NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2020

Several teams begin Phase 2 training, current and former players of color form Hockey Diversity Alliance, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL BEGINS PHASE TWO TRAINING PERIOD

NHL.COM: Several NHL clubs began limited voluntary small-group workouts on Monday at their team facilities as part of Phase 2 of the league’s return-to-play plan. The Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights opened their facilities yesterday.

A handful of Oilers take part in small-group training on Monday (Photo via Edmonton Oilers).

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning are expected to have players on the ice today, while the Arizona Coyotes will open their training facilities on Thursday.

TSN: 16 teams are hoping to open their facilities this week for small-group training. The Montreal Canadiens are expected to open their doors on Thursday. The Vancouver Canucks, however, have no plans to reopen their facility for the foreseeable future. With only three Canucks in Vancouver with their own access to ice, it’s easier for them to continue working out on their own.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche won’t open their facilities until Wednesday or Thursday.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Bell MTS Place will remain closed for the time being as almost all of the Jets are currently at their off-season homes throughout North America and Europe.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets are among the clubs expected to open later this week. The Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues are among those that will wait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because the small-group training is voluntary, the teams aren’t obligated to reopen their training facilities unless requested by the players. With many players at their off-season homes and the ongoing travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, their preference is to continue working out at their current locations.

SEVEN CURRENT AND FORMER NHL PLAYERS FORM HOCKEY DIVERSITY ALLIANCE

THE SCORE: Seven current and former black NHL players formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane and former player Akim Aliu will co-head the group. The executive committee includes Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Minnesota Wild blueliner Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, former NHLer and current AHL player Chris Stewart, and former player Joel Ward.

The alliance will be an independent group seeking to eliminate racism and intolerance in hockey. It hopes to work closely with the NHL to bring about change.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said dialogue continues with the league and the Canadian government regarding the latter’s border quarantine issue. Daly said Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver remain among the league’s 10 options for two host cities for this summer’s 24-team return-to-play tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the weekend, the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons reported it appeared those three cities were out as potential hubs. He claimed Las Vegas is almost certainly to be named as one of the host cities, with Los Angeles or Chicago as the other. 

Pierre LeBrun reports the league and the NHL Players’ Association are hoping to open training camps in mid-July as part of Phase 3.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi have launched an auction to benefit Black Lives Matter DC and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

THE SCORE: Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Carter Hutton revealed an ongoing vision issue plagued him during 2019-20. However, he doesn’t blame it for his poor performance at times.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) has been cleared to resume skating. Teammate Josh Leivo (fractured knee cap) is unlikely to be ready in time for training camp in July.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes named Xavier A. Gutierrez as their new team president, CEO and alternate governor. He’s the first Latino president and CEO in NHL history.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Kent Somers reports Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo hinted he could have a new arena deal in place by the end of this year. Somers, however, remains skeptical.

If Meruelo has received a couple of “extremely attractive” offers from the East Valley, why hasn’t he taken them? What’s he waiting for? And what city or tribe is in position to make such an offer? Much less in the most difficult year (we hope) that most of us will experience?

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the New Jersey Devils and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, may be interested in purchasing MLB’s New York Mets.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

Potential revenue streams for playing in empty arenas, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Connor Hellebuyck and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL could make between $400 million and $500 million USD through various media deals and sponsorships if the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were staged in empty arenas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, folks, is why the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are examining every option to safely resume this season during the summer. Last month, the league reportedly informed the PA of potential losses up to $1.1 billion if the entire season was scrapped. If it’s at all possible to cut those losses in half, they’ll look into it.

ESPN.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the three Avs players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. The trio adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will face off against Wayne Gretzky in an NHL 20 game broadcast live on the Capitals’ Twitch channel on April 22, with the proceeds going toward COVID-19 relief benefits.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of virtual hockey, Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is among several NHL players to team up with professional esports gamers to hold a 14-day live streaming virtual hockey marathon called Hockey2Help to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts. Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad are among the participants.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is considered the front-runner to win the 2020 Vezina Trophy, but he’d rather have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it,” he said.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a four-year, $13.1-million contract extension. Scandella, 30, appeared in just 11 games with the Blues after being acquired in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Scandella’s small body of work with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong was impressed enough to pay the veteran blueliner $3.275 million annually over the next four seasons. The 30-year-old rearguard took a pay cut from his current $4 million AAV but he obviously felt it was worthwhile sticking with the defending Stanley Cup champion. Given the uncertainty over the effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and this summer’s free-agent market, it was probably a wise decision.

The problem, however, is the Blues now have over $78.5 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with captain Alex Pietrangelo slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Either Armstrong intends to let Pietrangelo depart, or he’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade and/or buyout to free up sufficient cap payroll to keep his captain in the fold.

TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has announced his retirement as a professional player. He spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Canadiens, tallying 119 goals and 453 assists for 572 points, as well as 32 points in 89 playoff contests. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Markov sits sixth among the Canadiens’ all-time leaders in games played. He’s also tied with Guy Lapointe for second in all-time points among Habs defensemen and sits second among their blueliners in all-time assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Markov in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

Evgeni Malkin reaches a career milestone, Taylor Hall collects his first point as a Coyote, Ilya Kovalchuk becomes a free agent, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin tallied his 400th career goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1. He’s the fourth player in Penguins history to reach that milestone. Tristan Jarry made 33 saves as the Penguins picked up their third straight victory. Kris Letang and Bryan Rust also netted two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored his 400th career NHL goal on Tuesday. (Photo via NHL Images)

Taylor Hall picked up his first point with the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Hall picked up a well-earned assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s game-winning goal.

Anze Kopitar’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Bruins have dropped six of their last seven games. Earlier in the day, Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent after clearing unconditional waivers, allowing the Kings to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kovalchuk’s struggles with the Kings, there’s plenty of speculation suggesting the 36-year-old winger could end up with another NHL club. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their second straight win by downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored twice, Dougie Hamilton collected three assists, and Andrei Svechnikov tallied his second lacrosse-style goal of the season. Meanwhile, the estranged relationship between the Jets and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took a step toward improvement as the blueliner is rehabbing his injured ankle in consultation with the club. He remains under suspension for failing to report to training camp.

Seven unanswered goals powered the Nashville Predators to an 8-3 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Calle Jarnkork and Craig Smith each had three-point performances for the Predators. Meanwhile, Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang will report to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after a two-month absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang was told not to report to Bridgeport by Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello as the latter attempted to honor the winger’s trade request. Ho-Sang needs to play to drum up any interest from rival clubs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice as his club held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist.

The Columbus Blue Jackets swept their back-to-back series against the Detroit Red Wings with a 5-3 victory. Former Wing Gustav Nyquist picked up two points. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returned to action for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 30. Jackets blueliner Ryan Murray is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Red Wings rearguard Danny DeKeyser is expected to miss the remainder of the season following back surgery on Tuesday. Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin injury) was sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 40 stops in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who got a boost from Travis Konecny’s return to the lineup following a three-game absence recovering from a concussion. Ducks winger Troy Terry left the game with a knee injury in the second period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-1 lead but went on to edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a brilliant overtime goal by Anthony Cirelli. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) on injured reserve.

Carey Price kicked out 38 shots backstopping the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tomas Tatar and Shea Weber each scored power-play goals. The Habs have won four of their last five and sit one point behind the Sabres for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Former NHLer and Colorado Eagles player Akim Aliu has accepted “a heartfelt and emotional apology” from Eagles equipment manager Tony Deynzer, who attended a team Halloween party in 2011 in blackface dressed as Aliu. Deynzer will keep his job with the club.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL defenseman Scot Kleinendorst died yesterday of injuries he suffered while on the job at a paper mill in Grand Rapids. He was 59. Kleinendorst spent eight seasons in the NHL from 1982-83 to 1989-90 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, and Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kleinendorst’s family, friends, and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

Game recaps, the Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer, Forbes releases its annual evaluation of NHL franchises, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: T.J. Oshie scored two goals as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2. John Carlson scored the game-winner, snapping a 2-2 tie in the third period. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 26th goal of the season,

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied twice in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after being sidelined for three games. The Avalanche are unbeaten in their last eight contests (7-0-1). Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers.

An overtime goal by Ben Chiarot lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators made things interesting by overcoming a 2-0 deficit. Max Domi collected two assists while rookie goaltender Cayden Primeau picked up his first NHL victory. Brady Tkachuk picked up two points for the Senators. The Canadiens played without Matthew Peca. They also placed center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (upper body) on injured reserve.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday fired head coach Peter DeBoer and three of his assistant coaches. Bob Boughner takes over for DeBoer on an interim basis.

San Jose Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are struggling to score and the defense hasn’t played well, but poor goaltending is the real reason DeBoer lost his job. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have been terrible, sporting the league’s third-worst goals-against per game (3.42). Boughner might improve their defense, but I doubt he’ll be able to elevate the goaltending.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Speaking of coaches on struggling teams in danger of losing their job, Jeff Blashill’s performance is under the microscope as the Red Wings approach the longest losing skid in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The record is 14 straight games. The Wings are in a death spiral, sparking comparisons to the “Dead Things” of the early-’80s. General manager Steve Yzerman’s been patient, but one wonders how much longer he’ll wait before shaking up the coaching staff.

FORBES.COM: For the fifth straight year, the New York Rangers top the magazine’s annual evaluation of NHL franchises. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins round out the top five. The Arizona Coyotes came in last in the rankings.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lapointe is undergoing treatment for oral cancer. A team statement indicates this form of cancer has a high cure rate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to “Pointu” for a speedy recovery.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks due to a dislocated rib and broken cartilage.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski will work his 2,500th NHL game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.

THE SCORE: The Colorado Eagles’ equipment manager had been placed on administrative leave after former NHL player Akim Aliu revealed he attended a team Halloween party in blackface dressed as Aliu. The incident took place in 2011.










What We Learned This Week In The NHL – Week 9

What We Learned This Week In The NHL – Week 9

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

The Devils fire head coach John Hynes, the Canadiens snap a lengthy losing skid, changes could be coming for NHL coaches, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Hours before their game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John Hynes, replacing him on an interim basis with Alain Nasreddine. The move, however, could prevent the Devils from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault tallied a natural hat trick in the third period for the win.

The New Jersey Devils yesterday fired head coach John Hynes (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Devils’ poor performance thus far, it’s not surprising Hynes was fired. He deserves his fair share of the blame, but can’t be faulted for the lousy goaltending, weak secondary scoring, and lack of defensive depth. Nevertheless, the club’s lack of effort in his final two games was indicative that he’d lost the players.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped their eight-game winless skid by doubling up the New York Islanders 4-2. Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist for the Habs, who commemorated their 110th anniversary by honoring 11 former captains in a pre-game ceremony. Among the notables were Hall-of-Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Guy Carbonneau. Saku Koivu, the captain from 1999 to 2009, received the biggest cheer.

Four first-period goals powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Antoine Roussel scored on his first shift in his season debut after being sidelined eight months by a knee injury. Before the game, former Canucks winger Alex Burrows’ name was added to the club’s ring of honor.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle and David Krejci tallied both goals in the third period. The Bruins have won eight straight games.

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 44 shots in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Wild are unbeaten in their last 10 games (7-0-3).

Five third-period goals powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1. Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers collected three assists while Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere each had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Leafs placed Nick Shore on waivers, recalled defenseman Martin Marincin, and announced Trevor Moore (shoulder injury) is weeks away from returning to the lineup.

A three-point performance by Carl Soderberg helped the Arizona Coyotes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the win.

Nikita Kucherov scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had two points on the night. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Nashville center Ryan Johansen was ejected from a game for elbowing Lightning center Brayden Point in the face.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last nine contests by downing the Dallas Stars 5-1. Jets winger Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will be sidelined for two months with an upper-body injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected three points while teammates Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway each scored twice in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former NHL player Akim Aliu believes big changes are coming to the NHL after meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman and other officials at the league’s office in Toronto yesterday. Aliu’s claims that Bill Peters made racist remarks to him a decade ago led to the latter’s stepping down last week as Calgary Flames head coach.

Frank Seravalli reports some of the topics discussed at the meeting include “comprehensive harassment and discrimination policy, whistleblower and retaliation protection for players, encouraging more diversity and inclusion and breaking the culture of silence.”

The NHL Coaches’ Association released a statement yesterday affirming there is no room for abusive behavior by coaches at any level. They are working with the league and the NHL Players Association to ensure respectful working environments for everyone.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Sean Avery spoke out in support of Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was placed on leave as the club investigates allegations of abuse against him. Avery recently said Crawford kicked him during a game but defended the coach’s actions. “He had every right in the world to kick me in the ass. He should have spanked my ass a little bit more. I deserved it. I loved Crow.” He went on to call Crawford his second-favorite NHL coach.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators players Dylan DeMelo and Mark Borowiecki claim they had a good relationship with Crawford during his tenure with the club. Former Senator and Canucks Alex Burrows praised Crawford for helping him become an NHL player.

Another former Canuck, Harold Druken, accused Crawford of physical and verbal abuse when he broke into the league. “I can’t believe he’s still coaching, I wouldn’t let him coach my dog,” said Druken.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Todd McLellan believes players and coaches do their best not to cross the line between right and wrong. However, he acknowledged the changes in the game and society means that line has also changed. He believes it’s important to build trust and treat his players with respect, and expecting it in return.

“The line between pushing a player — I’m not talking physical — but getting the player to maximize his physical talents and to get a team to pull together and go further into their toolbox than they ever have, is delicate,” McLellan said. “Sometimes feelings are hurt. There’s never an intention behind it, but there are feelings that get hurt.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no place in the league, or anywhere else. for racism, which was what resulted in Peters’ downfall. There’s no place for physical abuse, which is what he was also accused of by two other former NHLers.

Crawford, Mike Babcock, and Darryl Sutter weren’t accused of racism, but emerging stories of alleged physical and verbal abuse toward their players have made headlines in recent days. Those tactics may have been effective but it appears they sometimes went too far. Some players shrugged it off or accepted it as part of the game, but others felt tormented by those actions.

Just because many former players tolerated unnecessary abuse by a few coaches doesn’t mean today’s players have to. A coach can motivate and improve their players without resorting to bullying, humiliation or threats.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith could miss at least two more games with a nagging groin injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will be sidelined “longer term” with an undisclosed injury.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Matt Stajan announced his retirement. Stajan played 14 seasons and 1,003 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. He spent last season playing in Germany for EHC Red Bull Munchen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s wishing Stajan and his family all the best in his future endeavors.