NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2020

The Dallas Stars are the Western Conference champions, plus updates on the Lightning, Islanders and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time in 20 years, the Dallas Stars are Western Conference champions and headed to the Stanley Cup Final. Denis Gurianov tallied an overtime power-play goal as the Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.

The Golden Knights held a 2-0 lead until Jamie Benn scored at 9:54 of the third period. Joel Kiviranta scored the tying goal on the power play at 16:13, setting the stage for Gurianov’s series winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series looked like it was heading to Game 6 when Reilly Smith made it 2-0 early in the third for the Golden Knights. Benn’s goal, however, shifted the game’s momentum. He finished this series with three goals and five points. This was the second straight series where Gurianov scored the series winner. He leads the Stars with nine goals in this postseason.

Penalties proved costly for the Golden Knights as the Stars tallied the tying and winning goals with the man advantage. The second one was a heartbreaker as rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud was called for delay of game after he inadvertently clearing the puck over the boards.

The Golden Knights head into the offseason with some issues to address. You can read about them in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was on the ice with half of his teammates for yesterday’s optional practice. He’s still not ready to play or participate in full practices but the club still hasn’t ruled out a possible return in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Stamkos might return if the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final against Dallas. The Bolts hold a 3-1 series lead over the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final with Game 5 tonight.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders head coach Barry Trotz could shake up his top line for Game 5 by making Brock Nelson the first-line center and moving Mathew Barzal into the second-line spot. He could also elevate winger Derick Brassard or center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a top-six role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out tonight what changes, if any, Trotz has in store for his roster. He must do something to counter the Lightning’s top line of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

THE SCORE: The NHL has recorded no positive COVID-19 tests for the eighth straight week.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames have made interim coach Geoff Ward their full-time head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there given the support Flames general manager Brad Treliving gave Ward throughout this season.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports NHL teams have until 5 pm ET on Oct. 7 to submit qualifying offers to their respective restricted free agents. The RFAs can begin signing them at noon ET on Oct. 9. Those offers expire at 5 pm ET on Oct. 18.

US HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Former NHL star and current University of Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Dean Blais, Jenny Potter and Jerry York among the class of 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees.

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part II)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part II)


NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2020

Check out the recent Canucks, Penguins, and Red Wings’ speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Vancouver Canucks need a lot of help on defense. He also pointed out they’re top-heavy on offense. Starting goalie Jacob Markstrom is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, while backup Thatcher Demko is only signed through next season.

O’Brien believes general manager Jim Benning will try to use the draft and the trade market to bolster the supporting cast around Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes. He also wondered if they’ll break the bank to re-sign pending UFA winger Tyler Toffoli or sign 30-year-old pending free agent blueliner Chris Tanev to a risky contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance think Tanev, Jordie Benn, and Sven Baertschi are the Canucks most likely to move on. Moving Benn and Baertschi would free up valuable salary-cap space. They also suggest Brandon Sutter could be a realistic ordinary course buyout candidate. Moving veteran winger Loui Eriksson ($6 million annual average value through 2021-22) could be difficult, while it’s uncertain if the Canucks can re-sign Toffoli.

Will the Vancouver Canucks re-sign goaltender Jacob Markstrom? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how the Canucks struggled when Markstrom was sidelined by a knee injury, re-signing him should be their priority, followed by boosting their blueline corps. With over $63.4 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21, they’ll have around $18 million to work with if the cap remains at $81.5 million next season. There’s enough to re-sign Markstrom, but it will cut deeply into their available payroll.

A couple of cost-cutting moves will help, but finding a suitable deal under a flat cap won’t be easy. It’ll certainly make the chances of moving Eriksson more difficult, even with his actual total remaining salary dropping to $5 million after his signing bonus is paid out on July 1. A compliance buyout would help here, but there’s no certainty the league and the NHLPA will implement that measure in the off-season.


TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh recently examined the Pittsburgh Penguins’ free agents. He feels it wouldn’t be unreasonable for RFA goalie Matt Murray to seek a hefty contract extension comparable to Tampa Bay’s Andrej Vasilevskiy ($9.5 million AAV) or Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck ($6.16 million AAV) because he’s had better postseason success. However, it’s also not unreasonable for the Penguins to consider a more affordable option such as re-signing fellow RFA Tristan Jarry.

Rorabaugh doesn’t expect UFA winger Patrick Marleau to return to the Penguins after this season. Justin Schultz‘s difficult 2019-20 season and the emergence of rookie defenseman John Marino likely signals the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh. Rorabaugh doesn’t rule out the Pens re-signing Conor Sheary if the price is right.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have over $68.2 million tied up in 15 players for next season. It’ll be interesting to see what the Penguins do with Murray and Jarry.

Ideally, GM Jim Rutherford would probably sign both to short-term contracts and take more time to evaluate their performances before settling on which one should be their starter. With both goalies carrying arbitration rights, that might be possible, but all concerned might prefer avoiding that route. If they have to part with one or the other, Casey DeSmith is ready and able to step into the backup position.


DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports acquiring a new starting goaltender is among the off-season tasks facing Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman. The Washington Capitals’ Braden Holtby is the best of this summer’s UFA goalies, but St. James believes he’d be reluctant to join a rebuilding club like the Wings.

More realistic options could include the Calgary Flames’ Cam Talbot, the Boston Bruins’ Jaroslav Halak, the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, and the Vancouver Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot and Markstrom have more recent starter experience. Halak, Khudobin, and Greiss are better backup options for clubs with a skilled starter. The Wings have plenty of salary-cap room ($46.2 million committed to 11 players) to make a substantial bid for one of them. Whether they’ll accept it, or if Yzerman intends to go the UFA route to boost his goaltending, remains to be seen.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2020

The Rangers and Wild keep their playoff hopes alive, the Panthers move up in the Atlantic Division, David Pastrnak is tied for the goal-scoring lead and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines


NHL.COM: Mika Zibanejad had a four-point game and Chris Kreider picked up three points to lead the New York Rangers over the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Dominik Kubalik scored twice for the Blackhawks to lead all rookies with 25 goals. With seven wins in their last 10 games, the Rangers (66 points) are six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider collected three points in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are still assumed to be sellers by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, but that might change if they win their next two games and move closer to a playoff spot. Kreider is considered a prime trade candidate, but the Rangers are reportedly talking contract extension with his agent.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. It was Pastrnak’s 43rd goal of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead. The Bruins (88 points) widened their lead in the Eastern Conference standings by three points over the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Oilers (71 points) opened a one-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Dallas Stars moved into a tie with the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division by edging the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Ben Bishop made 39 saves for Dallas, while Stars captain Jamie Benn was ejected for boarding Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the second period. Ekman-Larsson left the game but returned for the third period. With 68 points, the Coyotes cling to a one-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 33 shots and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist to give the Florida Panthers a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Panthers (70 points) move into third place in the Atlantic Division, knocking the Maple Leafs into fourth and out of a playoff spot in the East.

Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each picked up two assists as the Colorado Avalanche downed the New York Islanders 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. The Avs sit one point behind the Blues and Stars in the Central Division while the Islanders (72 points) slipped to the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by nipping the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Alex Galchenyuk tallied the game-winner in the shootout. J.T. Miller scored twice for the Canucks. The Wild (63 points) sit five behind the Coyotes while the Canucks are one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Oilers.


The Toronto Maple Leafs announced winger Andreas Johnsson underwent season-ending knee surgery and will be sidelined for six months. They also made a couple of minor trades, shipping Mason Marchment to the Panthers for Denis Malgin, and acquired Max Verroneau from the Ottawa Senators for Aaron Luchuk. Malgin appeared in 36 games with the Panthers this season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina is sidelined two-to-three weeks with an injured foot.

PUCKPEDIA.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed forward Stefan Matteau to a two-year, two-way contract.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2020

Ducks-Blues game postponed following Jay Bouwmeester’s cardiac incident, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Last night’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues was postponed after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident and collapsed on the Blues’ bench in the first period. Thanks to the quick response of the medical staff of both clubs, Bouwmeester was stabilized and reportedly conscious, alert, and moving his extremities as he was transported to a local hospital for further tests and observations. An update on his condition will be released later today.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester hospitalized following a cardiac incident (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A frightening moment for all concerned. Here’s hoping Bouwmeester makes a full recovery and returns to action soon.

Yanni Gourde’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 19 games. The Bolts (79 points) have won eight straight games and sit one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. It was a costly win for the Lightning, as Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli left the game with lower-body injuries.

Philipp Grubauer turned in a 34-save shutout as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Ottawa Senators 3-0. The Avs (72 points) have won eight of their last nine contests and sit one behind the Western Conference-leading Blues. Earlier in the day, the Avalanche learned center Nazem Kadri will miss multiple weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri’s injury has sparked speculation the Avs could seek a short-term replacement before the trade market. I’ll have more shortly in the Rumors section.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn’s hat trick powered his club to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Stars (69 points) have won four of their last six games and sit third in the Central Division, while the Hurricanes (67 points) are two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists while Kailer Yamamoto scored twice in the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers (66 points) sit one back of the Vancouver Canucks for first in the Pacific Division, while the Blackhawks (58 points) are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced captain Connor McDavid will be sidelined two-to-three weeks with a quadriceps injury.

The New York Islanders blew a 3-0 lead but rallied on goals by Ryan Pulock and Leo Komarov to down the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Isles center Mathew Barzal collected three assists while teammate Casey Cizikas left the game in the first period with an apparent cut to his left leg. The Isles (72 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division, while the Flyers (69 points) hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

An overtime goal by Kasperi Kapanen lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes had seemingly won the game earlier in the extra frame, but it was overturned due to goaltender interference. Zach Hyman scored both regulation goals for the Leafs (68 points), who hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Matheson, Mark Pysyk and Noel Acciari each had a goal and two assists to power the Florida Panthers over the New Jersey Devils 5-3. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

Sam Reinhart’s early third-period goal held up as the game-winner as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Sabres sit 10 points behind the third-place Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Wings forward Anthony Mantha picked up two assists. Teammate Brendan Perlini suffered a bruised right orbital bone and received several stitches to his face after being struck by a skate in the first period.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock made 26 saves to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. Kevin Fiala scored and picked up two assists for the Wild (60 points), who sit four points behind the Golden Knights and Coyotes for one of the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference.

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin kicked out 42 shots in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He briefly left the game early in the first period under the league’s concussion protocol but showed no ill-effects upon his return. Chris Kreider scored twice for the Rangers (60 points), who sit nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Jets (63) sit one point out of a wild-card spot in the West. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba received a mixed reaction from Jets fans in his first game back in Winnipeg since getting traded to New York last summer. Before the game, Randy Carlyle and Tomas Steen were inducted into the Jets Hall of Fame.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones will be sidelined for eight-to-ten weeks with an injured right ankle.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens remain mum on the status of captain Shea Weber. The Habs captain remains sidelined with a lower-body injury and there’s no timetable for his return.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Antoine Roussel was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Nashville Predators defenseman Yannick Weber.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Joakim Nygard to a one-year, $875K contract.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2019

​Connor McDavid reaches 400 career points, Mitch Marner sidelined for a month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.com: Connor McDavid tallied a hat trick, including his 400th career point, as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Leon Drasaitl had four assists, Zach Kassian picked up three points and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid reached 400 career points in a 6-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid and Draisaitl continue to tear up the league offensively in the early going. They’re key factors in the Oilers’ surprisingly strong start to this season.

Robin Lehner kicked out 53 shots backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had three-point performances for the Blackhawks, who erupted for four goals in the opening period. William Nylander tallied twice for the Leafs, who learned Mitch Marner will be sidelined for a month with a high-ankle sprained suffered during Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant blow to the Leafs offense. Marner had 18 points in as many games before his injury. His absence likely means the Leafs won’t have to demote or trade anyone, for now, to make room for Zach Hyman’s return this week.

Mark Scheifele scored in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Dallas Stars 3-2. Stars forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were held goalless for the 14th time in 18 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin has just three goals in 18 games, Benn only one. Despite their struggles, the Stars overcame their woeful 1-7-1 start to reach a .500 record after 18 games. Seguin and Benn also went through a lengthy offensive drought in the first half of last season, culminating in team president Jim Lites publicly tearing into them for their poor play. The Stars need those two to regain their scoring form.

The Florida Panthers edged the New York Rangers 6-5 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. Evgenii Dadonov scored a goal and collected two assists. Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar left the game after being struck in the head by a puck. Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome and Chris Kreider each had two points for the Rangers.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory by beating the Boston Bruins 3-2. The Flyers blew a 2-0 but got the win on a shootout goal by Joel Farabee. Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny each had two points. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 30 saves to give his club a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the 11th straight time the Devils have defeated the Canucks.

Anthony Mantha’s goal with 31 seconds remaining gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.


TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno faces a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player discipline for his elbow to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Saturday. Foligno has no previous suspensions.

KUKLA’S KORNER: Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry is under fire for comments on Saturday’s Coach’s Corner in which he appeared to single out new Canadian immigrants for not wearing poppies leading up to Remembrance Day. “You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Sportsnet and the NHL issued apologies and condemning Cherry’s comments. His sidekick Ron MacLean also apologized for the remarks and for not taking Cherry to task over them during the segment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m a veteran. I served 25 years in the Canadian Forces, including service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and a peacekeeping tour in the former Yugoslavia in 1994. While I believe everyone should wear a poppy and honor our fallen comrades I don’t believe in forcing or shaming anyone into doing so. It’s called freedom of choice. The minute we start forcing people to wear poppies, we’re heading down a dangerous road.

I also disagree with Cherry’s remarks. Canada is a nation of immigrants and refugees of all races, creeds, colors, and religions. They all built this nation and continue doing so. Many of them served this country. I served alongside them. Some paid the ultimate price. They are Canadians, period.

While I disagree with Cherry, he has the right to say what he wants and his critics the right to disagree and condemn him. That’s freedom of speech

It’s those freedoms veterans like myself and serving military members uphold and defend. Once you start taking those away from someone because you don’t like their choices or comments, it’s only a matter of time before someone takes them away from you.