Sabres rookie Devon Levi backstops his club to a crucial win in his debut game, Stars winger Jason Robertson breaks a single-season franchise scoring record, plus the latest on Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi made 31 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers. Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal as the Sabres improved to 36-31-7 to move within five points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 79 points. Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox scored for the Rangers (44-21-11) to force the extra frame. With 99 points, the playoff-bound Rangers sit three points back of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division.
Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson (NHL Images)
The Dallas Stars got a four-point performance by Jason Robertson (one goal, three assists) to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. With 42 goals and 95 points, Robertson broke Mike Modano’s single-season franchise record as the 41-20-14 Stars (96 points) moved within one point of first place in the Central Division. The Coyotes fell to 27-36-13 on the season.
Winnipeg Jets forwards Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. With the win, the Jets (42-31-3) maintained their two-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 87 points. The Red Wings dropped to 33-33-9.
Speaking of the Flames, they kept pace with the Jets thanks to an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli to nip the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Toffoli scored twice in this game to reach a personal best of 33 goals on the season for the 35-26-15 Flames. The Canucks sit at 34-34-7.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said defenseman Filip Hronek’s season is likely over as he continues to recuperate from a shoulder injury suffered earlier this season. The Canucks want Hronek to spend the next four months regaining his full strength to be ready for 2023-24.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 28 dealing with the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews’ motivation for returning this late in the season with the Blackhawks eliminated from playoff contention is the realization that these could be his final games with the club. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
Toews said he’s not near deciding on retirement. Given his health issues, however, he must decide if he can physically withstand the rigors of an NHL season.
TORONTO SUN: Ryan O’Reilly returned to practice with his Maple Leafs teammates on Friday for the first time since suffering a broken finger on March 4. His goal is to be 100 percent before the playoffs open on April 17.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, winger Noel Acciari remains sidelined by a neck injury while Wayne Simmonds missed practice on Friday due to illness.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Andre Burakovsky suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury that has delayed his return to the lineup. It’s hoped he’ll be ready in time for the playoffs.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks rookie winger William Eklund underwent successful season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower-body injuries) will miss Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators will honor the Covenant School shooting victims and their families on Saturday and for the remainder of this season.
Recaps of Friday’s games, more information on the Flyers’ recent management change, the Lightning induct Phil Esposito, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier into its Hall of Fame, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs became the fifth team to reach the 90-point mark by downing the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. Zach Aston-Reese scored two goals while John Tavares, Morgan Rielly and Calle Jarnkrok each had two points as the Leafs improved to 41-18-9 and sit second in the Atlantic Division with 91 points. The 44-15-8 Hurricanes (96 points) have dropped three of their last four and remain one point up on the New Jersey Devils for the lead in the Metropolitan Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs forward Noel Acciari left the game in the first period after being struck in the jaw after a collision with Hurricanes winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
Philadelphia Flyers winger Owen Tippett (NHL Images)
Philadelphia Flyers winger Owen Tippett tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 5-2 upset of the Buffalo Sabres. Carter Hart made 36 saves for the 25-32-11 Flyers. Victor Olofsson scored both goals for the Sabres (33-29-6) as they remain six points behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 72 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are fading down the stretch, losing eight of their last 10 games. With 14 games remaining in their schedule and holding two games in hand over the Islanders, they cannot afford to lose more ground in the standings if they want to keep their fading playoff hopes alive.
The St. Louis Blues got two goals from Sammy Blais to beat the Washington Capitals 5-2. Joel Hofer stopped 32 shots in his first NHL game this season to pick up his second career win for the 30-33-5 Blues. The Capitals dropped to 33-30-7 (73 points) and sit five points back of the Islanders.
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Harrington scored two goals in a 7-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks improved to 23-36-10 on the season. Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for the 21-40-7 Blue Jackets.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Marcus Hayes reports sources indicated Flyers CEO Dave Scott did not consult the “Three Wise Men” – Bob Clarke, Paul Holmgren and Bill Barber – when he made the decision to fire Chuck Fletcher as general manager and hire Daniel Briere as interim GM.
Clarke, Holmgren and Barber are former Flyers players who went on to roles in management and coaching with the club for years before becoming senior advisors to the team. One league source said they wouldn’t have approved of Briere’s hiring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics of the Flyers’ front office such as Hayes claim the franchise has been hampered in recent years by Clarke, Holmgren and Barber, accusing them of favoring people “who see the game through the same mottled, last-century lenses as they still see it.”
Clarke, Holmgren and Barber played key roles for the Flyers on the ice, behind the bench and in the front office, turning them into Stanley Cup champions in the 1970s and contenders from the 1980s through 2010. They are no longer in management and coaching roles but still wielded considerable influence over who was employed in those roles.
However, the Flyers are poised to miss the playoffs for the seventh time since 2012-13. It’s been apparent for some time that this club is struggling to adjust to a changing game that favors speed and skill.
Hiring Briere without first consulting Clarke, Holmgren and Barber signals what could be other significant changes in the Flyers’ front office. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires in the coming months.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki was fined $2,500.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Florida Panthers forward Anton Lundell on Thursday.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, head coach Martin St. Louis revealed winger Jonathan Drouin missed a team meeting on Friday morning and will not be allowed to play in Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Speaking of St. Louis and the Lightning, the club honored him, Vincent Lecavalier and Phil Esposito as its first inductees into its Hall of Fame. Esposito was the Lightning’s founder in 1992 while St. Louis and Lecavalier became the team’s first stars, leading the Bolts to its first Stanley Cup in 2004.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Esposito, St. Louis and Lecavalier for their well-deserved honors.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings prized defenseman Simon Edvinsson will play his first NHL game today against the Colorado Avalanche.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed top goalie prospect Devon Levi to a three-year entry-level contract.
The Maple Leafs acquire Ryan O’Reilly in a three-team trade, Connor McDavid reaches the 100-point plateau again, Patrick Kane reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
MAPLE LEAFS ACQUIRE RYAN O’REILLY
NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues in a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Wild.
“The Blues received the rights to forward prospectJosh Pillar from the Wild for O’Reilly, then traded him and Acciari to the Maple Leafs for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators’ third-round pick this year, Toronto’s second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and forwards Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette.
Minnesota received Toronto’s fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.”
CAP FRIENDLY: The Blues retained 50 percent of O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit with the Wild and Leafs each taking on 25 percent.
The St. Louis Blues ship Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-team trade (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the previous moves made by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas leading up to the annual trade deadline, this one is the biggest. O’Reilly was among this season’s top trade candidates. The 32-year-old center is a former winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy the Selke Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy. He is considered among the league’s elite two-way forwards despite the decline in his production this season and a broken foot that sidelined him for nearly six weeks.
I admire the creativity of Dubas and his capologist in finding a way to land a notable player despite carrying limited cap space. It’s the second time he’s gone the three-team trade route, with his previous effort being the 2021 acquisition of Nick Foligno.
Leafs fans will be hoping that the O’Reilly deal has better results than the Foligno trade. So will Dubas, whose future as Leafs GM could be determined by his club’s performance over the remainder of this season and in the playoffs.
O’Reilly should help the Leafs at both ends of the rink. Acciari, meanwhile, is a good bottom-six winger who should help their penalty kill. However, I remain concerned about their blueline and goaltending depth in their quest to get over the postseason hump.
The Blues roster rebuild (retool?) continues just over a week after they shipped Vladimir Taransenko to the New York Rangers. They now have three first-round picks and two third-rounders in this year’s draft as well as two second-round selections and two fourth-rounders in the 2024 draft. The Blues also receive a veteran depth forward in Gaudette for the rest of this season plus a young center in Abramov who might have a future in St. Louis.
Wild GM Bill Guerin used his cap space to buy himself a fourth-round pick. He still has over $12.8 million in projected trade deadline cap room to make other deals before the March 3 deadline.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists to become the first player this season to reach 100 points in a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Rangers. Alexis Lafreniere tallied the game-winner and Chris Kreider scored twice in regulation as the Rangers overcame a 4-1 deficit. Winners of seven straight, the Rangers (33-14-8) sit one point behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 74 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid has now reached the 100-point mark six times in eight years. It’s also the fifth time he’s been the first player in a season to reach that plateau, sitting behind Mario Lemieux and Phil Esposito (six teams each) and Wayne Gretzky (nine times).
The Oilers activated winger Kailer Yamamoto off injured reserve. Rather than trade or waive Jesse Puljujarvi as many observers anticipated to make room for Yamamoto, they instead loaned Dylan Holloway and Vincent Desharnais to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored two goals as his club rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on an overtime goal by Andreas Athanasiou. Max Domi and Jake McCabe each had two assists for the 17-32-5 Blackhawks. Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux scored for the Senators (26-24-4) as they sit seven points behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 56 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane moved into third place among American-born NHL players with 1,217 points. He’s now 15 points behind Phil Housley for second overall but he has a long way to go yet to catch Mike Modano, who is 157 points ahead with 1,374.
Before the game, former Senator Chris Neil was honored by having his number 25 raised to the rafters in the Canadian Tire Centre. Neil is the third player in modern Senators history to have his number retired, joining Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips.
Speaking of the Islanders, they overcame a 4-3 deficit on third-period goals by Brock Nelson and Zach Parise to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4. Ilya Sorokin kicked out 40 shots while Nelson and Anders Lee each scored two goals as the Islanders (28-23-7) vaulted over the Washington Capitals into the final Eastern wild-card spot with 63 points. Rickard Rakell tallied twice for the Penguins (27-18-9), who also have 63 points but sit in the first wild-card berth with four games in hand over the Isles.
The Minnesota Wild dimmed the Dallas Stars 2-1 on shootout goals by Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy. Filip Gustavsson stopped 29 shots while Mats Zuccarello scored in regulation for the 29-21-5 Wild as they hold a two-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 63 points. Jamie Benn scored in regulation for the Stars (30-14-12) as they remain on top of the Western Conference with 72 points.
IN OTHER NEWS…
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau said critical comments made on Twitter by his agent aimed at the club’s recent struggles didn’t represent his opinion about the club or head coach Darryl Sutter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau’s agent is Allan Walsh, who created a stir during the 2020 playoffs with a tweet insinuating that client Marc-Andre Fleury was being stabbed in the back by head coach Peter DeBoer. Fleury was the starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights while DeBoer was their head coach.
SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs moved goaltender Matt Murray to long-term injury reserve following the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari. Once third-string goaltender Joseph Woll is ready to return to the AHL, the Leafs will have enough room to activate Murray and his $4.6 million salary when he’s healthy again.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed winger Tanner Pearson on LTIR with a season-ending hand injury suffered on Nov. 9.
GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that Arizona Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere could return to the lineup on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gostisbehere’s been sidelined since Jan. 24 with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere’s return will be watched closely by playoff contenders seeking an experienced puck-moving defenseman.
NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky tweeted that the Devils sending Alexander Holtz to their AHL affiliate to the minors isn’t in anticipation of a trade but to give the young forward some game play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtz has only appeared in 19 games this season and doesn’t see much ice time when he does play. I’ve mentioned him as a possible trade chip if they intend to pursue a notable winger such as San Jose’s Timo Meier at the trade deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators 2021 first-round pick Zachary L’Heureux received a 10-game suspension by the QMJHL for poking at a fan with a stick following a Feb. 8 game.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS UNDER NEW GM DAVIDSON?
THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers suggested Kyle Davidson, the Chicago Blackhawks’ new full-time general manager, should attempt to craft a trade package that will help the club gain a first-round pick in this year’s draft. The Hawks traded their first-rounder to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer in the Seth Jones trade.
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)
Trade candidates could include free agents such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Dominik Kubalik, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Dylan Strome. Of these, only Fleury could fetch a first-rounder but goalies are difficult to trade. In Fleury’s case, the Blackhawks intend to honor the promise made by former GM Stan Bowman giving the netminder total control over whether and where he goes.
Davidson’s intent to rebuild also raises questions over the futures of long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both have a year remaining on their contracts. Will one or both be re-signed and if so, will they be on long- or short-term deals?
DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin also weighed in on those factors. He thinks Davidson should try to convince Kane, who’s still a star, to stick with the rebuilding club as they try to build around Jones, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reports it sounds like Fleury might not be inclined to move by the trade deadline and seems to be leaning toward finishing the season in Chicago. The 37-year-old goalie could change his mind if a Stanley Cup contender comes calling. If he prefers to stay, however, it will rob the Blackhawks of a valuable bargaining chip leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.
There’s been some speculation suggesting the Blackhawks could listen to offers for Alex DeBrincat. However, I’m in agreement with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who said he’d be surprised if the Hawks traded the 24-year-old scoring winger. They need a player like him to build around.
DEBRUSK STILL WANTS TO BE TRADED
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports agent Rick Valette, who represents Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, said his client’s trade demand made back in November still stands. Valette also said he’s spoken with other clubs (with the Bruins’ permission) to let them know they’re willing to negotiate a contract extension if it will facilitate a trade.
DeBrusk, 25, is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. LeBrun said interested clubs are concerned about the $4.4 million qualifying offer it would take to retain his rights after this season. He speculates perhaps an agreement on an extension at a cheaper price might send everyone home happy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk’s performance has improved in recent games after being moved up to the club’s top line in what was considered an attempt by management to showcase him for a trade. That may have improved his trade value but could also make him valuable to the Bruins as they push to secure a playoff berth. They could decide to retain him if they don’t get any suitable offers now and then try to trade him in the offseason.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has yet to tell management he’s ready to waive his no-movement clause. LeBrun believes things could pick up next week. He indicated the Flyers have told teams Giroux could arguably be the most impactful player at this year’s trade deadline. That means it could be expensive to acquire him, perhaps a first-round, a young player, and a prospect or two assets of higher quality.
Darren Dreger reports Rasmus Ristolainen’s fate could be decided as early as this week. There will be contract talks between his agent and Flyers management but he could be shopped if the contract doesn’t make sense for the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers can set that high price for Giroux and they might get it. However, the closer we get to the deadline the more they risk driving interested parties toward other cheaper options. Whatever return the Flyers get isn’t going to make their fans happy. It’ll be a big win if they can get a first-rounder, a quality prospect and a promising young player.
TRADE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”
Recaps of Wednesday’s action, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz berates reporters during town hall event, Alex Ovechkin sidelined from the upcoming All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers blew an early 3-0 lead but recovered on two goals by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane also scored for the Oilers (49 points), who remain three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images)
Speaking of the Flames, they maintained their lead over the Oilers by doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Chris Tanev scored and collected three assists while Blake Coleman tallied twice. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.
Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault netted two goals in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Kings are tied with the Anaheim Ducks with 55 points but sit in second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored his 22nd goal of the season.
The Minnesota Wild got a 30-save shutout from goaltender Cam Talbot to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Kevin Fiala extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 59 points.
Seattle Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer turned in a 19-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. Mason Appleton and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz lost his temper during a town hall meeting yesterday when The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus asked him about the club’s work to protect their players in the aftermath of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations.
“We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We’re not going to talk about anything that happened. We’re moving on, “ said an obviously angered Wirtz. “What we’re doing today is our business. I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t work for the company. If somebody in the company asks that question, we’ll answer it.”
Asked the same question by another reporter, Wirtz angrily told them to “get off that subject.”
Wirtz later issued an apology to the reporters and the fans, saying his remarks “crossed the line.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see Wirtz’s outbursts in this link. The Blackhawks’ chairman has been roundly condemned for his petulant remarks. Wirtz acted as though the investigation into Beach’s allegations was an annoyance to be forgotten instead of a very serious issue that still resonates among fans and media. He undid everything his club had done since the investigation concluded to assure the public that what happened to Beach will never happen to another player again.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports former NHL star Pat Verbeek is set to become the next general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. Verbeek spent 21 seasons as a player and has worked with Steve Yzerman as an assistant GM with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could make the official announcement as early as today. Verbeek has had considerable experience working with one of the league’s best general managers. The Ducks interim GM, Martin Madden, was considered among the front-runners for the role. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains as their assistant GM.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss the upcoming NHL All-Star Game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday. He will be replaced by teammate Tom Wilson while Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux will take over from Ovechkin as captain of the Metropolitan Division. Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault was also added to the All-Star Game roster.
The Columbus Blue Jackets report forward Eric Robinson will be sidelined for six weeks by a knee injury.
CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have sent forward Noel Acciari to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on a conditioning stint. He has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury.
Carey Price enters the league’s player assistance program, the USA, Finland and Czech Republic name their first players to their respective Olympic men’s hockey teams, Blake Coleman suspended, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price entered the NHL’s player assistance program. The 34-year-old had been recovering from offseason knee surgery. General manager Marc Bergevin said Price could be absent from the team for at least 30 days but didn’t rule out a longer absence.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).
Bergevin said Price has the support of the club and his teammates. “Today, I’m not thinking about Carey Price, the goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, but Carey Price the human being,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will miss Price between the pipes while some fans are wondering why he’s reached out for assistance. None of that is important and the latter is none of our business. What matters is Price gets the help and time he needs to get his life and health back on track.
Speaking of the Canadiens, winger Jonathan Drouin missed Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators with a non-COVID-related illness.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens don’t intend on providing any updates on GM Bergevin’s contract situation until the end of the season. His deal is slated to expire at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read more about Bergevin’s contract status in today’s Rumor Mill.
TSN: Team USA named Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones to their 2022 Olympic men’s hockey team on Thursday.
Finland named Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, and Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen to their men’s Olympic squad.
NHL.COM: The Czech Republic named Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek to their Olympic team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The IIHF requested countries submit the names of their first three players several weeks ago. Canada and Sweden submitted theirs earlier this week.
NHL.COM: Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman was suspended for the club’s final preseason game and their first regular-season contest for boarding Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins during Wednesday’s preseason game.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz will miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury. He also suffered a lower-body injury in the 2020 playoffs and missed all of last season. The Avs also announced head coach Jared Bednar tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the club’s final two preseason games. It’s unclear when he’ll return behind the bench.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Colin White requires surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder. He’s expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months. Meanwhile, the club announced they’ve signed winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $900K contract.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers winger Noel Acciari could miss significant time with an upper-body injury.
SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian struck his head on the ice during a fight with Vancouver Canucks’ Zack MacEwen in last night’s preseason game between the two clubs. Kassian had to be helped from the ice but was reportedly talking to teammates in the dressing room and in good spirits.
NEW YORK POST: A power failure in part of the Prudential Center led to the cancellation of the preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.