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

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2019

Flames coach Bill Peters accused of making racial slurs to a former player, Henrik Lundqvist reaches another milestone victory, former Leafs coach Mike Babcock criticized for bullying tactics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their points streak to five games with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Jake Guentzel netted the winning goal in overtime. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an undisclosed ailment on Nov. 4.

During the game, former NHL player Akim Aliu took to Twitter insinuating Flames coach Bill Peters uttered racial slurs at him when the two were in the minors a decade ago. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the club will make a complete investigation before commenting on Aliu’s comments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aliu didn’t directly name Peters but referred to the Calgary airport code. He played for Peters on the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. That’s when the former defenseman claims the remarks were made.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 455th career victory by downing the Minnesota Wild 3-2 (Photo via NHL Images).

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 455th career win as his club edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. He moved into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Tony DeAngelo scored the winner in overtime. During the game, Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello was given a video tribute and a nice ovation by Rangers fans. Zuccarello spent nearly nine seasons with the Blueshirts.

The Dallas Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight win as they doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Alexander Radulov scored twice and set up another as the Stars extended their points streak to 12 games. Stars defenseman John Klingberg collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After dropping eight of their first name games, the Stars have roared back in November. They now sit third overall in the Western Conference.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 26 saves to blank the New York Islanders 3-0, snapping the latter’s franchise-record 17-game points streak. It’s the Isles’ first regulation loss since Oct. 11. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

Shorthanded third-period goals by Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Palat also collected two assists. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who left the game with a concussion.

Jakub Voracek scored the tie-breaking goal as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Sean Couturier also tallied for the Flyers, while J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, who’ve won just three of their last 11 contests. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced winger Antoine Roussel (knee injury) was heading to their AHL affiliate in Utica for a conditioning stint.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo turned in a 25-save shutout in a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. Oliver Bjorkstrand netted the game’s only goal.

The Nashville Predators blew a 2-0 lead but went on to down the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Daniel Carr. Blues goaltender Jake Allen made 37 saves. Winger Troy Brouwer finally made his season debut with the Blues following a wait for his work visa to be approved.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on an unassisted overtime tally by Patrick Marleau. Timo Meier also scored twice for the Sharks.

HEADLINES

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 24, 2019.

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock is under criticism for his treatment of winger Mitch Marner during the latter’s rookie season. Babcock asked Marner to rank his teammates based on their work output, then shared the results with his teammates. The players were reportedly more upset with Babcock than they were with Marner. Babcock confirmed the story to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, claiming he was trying to focus on work ethic and role models with Marner and apologized at the time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock also came under fire from former NHL players Mike Commodore and Mark Fraser. They claim most of the players who skated for the long-time NHL coach hated him, as he used his power to turn teammates against each other. The emerging stories have dimmed some of the luster from Babcock’s otherwise stellar NHL record.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, center Alexander Kerfoot received a two-game suspension for boarding Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrick Bergeron will be sidelined for two games with a lingering lower-body injury.

YARDBARKER: The Florida Panthers demoted goaltender Sam Montembeault to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

NJ.COM: Tom Fitzgerald has stepped away from his assistant coach duties with the New Jersey Devils and returned to his position as their assistant general manager.