NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

Game recaps, the salary cap will rise next season, possible LTIR changes to be discussed in the offseason, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the first team to reach 100 points this season by downing the Calgary Flames 2-1. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, Darcy Kuemper made 44 saves and Cale Makar became the third defenseman in Avalanche history to reach 50 assists in a season. The Avs hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first overall. Tyler Toffoli scored for the Flames (88 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche got the win without Nathan MacKinnon, who is sidelined with what’s believed to be a fractured hand as the result of a fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba on Sunday.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 4-1 lead over the Montreal Canadiens before rolling to a 7-4 victory with three unanswered third-period goals. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected an assist, tying the record for most assists (70) in a season by a left wing. Ryan Lomberg also had two goals and an assist while Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists. Laurent Dauphin had a goal and an assist.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 49th goal of the season while Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly each had two points as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Boston Bruins 6-4. It was a costly win for Toronto with goaltender Petr Mrazek and defensemen Justin Holl and Ilya Lyubushkin leaving the game with injuries. The Leafs (89 points) sit one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while Boston sits two points behind the Leafs. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 with Steven Stamkos tallying his 30th goal of the season in overtime. Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov finished the game with three points each as the Lightning sits six points behind the first-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (96 points), who hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Rangers, they held on for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chris Kreider scored his 45th goal of the season as the Rangers hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for second place in the Metro Division. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored to reach 70 points for the 12th time in his career.

The Dallas Stars regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on third-period goals by Roope Hintz and Jacob Peterson. The Stars (77 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights. Miro Heiskanen returned to the Dallas lineup after being sidelined since March 2 by mononucleosis. The Ducks have lost 10 straight games.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots to backstop the Minnesota Wild to their seventh straight win by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Kirill Kaprizov’s 37th goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Wild hold second place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros made 36 stops in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Michael McCarron tallied twice and Mattias Ekholm had three assists for the Predators, who sit four points behind the Wild in third place in the Central. Before the game, the Predators held a moment of silence to honor Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away on Monday.

The New York Islanders held on for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brock Nelson netted his 32nd goal of the season while Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each had two assists. Vladislav Gavrikov tallied twice for the Blue Jackets, who played without head coach Brad Larsen and assistant coach Steve McCarthy as they entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

TSN: NHL general managers were officially informed by the league the salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million during the second day of their meetings in Florida. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s revenues are expected to top $5 billion this season.

Pierre LeBrun reports discussions on potential changes to long-term injury reserve rules (such as a playoff salary cap) didn’t lead to any rule changes. However, there is expected to be a further talk on this subject during the NHL Draft in Montreal in July. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he’s already spoken with the NHL Players Association about this issue.

LeBrun mentioned there’s been lots of “white noise” over how the Vegas Golden Knights are handling their LTIR this season. Bettman and Daly, however, said there are no issues with how Vegas is handling their LTIR business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darren Dreger said the league doesn’t consider this to be a major problem but rather a perception one where the media and fans are concerned. Nevertheless, they intend to discuss addressing that impression with the NHLPA. Whether it results in any immediate change remains to be seen. Because this is a collective bargaining agreement issue, it might not be addressed until the next round of CBA talks in 2026.

Chris Johnston reported the league is finalizing an agreement with the NHLPA regarding how no-trade and limited no-trade clauses are submitted by players. The plan would see a player’s no-trade lists sent to NHL Central Registry and the PA to eventually compile a database. This comes on the heels of the NHL overturning the Vegas Golden Knights’ recent attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks because the league was not aware of his no-trade clause when they initially approved the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised it took this long for a snafu like the attempted Dadonov trade to surface.

LeBrun reports there won’t be a Team North America or Team Europe in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey. It will instead return to a traditional format of countries.

SPORTSNET: Bettman also said he’ll be speaking with the daughters of the late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk as well as the executor of Melnyk’s estate. He said an ownership structure has been in place and it’s expected the franchise will continue to operate as it always has.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Senators fans were concerned over whether the team would be sold to a prospective owner who might have designs on relocating the franchise. That is not going to happen.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is hoping to retain interim head coach Martin St. Louis after this season. The club is 10-8-4 since St. Louis took over behind the bench on Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is St. Louis’ if he wants it. Judging by how much fun he’s having and the Canadiens’ improvement despite an ongoing rash of injuries and the recent trades involving four key players, I’ll be surprised if he turns down the opportunity.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Minnesota Wild have reportedly signed defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2 million.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse’s season could be over after suffering a broken bone in his hand.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.

Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.

The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.

Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.

Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association met Thursday to discuss plans for staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2024.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has elected for a jury trial in his sexual assault case. He is currently playing for KHL team Spartak Moscow.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2022

The All-Star Skills participants are announced, more bad headlines for the Blackhawks, the Ducks name Pat Verbeek as their new general manager, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I underwent surgery on Thursday to repair tendon damage in my right wrist. I will attempt to provide daily updates to the site as usual during my 10-14 day convalescence but my usual comments on notable headlines and trade/free agent rumors could be shorter and fewer. Some of you will probably be thankful for that (insert wink emoji here.). Anyway, please bear with me if uploads are a little later than usual over the next week or two.

Now, on to today’s headlines…

NHL.COM: The participants in the 2022 NHL All-Star skill competitions were announced yesterday.

The 2022 NHL All-Star Skills competition takes place on Friday, Feb.4, 2022 (NHL.com).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin are among those taking part in the Fastest Skater competition. Hardest shot participants include Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier.

The Breakaway challenge features Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau will take part in the Accuracy Shooting. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Carolina Hurricanes netminder Frederik Andersen and Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros are among the participants in the Save Streak competition.

Two new events include the Fountain Faceoff at the famed Fountains of Bellagio where participants attempt to shoot pucks into five targets in the shortest period of time and the Las Vegas NHL 21 in ’22. That event is a twist on blackjack in which players will shoot at a rack of oversized playing cards hoping to reach 21 without going bust in the least amount of shots.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will take part in the Fountain Faceoff. Participants in the NHL 21 in ’22 event include Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz released statements yesterday regarding the chairman berating two reporters during a Wednesday town hall. Rocky became upset with a question directed to Danny over what steps the franchise has taken to prevent a situation like 2010 from happening amid the Kyle Beach allegations.

Rocky apologized for his outburst and praised Danny and his staff for the work they have done to improve the culture and the team. Danny, meanwhile, elaborated on the steps his club has taken in implementing policies, programs and training regarding mental health, culture and investigating incidents of non-compliance.

SPORTSNET: Three more people are considering lawsuits against the Blackhawks related to the Brad Aldrich scandal. Aldrich was the former Blackhawks video coach who Beach alleged sexually assaulted him in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to take time to undo the damage Rocky Wirtz’s tantrum did to the Blackhawks’ efforts to move on in a positive way from the fallout of the investigation into Beach’s allegations. Critics are already questioning his fitness to lead the club.

TSN (via THE SCORE): Speaking of the Blackhawks, they will be interviewing Peter Chiarelli for the vacant post of general manager. Chiarelli won a Stanley Cup as GM of the Boston Bruins in 2011 but his subsequent tenure with the Edmonton Oilers was nowhere near as successful as the club struggled to reach the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli will be just one of several candidates the Blackhawks will interview.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks officially introduced Pat Verbeek as their new general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what plans Verbeek has in store for the Ducks before the trade deadline and in the offseason. The rebuilding club has exceeded expectations and is in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Johan Larsson underwent sports hernia surgery and will be sidelined for eight weeks.

TSN (via THE SCORE): Pierre LeBrun reports there’s a strong possibility the 2024 World Cup of Hockey takes place in February of that month rather than September. It would be the first to be staged in the middle of a season.