NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

League commissioner Bettman weighs in on the upcoming season, Mika Zibanejad reveals COVID-19 diagnosis, Evander Kane files for bankruptcy, Mike Hoffman signs with Blues, Jay Bouwmeester retires, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is prepared to lose billions of dollars to play the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it’s important for the game to stage the season, the players and fans wanted it, and it might help provide people dealing with COVID-19 restrictions some sense of normalcy.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman also said it would be cheaper for the league not to play the season, claiming they would lose money at the club and league level. “But the owners are unanimously OK with that because they know how important it is for our fans and for the game.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s remarks about financial losses isn’t sitting well on the players’ side. Player agent Allan Walsh observed the commissioner neglected to mention that, under the CBA extension, the owners will be made whole for their losses by the players because of the 50-50 division of revenue. Bettman sounds like he’s still sore over the player’s firm rejection of his request last fall for increased escrow claw-backs and salary deferrals.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, meanwhile, pointed out the NHL wasn’t going to risk hurting its visibility and fan engagement by shuttering its season with other major professional sports leagues staging theirs during this pandemic. Campbell also noted it would’ve pushed the NHL’s expiring US TV contract ahead to 2022, depriving them of the opportunity of landing a more lucrative deal later this year.

The commissioner revealed players will wear decals on their helmets honoring the 63rd anniversary of Willie O’Ree playing his first NHL game and to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also announced The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, featuring the Colorado Avalanche facing the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20 followed by the Boston Bruins meeting the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to training camp. He missed the opening days of camp but now claims he’s feeling better. Zibanejad resumed skating with his teammates while consulting with doctors. Rangers coach David Quinn is hopeful Zibanejad will be ready for their season opener on Jan. 14 but the 27-year-old center wouldn’t confirm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad isn’t the only player to test positive and won’t be the last over the course of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Evander Kane has filed for bankruptcy with $26.8 million of debt and assets of $10 million. The filing also indicates the 29-year-old San Jose Sharks winger can terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season because of the pandemic and the recent birth of his daughter. The NHL’s opt-out date was Dec. 24 while Kane’s bankruptcy filing was Jan. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could opt-out of this season rather than terminate his contract. While the league’s opt-out deadline has passed there could be an allowance here due to unforeseen circumstances. A precedent was set last summer when Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask left the club during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs to attend to a family medical emergency.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues yesterday signed Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $4 million contract. The 31-year-old winger was skating with the club on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was anticipated the Blues would formally sign Hoffman once they sorted out their salary-cap situation. That includes putting a couple of players on their taxi squad for cap compliance reasons and placing Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injury reserve.

TSN: Speaking of the Blues, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester quietly retired after 17 NHL seasons. He hadn’t played since suffering a cardiac incident on the bench during a game with the Anaheim Ducks last February. Bouwmeester played 1,240 NHL games with the Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, finishing with 424 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bouwmeester and his family in their future endeavors.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired former captain Shane Doan as their new chief hockey development officer. Doan retired in 2017 after 21 NHL seasons. He began his career with the former Winnipeg Jets and moved with the franchise to Arizona in 1996.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers claimed defenseman Noah Juulsen off waivers yesterday from the Montreal Canadiens.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will return to the ice today after canceling practices and close its training facilities when six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks will meet with Santa Clara County officials regarding when they can return to SAP Center at San Jose. They’re scheduled to play their first home game on Feb. 1 but the county remains under a strict stay-at-home order because of a high number of COVID cases.

SPORTSNET: NBC Sports announced former NHL coach Mike Babcock will be joining the network as an in-studio analyst. He’ll replace Mike Milbury, who was let go after 14 years. Milbury was suspended by the network last summer following a series of offensive remarks he made toward women, injured players, and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2020

The Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference Final, the NHL will begin announcing its award winners, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time since 1993, the New York Islanders are going to the Conference Finals. They shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 7 of their second-round series and face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final in Edmonton.

Thomas Greiss made 16 saves for the shutout while Brock Nelson led the way offensively with a goal and two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a complete team victory by the Islanders. They stifled the Flyers’ offense with their defensive play and aggressive forecheck. Head coach Barry Trotz’s decision to start Greiss over Semyon Varlamov also paid off.

The lack of consistent production by the Flyers’ top scorers was a problem throughout the playoffs. It came home to roost in Game 7 against the Isles defense.

The NHL will begin revealing some of the winners of its individual awards from Sept. 6 to Sept. 13. Those to be announced include the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Sept. 6), Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Sept. 7), Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award (Sept. 8), Jack Adams Award (Sept. 9), Frank J. Selke Trophy (Sept. 10), Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sept. 11), Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award (Sept. 12), and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (Sept. 13).

A 30-minute program during the Stanley Cup Final will announce the winners of the Calder Memorial Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and the Vezina Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this format and I hope the league sticks with it going forward. Their annual award show in Las Vegas has a cringe factor comparable to “The Dundies” episode of The Office.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have reportedly interviewed Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant for their vacant head-coaching position.

SPORTSNET: The Arizona Coyotes have interviewed NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire for their vacant general manager job.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.15 million.

SPORTSNET: A resolution has yet to be reached allowing the families of the players on the remaining four NHL clubs to join them in the playoff bubble in Edmonton. Discussions are ongoing between the league, the NHL Players Association, and the Canadian federal government.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2020

Recaps of the second day of exhibition games, an update on John Chayka’s departure from the Coyotes, the Blackhawks announce initiatives to honor Native American culture, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EXHIBITION GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The line of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat combined for 10 points as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Florida Panthers 5-0. Point led the way with two goals and two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the shutout with a 26-save performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky gave up five goals on 34 shots, but he was hung out to dry by his teammates. The Panthers must improve their defensive play before they face off against the New York Islanders in their qualifying round series.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied twice and set up another to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Capitals defenseman John Carlson left the game in the final 10 minutes as a precautionary measure after crashing awkwardly into the boards. An update on his condition is expected today. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek gave up three goals on 16 shots before being replaced by James Reimer.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 37 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jets captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist. Teammate Nikolaj Ehlers also scored, but left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury. No word yet as to his status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the long layoff had little effect on Hellebuyck’s performance. The Vezina Trophy finalist was on top of his game against the Canucks. Ehlers may have aggravated an ailment that nagged him throughout training camp.

Dominik Kubalik scored twice and added an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the St. Louis Blues 4-0. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 11 saves through two periods.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford looked sharp in this contest after missing most of the Blackhawks’ training camp when he tested positive for COVID-19. His performance against the Blues is a good sign as he and his teammates face the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round.

Colorado Avalanche forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Joonas Donskoi were the goal scorers as their club edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Wild center Eric Staal had a goal and an assist. The Avs killed off seven of eight penalties.

Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss combined for 26 saves as the New York Islanders held off the New York Rangers 2-1. Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews scored for the Isles. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal left the game in the second period for precautionary reasons and isn’t expected to miss their qualifying series against the Hurricanes.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: Howie Kussoy cites multiple reports claiming former Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka’s relationship with the club’s ownership was irrevocably damaged when he lied about having a job interview with the New Jersey Devils, who then were uninterested in hiring him. Chayka resigned from the Coyotes last weekend as the club was preparing to head to Edmonton for Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan.

An NHL team approached Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo about a month ago seeking permission to speak to Chayka, which Meruelo rejected. Chayka then reportedly lied to Meruelo about the Devils’ interest, only to subsequently request his contract be terminated so he could pursue an opportunity within the Devils ownership’s sports portfolio.

Meruelo felt betrayed but wanted to wait until the season ended to discuss this with Chayka, but the latter felt that was unreasonable. The situation quickly deteriorated, culminating in Chayka’s departure from the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has degenerated into a messy they-said/he said situation with each side blaming the other. If Chayka lied about the Devils interview, it could damage his reputation and his efforts to find employment elsewhere in the NHL.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks are taking steps designed to honor Native American culture. They’ve banned headdresses at their games and intend to incorporate Native American culture and education into their arena and the games there. The club has resisted calls to change its nickname and logo after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced they were moving on from their nickname.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed forward Anders Bjork to a three-year, $4.8-million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins now have over $65.1 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21. Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and team captain Zdeno Chara are among the notables still to be re-signed.

TSN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock has taken on a volunteer advisory role with the Vermont Catamounts coaching staff.

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens winger Dale Weise denied a report out of Switzerland claiming he signed a contract with Swiss club HC Lausanne.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2019

Stars of the week, more stories of abusive behavior by former coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Jack Eichel and Johan Larsson each had three points while Conor Sheary scored two goals. The Devils have dropped five of their last seven games.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch tallied two first-period goals as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Malcolm Subban made 29 saves for the win. Following the game, the Golden Knights announced they’d sent a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Washington Capitals for forward Chandler Stephenson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Capitals had to free up some salary to make room for sidelined winger Carl Hagelin’s imminent return. Stephenson should provide a bit of a boost to the Golden Knight’s penalty kill.

The New York Islanders beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, leaving the latter winless in their last 10 contests. Jordan Eberle tallied twice for the Islanders.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen turned in a 38-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. The Blues are unbeaten (8-0-2) in their last ten games. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane’s 15-game points streak has come to an end. 

Derek Grant scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 34 saves (15 in the final period) as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.

HEADLINES

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon leads the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich, and San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1.

SPORTSNET: Hall of Famer Chris Chelios revealed former NHL coach Mike Babcock was ” a tough guy to play for” if you were a veteran player. He said Babcock told him his role during his sixth season with the Wings was to “babysit” blueliner Brett Lebda. He claims Babcock told him, ‘If you don’t like it, you can go see Kenny Holland — I’m sure he’ll trade you.”

Chelios also said Babcock attempted to scratch him from the 2009 Winter Classic. He claims the coach was disrespectful toward Mike Modano, making Modano a healthy scratch late in the 2010-11 season, thus preventing him from playing his 1,500th career game.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Chelios also said Babcock “verbally assaulted” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen during Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs against the Nashville Predators, causing the latter to have a nervous breakdown. Franzen confirmed the encounter, saying “I get shivers when I think about it. … It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.” He went on to call Babcock a “terrible person” and “a bully who was always attacking people.”

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Chelios claimed the players informed Red Wings GM  Ken Holland of the incident and he came into the room, make a speech and defended Babcock. Holland, who’s now the GM of the Edmonton Oilers,  said no player came forward to complain about Babcock’s behavior. Holland said he’s spoken to Chelios about the incident and the blueliner admitted it didn’t take place following the Nashville game. He said he was in the room when Holland told the players to come and see him if they had a problem with Babcock.

“The situation Chelios described had nothing to do with Franzen,” Holland said. “They were separate situations. That happened after a game in San Jose when someone had said something on a telecast about there being unrest in the locker room. I told players they could come to me if they had anything to say. No one did.”

THE SCORE: The Chicago Blackhawks announced they will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford after former NHL player Sean Avery claimed Crawford kicked him during a game while both were with the Los Angeles Kings.

Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo posted a transcript of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel talking about Crawford’s troubling behavior during a Spittin Chiclets podcast last year. Sopel claimed Crawford kicked and choked him and attacked players personally.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock’s firing opened the floodgates of stories from former players of his abusive behavior and those of Crawford and now-former Calgary Flames bench boss Bill Peters. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of these tales. 

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Colin Wilson (lower body) will undergo surgery and is expected to be out long term.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks have granted goaltender Jacob Markstrom a leave of absence to attend his father’s memorial service.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki foiled a robbery attempt in Vancouver. He clotheslined a thief off his bicycle, wrestled him to the ground, and retrieved the backpack the man had stolen from a car.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens placed goaltender Keith Kinkaid on waivers and recalled goalie Cayden Primeau and forward Matthew Peca. They also announced defenseman Victor Mete will be sidelined for two weeks with an injured ankle.

 










A Cultural Shift Is Taking Place Around the NHL

A Cultural Shift Is Taking Place Around the NHL

 










NHL Up & Down The Boards: Flames Continue Tumble on NHL Odds

NHL Up & Down The Boards: Flames Continue Tumble on NHL Odds