NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown celebrates his game winner against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game recaps, more opening-round match-ups determined, Bryan Bickell to retire & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor Brown scored the game winner late in the third period to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013, eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders from the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.

Leafs starting goalie Frederik Andersen left the game in the second period with an apparent head injury following a collision with Penguins forward Tom Sestito. No word yet on his status for the playoffs. 

The Boston Bruins (95 points) fell to the Washington Capitals 3-1, leaving them tied for third with the Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for the start of the playoffs later this week. The Bruins are also missing blueliner Torey Krug (lower body).  

The Ottawa Senators clinched (98 points) clinched second spot in the Atlantic Division with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. 

Connor McDavid tallied his 100th career NHL assist as the Edmonton Oilers (101 points) secured home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first time since the Oilers reached 100 points since 1986-87.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues (97 points) a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blues clinched third place in the Central Division and will face the Minnesota Wild in the opening round of the playoffs. Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell has announced his retirement following this season. He was diagnosed last November with multiple sclerosis. 

The Wild set a franchise record for wins (49) and points (106) with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. 

Chris Tierney had a two-point game as the San Jose Sharks downed the Calgary Flames 3-1. The Sharks (99 points) secured third place in the Pacific Division while the Flames hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Sharks scratched captain Joe Pavelski, ending his ironman streak at 495 games. 

The Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Before the game, long-time Devils star Patrik Elias went through a final warm-up with his teammates and was overcome with emotion during the ceremonial puck drop with his family. Elias recently announced his retirement. 

Drew Doughty’s overtime goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks, who’ve now dropped four straight games. It was also the final game for long-time Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller, who’s retiring after 44 seasons behind the mike. 

The Winnipeg Jets finished their season with a seven-game win streak by edging the Nashville Predators 2-1. The Preds face the Blackhawks in the opening round of the playoffs. 

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, handing the playoff-bound Jackets their sixth straight loss entering their final game of the regular season today against the Leafs. Flyers goalie Steve Mason picked up his 200th career win. 

Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the second-to-last NHL game at the Joe Louis Arena. The Habs end the season atop the Atlantic Division with 103 points. 

James Reimer turned in a 30-save shutout as the Florida Panthers snapped a six-game losing skid by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. It was the final NHL game for retiring Panthers enforcer Shawn Thornton. 

Tyler Seguin’s shootout goal lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Four of the eight opening-round series are now set. In the East, it’s the Penguins vs the Blue Jackets and the Canadiens vs the Rangers. In the West, the Blackhawks face the Predators and the Wild tangle with the Blues. 

NBC SPORTS: The NHL Draft Lottery will reportedly take place on April 29.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2017

Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris scores the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins.

 Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators clinched a playoff spot by downing the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Kyle Turris’ shootout goal. With the win, the Sens (96 points) moved ahead of the Bruins by one point into second place in the Atlantic Division. They were also playing without captain Erik Karlsson, who sat out with a foot injury.  

The Bruins were playing without left wing Brad Marchand, who received a two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin. Bruins blueliner Torey Krug left the game with a suspected knee injury

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand will be able to return to the Bruins for their playoff opener next week. Now that he’s among the league’s top players, the department of player safety seems reluctant to levy stiffer punishment against him. Last January, he received a $10,000 fine for a slew-foot trip on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall. If Marchand were a lesser player, he probably would’ve received 10 games for his latest infraction. All this does is reinforce the notion that there’s a different level of punishment for the league’s stars compared to everyone else. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to secure a postseason berth, falling 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brayden Point scored twice and Nikita Kucherov potted the winning goal for the Lightning (90 points), who move within three of the Leafs for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bolts will play their final two games of the regular season without captain Steven Stamkos, who’s still not ready to return to action from a knee injury that’s sidelined him since November. 

The New York Islanders also moved within three points of the Leafs with a 3-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves for the win. The game also marked the return of Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last November. 

Nick Bonino scored a goal and collected two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins thumped the New Jersey Devils 7-4. The Pens (111 points) secured second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs. 

Jacob Trouba scored twice, Bryan Little netted four points and Eric Comrie had a 35-save victory in his NHL debut to give the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the Jets’ sixth straight win. 

The Minnesota Wild matched their franchise record for wins (48) and points (104) by downing the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. The Wild have secured second spot in the Central Division. 

John Gibson turned in a 37-save shutout effort as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, putting them on the verge of securing their fifth straight Pacific Division title. Earlier in the day, however, the Ducks learned defenseman Cam Fowler (knee injury) is sidelined two to six weeks

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler’s absence will be keenly felt. He’s been their best defenseman this season and leaves a significant void on their blueline. 

Milan Lucic had a hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers (99 points) move ahead of the Sharks by two points for second in the Pacific Division. 

Jaden Schwartz netted three points as the St.Louis Blues doubled up the Florida Panthers 6-3. The Blues (95 points) remain one point ahead of the Nashville Predators for third in the Central Division. The Blues also announced forward Vladimir Sobotka will return after spending three seasons in the KHL as he signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract extension

Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith each scored twice as the Predators crushed the Dallas Stars 7-3. Arvidsson also reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. 

John Gillies made 27 saves in his NHL debut as the Calgary Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 to maintain their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Radim Vrbata scored twice as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2017

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate their win over the Florida Panthers to clinch the Atlantic Division crown.

Game updates, stars of the week and the NHL opts not to participate in 2018 Olympics in your morning coffee headlines.   

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens clinched their second Atlantic Division title in three years by downing the Florida Panthers 4-1. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice for the Habs and call-up goalie Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves. Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 30th goal of the season. The Habs played without defenseman Shea Weber, who will miss another game with a lower-body injury. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs moved backed into second place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Auston Matthews scored his 39th goal, breaking the record for American-born NHL rookies and setting a new points record (67) for Leafs freshmen. The Leafs (93 points) sit one ahead of the Ottawa Senators.

The Senators, meanwhile fell 5-4 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings. However, they picked up a point to push the Boston Bruins (92 points) into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Senators captain Erik Karlsson return to action, but Cody Ceci, Marc Methot and Zack Smith could miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries

The NHL yesterday announced it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, citing an overwhelming reluctance on the part of the team owners to shutter the league for two weeks and the risk of injury to star players participating in the tournament. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this announcement among NHL players and the punditry is largely negative. I’ll have my take on this subject later today in my Soapbox section. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin, Washington Capitals winger Marcus Johansson and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 2, 2017.

ARIZONA SPORTS:  Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will miss the remainder of the regular season on a leave of absence following the recent death of his mother. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zack Werenski (shoulder injury) is listed as day-to-day. 

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues center Jori Lehtera is ready to return to action after missing 12 games with a concussion. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled winger Bryan Bickell from the Charlotte Checkers. Bickell was diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Dalton Prout received a two-game suspension for his hit on Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Radko Gudas.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2017

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg celebrates one of his three goals against the Colorado Avalanche.

Game recaps, Hurricanes trade Hainsey to Penguins, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Filip Forsberg (left) became the first player in Nashville Predators history to tally back-to-back hat tricks as he led the Predators to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Patrick Kane collected a hat trick and Corey Crawford kicked out 34 shots to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 6-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Sean Monahan scored his 100th career NHL goal and Dougie Hamilton had a three-point night (one goal, two assists) as the Calgary Flames hung on to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin missed the game with the flu.

Brad Marchand netted his 26th goal of the season and Anton Khudobin made 27 saves as the Boston Bruins defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, picking up their fifth win in their last six games.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and Mika Zibanejad tallied the winner in a shootout to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thomas Greiss turned in a 24-save shutout performance as the New York Islanders blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0, spoiling the 1,000th career NHL game for Canadiens head coach Claude Julien.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday acquired defenseman Ron Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for minor-league winger Danny Kristo and a second-round pick in 2017. The Hurricanes also picked up half of Hainsey’s $2.8 million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Hainsey’s a solid veteran addition to the Penguins injury-ravaged defense corps. While he has puck-moving skills, he’s largely used in a more defensive role now, especially on the penalty kill. In 891 career NHL games, Hainsey has never played in the postseason. With Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley sidelined long term, the Penguins could place them on LTIR, giving them more flexibility to add another defenseman if necessary. 

NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they placed left wing Bryan Bickell on waivers with the intention of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Bickell, diagnosed with MS last fall, is attempting to play his way back into the Hurricanes’ lineup and is getting the opportunity to get back into game shape by skating in the minors. 

CSN MIDATLANTIC: Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils rookie forward Pavel Zacha was diagnosed with a concussion. There’s no timetable for his return.

MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks are donating $20,000 toward the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2017

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby collected his seventh shutout of the season in a 5-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Game recaps. injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Braden Holtby made 23 saves for his seventh shutout of the season as the Washington Capitals blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0. It was Holtby’s 30th career shutout and the 10th this season for the Capitals, a new franchise record. The Caps are also the first team to reach 80 points this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a big of a shaky start to this season, the Capitals found their groove and are pulling away from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference and the overall standings. 

Jason Pominville had two goals and two assists while goalie Devan Dubnyk made 38 saves to give the Minnesota Wild a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Tyler Myers underwent surgery to correct an unspecified lower-body injury and could miss six-to-eight weeks

Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves and Michael Grabner scored twice as the New York Rangers downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-1, giving Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault his 600th career NHL win. 

Mikko Rantanen tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Calvin Pickard had a 27-save shutout as the Colorado Avalanche upset the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The once high-flying Canadiens are struggling, losing five of their last six games, four of those losses in regulation. 

Jake Allen had a 30-save shutout and Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice as the St. Louis Blues thumped the Ottawa Senators 6-0.

Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and Nikita Kucherov tallied twice to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-0 blanking of the Los Angeles Kings. 

The Calgary Flames blew a 2-0 lead but went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks to a shootout goal by Kris Versteeg. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected an assist for his 998th career NHL point. 

Evander Kane scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Buffalo Sabres overcame a 4-1 deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks 5-4. 

Calle Jankrok and Viktor Arvidsson each netted a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Canucks winger Sven Baertschi left the game with a suspected head injury. The Canucks also announced forward Anton Rodin underwent successful knee surgery and will be sidelined up to six months. 

Curtis McElhinney turned in a 39-save performance and Auston Matthew netted his 25th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Dallas Stars 3-1. 

Seth Jone’s overtime goal lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. 

PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward Travis Konecny will miss four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. 

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell, who’s suffering from multiple sclerosis, aims to return to the lineup within the last two weeks of February. 

TSN.CA: Rick Westhead reports the NHL has spent the past two years attempting to obtain all the interviews with former NHL players and their families (along with other corresponding documents) compiled by Boston University scientists studying brain injuries of former NHL players. Lawyers for the plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit against the NHL claim the league is attempting to cast doubt on the university’s research. 

ESPN.COM: The governor of Connecticut is proposing his state spending around $250 million in upgrading Hartford’s XL Center in hopes of attracting an NHL franchise. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I’d love to see an NHL franchise back in Hartford, but I’m not getting my hopes up about that anymore than I am about the NHL returning to Quebec City. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2016

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin celebrates one of his three goals against the St. Louis Blues.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin celebrates one of his three goals against the St. Louis Blues.

Game recaps plus injury, expansion and World Cup of Hockey updates in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Alex Ovechkin tallied his first hat trick of the season to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. It was the 16th time in Ovechkin’s career he’s tallied three goals in a game. 

Sidney Crosby scored twice and set up another to power the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-1 rout of the New York Rangers. 

Milan Lucic scored a goal and set up three others while Connor McDavid netted a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. 

Mike Cammalleri had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) to rally the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cammalleri missed the Devils’ previous six games as his daughter underwent surgery for pneumonia.  Leafs rookie Auston Matthews snapped a 13-game goal drought, scoring twice and setting up another. 

Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi each tallied a goal and two assists while Ryan Miller made 35 saves to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. 

Martin Jones made 33 saves as the San Jose Sharks edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. The Hawks also lost captain Jonathan Toews to an upper-body injury and is uncertain for their next game. 

Filip Forsberg, James Neal and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. 

Third-period goals 12 seconds apart by Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Earlier in the day, the Flyers learned center Sean Couturier will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a left-knee injury. 

A shootout goal by Thomas Vanek lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. 

The Minnesota Wild beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. 

Chad Johnson made 34 saves backstopping the Calgary Flames to a 2-0 shutout over the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Derek Forbort tallied the game winner as the Los Angeles Kings doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. 

CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (lower-body injury) will miss tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators and is doubtful for tomorrow’s contest against the Calgary Flames. 

NBC SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was released from hospital yesterday after taking a puck to the throat in Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. However, he’s been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes and is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Detroit. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER:  Carolina Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell is taking things day by day coping with multiple sclerosis. The disease has put his playing career in jeopardy. He’s been in touch with former Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, whose career was ended by MS. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The World Cup of Hockey wasn’t the massive cash cow the NHL and NHLPA hoped it would be. A total profit of less than $40 million is significantly lower than projected, perhaps by as much as 50 percent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the tournament was more entertaining that expected, it failed to generate excitement among hockey fans accustomed to watching NHL players in Olympic competition. The TV numbers in Canada were solid, but much less so in the United States, though Team USA’s early elimination certainly didn’t help. 

SPORTSNET:  Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley reputed reports that several notable athletes and celebrities owned minority stakes in the franchise. “The [NHL] goes through a process for every investor…so at this point, there are no minority investors [connected with the organization],” Foley said. “We have talked to the league about bringing in minority investors [but potential investors] haven’t really applied yet. I’d rather not mention names.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turns out former NHL player turned Pittsburgh Penguins development coach Mark Recchi briefly owned a tiny stake in the Golden Knights. He had to divest it, however, to avoid being in a conflict of interest. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA OTTAWA SUN): NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly disputed the notion this season’s condensed schedule is leading to a rise in injuries. NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said it was too early in the season to draws conclusions with respect to the number of injuries through this point in the season. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  The Lightning will replace the cell phone of a Nashville Predators fan damaged by Lightning forward J.T. Brown.