NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

The Penguins get their ninth straight win after making a minor trade, the Leafs hand the slumping Oilers another loss, plus the latest COVID updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their ninth straight win by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Bryan Rust scored twice and set up another while Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist. Brayden Schenn also had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Earlier in the day, the Penguins made a minor trade by shipping Sam Lafferty to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Alex Nylander.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were apparently concerned about losing Lafferty via waivers as they attempt to make room for Evgeni Malkin’s return. By trading him to the Blackhawks they get an asset in return who is exempt from waivers this season.

Nylander, 23, is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wiliam Nylander. A former first-round pick (eighth overall) with the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, he’s struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has spent this season in the minors. He’s expected to be sent to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Ilya Mikheyev broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Alex Kerfoot put the game away with an empty-netter. The Oilers played without Connor McDavid, who entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: McDavid, teammate Tyson Barrie and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson were among the latest players to enter COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed three more home games involving Canadian clubs. Those games are the Jan. 15 contest between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens, the Jan. 17 matchup between the Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Jan. 18 games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: The NHL and 20 of its teams are suing five of their insurance providers over rejected COVID-19 claims citing losses of $1 billion. The suit was filed in California last June.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen doesn’t appreciate bearing the brunt of the criticism from head coach Dave Tippett and the media for the club’s struggles. “It’s not nice being thrown under the bus,” he told a Finnish media outlet. “I have to be better, but at the same time, we scored seven goals in my last six losses. I can’t score goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koskinen’s shaky goaltending is a factor in the Oilers’ recent swoon but he has a good point about the lack of goal production he’s received of late.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday announced the hiring of Chantal Machabee as their new vice-president of communications. She’s spent the past 32 years with the Quebec-based sports network RDS covering the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Machabee’s hiring was met with universal acclaim by her peers throughout the NHL media. She was a pioneer for women hoping to break into sports media.

TVA SPORTS: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re currently meeting with potential candidates for the role of general manager. Among them is Patrick Roy and they’re expected to meet with him at the end of this week.

SPORTSNET: Eric Staal’s agent said his client is interested in playing for Team Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes announced a sports betting partnership with SaharaBets.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2021

The fallout from the Rangers re-signing Mika Zibanejad plus the latest on the Senators and Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien considers the New York Rangers out of the Jack Eichel trade market with their signing of Mika Zibanejad yesterday to an eight-year extension worth $8.5 million per season.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (NHL Images).

O’Brien suggests the Rangers do have some salary-cap challenges ahead. 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox becomes a restricted free agent next summer. In addition to Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Igor Shesterkin and Barclay Goodrow take up a considerable chunk of their salary-cap payroll for 2022-23.

Fox could be eyeing a deal comparable to the $9 million AAV Cale Makar signed this summer with the Colorado Avalanche. Promising winger Kaapo Kakko is also slated for RFA status next summer.

NEW YORK POST: Before the Zibanejad signing, Larry Brooks was skeptical of the Rangers acquiring Eichel. On Oct. 9, he suggested the only way the Blueshirts could afford Eichel and Zibanejad was if the Buffalo Sabres absorbed 40 to 50 percent of the 24-year-old center’s $10 million annual cap hit.

Brooks dismissed the likelihood of Sabres owner Terry Pegula agreeing to that. He believed Pegula would prefer shipping Eichel anywhere else but the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers aren’t acquiring Jack Eichel unless Zibanejad’s new contract is part of some elaborate “sign-and-trade” deal by general manager Chris Drury. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed $10 million in cap space to fit Eichel’s cap hit within their payroll. Doing that would weaken their depth.

Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Kakko, Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome among their notable free agents. Fox and Kakko are coming off their entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. Georgiev has arbitration rights while Strome is a UFA.

I don’t see the Rangers taking the hard-line with Fox. He’ll get at least $9 million, maybe more after winning the Norris Trophy last season. That will push the Rangers’ cap payroll to over $71 million with $11 million remaining for the others. They can likely afford most of them but it could be expensive to find a suitable replacement for Strome if he hits the open market.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion will take a close look at the waiver wire to see if he can add another center with Colin White on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He could also go the trade route for help, perhaps by targeting a cap-strapped club.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks don’t have to worry about losing Alex Nylander through waivers. He’d been previously designated as waiver-eligible but Cap Friendly now indicates he’s exempt because he was sidelined throughout last season. He still needs another pro season or 53 NHL games to be waiver-eligible.