NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2023

The Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl reaches 100 points on the season, the Penguins’Jake Guentzel reaches a career milestone, plus the latest on the Leafs’ Auston Matthews, the Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored twice to become the second player this season to reach 100 points in a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers improved to 37-23-8 to vault over the Seattle Kraken into third place in the Pacific Division with 82 points. Tim Stutzle tallied twice for the 33-30-4 Senators (70 points), who’ve dropped three straight and remain six points behind the New York Islanders (76 points) for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now leads all active players for most points in a season with 129. Meanwhile, Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot and winger Mathieu Joseph missed this game due to injuries.

The Montreal Canadiens (27-35-6) snapped a seven-game winless skid by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 on third-period goals by Anthony Richard and Josh Anderson. Jake Guentzel scored twice and collected an assist to reach 400 career points for the 34-23-10 Penguins (78 points) as they remain two points over the Islanders for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They played without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov as he’s week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

Speaking of the Islanders, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings, who blew the game open with a four-goal second period. Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves and Vladislav Gavrikov collected two assists for the Kings (39-20-9) as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 87 points. Ryan Pulock had two assists for the 34-27-8 Islanders.

The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 5-3. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and Patrick Kane scored his first goal on home ice as a Ranger. With a record of 38-19-10, the Rangers sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 86 points. Injuries sidelined Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano for this game as the Capitals (32-29-7) remain five points behind the Islanders in the chase for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, who lost their grip on first place in the Metropolitan Division. Despite the absence of sidelined captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning (40-22-6) moved within two points of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 86 points. Damon Severson replied for the 44-17-6 Devils (94 points) as they fell two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got two goals and an assist by Jesperi Kotkaniemi as they downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. With a record of 44-14-8, the Hurricanes sit in second place in the overall standings with 96 points. The Jets (38-27-3) hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Hurricanes announced winger Andrei Svechnikov will undergo season-ending surgery on his right ACL on Thursday. His absence will be keenly felt among their top-six scorers over the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey remains sidelined by an injury.

The Nashville Predators improved to 34-28-9 and moved within four points of the Jets by holding off the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Juuse Saros made 28 saves while Kiefer Sherwood and Tommy Novak scored for the Predators, who played without sidelined defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Alex Chiasson replied for the 30-28-9 Red Wings.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (27 saves) picked up his fourth straight win since joining the club in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and two assists while Ivan Barbashev tallied twice for the Golden Knights (42-20-6) as they hold first place in the Western Conference with 90 points. The Flyers sank to 24-32-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined Flyers Sean Couturier took part in his first morning skate with the club this season after being sidelined by his second back surgery. His plan is to return to action for a handful of games before the end of the season.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh scored his first career hat trick to lead his club to a 6-3 upset of the Boston Bruins. Boris Katchouk had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks as they improved to 23-38-6, though they lost goalie Petr Mrazek in the second period with his third groin injury of the season. Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (50-11-5) as they remain comfortably atop the overall standings with 105 points.

The Vancouver Canucks collected their fifth straight win by upsetting the Dallas Stars 5-2. Brock Boeser had three assists for the 29-32-5 Canucks while Jamie Benn and Miro Heiskanen each had two points for the 37-18-13 Stars, who played without sidelined winger Mason Marchment in this game. The Stars are in first place in the Central Division with 87 points.

An overtime goal by Travis Boyd gave the Arizona Coyotes a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Clayton Keller scored twice, including his 31st goal of the season for the 25-31-11 Coyotes. Jonathan Huberdeau scored the tying goal for the 30-24-14 Flames (74 points) as they sit five points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau scored twice (including the winner in overtime) and collected three assists in a 6-5 victory over the San Jose Sharks to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention. The Blue Jackets sit at 21-38-7 on the season and sit last in the overall standings. Logan Couture had a goal and two assists for the 19-36-13 Sharks.


THE ATHLETIC: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews revealed he’s been nursing a hand injury that has hampered his performance this season. However, he claims it’s feeling a lot better now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Leafs as they head down the stretch toward what will be a crucial postseason for this team.

SPORTSNET: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he’s expecting Ryan O’Reilly to return before the playoffs. He’s been sidelined with a broken finger since March 4 and underwent surgery on March 7 with a recovery timeline of four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would mean returning by April 7 but it’s possible O’Reilly might not be good to go until the first game of the playoffs.

TSN: Speaking of broken fingers, Colorado Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big loss for the Avalanche. Lehkonen is fourth among Avalanche scorers with a career-best performance of 20 goals and 49 points in 62 games.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports regional network in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday. The company released a statement indicating it expects to continue operations during the bankruptcy process and that the coverage of games would not be affected. That coverage includes 12 NHL teams.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

A record-setting performance for Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram, Bally Sports financial woes could affect 12 NHL teams and Alex Ovechkin mourns his father’s death. Details on these and other stories in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: A record-setting shutout performance by Connor Ingram carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 1-0 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ingram’s 47 saves were the most by a goalie in his first NHL shutout in league history. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller scored in the shootout for the 19-28-8 Coyotes. Steven Stamkos replied in the shootout for the Lightning (35-16-3) as they dropped into third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without defenseman Erik Cernak as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. William Nylander scored his 30th goal of the season and collected two points while Auston Matthews scored the winning goal in his return to action after missing five games with a sprained knee. With the win, the 33-14-8 Leafs vaulted over the Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. The Blackhawks dropped to 16-32-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed captain Jonathan Toews on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined for five games by a non-COVID-related illness.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each scored two goals and collected an assist in a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers (32-14-8) have won six straight and sit three points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points. Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the Canucks as they fell to 21-30-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Curtis Lazar left this game with lower-body injuries. In his post-game interview, head coach Rick Tocchet said the severity of Ekman-Larsson’s injury was unknown but Lazar’s might not be serious.

The Colorado Avalanche got a 41-save performance from Alexandar Georgiev to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche improved to 29-19-5 and remain third in the Central Division with 63 points. Kirill Kaprizov netted his 31st goal of the season for the Wild (28-21-5) as they’ve dropped five of their last six games and slipped out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to the lineup after missing 31 games with a lower-body injury. Wild blueliner Calen Addison was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Shootout goals by David Perron and Pius Suter lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri each had a goal and an assist while Ville Husso turned aside 41 shots for the Red Wings (25-20-8) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid collected two assists for the 30-19-6 Oilers as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings’ call-up Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch from this game while defenseman Jake Walman remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Seven Sabres, including Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch, collected two points each as they improved to 27-22-4 to sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Cam Fowler tallied twice for the Ducks as they dropped to 17-32-6 on the season.


ESPN.COM: The owner of Bally Sports regional networks skipped $140 million in interest payments due Wednesday, starting a 30-day grace period that could be the prelude to a bankruptcy filing.

Bally is owned by Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. It provides regional coverage to 12 NHL teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those 12 NHL teams are the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted yesterday that the NHL Board of Governors held an impromptu conference call to discuss the situation. No word yet from the league regarding the outcome of those talks.

This isn’t expected to affect regional coverage for the remainder of this season as the rights for those games were already paid before the start of the season. However, it will be a problem for next season and beyond if the league is left scrambling to find a replacement for Bally.

This won’t affect the salary cap for 2023-24 as that’s based on hockey-related revenue earned this season. However, it could have a substantial impact on the cap for 2024-25.

The salary cap is projected to increase by just $1 million for next season as the players still have to pay back the remainder of their escrow debt to the owners arising from the shortened seasons due to the pandemic. There is speculation suggesting the league and NHLPA perhaps reaching an agreement to increase it by up to five percent.

For 2024-25, the salary cap is forecast to jump to between $3.5 million and $4 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25. It is also projected to rise by $4 million in 2025-26 to $92 million. However, the potential hit to hockey-related revenue from losing Bally’s regional coverage could adversely affect those projections.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to an eight-year, $33-million contract extension on Wednesday. The average annual value will be $4.125 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable cap hit for Anderson, who is on a one-year, $1 million contract this season and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

The 23-year-old defenseman is earning first-pairing minutes alongside Kings blueline stalwart Drew Doughty. He can move the puck, play a solid physical game in his own zone, and leads the Kings in short-handed ice time per game (2:26) this season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced the death of his father Mikhail on Wednesday. He was 71 years old. Ovechkin will be away from the Capitals for an undetermined period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ovechkin and his family.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2023

Recaps of Friday’s game, Auston Matthews sidelined for at least three weeks, updates on Gabriel Landeskog and Cole Caufield plus some potentially bad news for hockey-related revenue in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes got a 5-4 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks with Martin Necas scoring the tying and winning goals. Sebastian Aho also scored twice for the Hurricanes (31-9-8), who sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 70 points. Michael Eyssimont had a goal and two assists for the Sharks as they dropped to 14-25-11 on the season.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas became the first player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to score an overtime goal in consecutive games and the fifth player in NHL history to score the tying goal in the final minute of regulation and the game-winner in the first minute of overtime.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice (including the winner in overtime) in a 3-2 victory against the Dallas Stars. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 33 saves for his ninth straight win as the Devils (32-13-4) sit two points behind the Hurricanes in second place in the Metro Division. Roope Hintz tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 28-13-10 Stars, who hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first overall in the Western Conference with 66 points.

The Calgary Flames got a 29-save performance from Dan Vlader to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Vladar tied a franchise record for the most games without a regulation loss with 13. Elias Lindholm and Blake Coleman each had a goal and two assists as the 24-17-9 Flames held the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 57 points. Martin Jones made 33 saves for the Kraken (28-15-5) as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Kraken announced rookie center Matty Beniers will be sidelined for two games with an undisclosed injury and is considered day-to-day.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Pheonix Copley kicked out a career-high 45 shots to hold off the Florida Panthers 4-3. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist as the Kings improved to 28-17-6 and moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with 62 points. Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Tkachuk each had two points as the Panthers slipped to 23-22-6 and remain five points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov was named to the Atlantic Division roster for the upcoming 2023 NHL All-Star Game as a replacement for sidelined Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews. Speaking of the Leafs and Matthews…

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk tallied twice to thump the Maple Leafs by a score of 6-2, snapping the latter’s points streak at five games. Anton Forsberg stopped 33 shots for the 22-23-6 Senators. William Nylander scored his 27th goal of the season for the Leafs (30-12-8), who are tied with the New Jersey Devils for third place in the Eastern Conference but the Devils hold a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason Barkov is replacing Matthews in the All-Star Game is that the Leafs center is sidelined for at least three weeks with a knee sprain suffered Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers downed the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 with Jaroslav Halak making 33 saves to win his fifth straight start. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (27-14-8) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points. Phil Kessel replied for the 29-18-3 Golden Knights, who are tied with the Kraken for second in the Pacific Division but the latter holds two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights activated defenseman Shea Theodore and forward William Carrier off injured reserve for this game.

New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the Detroit Red Wings 2-0, ending his club’s six-game winless skid. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson scored as the Islanders improved to 24-22-5, sitting four points out of the final Eastern playoff spot. The Wings fell to 21-19-8 and sit seven points out of that wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Elias Pettersson tallied twice and Bo Horvat collected a career-high four assists for the 20-26-3 Canucks. Kirill Marchenko scored both goals for the 15-31-3 Blue Jackets, who sit in last place in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Canucks announced forward Ilya Mikheyev will undergo season-ending knee surgery next week. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets announced winger Gustav Nyquist was sidelined indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.


THE DENVER POST’s Bennett Durando reports Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee injury) could start skating under team supervision following the upcoming All-Star break. However, there is no definitive start date.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield told reporters yesterday that he injured his shoulder twice before undergoing season-ending surgery. The first time was on Dec. 23 against the Dallas Stars and on Jan. 3 against the Nashville Predators. Both times, he was able to pop it back into place.

Three different doctors subsequently recommended having surgery or risking further damage to the shoulder. The surgery will take place on Feb. 1. Caufield admitted he would’ve continued playing if the Canadiens were in playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ placement near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Caufield could’ve wound up suffering more serious damage that would’ve meant a much longer recovery period that would’ve stretched well into next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the injury-plagued Canadiens, they’ve called up prospect Owen Beck on an emergency basis after Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and Christian Dvorak missed practice on Friday for medical treatment.

Pat Hickey reports the looming bankruptcy of US sports network Bally Sports Regional Networks could have an adverse effect on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue. Los Angeles, Anaheim, Arizona, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota, Detroit, Carolina, Columbus, Tampa Bay and Florida are the NHL markets directly affected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hickey pointed out the network owes a number of sports teams billions of dollars in rights fees. While it’s unknown how much money is owed to those NHL teams, Hickey speculated that it could have a negative effect on HRR that drives down the salary cap, ensuring players pay more in escrow to offset the difference.