NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2021

The Hurricanes and Islanders move into first place in their respective divisions, Viktor Arvidsson tallies a hat trick for the surging Predators, Alex Ovechkin reaches another scoring milestone, the Blackhawks and Panthers swing a five-player deal, the Canucks re-sign Tanner Pearson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes took over first place in the Discover Central Division by blanking the Florida Panthers 3-0. Alex Nedeljkovic had a 24-save shutout performance, Sebastian Aho collected his 300th career point and Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (57 points) sit one point up on the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

A four-goal first period powered the Lighting to a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan McDonagh scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected four assists for the Lightning, who lost captain Steven Stamkos in the third period with an undisclosed injury. No update was provided on his condition. The Jackets made defenseman David Savard a healthy scratch as a precautionary measure ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. The Lightning and Panthers are tied with 56 points but the Lightning hold second place in the Central with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savard sits atop TSN’s Trade Bait list. This move means the blueliner could be playing elsewhere by Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline. Jackets captain Nick Foligno is also on TSN’s list but he played in this game, which suggests he could be finishing the season with the Jackets barring a significant trade offer before Monday.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson (NHL Images).

Viktor Arvidsson tallied a hat trick as the Nashville Predators crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1. The Predators (45 points) have won nine of their 10 games and hold a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth place in the Central.

Meanwhile, Chicago fell to the Dallas Stars 5-1 as Roope Hintz had a goal and three assists. The Stars sit three points back of the Blackhawks.

The New York Islanders took over first place in the MassMutual East Division by edging the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on a shootout goal by Brock Nelson. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac were held scoreless in their first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. With 56 points, the Islanders are two points ahead of the second-place Washington Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist while rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman kicked out 31 shots for his second straight win. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 266th career power-play goal to move into second place on the all-time list. The Bruins (48 points) opened a six-point lead over the Flyers for fourth place in the East Division.

Kris Letang and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins romped to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Penguins (52 points) moved to within two points of the second-place Capitals.

Third-period goals by Devin Shore and Jesse Puljujarvi gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Mike Smith turned aside 39 shots for the win as the Oilers (52 points) hold a one-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Scotia North Division. Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 38 stops and Kyle Connor collected two assists. With 43 points, the fourth-place Canadiens are eight back of the third-place Jets.

Two power-play goals by Pavel Zacha carried the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich each had a goal and two assists.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks acquired forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, prospect forward Henrik Borgstrom and a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move is in line with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s stated willingness to use his cap space to absorb a bad contract if the return comes with a promising young player. Connolly’s contract isn’t onerous for the Hawks ($3.5 million annual average value through 2022-23) but it was for the Panthers as the veteran winger fell out of favor in Florida.

The prize for the Blackhawks is Borgstrom, a promising young forward who struggled to crack the Panthers’ lineup. He could have a better chance to establish himself as an NHL regular with the retooling Blackhawks as they transition toward younger players.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have cleared cap space for perhaps another move or two before Monday’s trade deadline. Cap Friendly indicates they have $16.4 million in trade deadline cap space. I’ll have more about the Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TSN: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is unavailable until next week because of a lower-body injury.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is recovering from an upper-body injury. However, he’s expected to miss the club’s next two games.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (lower body) remains questionable for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed winger Tanner Pearson to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing received mixed reviews among pundits and fans on social media. It’s not because Pearson’s a bad player or that the contract is an overpayment. He’s become a dressing room leader and a good second-line winger.

Critics, however, point to other depth signings by Canucks GM Jim Benning (Sven Baertschi, Sam Gagner, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Jake Virtanen) as cap dollars poorly invested when young stars like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will soon be in need of significant raises. They fear the Pearson signing will further squeeze the Canucks cap space, leaving little room for other moves once Pettersson and Hughes receive their new contracts.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jacob MacDonald received a two-game suspension by the department of player safety for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman on Wednesday.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2021

A look at some suggested trade targets for the Leafs and Bruins, speculation of Eric Staal returning to the Hurricanes and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SUGGESTED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs should look at acquiring Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres for Alex Kerfoot, a pick and a prospect plus 50 percent of Hall’s $8 million cap hit retained. Depending on the pick and prospect, it could be a high price for the Leafs (or any team) to pay for a playoff rental. Hall’s full no-movement clause makes moving him by April 12 challenging but Fox believes he’d waive it to join the Leafs.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox is betting on the Leafs adding another top-six forward. However, I doubt it’ll be Hall unless Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and his capologist can pull off another creative move to free up the necessary cap space to acquire him. The Leafs are pressed against the cap with almost nothing banked for trade-deadline cap space.

They could consider more affordable options to bring in a top-six forward. Fox cited Elliotte Friedman saying they’re poking around sellers like the Nashville Predators, Sabres and Detroit Red Wings. They’ve been frequently linked for Predators forward Mikael Grandlund. If they’re looking at one of the Sabres my guess is it would be Eric Staal. Fox also tossed out Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri as other options but I’m not sure either guy is available right now despite their pending free-agent statuses.

SUGGESTED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE BRUINS.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss included Hall, Granlund and Palmieri among his list of suggested trade targets for the Bruins. He also included Nashville forwards Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson, Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard and Arizona Coyotes rearguard Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Hall, Forsberg, Arvidsson or Palmieri as realistic trade options for the Bruins. Hall’s contract is a problem while the Preds’ asking price for Forsberg and Arvidsson will be far too expensive. The Bruins also lack sufficient tradeable assets to win a bidding war for Palmieri. I’d include Rakell in that group but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and Ducks GM Bob Murray have a recent trade history so I won’t fully dismiss that possibility.

The Bruins could use some experienced blueline depth. However, the need for scoring depth is the priority so I’m ruling out Ekholm, Savard or Goligoski. That leaves Granlund or Pearson as their more realistic trade options.

A STAAL REUNION IN CAROLINA?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes have internally discussed the possibility of bringing back Eric Staal, though it’s not a “top-of-the-agent” item. However, there could be a couple of Canadian teams that could have interest in the Sabres center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric Staal spent nearly 12 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes. He enjoyed his best years in Carolina, winning a Stanley Cup in 2006 and wearing the captaincy for seven seasons. A reunion with brother and current Hurricanes captain Jordan and with head coach and former teammate Rod Brind’Amour would make a great story. However, it remains to be seen if it’s a realistic option.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated he’d prefer adding an impact player over a depth player if he makes a move before the trade deadline. He said his roster has enough depth players. However, his salary-cap situation means any deal would be dollar-in, dollar-out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson believes the Oilers need a top-six left-winger. One option would be Montreal’s Tomas Tatar but Matheson doubts he’ll be available with the Canadiens fighting for a playoff berth. He feels the Canucks’ Tanner Pearson could be a better option but his cap hit ($3.75 million) could be a problem.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

Recaps of the final day of exhibition games, including updates on Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, John Carlson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: First-period goals by Boone Jenner, Zach Werenski, and Gustav Nyquist powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Nyquist finished with two points while teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand collected two assists.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask gave up three goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Jaroslav Halak. Teammate Brad Marchand left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury following a hit on Werenski. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will provide an update today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins appeared rusty in this contest, but they’ll have plenty of time to sharpen their play during the seeding round-robin before the opening round of the playoffs. The Jackets, meanwhile, showed how much better they can be when they have a mostly healthy roster, something they didn’t have for long stretches in the regular season.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Reilly Smith scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury went the distance with a 22-save performance to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Tuch’s highlight-reel goal put the game out of reach. Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz left the game in the second period following a heavy check from Vegas winger Ryan Reaves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaves’ arm made contact with Schmaltz’s head during that hit. No word yet if the league’s department of player discipline will be looking at this. It’s interesting that Robin Lehner didn’t split the goalie duties with Fleury. Perhaps he’ll get the start in the Golden Knights’ first game in the round-robin on Monday. 

Viktor Arvidsson scored twice while Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne combined for a 26-save shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Stars center Tyler Seguin was scratched from the lineup (unfit to play), while forward Andrew Cogliano left the game in the second period favoring his left leg following a collision with Predators defenseman Yannick Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin is expected to be ready for the round-robin starting Aug. 3 against the Golden Knights. No update was provided on Cogliano’s status.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman John Carlson didn’t practice yesterday after missing the final half of the third period of Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Carlson crashed awkwardly into the boards and was removed from the game as a precautionary measure. Head coach Todd Reirden expects the blueliner will return to practice on Saturday.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson took part in special teams’ practice yesterday. He’s still recovering from a knee injury suffered during the regular season. Johnsson isn’t expected in the lineup when the Leafs face off against the Blues Jackets on Sunday in Game 1 of their qualifying-round series.

THE AHL.COM: American Hockey League president and CEO Scott Howson announced a revised start date of Dec. 4 for their 2020-21 season. Details of their full schedule have yet to be determined.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

Game recaps, Dougie Hamilton sidelined by a fractured fibula, Dave Backes on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club crushed the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Nikita Kucherov scored twice, Ondrej Palat collected three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his 10th straight win.

Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL hat trick carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Winnipeg Jets 7-1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. He has six points in three games since returning from core muscle surgery. Bryan Rust’s 20th goal of the season tied the game and forced the extra period.

Anaheim Ducks center Sam Steel’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. It was the Hurricanes’ first game since losing defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a fractured left fibula. Teammate Jaccob Slavin will replace Hamilton at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton’s injury leaves a gaping hole in the Hurricanes’ blue line. With 40 points in 47 games, he’s the Canes’ highest-scoring defenseman and was well on his way to a career year. I’ll have more on the Hurricanes in the Rumors section.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly nearing a contract extension with Zack Kassian. The 28-year-old winger is completing a three-year contract worth $1.95-million annually and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. It’s assumed the deal will be announced before the trade deadline on Feb. 24. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s a big-bodied forward with 20-goal potential who plays a physical style and is popular among his teammates. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a raise he receives. It could be a five-year deal worth $4 million annually.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson was fined $2,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety under the league’s rules regarding diving and embellishment.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed veteran winger David Backes on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes played infrequently this season due to his injury history and declining performance. His demotion will clear $1 million of his $6-million salary-cap hit from the Bruins’ books for the rest of the season. Backes could be bought out of the final season of his contract in June.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed defenseman Luke Schenn on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will return to the roster tonight after a 15-game absence in part because of an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: Some good-natured billboard trolling between Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers fans has raised over $50K for various charities.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets TSN analyst Kevin Sawyer will address criticism regarding comments he made two weeks ago about an apparent hazing incident involving Jared Spurgeon during the Minnesota Wild defenseman’s junior hockey days. “Favourite story of Jared Spurgeon,” Sawyer began. “He was a 15-year-old. Two months into the season we saran-wrapped him to a pillar in the arena, about six feet up in the air … he was tiny. He looked like he was 12.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2019

Blake Wheeler sets franchise record, Jack Eichel extends his points streak, team captains selected for 2020 NHL All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler became his club’s all-time leading scorer in a 6-0 drubbing of the Minnesota Wild. Wheeler scored and picked up an assist to surpass Ilya Kovalchuk with 616 points. Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with 31 saves, Patrik Laine scored two goals, and Josh Morrissey had three assists.

Blake Wheeler surpassed Ilya Kovalchuk as the Winnipeg Jets’ all-time scorer in a 6-0 rout of the Minnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel returned to the lineup and collected an assist in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Eichel’s points streak stretched to 18 games, though he missed Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with an upper-body injury. Sabres winger Sam Reinhart collected two assists.

Jakob Silfverberg tallied the game-winner in a shootout as the Anaheim Ducks edged the New York Islanders 6-5. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf missed the game with an illness. Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy scored and set up two others. Before the game, the Isles revealed forward Cal Clutterbuck is sidelined indefinitely following wrist surgery.

Riley Sheahan’s third-period goal lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Josh Archibald each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry had a goal and two helpers.

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis’ overtime goal gave his club a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, who’ve won just once in their last nine contests. Predators captain Roman Josi and Bruins center Patrice Bergeron each scored twice. Predators forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund returned to the lineup following long absences due to injuries.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson picked up his first win of the season backstopping the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings. Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman each scored twice for the Leafs. Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha left the game in the third period following a slew-foot by Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin.

The Philadelphia Flyers needed a shootout goal by Sean Couturier to get past the Ottawa Senators 5-4. James van Riemsdyk tallied twice for the Flyers while Senators forward Tyler Ennis also scored two goals.

The Washington Capitals picked up their 10th win in their last 12 games by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Dmitry Orlov broke a 1-1 tie in the third with the winning goal. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up his 200th career goal.

Florida Panthers netminder Chris Driedger kicked out 42 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Jonathan Huberdeau and Brian Boyle each collected two points, as did Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter. Carolina center Erik Haula returned to action after missing 15 games with a knee injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets rolled to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Blue Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the game’s first two goals before leaving with an undisclosed injury. Boone Jenner and Seth Jones each collected two assists.

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the Chicago Blackhawks over the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists while Patrick Kane netted his 20th goal of the season. Matt Calvert scored twice for the Avalanche. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed winger Brandon Saad (ankle) on injured reserve.

J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson each had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed winger Josh Leivo will be sidelined two-to-three months with a fractured knee cap.

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo tallied twice to lead his club over the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Teammate Jaden Schwartz scored and set up two others.

The divisional captains for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game (as voted by the fans) were revealed yesterday. Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid will captain the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year. Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak is captain of the Atlantic Division, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will captain the Central Division, and Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin is captain of the Metropolitan Division.










When It Comes to Discipline, NHL Remains a Garage League

When It Comes to Discipline, NHL Remains a Garage League