NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

The Flyers down the Bruins, the Blues defeat the Golden Knights plus the Jets brace for more COVID-19 cases, an update on the Oilers’ Mike Smith and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins 6-3. Atkinson scored twice, Couturier and Joel Farabee each had a goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 37 saves for the win. Boston made it interesting by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the second period on goals by Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand. Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson (NHL Images).

Jordan Binnington made 42 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the go-ahead goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev also tallied for the Blues while William Karlsson scored Vegas’ only goal.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly bracing for more positive COVID-19 tests after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive and went into self-isolation on Tuesday. The club didn’t comment on the report but is expected to provide an update on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli broke this story. He followed up on Twitter saying some tests that were initially positive have since been confirmed negative. Seravalli said it’s possible most of the roster will be cleared to play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks but the Jets are awaiting clarity on this changing situation.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, they assigned prospect forward Cole Perfetti to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mike Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He’ll be sidelined for at least one week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ playoff hopes rest on a healthy Smith unless backup Mikko Koskinen can step up in his absence, something he’s had difficulty doing in the past.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is looking forward to facing the Canadiens in Montreal tonight. It will be his first game against his former team since signing a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet in August. Kotkaniemi said he has no hard feelings and nothing but “real good memories” of his time with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how poorly the Canadiens have started the season, Kotkaniemi could rub more salt in the wound by scoring during a Hurricanes victory tonight.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, defenseman Joel Edmundson has taken a leave of absence to be with his father, who’s suffering from cancer. Edmundson has been sidelined thus far by an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s absence is part of the reason the Canadiens are 0-4-0 to start this season. He was a strong physical presence on their blueline last season, especially in the playoffs. Factor in the absence of starting goalie Carey Price (NHL player assistance program)and team captain Shea Weber (injuries) plus the departure of two-way center Phillip Danault (free agency) and it’s unsurprising the Canadiens look terrible thus far.

TSN: Florida Panthers forward Joe Thornton was fined $1,875.00 for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames placed forward Glenn Gawdin on waivers yesterday.

Former NHL forward Artem Anisimov signed a one-year contract with KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

Lopsided wins by the Blues and Flyers, the three stars of the week, Evander Kane receives a lengthy suspension, Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined longer than expected, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal outburst in the second period powered the St. Louis Blues over the Arizona Coyotes 7-4. Jordan Kyrou had two goals and two assists and Klim Kostin also scored twice for the Blues. Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists for the Coyotes. Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich could face supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty in the first period for headbutting Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse.

Eleven Philadelphia Flyers collected points in their 6-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Derick Brassard led the way with a goal and two assists while Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee and Justin Braun each had a goal and an assist. Carter Hart picked up the win with a 23-save performance.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ilya Shesterkin made 40 saves while Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers. Michael Bunting replied for the Leafs while teammate Auston Matthews was shut out in his season debut as he returned to action from offseason wrist surgery.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their second win of the season by nipping the Calgary Flames 3-2 in overtime. Jamie Drysdale tallied his first NHL game-winning goal. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists for the Flames.

HEADLINES

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 17, 2021.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane without pay for 21 games for violating the league’s COVID protocols by using a fake COVID vaccination card. His salary will not count against the Sharks’ cap payroll during his suspension. The league also announced its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse by his wife could not be substantiated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s ongoing off-ice issues are raising questions about his future with the Sharks. He hasn’t skated with the team since the end of last season after mutually agreeing with the club not to participate in training camp while those investigations were ongoing.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined for an extended period by a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The club is trying to determine the severity of the injury and whether surgery is required.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov missed the entirety of the 2020-21 regular season after undergoing hip surgery last December. It’s unclear if his latest injury is tied to that procedure.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Nathan MacKinnon will be joining his Avalanche teammates in Washington following a negative COVID-19 test yesterday. He’s been sidelined nearly a week after testing positive twice. MacKinnon, who is reportedly asymptomatic and feeling fine, could play in tonight’s game against the Capitals if he has another negative test today.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler entered the league’s COVID protocol yesterday. His status for tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild is uncertain.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mike Hoffman is expected to make his debut with the Canadiens tonight when they face off against the Sharks at the Bell Centre. Hoffman was recovering from an injury suffered during offseason training.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a fractured rib.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has been granted a temporary leave of absence for personal reasons. His salary won’t count against their salary-cap payroll during his absence.

TSN: Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for slashing Ottawa Senators winger Tim Stutzle on Sunday. Stutzle left the game immediately but return to action in the third period.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Matt Martin will make his season debut after recovering from an ankle injury. The Isles also place forward Leo Komarov on waivers.

TSN: Former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk was named the general manager for the Russian Olympic Committee’s men’s hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Former NHLers Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov and Evgeni Nabokov will serve as assistant coaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

Game recaps include hat tricks by Connor McDavid and Sam Bennett, a record-setting night for Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied his 10th career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. Three of those hat tricks have come against the Flames. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists while Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and two assists. The Oilers also welcomed back Zack Kassian from concussion protocol. The Flames set a dubious NHL record by losing 12 straight season-opening games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Sam Bennett powered the Florida Panthers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair also tallied for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the win.

Mike Sullivan became the all-time wins leader among Pittsburgh Penguins head coaches with 253 as his club rolled over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got the hook in the first period after giving up four goals on 10 shots. Drew O’Connor and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Penguins activated Zach Aston-Reese from COVID protocol and placed winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on injured reserve.

Steven Stamkos’ overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring in the second period with his 733rd career goal while Mikhail Sergachev tied it in the third. The Lightning’s win was overshadowed by the departure of first-line winger Nikita Kucherov midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand joined Mats Sundin and Chris Kelly as the third player in NHL history to record a team’s season-opening goal on a penalty shot in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. He also scored the insurance goal late in the third period. Stars goalie Braden Holtby made 37 saves in a losing effort.

Chris Kreider scored in his third straight game as the New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Alexis Lafreniere picked up the game-winner by snapping a 1-1 tie in the third period. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens have dropped three straight and scored just three goals with Jonathan Drouin accounting for two of them.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron scored twice as his club held off a late rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-3 victory. The Avalanche came back from 4-1 to within a goal before Ryan O’Reilly put the game out of reach. Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson missed this contest as he was placed in COVID protocol. Before the game, the Avs honored former general manager Pierre Lacroix, who passed away in December from a COVID-related illness at age 72.

The San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit with a shorthanded goal and two power-play markers to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Tomas Hertl and rookie Jasper Weatherby led the way for the Sharks as they each had a goal and an assist.

A 40-save effort by Thomas Greiss carried the Detroit Red Wings over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1. Greiss made 23 saves in the third period. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner scored for the Wings.

Frederik Andersen kicked out 38 shots as the Carolina Hurricanes held off the Nashville Predators 3-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the win.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a 20-save performance from Jack Campbell to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Kerfoot led the way with a goal and an assist. With Petr Mrazek sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury, the Leafs had to sign University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop to a one-day contract as an emergency backup for Campbell due to salary-cap constraints. They’ll be able to call up Michael Hutchinson on Monday.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves as the Minnesota Wild held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild got second-period goals from Frederick Gaudreau, Victor Rask and Ryan Hartman. Anze Kopitar got the Kings within one in the third period.

An overtime goal by Patrik Laine gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Branden Tanev opened the scoring for the Kraken but Eric Robinson’s goal midway through the third period set the stage for Laine’s game-winner. The Kraken played without Vince Dunn as the defenseman was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their second-straight win by downing the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Arttu Ruotsalainen. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring for the Coyotes in the first period while Cody Eakin replied in the second for the Sabres. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower body) on injured reserve and claimed blueliner Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights got some bad news as first-line left winger Max Pacioretty could be sidelined up to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Linemate Mark Stone remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks placed center Derek Grant and defenseman Greg Pateryn on waivers.

NHL.COM: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Leo Boivin passed away Saturday at age 89. He spent 19 seasons (1952-1970) in the NHL, starting his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traded to the Bruins early in 1954-55, he spent nearly 12 seasons in Boston and served as their captain from 1963 to 1966. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars, collecting 322 points in 1,150 games. A three-time All-Star, Boivin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boivin’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, the Islanders could be in the market for a defenseman this season, the Blackhawks could try to shed salary and an update on Vitali Kravtsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ESPN: Emily Kaplan last night reported there was “serious optimism” last Thursday that a Jack Eichel trade was imminent but things fell quiet. She said there are five teams still interested in the Buffalo Sabres center that can fit his $10 million annual average value within their salary-cap payrolls.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Maybe that means moving some contracts or whatever,” said Kaplan. She also said those teams have agreed to allow Eichel to have the disc replacement surgery he seeks.

The preferred option is he’s traded, gets the procedure done and returns to action in three-to-four months. The other, which nobody wants, is he files a grievance but he might not have a case because of the CBA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication from Kaplan as to who those five clubs might be. As per Cap Friendly, teams with lots of cap space and sufficient assets in prospects and promising young talent to acquire Eichel could include the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators. The Arizona Coyotes could also be a fit if they shed a bit of salary. Those clubs could use an established first-line center but that doesn’t mean they’re all in the hunt for Eichel.

TSN:  Pierre LeBrun believes the Ducks could be one of the destinations for Eichel, as they could make do with his absence from the lineup during his recovery. He also thinks the St. Louis Blues could be lurking though they want to be a contender this year.

The Calgary Flames did their due diligence on Eichel this summer. LeBrun also suggested the San Jose Sharks as he wondered what could happen with winger Evander Kane. If Kane ends up coming off their books they would suddenly have $7 million in cap space.

LeBrun points out pulling off an Eichel trade remains tricky based on the conditions that would be tied to his health following his surgery. His long recovery would also be another complicating factor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $12.9 million in cap space, the Ducks are best-suited of the clubs mentioned by LeBrun to absorb his full contract. They also have depth in promising young players and prospects to draw upon for trade bait though I doubt they’ll want to part with Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish.

The Blues are already in LTIR country and aren’t a fit unless they can move Vladimir Tarasenko and his $7.5 million cap hit. The Flames are pressed against the $81.5 million cap so it’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out to pull that off. That might mean moving Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan or Matthew Tkachuk to the Sabres or another club in a separate deal to make the dollars fit.

If Kane ends up suspended by the league as a result of one or both investigations he’s currently under it might be grounds for the Sharks to terminate his contract. I don’t see how they can trade him given his off-ice issues. Otherwise, they’re also not a fit for Eichel.

THE ATHLETIC: Earlier this week, Arthur Staple speculated the New York Islanders’ decision not to sign Erik Gustafsson suggests general manager Lou Lamoriello could prefer waiting until later in the season to invest assets in acquiring a defenseman. He believed Lamoriello looked into the status of Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm, who’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. He might’ve also inquired about Nashville Predators rearguard Mattias Ekholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple published this before Ekholm signed his contract extension with the Predators, taking him out of this season’s trade market. He also noted the Isles have their first-round pick in next year’s draft and not much else to offer up as trade bait. However, he felt Lamoriello’s “willing to throw in for help” while the Isles might be best positioned to win the Stanley Cup this season.

DAILY FACEOFF’s Frank Seravalli took to Twitter yesterday reporting the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to move Andrew Shaw’s contract. He’s on permanent LTIR with an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: PuckPedia explained trading Shaw’s contract would allow the Blackhawks to become salary-cap compliant once sidelined Caleb Jones returns to action. It would also allow them to accrue cap space later in the season plus save some cash.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2021

An update on Vladimir Tarasenko, the Bruins could be close to re-signing Charlie McAvoy, Blackhawks GM addresses the Dylan Strome trade speculation, and more on Vitali Kravtsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli advises keeping an eye on Vladimir Tarasenko’s start with the St. Louis Blues. While both sides are playing nice and saying the right things, the 29-year-old winger “still strongly desires a trade”, said Seravalli.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Tarasenko has let it be known he’s fully recovered from the surgeries on his right shoulder. Whether he can regain his 30-goal form is another matter. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million. If he gets off to a hot start, Seravalli believes a trade could materialize.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Asked about the possibility of the Anaheim Ducks acquiring Tarasenko, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens cited the winger’s health and contract as significant sticking points. He also pointed out the Blues won’t be moving him for pennies on the dollar. Those issues are likely shared by general managers with a potential interest in the winger’s services but leery about making the investment.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins president Cam Neely suggested a new contract for Charlie McAvoy could be in the works. He said management has been working closely with the 23-year-old defenseman’s representatives in recent days. He’s hopeful of a new deal “in short order”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty believes it’ll be a long-term deal comparable to those in the $9 million per season range signed this summer by several top young defensemen. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll be an eight-year contract with a hefty salary though not one in double-digits. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun cautions nothing is imminent as there’s still some work to be done by both sides.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman attempted to downplay trade rumors swirling about Dylan Strome. He struggled to find a regular spot among their forward lines and was a healthy scratch for their season-opening loss last night to the Colorado Avalanche. Roumeliotis believes it wouldn’t be surprising if the Blackhawks try to give the 24-year-old center a fresh start with another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inconsistency and injuries hampered Strome over the past two seasons. He’s proved he can play well when skating alongside talented wingers. Perhaps a club seeking depth at center will take a chance on him. He signed through this season with an annual average value of $3 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello reported a source informed him Vitali Kravtsov’s demotion by the New York Rangers to their AHL affiliate in Hartford had nothing to do with him being waiver-exempt. Instead, it was based on his mediocre performance during training camp, the lower-body injury that cost him part of camp and preseason play, and the belief of GM Chris Drury and head coach Gerard Gallant that the winger needed more developmental time.

Kravtsov has been suspended by the Rangers for his unwillingness to report to the minors and his agent has been given permission to speak to other clubs about a trade. Carpiniello also indicated the young winger at times butted heads with Drury during 2019-20 in Hartford.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – September 29, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Vladimir Tarasenko and Travis Hamonic in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes it could take some time, perhaps until the March trade deadline, for the Buffalo Sabres to move Jack Eichel and the St. Louis Blues to deal away Vladimir Tarasenko.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

One reason is roughly half the teams in the league have less than $1 million in cap space. Most of those clubs are projected to be playoff contenders and thus would have the most interest in acquiring Tarasenko, who’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million. He thinks the likelihood of the Blues winger waiving his no-trade clause for a rebuilding team is slim.

Given Eichel’s hefty contract ($10 million AAV for five seasons), the market is likely to include non-contenders with the cap space and depth in prospects and draft picks to meet the Sabres’ expensive asking price.

With term remaining on Eichel’s and Tarasenko’s respective contracts, the Sabres and Blues aren’t facing pressure to move them before this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best opportunity to move either player was prior to the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. After that round was completed on July 23, the chances of trading one or both declined as teams no longer had the first-round pick the Sabres wanted as part of the return.

Any realistic chance of moving them during the offseason all but vanished after the free-agent market opened on July 28. Many of the interested clubs no longer had sufficient cap space to take on those expensive cap hits.

Health was also a factor. Eichel’s situation was well-documented. Tarasenko, meanwhile, was coming off his third shoulder surgery in two years. It’s believed some teams with interest in Tarasenko want to see how he performs this season. The same holds true for Eichel depending on which procedure he eventually gets and the length of recovery.

SPORTSNET: During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman speculates it could take the NHL stepping in to resolve the impasse between the Sabres and Eichel over which medical procedure he’ll undergo to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

Friedman understands the NHL wants to protect the rules of the CBA, which gives teams control over the medical and health procedures of their players. Nevertheless, he feels this isn’t a good look for the league to have one of its star players being held back from playing because they can’t agree on a surgery.

He also suggested every team should see Eichel’s medical records if he agrees to it. It’s difficult to trade a player carrying a $10 million per season contract but it’s almost impossible to do so given the lack of information over his current condition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Back in August, Friedman reported the league met with the Sabres, Eichel and his representatives, and the NHLPA in an attempt to help all sides reach an agreement but nothing was resolved. That could be the extent of the league’s involvement in this situation.

It’ll be interesting to see if the NHLPA pushes for players to have more control regarding the treatment of hockey-related injuries in the next round of collective bargaining.