shootout as he was poke-checked by Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 27 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Wild as defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game in the first period and didn’t return. He will be evaluated today.

An overtime goal by Adrian Kempe lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-3. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied his first preseason goal for the Kings while Mike Hoffman picked up his first preseason tally for the Sharks.

The Arizona Coyotes downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on a two-goal performance by center Logan Cooley. Ducks goalie John Gibson allowed four goals on 17 shots before leaving the game with an apparent hand injury.

Four unanswered goals by the Vegas Golden Knights gave them a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists and Logan Thompson kicked out 31 shots for the Golden Knights. Cale Makar and Jonathan Drouin each had two assists for the Avalanche.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: The NHL is reportedly considering hosting the 2024 Draft at The Sphere, a music and entertainment arena just off the Strip in Las Vegas. For the past 30 years, NHL drafts have been primarily held inside the host city’s arena.

THE PROVINCE: Stan Smyl is transitioning out of the Vancouver Canucks front office into a role as a team ambassador. Smyl has been with the Canucks since breaking in as a player 45 years ago, serving in various roles following his playing career. He’s been serving as their vice president since 2021.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: A report indicated Devils chairman and governor David Blitzer is joining the NHL’s executive committee.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have found a new TV broadcaster, signing a multi-year deal with Scripps Sports to televise all locally broadcasted games. The announcement comes on the same day that the Coyotes and Bally Sports Arizona received approval to terminate their multi-year contract.