NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2018

Rangers edged Sabres in 2018 Winter Classic, three stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves while J.T. Miller scored in overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field yesterday. Miller also collected an assist while teammate Jesper Fast returned from a strained quad that sidelined him since Dec. 21. Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner made 39 saves as Buffalo overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame, while teammate Kyle Okposo had two assists. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has won four straight outdoor NHL games. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist now has more victories in outdoor games (four) than any other NHL goaltender.  He also has a combined 1.98 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in those contests. 

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson and Boston Bruins right wing David Backes are the three stars for the week ending Dec. 31. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a worthy honor for Hellebuyck. At this point in the season, he can be considered among the candidates for the Vezina Trophy. His record thus far this season stands at 21-4-5, with a 2.37 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber remains sidelined with a foot injury. He didn’t suffer a fracture but it’s uncertain when he’ll return to action. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Without Weber the Habs are suffering at both ends of the ice. The longer he’s on the shelf, the more their playoff hopes fade.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Florida Panthers. He was sidelined by back surgery for nearly three months. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The struggling Penguins could have defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Both were on injured reserve with lower-body ailments. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders demoted forwards Steve Bernier and Anthony Beauvillier to Bridgeport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beauvillier had a promising rookie performance last season (24 points in 66 games) but he’s struggled in this sophomore campaign after being relegated to bottom-six forward duties, netting just seven points in 31 contests.  

THE ATHLETIC: Former NHL player Bryan Bickell has begun a second career as a multiple sclerosis spokesperson. The disease forced Bickell into premature retirement at the end of last season. 

USA TODAY: Former NHL winger Brian Gionta will be the captain of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Other former NHLers joining Gionta include James Wisniewski, Matt Gilroy and Mark Arcobello, 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

Sabres signed Jack Eichel, Penguins & Canucks swing a trade and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80-million contract extension. The new deal begins in 2018-19 and is worth an annual average value of $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here, as it was rumored for months Eichel would get a long-term deal worth around $10 million annually. The second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the 20-year-old center is considered the Sabres’ franchise player. 

Yes, it’s an expensive extension for a young player still on his entry-level contract but I doubt he’ll have any difficulty justifying that deal. Eichel has considerable upside and has yet to hit his playing prime. 

Following the signing, I saw some folks on Twitter criticizing the deal by noting Eichel hasn’t cracked 60 points in a season. That’s overlooking the fact he missed 21 games with a high-ankle sprain at the start of last season. He still finished with 57 points in 61 games, putting him close to a point-per-game pace. If he stays healthy this season, he should reach at least 80 points this season.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The NHL ruled the Chicago Blackhawks can place winger Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve for this season. The veteran forward is sidelined with a skin condition related to his hockey gear. Once he’s placed on LTIR, the club can exceed this season’s $75 million cap ceiling to replace him up to his cap hit of $5.275 million.

The Blackhawks will today sign left wing Bryan Bickell to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire with the club. Bickell spent all but one season with the Hawks, winning two Stanley Cups. His career was ended by multiple sclerosis.

SPORTSNET: The league also ruled the Toronto Maple Leafs can placed sidelined winger Joffrey Lupul on LTIR. Lupul, who failed to pass his training-camp physical, also failed a second medical examination. His annual cap hit is $5.25 million.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The PIttsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for  defenseman Andrey Pedan and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move provides Pouliot an opportunity for a fresh start. He struggled to crack the Penguins roster and could have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Canucks. There was some expectation the Penguins might use Pouliot as a trade chip to bring in a third-line center but GM Jim Rutherford is willing to stick with Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney centering the bottom two lines.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes won’t have a captain for this season, opting instead for three alternates. A source said defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson would be named alternates, with centers Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson and blueliner Alex Goligoski in the running for the third spot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a surprise move by the Coyotes. It was anticipated Ekman-Larsson will take over the captaincy from now-retired winger Shane Doan. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed gritty winger Tanner Glass to a one-year, $650K contract. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson received a four-game suspension for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed defenseman Patrik Nemeth off waivers from the Dallas Stars. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights plucked goaltender Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Boston Bruins. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2017

The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed head coach John Tortorella.

Blue Jackets re-sign Tortorella, Sabres re-up Beaulieu and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:  The Blue Jackets signed head coach John Tortorella to a one-year contract extension stretching through 2018-19. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but the deal spares Tortorellia and the Jackets the awkward situation of having him enter this season in the final year of his current deal. Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year for 2016-17, marking the second time he’s won that honor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella is earning $2 million per season on his current deal. Coming off his award-winning performance in 2016-17, it was assumed he would ink a lucrative long-term deal with the Jackets. Perhaps both sides agreed to take a “wait-and-see” approach. Should the Jackets continue to thrive under Tortorella’s tutelage, it’s a safe bet they will lock him up long term. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, signing him to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.4 million. The Sabres acquired Beaulieu in June from the Montreal Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beaulieu now has the opportunity to become a top-four defenseman with the Sabres. 

Speaking of the Canadiens, former Habs defenseman Andrei Markov signed a two-year contract with the KHL’s AK Bars Kazan. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Defenseman Nate Schmidt hopes to re-sign with the Vegas Golden Knights before his arbitration hearing on Thursday. The Golden Knights selected Schmidt from the Washington Capitals during the expansion draft in June. 

SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman reports the New York Islanders and defenseman Calvin de Haan have made their salary pitches prior to his arbitration hearing on Wednesday. The Isles are offering $1.95 million while de Haan seeks $5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles offer is ridiculously low, as de Haan earned $1.966 million annually on his previous contract. The blueliner’s asking price, however, is way too high. I think they’ll end up settling for around $3.8 million per season. 

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Now-retired winger Bryan Bickell reflects on his NHL career. He was forced into retirement because of multiple sclerosis.

NBC SPORTS: released their 2017-18 NHL television schedule. “The Blackhawks lead all clubs with 17 total appearances on NBC and NBCSN, followed by the Penguins and Flyers with 16, and the Capitals, Red Wings, and Bruins with 15 appearances apiece, respectively.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans of other clubs will complain about NBC showing favoritism toward those clubs but the network goes where the ratings are. Like it or not, those teams usually attract the highest ratings. 

MLIVE.COM: A recent fan survey by The Hockey News reveals Detroit Red Wings fans have lost faith in the club’s management. The Wings “finished dead last when it came to each team’s fan base” while its front office ranked 29th.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2017

An equipment allergy could force Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa to retire.

Marian Hossa could face retirement, early NHL award winners & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: cites a Sportsnet report claiming Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa could be forced to retire due to an allergy to his hockey equipment that he’s been battling for some time. A statement from Hossa or the Blackhawks on this situation could come as early as today.

The 38-year-old Hossa has four seasons remaining on his contract. If he retires, the Blackhawks would face salary-cap recapture penalties but they could avoid this by placing him on long-term injured reserve. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could bring an end to a very prolific NHL career. Hossa has Hall of Fame worthy numbers (525 goals, 609 assists, 1,134 points) and helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

**UPDATE** Hossa and the Blackhawks announced this morning he will not play in 2017-18. He has not announced his retirement. This means the Blackhawks can place him on LTIR for the upcoming season. 

CBC.CA: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. New York Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic accepted the NHL Foundation Player Award.

NBC SPORTS: The NHL will honor Bryan Bickell at tonight’s awards show. Bickell’s career was cut short by multiple sclerosis. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had what is expected to be his final farewell with Penguins fans yesterday during a personal appearance at a local sporting goods store. It’s believed Fleury will be selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in tonight’s NHL expansion draft. 

NBC SPORTS: Speaking of the Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford told his pending unrestricted free agents to test the upcoming free-agent market. Once they determine their market value, they can come back and negotiate with the Penguins. Those free agents include Nick Bonino, Trevor Daley, Chris Kunitz and Ron Hainsey. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  The Sabres are not planning to bring back assistant coaches Terry Murray, Bob Woods and Tom Ward.

OTTAWA SUN: Tickets for the Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators outdoor game on Dec. 16 at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa will be expensive. The prices could run from between $129-$499.00 (Cdn) each. 

YAHOO SPORTS: The NHL new Adidas-made jerseys were unveiled yesterday. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2017

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin celebrates his insurance goal in a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their second-round series.

Capitals beat Penguins to avoid elimination, Senators push Rangers to the brink & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Unanswered third-period goals by Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin lifted the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory in Game 5 of their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, forcing a sixth game back in Pittsburgh on Monday. The Penguins still hold a 3-2 lead in the series. This game also saw the return of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who missed Game 4 with a concussion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Entering the third period down 2-1 to the Penguins and down 3-1 in the series, that third period was do or die for the Capitals. Their best players rose to the occasion. They’ll need the same effort again in Game 6 if they hope to return to Washington for the seventh and deciding game. 

Kyle Turris scored in overtime as the Ottawa Senators overcame a 4-3 deficit to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Senators hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up in New York on Tuesday. Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson collected three assists (including on the game winner) while logging over 31 minutes of ice time. Prior to Turris’ goal, a potential game winner by Rangers winger Michael Grabner in overtime was waived off because of a high stick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators play much better at home than they do on the road in this series. They looked nothing like the outplayed, demoralized bunch that stumbled through consecutive 4-1 losses to the Rangers in Game 3 and 4 in New York. They must channel that home-ice magic in Game 6 if they hope to finish off the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers hope to shake off their disappointing, controversial double-overtime loss in Game 5 to the Anaheim Ducks as the two clubs square off in Game 6 tonight. The Ducks hold a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues must find a way to solve Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne if they hope to win Game 6 today and return home for a seventh and final game. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Thanks to the Predators, Nashville is garnering a growing reputation as a strong hockey town. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Recently retired winger Bryan Bickell is taking life at a slower pace as he copes with the multiple sclerosis that ended his playing career. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2017

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrates a goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, McDavid wins Art Ross Trophy, opening-round playoff match-ups determined and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Connor McDavid collected two assists to become the only player to reach 100 points this season as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. McDavid is the first Oiler to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer since Wayne Gretzky in 1987. Oilers winger Jordan Eberle netted a hat trick.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title by downing the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime. Shea Theodore scored the game winner for the Ducks. 

The Detroit Red Wings closed out the Joe Louis Arena with a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Wings forward Riley Sheahan scored twice to snap a season-long goalless streak. 

In his final NHL game, Bryan Bickell scored in a shootout and Brock McGinn netted the winning goal as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. Multiple sclerosis has forced Bickell into retirement. 

Three unanswered goals by Matt Calvert, Josh Anderson and Cam Atkinson lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Leafs. 

Brayden Point scored twice and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. 

Brock Nelson had a goal and two assists and Anders Lee netted his 34th over the season in the New York Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. 

Vladimir Sobotka scored in his first NHL game since 2014 as the St. Louis Blues edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. 

James Reimer had a 38-save shutout performance as the Florida Panthers blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0. 

Magnus Hellberg made 22 saves for his first NHL win backstopping the New York Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening-round postseason series have now been determined. In the Western Conference, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks vs the Nashville Predators, the Minnesota Wild vs the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks vs the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers vs the San Jose Sharks. In the Eastern Conference, it’s the Washington Capitals vs the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins vs the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Montreal Canadiens vs the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators against the Boston Bruins.  

The opening round schedule of the 2017 NHL playoffs has been released. The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 pn ET),  New York Rangers meet the  Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET); Boston Bruins face the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET); St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET); and San Jose Sharks meet the Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. ET).

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars announced Lindy Ruff won’t be returning as their head coach next season.