NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

The Rangers win the 2020 draft lottery, the Panthers formally part company with Dale Tallon, the opening round of the 2020 playoffs begin today and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday, giving them the first-overall pick and the opportunity to select top prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.

2020 NHL DRAFT ORDER

1. New York Rangers

2. Los Angeles Kings

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)

4. Detroit Red Wings

5. Ottawa Senators

6. Anaheim Ducks

7. New Jersey Devils

8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Minnesota Wild

10. Winnipeg Jets

11. Nashville Predators

12. Florida Panthers

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs)

14. Edmonton Oilers

15. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Hurricanes received the Leafs pick as part of the return in last June’s Patrick Marleau trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was 24 hours of suck for the Maple Leafs. They would’ve kept that pick had they won the lottery.

As a result of the Penguins acquiring Jason Zucker in February from the Wild, Pens general manager Jim Rutherford has seven days to decide if he’ll send this year’s first-rounder to the Wild or defer the pick to 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers have parted ways with general manager Dale Tallon. He’d been with the club for 10 years, most of that period as GM. The club issued a statement indicating the decision was mutual. It’s believed they’ll look outside the organization for a replacement. Assistant GM Eric Joyce takes over on an interim basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers made little progress toward their goal of becoming a Stanley Cup contender during Tallon’s tenure. His replacement must build around the club’s core talent (Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad), addressing their weaknesses (such as their poor defensive play), and change the culture of losing that’s dogged this franchise for over two decades. 

NHL.COM: The opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs begins today with four games. The Columbus Blue Jackets face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (3 pm ET), the Calgary Flames meet the Dallas Stars (5:30 pm ET), the Carolina Hurricanes square off against the Boston Bruins (8 pm ET), and the Chicago Blackhawks go up against the Vegas Golden Knights (10:30 pm ET).

SPORTSNET: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is sidelined indefinitely. As per league protocols, no information was revealed regarding his condition.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek (undisclosed) will be a game-day decision when his club faces off with the Canadiens in Game 1 of their opening-round series on Wednesday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Sammy Blais could miss the start of his club’s opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks. He suffered an apparent leg injury during Sunday’s round-robin loss to the Dallas Stars.

TSN: The NHL reported no positive COVID-19 tests in its first two weeks in their secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto.

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame has postponed its Induction Weekend ceremonies (Nov. 13-16) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rescheduling plans will be made during the board of directors meeting on Oct. 29.

TSN: Long-time NHL insider Bob McKenzie is scaling back his schedule in what he deemed a “soft retirement”. He’ll still appear in special events like the World Juniors and the NHL Trade Deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie is the best-connected man in hockey and the most trusted insider. Best wishes in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2020

More speculation on the resumption of the schedule, possible options for the 2020 NHL Draft, the latest on Mikko Koivu and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said his guess is the NHL could return to action this summer, but that will depend on when it will be safe to do so. “When we decide it’s time to play, we’ve got to get everybody back and be comfortable that not only are we not only infecting the population of players but that we’re not bringing the coronavirus from other places into jurisdictions where the players and other personnel are going,” said Bettman. He added health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus are the priority, as well as avoiding the risk of prematurely injuring players as they return.

THE SCORE: Bettman also said the resumption of the season must be done in a way that’s fair and flexible, especially to those teams on the playoff bubble when the schedule was paused. “That’s going to be very important no matter what it is we do and we’re considering all of the alternatives,” he said. “And nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested sports could resume this summer, provided fans are kept out of arenas and ballparks and players are screened weekly for COVID-19 to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s been catching flak from some fans and pundits over his “fantasy” of resuming play this summer. As I’ve said before, there’s no harm in the league exploring all options. However, it sounds like Bettman and the league board of governors understand that resuming play will be decided by the coronavirus. I think they’ll cancel the season if they cannot ensure the safety and health of the players and everyone involved regardless of where the games are played.

SPORTSNET: The NHL is also considering its options on how it’ll stage the 2020 NHL Draft and the lottery. It could be held virtually, or perhaps a scaled-down version like the one in 2005 following a season-killing lockout. If the league cannot complete this season or stage the Stanley Cup playoffs, perhaps a draft lottery could be held similar to the ’05 draft.

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu faces an uncertain future (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this. You can bet any significant changes to the draft lottery probably won’t sit well with the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. Given the current standings, they have the best odds of winning the lottery.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu may have played his final game for the Wild if the season cannot be resumed. The 37-year-old center is an unrestricted free agent following this season. He’s uncertain if he’ll continue his playing career or retire. “I don’t think I have a clear answer”, he said. “If (I said) I haven’t thought about all the options, I’d be lying.” Koivu didn’t rule out finishing his career in Finland or remaining in the game in some capacity.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed forward Sammy Blais to a two-year, $3-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $75.7 million invested in 18 players for 2020-21. That shrinks how much cap room they’ve got to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Alexandre Carrier to a three-year, two-way contract. He’s appeared in five games with the Predators since 2018-19.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets assistant coach Todd Woodcroft is the new head coach of the University of Vermont men’s hockey program.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks canceled its 2020 fan convention in July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames head coach Bill Peters was hired Wednesday as the head coach of KHL team Avtomobilist in Yekaterinburg, Russia.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

Game recaps, the Penguins re-sign Marcus Pettersson, Hall-of-Famer Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: David Perron scored in regulation and the deciding goal in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues edged the Calgary Flames 5-4. Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Sanford each had two points. Blues forward Sammy Blais returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 19, but winger Oskar Sundqvist left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Sean Monahan scored twice for the Flames.

David Perron’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

Three goals in the third period lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis and Mike Reilly each had a goal and an assist. Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. Sabres captain Jack Eichel tallied his career-best 29th goal of the season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.025 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in 2018, the 23-year-old Pettersson has established himself among the Penguins’ top-four defensemen. Should he continue to improve, this contract will be a most economical signing by Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford.

Pettersson’s contract means the Penguins have over $62.7 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Their notable remaining free agents include goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, defenseman Justin Schultz, and forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Dominik Kahun and Jared McCann.

TSN: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ed Belfour was arrested on Tuesday morning in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on mischief and intoxication charges.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Belfour’s third brush with the law related to alcohol-fueled incidents. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in October 2000 and was charged with disorderly intoxication in April 2007.

WINNIPEG SUN: True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre, announced they’ll be implementing a plan to reduce prices on popular concession items such as beer, soda, bottled water, pizza, and popcorn. Over $9 million in venue improvements have been planned for this summer. Ticket prices will rise by 2.1 percent for 2020-21, the lowest increase in six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bloom seems to be off the rose a little for the Jets in Winnipeg. Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press pointed out the club’s eight-year sellout streak ended in October. There have been several games announced as sellouts where there were empty seats.

McIntyre also indicated ticket-sharing partnerships have fallen apart due to rising costs and lack of interest, while the waiting list for tickets has shrunk. He acknowledged part of the problem is the Jets are on pace for their worst home record since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights hired Steve Spott as an assistant coach.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2019

Henrik Lundqvist ties Curtis Joseph on the all-time wins list, the NHLPA files a grievance on behalf of Dustin Byfuglien, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 454th career victory in a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals. He ties Curtis Joseph for fifth on the all-time list. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom missed the game with an upper-body injury, while teammate Garnet Hathaway received a three-game suspension for spitting on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 454th career win (Photo via NHL Images).

Brady Tkachuk scored in overtime as the Ottawa Senators edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau tallied his team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Senators played without winger Bobby Ryan, who entered the NHL/NHLPA assistance program. Before the game, the Canadiens honored Guy Carbonneau for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

HEADLINES

WINNIPEG SUN: The NHLPA filed a grievance yesterday against the league on behalf of Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien challenging his suspension. Byfuglien was suspended by the club for failing to show up for training camp. It was initially believed he was taking time to consider his playing future. The situation took a turn earlier this month when he underwent surgery to repair his ankle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien isn’t being paid during this suspension. There have been questions over why he didn’t show up to training camp, fail his medical, undergo surgery, go on long-term injury reserve, and receive payment. Both sides have kept quiet on the matter, but differing opinions have emerged.

The Jets reportedly claimed Byfuglien, who was hampered by an ankle injury last season, passed his exit medical at the end of last season. The Byfuglien camp apparently disputed this, believing their client hadn’t fully recovered. The grievance will be heard by an independent arbiter soon, likely early in the new year.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Sammy Blais requires wrist surgery and will be sidelined for at least 10 weeks. The club signed free-agent winger Troy Brouwer to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres assistant coach Don Granato is back behind the bench after being sidelined by severe pneumonia for several weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2019

Game recaps, the Penguins trade Erik Gudbranson to the Ducks, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 6-5 on a shootout goal by Nicklas Backstrom. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Michal Kempny each scored twice for the Capitals. Tim Schaller tallied two goals while Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each collected two assists for the Canucks.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice to rally the Washington Capitals to a 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

​SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals gave the young Canucks an invaluable lesson. Never sit on a big lead against a talented veteran club.

Third-period goals by Barrett Hayton and Clayton Keller lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Jason Demers collected three assists while Nick Schmaltz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who’ve won six of their last eight contests. Devils rookie Jack Hughes scored a goal and set up two others. Devils defenseman Will Butcher returned from injured reserve while Connor Carrick (upper body) was placed on IR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a shaky start the Coyotes are playing well of late. Their once-sputtering offense has significantly improved in recent games.

Speaking of surging teams, the New York Islanders picked up their sixth consecutive victory by doubling up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Nick Leddy scored twice, including on a penalty shot, and collected an assist. Tyler Ennis tallied twice for the Senators.

Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 10 games with two assists in a 6-1 thumping of the Vegas Golden Knights. Former Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare collected three points while Nazem Kadri and Matt Calvert each scored twice for the Avs. Golden Knights starter Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up four goals on 26 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t Fleury’s fault. He had little defensive support in this contest.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark posted a 41-save performance to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Sam Reinhart and Jake McCabe were the goal scorers. The Wings have dropped seven straight games. Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey and defenseman Marco Scandella were ruled out for this game. Both will be evaluated when the club returns to Buffalo. Wings forward Luke Glendening (upper body) will be sidelined two-to-four weeks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the San Jose Sharks 4-1, spoiling former Leafs winger Patrick Marleau’s return to Toronto. Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected two points while Marleau was held scoreless.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Anaheim Ducks for minor-league forward Andreas Martinsen and a seventh-round pick in 2021. The Penguins also placed blueliner Zach Trotman on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson was linked to the Ducks in the rumor mill following their failed attempt last month to acquire Justin Faulk. He’ll bring size, toughness and a much-needed right-handed shot to the Ducks blueline. The move is not linked to Josh Manson’s recent injury.

The Penguins, meanwhile, free up invaluable salary-cap space by shedding Gudbranson’s $4 million cap hit. They’ll need that room when sidelined forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Bryan Rust return to the lineup.

CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) will miss the club’s next two games. Winger Sammy Blais is listed as day-to-day with an injured thumb.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk returned to practice yesterday showing no ill-efect from a collision in his crease during Tuesday’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers. Dubnyk was shaken up and forced to leave the game. 

TSN: Former Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams has quietly resumed skating but still hasn’t reached a decision regarding his playing career. An unrestricted free agent, Williams is taking some time away from the game to consider his future.

CBS SPORTS: Calgary Flames forward Austin Czarnik is sidelined with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton is listed as week-to-week after breaking his foot in a pickup football game

YARDBARKER: Former Washington Capitals playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly could be signing with KHL team Kunlun Red Star.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov is returning to the KHL.










Breakout Candidates in the NHL Central Division

Breakout Candidates in the NHL Central Division