NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2024

The Golden Knights set an NHL record, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar sets a franchise record, league commissioner Gary Bettman assures Jets fans their team won’t be moved, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights became the fastest franchise in league history to reach 300 wins (514 games) by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2, snapping the latter’s seven-game win streak. Jonathan Marchessault had two goals and an assist for the 33-19-7 Golden Knights as they ended a three-game losing skid and hold second place in the Pacific Division with 73 points. With 74 points, the Leafs (33-17-8) sit in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar collected an assist to become the highest-scoring blueliner in franchise history (308 points) in a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to extend his season-opening home points streak to 29 games for the Avalanche (36-19-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 77 points. Rookie Logan Stankoven scored his NHL goal for the 35-17-9 Stars as they slipped to second place in the Central with 79 points.

The Florida Panthers held off the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-2. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the 39-16-4 Panthers (82 points) as they sit first in the Eastern Conference and second in the overall standings. The Sabres slipped to 27-28-4.

An overtime goal by Erik Karlsson lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Sidney Crosby had two assists and reached his 1,000th career even-strength point for the 27-21-8 Penguins as they’ve won three straight games. J.T. Miller netted his 30th goal of the season for the Canucks (38-16-7) as they remain first overall with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Penguins announced that winger Bryan Rust is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

A five-goal third period carried the Philadelphia Flyers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. Travis Sanheim and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (31-22-7) as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 69 points. The 32-24-5 Lightning hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 69 points, four ahead of the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced defensemen Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen are week-to-week with upper-body injuries. Winger Travis Konecny (upper body) is listed as day-to-day.

Speaking of the Devils, they cruised to a 7-2 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Nico Hischier had a goal and three assists while Jack Hughes had a goal and two assists for the 30-25-4 Devils while San Jose sank to 15-37-5. They also lost goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood as he left the game with an injury in the first period.

Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Kane collected two assists to extend his points streak to nine games as his club trounced the Washington Capitals 8-3. Shayne Gostisbehere tallied twice for the surging Red Wings (33-20-6) as they picked up their sixth straight win and hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 72 points.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 to pick up their fourth straight win. Yegor Sharangovich snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period for the 29-25-5 Flames (63 points) as they sit five points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Kings (29-19-10) as they cling to the first Western wild-card spot with 68 points

Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators maintained their hold on that final Western wild-card berth by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Roman Josi and Gustav Nyquist each had three points for the 33-25-2 Predators (68 points) as they picked up their sixth straight win. The Senators dropped to 25-29-3 while center Josh Norris left the game with an apparent shoulder injury in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to NHL.com, the Senators were outshot 19-0 in the third period.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist to lead his club to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Hurricanes improved to 35-18-6 and sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 76 points. The Wild slipped to 28-15-6 and are six points out of the final Western wild-card berth.

The Montreal Canadiens handed the Arizona Coyotes their 13th straight defeat (0-11-2) by a score of 4-2. Sam Montembeault stopped 36 shots while Joel Armia and Jordan Harris had a goal and an assist for the 23-28-8 Canadiens as they ended a five-game losing skid. The Coyotes dropped to 23-30-5.

Winnipeg Jets center Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Josh Morrissey and Nikolaj Ehlers each collected two assists as the Jets (37-15-5) moved into first place in the Central Division with 79 points. With a record of 30-26-2, the Blues (62 points) are six points behind the Predators for that final Western wild-card spot.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Jets, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in Winnipeg on Tuesday. He dismissed the notion that the club could relocate after team owner Mark Chipman last week expressed concern over their declining season-ticket sales.

The Jets have the second-lowest average attendance this season (13,306), drawing 87.4 percent of Canada Life Centre’s 15, 225 capacity.

At the time, Chipman said the Jets had to get back to a season-ticket base of 13,000 each year after sales dropped to 9,500 for 2023-24. “This place we find ourselves in right now, it’s not going to work over the long haul. It just isn’t,” he said.

Bettman suggested Chipman was referring to the club’s ability to compete and win the Stanley Cup rather than the viability of remaining in Winnipeg. He believes Winnipeg is a strong hockey market and cited the financial commitments that ownership has made to the team, its arena and the downtown area.

If the team is going to have the resources and the ability to compete at the highest level, and to spend at the cap, as they have, it’s important for the building to be full,” said Bettman. He felt their current difficulties are simply part of the growing pains clubs occasionally endure and is confident that they will adjust.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen noted that Chipman walked back his comments from last week that generated so much emotion and concern over the Jets’ future. The Jets owner acknowledged the club screwed up with its rigid policies, admitting it must win back the fans’ trust.

Friesen also included a sampling of the fans’ complaints, most of which centered on the perception that ownership was out of touch with the fans and took them for granted. High prices for parking and concessions, indifferent customer service from the arena staff and sales department, and last spring’s season-ticket ad campaign referencing the original Jets that came across as a veiled threat were among the issues raised.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Before Bettman’s journey to Winnipeg, Mike McIntyre did a detailed examination of how things reached this point for the Jets. He felt there was no reason to panic about the team relocating but pointed out that economics was behind this situation.

McIntyre noted the decline in the Jets season-ticket sales, including a waitlist of reportedly 8,000 that has dried up. He cites many of the same factors as Friesen, as well as the rising cost of living, economic downturn, and the club’s erratic performance in recent years.

He also pointed out the Jets lack corporate support, with just 15 percent accounting for their season-ticket sales. That’s well below the other six Canadian markets, where businesses make up between 45 and 85 percent of the base.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates examined ways the Jets can win back their fans. He believes they must generate more substantial corporate support and prioritize individuals, families and friends of groups that buy tickets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted all this because Chipman’s remarks last week raised concerns about the Jets’ future, not just in Winnipeg but around the league. It also drew plenty of comments last Saturday when I reposted my 2011 Soapbox article expressing concerns for the franchise following its relocation.

While the club isn’t in danger of moving to a new city, there’s no question that the attendance issue garnered attention at NHL headquarters. Hence the commissioner’s attempt to reassure the fans while also meeting with the club’s corporate sponsors to drum up more support.

Bettman’s comments about the requirement for a full arena are no different from those he made in 2011 when the Jets relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta. For a decade, that wasn’t an issue. It’s become a problem now, one that the team’s owner took public and the league commissioner had to address.

Playing in the NHL’s smallest market and the second-smallest arena, the Jets continue to face more challenges than other Canadian franchises. Over time, it could prove difficult for individual fans or families to keep up with the increasing fan cost index especially if the cost of living continues to rise. Improved corporate support will be crucial going forward.

Jets fans are passionate about their team. If the issues they raised are suitably addressed by the club’s ownership, the season-ticket sales should improve and the Jets should regularly sell out their arena once again.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2023

Recapping Wednesday’s preseason action, the salary cap is projected to rise significantly in 2024-25, plus some notable injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to thump the Calgary Flames 7-2. Connor Brown tallied twice for the Oilers while Dan Vladar made 35 saves for the Flames.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Flames announced that forward Kevin Rooney suffered what is considered to be a long-term upper-body injury in practice earlier this week.

The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Jackets rookie Adam Fantilli’s first-ever NHL preseason goal was also the winning goal while teammate Patrik Laine collected his fourth goal of this preseason. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 28 shots for the Sabres.

New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer each had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers. Ondrej Palat picked up three assists for the Devils. Adam Fox and Will Cuylle replied for the Rangers.

The Detroit Red Wings nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 with James Reimer making 21 saves for the win. Simon Edvinsson and Daniel Sprong scored for the Wings while Xavier Ouellet tallied for the Penguins. Former Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 stops against his former team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Red Wings announced that they had released forward Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout.

Seattle Kraken winger Eeli Tolvanen scored the winning goal to down the Vancouver Canucks 2-1.


NHL.COM: League Commissioner Gary Bettman made his preliminary projection for next season’s salary cap following yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting. With revenues up and stable team ownerships, he anticipates the cap could rise to between $87 million and $88 million for 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The salary cap is $83.5 million for this season. It has been flattened since the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season because of the players’ $1 billion escrow debt to the owners as a result of the premature end of the 2019-20 season due to the start of the COVID pandemic. Bettman indicated there is $50 million of escrow debt remaining and it is expected to be paid off by the end of this season.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Josh Norris suffered another setback in his efforts to return to action from the shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his 2022-23 season. Head coach D.J. Smith remains hopeful that Norris, who’s been practicing with his teammates for the past eight days, will be able to play in the Senators’ final preseason game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Senators center Shane Pinto remains out of training camp as his agent and Senators general manager Pierre Dorion continue to negotiate a new contract. The two sides have reportedly made progress in recent days. There’s talk around the league that the 22-year-old Pinto could accept a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators now have $1.7 million in cap space after four players, including Jacob Bernard-Docker and Egor Sokolov, cleared waivers yesterday and were sent to their AHL affiliate in Belleville. Nevertheless, they’ll still have to shed more salary to get Pinto under contract and be cap-compliant when their season opens next week.

NEW YORK POST: Winger Kyle Palmieri has rejoined the Islanders after missing the opening weeks of training camp with an undisclosed injury. It’s unclear if he’ll participate in the Isles’ final two preseason games but should be good to go for their season opener next week against the Buffalo Sabres.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks forward Mikael Granlund returned to practice yesterday after missing a week with an undisclosed injury. He’s expected to be in their lineup for their season opener next week, replacing sidelined captain Logan Couture (lower-body, week-to-week).

TSN: Los Angeles Kings forward Arthur Kaliyev will face a disciplinary hearing for kneeing Anaheim Ducks forward Chase De Leo on Tuesday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Diamond Sports Group, the bankrupt operator of Bally Sports Arizona, wants out of its contract to broadcast Arizona Coyotes games. They made the request in the Southern Texas Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday. Both sides are awaiting the court’s decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another day, another crisis for the Coyotes. It’s too bad because they actually have a promising roster led by rising star Clayton Keller that could surprise some folks this season. Sadly, few sports fans in Arizona will be able to watch them unless the team can find a new broadcaster.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL coach Kevin Constantine has been suspended indefinitely as head coach of the WHL’s Wenatchee Wild for making derogatory remarks of a discriminatory nature.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2023

Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville speak at general managers’ meeting, an update on William Nylander’s contract talks, Tim Stutzle talks about Alex DeBrincat’s departure from the Senators, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and former head coach Joel Quenneville spoke Friday at the NHL’s general manager and coaches meeting in Chicago. They were invited by league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly to address the group but they did not speak to the media.

Bowman and Quenneville have been out of the league since 2021 following an investigation by the Blackhawks over the mishandling of allegations by former player Kyle Beach that he had been sexually abused by former assistant coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. Neither man was suspended by the league but Bettman has stated they need his clearance to return.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Following the meeting, Bettman told reporters that he has no timetable for when Bowman and Quenneville will be allowed to return to the NHL. He also claimed that the duo “voluntarily” attended the GM and coaches meeting. “It wasn’t something that they were told they needed to do,” said Bettman, “ We said if you’d like the opportunity to address the group, you would have it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t appear Bowman and Quenneville will be allowed back to the NHL this season. However, their attendance at this meeting could set the stage for Bettman to give one or both men his blessing to return in the near future.

THE ATHLETIC: After re-signing Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving told Pierre LeBrun that he is focused on getting William Nylander under contract. “Willy is a really important player and a really good player, and we want to get him done too,” said Treliving.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

The Leafs GM indicated his intention to hold further talks with the Nylander camp before the upcoming season begins. The winger’s agent, Lewis Gross, told LeBrun that they remain open to getting a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports earlier this summer claimed negotiations weren’t going well. It’s a promising sign that both sides are still willing to discuss a contract.

Whether they can hammer out a deal remains to be seen. It’s believed Nylander seeks $10 million annually on his next contract. That could prove difficult for the Leafs over the long term with Mitch Marner due for a new deal in 2025.

THE SCORE: Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle didn’t mince words regarding former teammate Alex DeBrincat during a recent appearance on the Sportsnet podcast “32 Thoughts”.

If he doesn’t want to be there, I don’t want to have to make him be there,” said Stutzle. He went on to say, “If you don’t want to be there, good luck on your way.”

DeBrincat was shipped in July to the Detroit Red Wings following a trade request by his representatives. Stutzle added that he and his teammates wanted DeBrincat to stay, calling him “a great guy, great player.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are attempting to build a contender based around their young core of talent such as Stutzle who have committed to the club’s long-term plans. They don’t want any unnecessary distractions, including from those who’d prefer playing elsewhere.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the sale of the club to billionaire Michael Andlauer could be done “as early as next week”.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins could go with a “captain-by-committee” this season with three or four alternates rather than naming a team captain. The position is currently vacant following Patrice Bergeron’s retirement in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins wouldn’t be the only NHL club to use that format if that’s what they decide to do this season. It can be a good way to determine which player is best suited to fill the role of team captain.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche have invited forward Saku Maenalanen to camp on a professional tryout offer. The 29-year-old winger played 64 games last season with the Winnipeg Jets.

SPORTSNET: On his “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said he believes the Seattle Kraken have sorted out prospect center Shane Wright’s eligibility to play for their AHL affiliate in Coachella Valley this season. Wright was one game short of the CHL’s cut-off eligibility, meaning he would’ve had to return to the OHL if he didn’t crack the Kraken lineup this season.

TSN: Former NHL players Dustin Brown and Jamie Langenbrunner and former NHL executive Brian Burke are among the 2023 inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. They join women’s star Katie King Crowley and official Brian Murphy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2023 for this well-deserved honor.





There Could Be More Short-Term NHL Contract Signings This Summer

There Could Be More Short-Term NHL Contract Signings This Summer

For the first time since 2019, the NHL’s annual free-agent period will open on July 1.

Apart from spoiling the Canada Day holiday for pundits, bloggers and freelancers (like me), it represents another return to normalcy for a league that – like everyone and everything else in the world – saw its normal calendar upset by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s usually a time when restricted and unrestricted free agents sign lucrative long-term contracts. Some players and teams are wasting little time getting the jump on things.

On June 5, the Montreal Canadiens re-signed RFA winger Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8-million deal. Four days later, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired pending UFA defenseman Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils and signed him to an eight-year, $50-million contract.

Those deals seem to signal that it could be business as usual in this year’s free-agent market. However, sandwiched between the Caufield and Severson signings was Vladislav Gavrikov’s two-year, $11.75 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

Acquired before the March trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Gavrikov quickly established himself as a key member of the Kings’ defense corps.

The 6’3”, 217-pound blueliner played so well for the Kings that they offered him a long-term contract. However, his agent reportedly pushed for the shorter term in order for Gavrikov to reenter the UFA market when the salary cap is expected to be significantly higher.

The salary cap for 2023-24 is projected to remain flattened, rising only by $1 million to $83.5 million as per the terms of the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Meanwhile, Cap Friendly indicates 16 clubs carry less than $10 million in cap space while another five teams have less than $15 million. That’s 21 out of 32 NHL teams facing a difficult offseason bidding for UFA talent or re-signing key talent.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently explained the reason behind that ongoing flattened cap for next season is the players still have outstanding escrow payments owed to the NHL team owners due to the imbalance in hockey-related revenue during the COVID-shortened seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21.

That outstanding balance will be paid off by the end of 2023-24, after which the cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million in 2024-25 and another $4 million in 2025-26. Some speculate those increases could be even higher.

For Gavrikov, this means he’ll become a UFA in the summer of 2025 when he’ll be 29. If he continues playing well for the Kings, he could be in line for a longer-term contract with an average annual value worth much more than the $5.875 million AAV of his upcoming deal.

Not every player will follow Gavrikov’s example, preferring the security of a long-term deal. Others, however, could see this as an opportunity to get a good raise now on a shorter term while betting on themselves to receive much bigger paydays in two or three years’ time.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2023

The Golden Knights take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Blue Jackets will reportedly hire Mike Babcock as head coach, highlights from Gary Bettman’s “State of the League” press conference, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 in Game 1 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. Zach Whitecloud tallied the winning goal in the third period to break a 2-2 while Mark Stone and Reilly Smith put the game out of reach for Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (NHL Images).

Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill got the win with a 32-save performance, including a big paddle save on Florida’s Nick Cousins early in the second with the game tied at 1-1. Vegas’ Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore finished the night with two points each. Eric Staal and Anthony Duclair scored for the Panthers.

Game 2 is Monday night in Las Vegas at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the score was 2-2 after two periods, the Golden Knights were the better team over that stretch and took control of the game in the final frame. The Panthers kept it close until the third but the rust from their 10-day layoff was evident in this contest.

This game got rowdy at times and the Panthers’ frustration boiled over after Vegas made it 4-2. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett each drew misconduct penalties for throwing punches at Golden Knights defenseman Nic Hague during a scrum behind the Panthers’ net late in the period. Vegas center Chandler Stephenson also received a misconduct.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice was unperturbed by the loss. Following the game, he reminded reporters that his club fell behind 1-0 and 3-1 in the first-round series against the Boston Bruins. “Everybody just f**king breathe, alright?” said Maurice. “I feel like you people have been here, you’re tight. Loosen up a little bit.”


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets are reportedly set to hire Mike Babcock as their new head coach pending the completion of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1.

Babcock signed an eight-year, $50 million deal in 2015 to coach the Leafs but was fired in November 2019 amid accounts from former Leafs and Detroit Red Wings players that he bullied players, staffers and arena employees.

The 60-year-old Babcock has 17 seasons of NHL coaching experience with the Leafs, Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks. He’s 12th all-time in wins among NHL coaches (700), won a Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008 and coached them to the Cup Final in 2009. He also guided the Ducks to the Final in 2003.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Babcock and Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was unavailable for comment on Saturday.

A team source told Portzline that Kekalainen and members of the club’s staff spoke with the veteran players on the roster to see how they would feel about the possibility of Babcock becoming head coach. Nevertheless, Portzline believes Babcock’s hiring could be met with consternation among some of the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reaction toward this news on social media was mostly negative. Regardless, it appears Kekalainen believes Babcock deserves a second chance. As Portzline noted, there’s no disputing his successful record in the NHL and on the international stage for Canada despite his baggage.

Portzline also cited interviews Babcock have in 2021 where he pushed back against the allegations. Perhaps his nearly four-year banishment from the NHL has given him time to reflect and change for the better. We’ll find out in due course.

SPORTSNET: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly gave their annual State of the League news conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Among the highlights:

The league remains committed to Arizona despite the Coyotes’ failed bid to construct a new arena in Tempe. Bettman said the club is looking at other areas in the Phoenix area for a long-term home. He pointed to the size of the Arizona market and the Coyotes being a “victim of circumstance” as to why the league remains so patient in keeping the club in Arizona.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve said for years (and I’m not the only one) that the Arizona market is the reason Bettman has stubbornly worked to keep the Coyotes in their current location. A successful franchise in that market would significantly boost NHL revenue.

Bettman was asked about interest in Salt Lake City, Quebec City or a second team in Toronto. He said relocation currently isn’t being considered.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs would certainly have something to say about another club in their market. Sadly, Quebec City remains a long shot despite its state-of-the-art arena and rabid hockey fanbase. Salt Lake City, on the other hand, would be intriguing to the league as a potential relocation or expansion destination given its market size.

The Ottawa Senators are close to getting sold for what Bettman estimates could be around $1 billion USD.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman didn’t indicate who the front-runner is but it’s been reported that Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos has made the highest bid.

Bettman will be meeting individually with former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and former head coach Joel Quenneville to determine whether they’ll be reinstated to work in the NHL. Both resigned in 2021 over their roles in mishandling Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010.

Daly said the league’s independent investigation into the Hockey Canada sexual assault scandal has wrapped up and expects to release its report in July. Several players currently in the NHL were accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in 2018 while members of Canada’s world junior team. Their names have not been revealed.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin remains eligible to play in the NHL next season despite an incident in a Seattle hotel involving an intoxicated woman in his room that sparked a team investigation. Bettman said there will be no league investigation, adding that the Avalanche handled the situation appropriately.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin was not charged by Seattle police and there is no further investigation into the matter.

Two Stadium Series games will be held at New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium next February. The Philadelphia Flyers will face off against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 17 followed by the New York Rangers facing the New York Islanders on Feb. 18.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2023

The Panthers rally to nip the Leafs, the Wild widen their lead in the Central Division, the Islanders strengthen their hold in the first Eastern wild-card spot, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brandon Montour. Alex Lyon got the win with a 38-save performance while Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist for the 37-31-7 Panthers (81 points), who moved one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Auston Matthews tallied his 37th goal of the season for the 44-20-10 Leafs as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers rallied thanks to head coach Paul Maurice’s mid-game profanity-laced tirade toward his players on the bench. Lyon got the call in goal as Sergei Bobrovsky was sidelined by illness.

Minnesota Wild forward Frederick Gaudreau scored two shorthanded goals to double up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Filip Gustavsson kicked out 42 shots for the Wild (44-22-9) as they hold a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division with 97 points. Bowen Byram and Lars Eller replied for the 44-26-6 Avalanche, who remain in third place in the Central with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild winger Ryan Reaves was unavailable for this game with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance in this game, claiming there were “some passengers” among his players. In other words, he believes some of them didn’t play up to their expected level of performance.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (NHL Images).

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin picked up his eighth win in 10 starts through March in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri tallied in the shootout as the Islanders improved to 39-28-9 (87 points) to open a five-point lead over Pittsburgh for the first Eastern wild-card spot. The Capitals (34-32-9) are five points behind the Penguins.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery dismissed a TSN report claiming Taylor Hall was close to returning to the lineup. “The only thing I can say is that I know he is not cleared. That’s what I know so that report to me is false,” said Montgomery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report cited sources claiming Hall felt he was ready to return but the Bruins lack the salary-cap space to activate him, speculating they could attempt to stretch it out until the playoffs start when the cap no longer applies.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday signed Filip Chytil to a four-year, $17.75 million contract beginning in 2023-24. The average annual value is $4.4375 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for Chytil, who centers the Rangers’ third line between Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. The 23-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who is earning $2.3 million on his current deal. He’s enjoying a career-best performance with 22 goals and 42 points in 66 games.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Rangers with a projected $12.3 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 14 roster players under contract. Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller are also eligible for RFA status this summer.

THE SCORE: Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot is likely sidelined for a couple of weeks with an upper-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso won’t be out of the rest of the season with a lower-body injury after all. He’s not expected to return this week but could get in some games before the season’s end. Winger Robby Fabbri, however, is confirmed to be out for the season following surgery to address a lower-body injury that will take four to six weeks of recovery.

CTV NEWS OTTAWA: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league will evaluate its Pride Nights after a handful of players refused to wear Pride-themed jerseys during pregame warmups.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Buffalo Sabres prospect goaltender Devon Levi will make his NHL debut on Friday against the Rangers.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks signed forward Nikolai Knyzhov to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.25 million.