NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

A milestone game for Nicklas Backstrom, another big night for Jonathan Huberdeau and Noel Acciari, plus updates on Jack Eichel, Jason Zucker, Darcy Kuemper, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached 900 points with two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. He and Alex Ovechkin were playing in their 900th game together. Ovechkin scored and set up another. Devils defenseman Andy Greene played in his 900th career NHL contest.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached his 900th career point in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

A five-goal second period powered the Florida Panthers over the Dallas Stars 7-4. For the second straight game, Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four points (one goal, three assists) while teammate Noel Acciari tallied his second straight hat trick. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars while teammate Joe Pavelski played his 1,000th career NHL game. Stars winger Alexander Radulov missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Mitch Marner and William Nylander each scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Rangers 6-3. Auston Matthews collected two assists for the Leafs.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Pettersson each picked up two assists for the Penguins. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless. Edmonton has won only three of their last 12 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers (42 points) have slipped to third place in the Pacific Division. They’re one point ahead of the Calgary Flames, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel returned to practice yesterday but is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. It’s uncertain if he’ll be in the lineup for today’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Center Johan Larsson (upper body) is expected to miss the next two games.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker will miss the next four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right fibula.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will turn to Antti Raanta with Adin Hill as his backup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson will miss at least the next two games with a lower-body injury. The club also placed defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body) on injured reserve.

The Ottawa Senators placed goaltender Anders Nilsson on injured reserve after he suffered a concussion. Veteran goalie Craig Anderson has returned from injury and is ready to go. The Senators also announced defenseman Ron Hainsey will miss a week to 10 days with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, the Kings place Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists and Noel Acciari tallied a hat trick as the Florida Panthers crushed the Ottawa Senators 6-1. The Panthers blew the game open with four unanswered second-period goals.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists in a 6-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

David Perron’s hat trick led the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-2, snapping the latter’s nine-game points streak. Blues forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Oskar Sundqvist each collected two assists.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their first win in five games by edging the Dallas Stars 2-1. Mikko Koskinen kicked out 34 shots while teammates Zack Kassian and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 39 saves backstopping his club over the New York Rangers 5-2. Predators captain Roman Josi collected three points. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored to extend his points streak to five games.

The Columbus Blue Jackets blanked the Washington Capitals 3-0. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 30 shots for the shutout while Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied twice for the Jackets.

HEADLINES

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty, Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair, and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending December 15.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday placed winger Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The contract termination won’t provide the Kings any salary-cap relief because it’s a 35-plus contract. It just means they’re no longer paying Kovalchuk’s actual salary.

Kovalchuk will become an unrestricted free agent. He could sign with another NHL club or return to the KHL.

The 36-year-old winger is no longer an offensive force. If he wants to stay in the NHL, he won’t get a lucrative offer like the three-year, $6.25-million per season contract he had with the Kings.

I’ll have more on Kovalchuk in the Rumors section.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Joel Farabee received a three-game suspension for interference on Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs Tyson Barrie and Trevor Moore could return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild sent goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to their AHL affiliate in Iowa and placed forward Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body) on injured reserve.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford issues an apology for his unacceptable language and actions toward several former players earlier in this coaching career. He will resume his normal coaching duties with the club on Jan. 2.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

The Blues take a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Stars re-sign two players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues are one victory away from their first-ever Stanley Cup following a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Final. Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-opener and set up David Perron for the winner while Jordan Binnington kicked out 38 shots.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington backstopped his club to victory in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

The winning goal was controversial as an obvious trip on Bruins winger Noel Acciari by Blues center Tyler Bozak went uncalled before David Perron’s tally. Bruins president Cam Neely and coach Bruce Cassidy were furious with the officials. Following the game, Cassidy said the non-call was “egregious”, calling it a “black eye” for the league.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suited up for this contest despite a broken jaw suffered in Game 4. He played over 16 minutes, blocked three shots and led all Bruins defensemen with four hits.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That missed trip by Bozak on Acciari was just the latest embarrassment for the league in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Blues go on to win this series, Bruins fans could point to that missed penalty as the reason. The officiating has been terrible, so much so that league commissioner Gary Bettman recently promised some changes in the off-season. 

That call overshadowed Binnington’s outstanding performance. The Blues were dominated through most of Game 5, especially in the first period. Binnington, however, made the difference.

O’Reilly also deserves his share of plaudits for his efforts in this contest. While Binnington will be considered the Blues’ front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy, O’Reilly also deserves consideration. He’s been impressive throughout this postseason. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Roman Polak and winger Mattias Janmark to one-year contracts yesterday. Polak, 33, will earn $1.75 million for 2019-20. The 26-year-old Janmark will make $2.3 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators officially hired Jack Capuano yesterday as an associate coach.  His role will be improving the club’s young defense.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets inked forwards Seth Griffth and JC Lipton to one-year, two-way deals worth $700K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: Overhauling their AHL affiliate will be the priority of the Rangers under new team president John Davidson.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2019

Sharks bite Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, an injury update on John Tavares, Finnish prospect Kaapa Kakko earning rave reviews at the World Championships, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Logan Couture and Timo Meier each scored twice as the San Jose Sharks downed the St. Louis Blues 6-3 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist. Game 2 goes Monday at 9 pm ET in San Jose.

Two goals by San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier powered his club to victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Game 1 is anything to go by, this will be an entertaining series. It was certainly a physical contest, with the two clubs combining for 76 hits. The Blues managed to keep it close until Meier blew the game open with two straight second-period goals. The Sharks got to St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington, but the rookie has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from a bad game.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares will be sidelined a month with an oblique injury. Once he’s recovered, he’s expected to resume his full offseason training schedule. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins forward Noel Acciari (upper-body injury)won’t be in the lineup for Game 2 this afternoon against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, he’s hoping to return to action when the series shifts to Carolina for Game 3.

SPORTSNET: NHL prospect Kaapo Kakko tallied a hat trick for Finland in a 4-2 victory over Slovakia in preliminary-round play at the World Championships. Kakko also scored two goals in a 3-1 win over Canada on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kakko is the top European skater heading into the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. Center Jack Hughes is considered the most likely to be selected by the New Jersey Devils with the first-overall pick. Kakko, however, is making a strong case for himself with his performance thus far at the Worlds. If the Devils select Hughes, the New York Rangers will happily snap up Kakko with the second-overall selection. 

THE SCORE: The Ottawa Senators received permission from the Dallas Stars to interview assistant coach Rick Bowness for their vacant head-coaching job. Bowness held that role from 1992-93 to 1995-96.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, Senators need a new downtown arena location and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: A four-goal second period powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-2 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists while Andreas Johnsson scored twice for the Leafs (82 points), who move within a point of the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs blueline was dealt a blow as defenseman Travis Dermott suffered a shoulder injury and is listed as week-to-week. He joins Jake Gardiner (back injury, week-to-week) on the sidelines

The Calgary Flames 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by a scary injury to Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller after he crashed head-first into the end boards. Mueller was stretchered from the game and sent to a hospital but is reportedly conscious and has the full range of motion of his limbs. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied his 40th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images)

Shootout goals by Mikko Rantanen and Carl Soderberg gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves in a losing cause for the Canucks. The Avalanche (68 points) moved one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. New Canucks winger Tanner Pearson revealed he’s been hampered by an undisclosed injury since late-December that is affecting his scoring but isn’t serious enough to take him out of action. 

Patrick Kane’s 40th goal of the season was also the game-winner as the Chicago Blackhawks nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Alex DeBrincat also scored twice for the Blackhawks (63 points), who sit five points behind the Avalanche. Ducks forward Rickard Rakell was ejected from the game in the second period for an ugly hit from behind on Blackhawks winger Drake Caggiula. 

Victor Hedman scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the New York Rangers 4-3 to pick up their franchise-record 10th straight victory. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov collected three assists and now has 104 points on the season. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Bryan Rust (lower body) and Chad Ruhwedel (upper body) are both sidelined with “longer-term injuries” 

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Noel Acciari is questionable for tonight’s game against the Lightning after undergoing dental surgery to repair damage suffered on Tuesday against San Jose when he was struck in the mouth by a puck. 

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Zac Dalpe to a two-year, two-way contract. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed Conor Garland to a two-year contract extension worth $775K per season. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk remains determined to find a new downtown location for a new arena after the National Capital Commission announced the Rendezvous LeBreton plan had fallen through. “We are devastated that our dream has been shattered. However, we will not let our vision die or allow our enthusiasm to be diminished by this ill-fated experience,” Melnyk said in a statement.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2017

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid could receive a significant pay raise on his next contract.

Connor McDavid could get a big pay raise, an update on Dion Phaneuf & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid could sign an eight-year contract extension with the club worth $13.25 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers could take McDavid and his agent to task for seeking such a lucrative contract. I’ve seen a few folks on Twitter attempting to disparage the McDavid camp by comparing his rumored new salary-cap hit to what Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million annually) and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin ($9.5 million) received following the completion of their ELCs.

However, the percentage of McDavid’s potential new annual cap hit would be similar to what Crosby and Ovechkin received coming off their ELCs. McDavid’s annual average value would be around 18 percent of the Oilers’ $75 million cap ceiling for 2018-19 (assuming a flat cap for that season. It could be higher). When Crosby’s five-year deal kicked in back in 2008-09, it was just over 15 percent of the Penguins’ $56.7 million salary-cap maximum for that season, while Ovechkin’s 13-year contract was worth around 17 percent of the Capitals’ cap ceiling in its first season.

Besides, what are the Oilers to do? Not pay their franchise player top dollar? Play hardball with the guy who could lead them back to championship glory? If they’re willing to pony up over $13 million annually to lock up McDavid during his playing prime, so be it. Should he reach all expectations and take over as the NHL’s top player over that period, it’ll be money well spent. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators intend to keep defenseman Dion Phaneuf. “Inquiries slowed after the Draft in Chicago and more so once Methot was traded to Dallas.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phaneuf’s partial no-trade clause also complicated things. Reports indicated the teams with interest in him weren’t on his list of acceptable trade destinations. 

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, they re-signed goaltender Mike Condon to a three-year, $7.2 million contract ($2.4 million annual cap hit).

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund underwent surgery on his left shoulder and will be sidelined until December.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Brendan Smith to a four-year, $17.4 million contract. It’s worth an annual cap hit of $4.35 million.

BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Sven Andrighetto to a two-year, $2.8 million contract. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins re-signed forward Noel Acciari to a two-year deal worth $725K per season. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings re-signed defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Brian Lashoff to two-year contracts. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Steve Konowalchuk and Mark Morrison as assistant coaches. 

TSN: Rick Westhead reports of ongoing internal squabbling within the NHL Players Association. “In front of the 30 players in attendance in downtown Toronto, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider and union lawyer Bruce Meyer condemned player agents Anton Thun, Ritch Winter and Kurt Overhardt, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting.” The trio were accused of “misleading clients when they said the NHLPA has stonewalled requests for information about union finances.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this could be poisonous for association unity leading up to what could be another nasty labor dispute with the league if either side exercises its early opt-out option from the current collective bargaining agreement in September 2019, which could lead to another lockout a year later. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to address these disputes now so that they don’t become toxic before squaring off with the league in three year’s time.