NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

COVID-19 outbreak forces postponement of three Flames games, the three stars of the week are revealed plus updates on Blake Wheeler, Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Three Flames games (including last night’s scheduled match against the Chicago Blackhawks) were postponed after six players (Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka) and one member of the training staff tested positive for COVID-19. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the players were doing well and asymptomatic but expressed concern for them and their families.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are the third team since mid-November to have games postponed because of COVID-19, joining the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. Future outbreaks among other clubs resulting in postponements could adversely affect the schedule. That could jeopardize NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out without suffering financial penalties.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Winter Olympics, several NHL stars have joined Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo expressing concern over the possibility of spending a lengthy period quarantined in Beijing should they test positive for COVID-19 during the Olympics.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs captain and potential Team Canada candidate John Tavares said he felt more uneasy about potentially going to Beijing than he did several weeks or months ago. Teammate Auston Matthews, who is already selected for Team USA, shared those concerns. Meanwhile, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said it would be an honor to be selected for Canada’s squad but he’d like more clarity about the COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states those who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for three to five weeks. There’s no word yet as to whether that will also apply to Olympic athletes from other countries. Clarification is expected in the coming weeks and could be a determining factor for some NHL stars selected to participate in the Winter Games.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt with some other NHL teams.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis entered COVID protocol yesterday. Defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are expected to rejoin the roster today after being sidelined since Nov. 28 by the coronavirus.

SPORTSNET: Christian Jaros joined New Jersey Devils teammates Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves in COVID protocol. Forward Yegor Sherangovich has not entered protocol but was withheld from practice yesterday for precautionary reasons.

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tyler Bertuzzi is rejoining the Red Wings after emerging from a 10-day COVID quarantine. The only unvaccinated player in the league, Bertuzzi isn’t reconsidering his position, saying he now has “natural immunity” from the coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control says unvaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it. Food for thought.

Speaking of the Red Wings, they signed Robby Fabbri to a three-year, $12 million contract extension. The annual average value is $4 million. The 25-year-old forward was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 12.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler will be sidelined for weeks with an apparent right-leg injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has returned to injured reserve after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. He returned to the lineup last Tuesday after missing eight games with a knee injury.

The Panthers also claimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Johansson likely means promising Spencer Knight could be heading to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Sergei Bobrovsky’s solid performance has limited Knight to just nine starts this season. There’s no fear of losing him to another club because he’s exempt from waivers.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman is listed as day-to-day but hasn’t been ruled out from tonight’s game against his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed goaltender Anton Khudobin on waivers yesterday. If he clears it’s expected he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin struggled this season and was a healthy scratch in several recent games as the club stuck with the tandem of Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Teams were reportedly interested in trading for him but wanted to see him play more games first. Sending him to the minors will allow him to get some games in while also clearing room for the Stars to recall another player if needed.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed David Perron, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on injured reserve, activated Tyler Bozak and Justin Faulk from COVID protocol, and recalled forward Alexei Toropchenko from their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

The Los Angeles Kings recently placed defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) on injured reserve










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

Brady Tkachuk reaches a milestone, Ben Bishop’s career is over, more details emerge regarding Olympic quarantine rules, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Anton Forsberg made 25 saves for his first career NHL shutout as the Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Drake Batherson had three assists and Thomas Chabot collected two helpers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Sebastian Aho scored two goals and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Aho has netted multiple points in five straight games. The Hurricanes have won four straight while the Oilers’ losing skid has reached five straight. The Oilers played without defenseman Kris Russell (upper body), who was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

The New York Islanders finally picked up their first home win at UBS Arena by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Zach Parise scored his first of the season while Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two points. Devils center Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark kicked out 40 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had two points. The Flames also honored winger Milan Lucic for his 1,000th career NHL game. He reached that milestone in April but the Flames wanted to honor him during a game against the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

A late goal by David Kampf gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, who had overcome a 4-1 deficit. William Nylander had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a groin injury in October.

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals as the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, winning two straight games for the first time since October. Travis Konecny picked up two assists. Arizona defenseman Jakub Chychrun and forward Ryan Dzingel missed this game as both are day-to-day with injuries. The Coyotes have lost five straight.

T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, extending the latter’s losing skid to seven games. Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary returned from injury and scored the tying goal to force overtime and the shootout.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 33-save shutout from Casey DeSmith to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. Brock McGinn tallied the only goal. Ducks goalie John Gibson left the game following the second period with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jake Bean gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken, who scored three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Max Domi had two goals and an assist for the Jackets. The Kraken were without Yanni Gourde and Riley Sheahan after they and assistant coach Jay Leach were placed in COVID protocol.

The Minnesota Wild’s eight-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Brendan Lemieux snapped a 1-1 tie during the third period in his first game since serving a five-game suspension for biting the Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. Kings defenseman Alexander Edler left the game early in the first period with an injured left leg following a hit by Wild forward Brandon Duhaime. Kings coach Todd McLellan said Edler could be out “long term”.

Erik Karlsson scored what proved to be the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks held off the Dallas Stars 2-1. Sharks center Tomas Hertl scored in his fourth straight game while James Reimer made 34 saves for the win in his 400th career NHL contest. San Jose forward Kevin Labanc left the game following his first shift after being hit by the Stars’ Jani Hakanpaa.

The St. Louis Blues got a goal and an assist from Pavel Buchnevich to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1, spoiling netminder Jake Allen’s return to St. Louis for the first time since he was traded to Montreal in 2020. Former Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren picked up the win with 22 stops. Before the game, the Canadiens announced Tyler Toffoli would be sidelined eight weeks following surgery on an injured hand while Jake Evans is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars general manager Jim Nill said Ben Bishop’s playing days are over after the 35-year-old goaltender spent over 14 times attempting to rehabiliate a degenerative knee injury. The news comes after Bishop allowed eight goals on 34 shots during a game on Thursday while with the club’s AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He was recalled by the Stars yesterday and placed on long-term injury reserve. He will speak with the media on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a sad ending for a terrific, albeit injury-hampered career. The 6’7”, 210-pound Bishop was among the league’s elite goaltenders when healthy, winning 222 of 397 starts with a career goals-against average of 2.32, a .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. “Big Ben” was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014 and 2016 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2019 with the Stars. He was also a Second Team All-Star in 2016 and 2019.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are still awaiting word on the condition of captain Blake Wheeler after he left Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks with a possible knee injury. Jets coach Paul Maurice suspects Wheeler could be sidelined for a while.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Canucks, they placed defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body) on injured reserve on Friday.

TSN: Chris Johnston reported the International Olympic Committee confirmed any confirmed positive COVID-19 test at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics must produce two subsequent negative tests 24 hours apart. Otherwise, the quarantine period could last from three to five weeks according to Chinese law.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be troublesome for NHL players participating in the Games if they should contract COVID while in China. Johnston indicated there will be a call between the IOC, the International Ice Hockey Federation, NHL and the NHL Players Association medical personnel soon to review these matters.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players to decide before the Jan. 10 opt-out deadline if they’ll still participate. The possibility of spending up to five weeks in China under quarantine could give participants a reason to reconsider taking part in the Games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2021

The Rangers and Wild extend their respective win streaks, the Islanders snap a long winless skid, Jason Spezza suspended for six games, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers picked up their seventh straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2. Artemi Panarin reached 500 career points with two goals and two assists as the Blueshirts (37 points) moved within a point of the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira was stretchered from the ice in the second period following a hit by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Khaira was taken to a hospital for further testing but Blackhawks coach Derek King said he was up and responsive and wanted to return to the game before he went to the hospital.

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

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot made 38 saves backstopping his club to their seventh straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, handing the latter their third straight loss. Joel Eriksson Ek had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who sit atop the Western Conference with 37 points.

The New York Islanders snapped a 12-game winless skid by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Anders Lee tallied twice for the Islanders while Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. Alex Formenton had a goal and an assist for the Senators.

Morgan Rielly collected four assists and Auston Matthews scored twice to extend his goal streak to seven games as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals for the Jackets. The Leafs played without Jason Spezza after he received a six-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk. Winger Mitch Marner (shoulder) and defenseman Rasmus Sandin (knee) also missed this game. Marner is sidelined for three-four weeks. Sandin’s knee suffered no structural damage but will need time for the swelling to subside.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza had no history of fines or suspension in his NHL career. He reportedly intends to appeal his suspension. He deserved punishment for his dangerous retaliatory hit on Pionk but this seemed unduly harsh given his previously unblemished record.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew a 2-0 lead but rallied to double up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Carolina defenseman Ian Cole was ejected for a knee-on-knee hit on Jets center Mark Scheifele, who was uninjured. The Jets played without defenseman Neal Pionk, who received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Pionk is also in concussion protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pionk had no history of fines or suspensions before this. Leafs fans are wondering why he got just two games while Spezza got six. The fact he was sidelined by a concussion from Spezza’s hit probably factored into it though Sandin was injured by Pionk’s hit in the first place.

Pavel Buchnevich’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Florida Panthers 4-3. It was a costly win for the Blues as goalie Ville Husso left the game with a lower-body injury and defenseman Jake Walman suffered an upper-body injury. The Blues were already playing without starter Jordan Binnington, who is in COVID protocol. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov scored in his first game since being sidelined on Nov. 16 by a knee injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 25-save shutout by Anthony Stolarz to blank the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. Ducks forwards Trevor Zegras made a lacrosse-style pass from behind the net to Sonny Milano for the game-winner. The Sabres have lost five straight while the Ducks (33 points) move within two points of the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

Speaking of the Flames, they blew a 3-1 lead to fall 5-3 to the San Jose Sharks. Tomas Hertl led the way for the Sharks with a hat trick while Adin Hill made 40 saves for the win. Struggling Sharks forward Kevin Labanc was a healthy scratch from this game.

Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen and Dante Fabbro each had a goal and two assists to power the Nashville Predators over the Detroit Red Wings 5-2, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. The Predators played without goaltender Juuse Saros and defenseman Mattias Ekholm as both are sidelined by a non-COVID illness.

Two late third-period goals by Corey Perry and Ondrej Palat lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Lightning has won four straight games. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens did almost everything right in this game except win. That’s the way this season is going for the hapless Habs. They rarely win even when they play well.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals have canceled today’s practice as part of their extra precautions after three players (Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and Trevor van Riemsdyk) wound up on COVID protocol. No players tested positive yesterday.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers claimed defenseman Kevin Connauton off waivers yesterday from the Florida Panthers.

SPORTSNET: The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers placed forward Brendan Perlini on waivers.

Former NHL goaltender Devan Dubnyk has signed a professional tryout offer with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2021

Sam Reinhart burns his former club in a comeback victory, the Stars and Wild remain red hot, an update on Jack Eichel, the Coyotes deny a relocation rumor and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers scored six unanswered goals to overcome a 4-1 deficit and defeat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. Panthers forward Sam Reinhart burned his former club with a goal and three assists, Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and four assists and Aaron Ekblad and Anton Lundell each scored twice. Sabres forward Vinnie Hinostroza tallied two goals for the Sabres. The Panthers rallied when Sergei Bobrovsky was replaced by Spencer Knight after giving up four goals on 12 shots. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed goalie Dustin Tokarski on the COVID protocol list.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

A two-goal performance by Jason Robertson powered the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Joe Pavelski collected two assists as the red-hot Stars overcame a 2-1 deficit to extend their winning streak to six games. Blue Jackets callup goalie Danill Tarasov made 34 saves with regular netminders Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo both sidelined by non-COVID-related illnesses.

Speaking of red-hot clubs, the Minnesota Wild picked up their fifth straight victory by dropping the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Kirill Kapizov scored twice and added an assist while Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists. The Devils have lost seven of their last nine games.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a six-game losing skid with a 3-2 upset of the Carolina Hurricanes. Anton Forsberg picked up the win with a career-high 47-save performance while Alex Formenton scored twice for the Senators. The slumping Hurricanes have dropped five of their last six contests.

Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom kicked out 40 shots in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane scored and had an assist. It was Flames coach Darryl Sutter’s first game in Los Angeles since he was fired as Kings coach over four years ago. The Flames are tied with the Wild (33 points) atop the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Flames sent defenseman Juuso Valimaki to their AHL affiliate in Stockton.

Patrick Kane scored the only goal in a shootout as the Chicago Blackhawks nipped the Washington Capitals 4-3. Alex DeBrincat and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who limited Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to one assist.

Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman made 42 saves to blank the Nashville Predators 2-0. Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo tallied the only goals. Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril left the game in the second period after twisting his right knee.

Victor Hedman scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. The Blues played without goaltender Jordan Binnington and defenseman Justin Faulk after both were placed on the COVID protocol list.

The New York Islanders remain winless in nine games after dropping a 2-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks. Erik Karlsson tallied the game-winner in overtime.

After getting lit up for eight goals on Wednesday by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Colorado Avalanche bounced back with a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram missed the game dealing with issues related to a previous concussion while goalie Darcy Kuemper remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens played without Brendan Gallagher and Sami Niku (COVID protocol) and lost winger Josh Anderson for the next two to four weeks with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byram’s ongoing concussion issues threaten to derail his NHL career. He’s already missed 34 games to concussion-related symptoms since last season.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knight center Jack Eichel has resumed skating less than a month after undergoing artificial disc replacement in his neck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s timetable to return to action remains in late February.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Coyotes issued a statement yesterday denying a report in Forbes claiming the team is up for sale with the idea of the buyer moving the team to a new arena in Houston. “This is false. Totally false. We’re not selling. We’re not moving. The Coyotes are 100 percent committed to playing in Arizona.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also dismissed the story as “completely false”. The Coyotes have made a bid to build a new arena in Tempe, Arizona. Unless the move to Houston story is some sort of backchannel last resort if the Tempe bid falls through, it makes little sense for the Coyotes ownership to sell the club.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres acquired goaltender Malcolm Subban from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres had to do something to shore up their shaky goaltending. We’ll find out soon enough if Subban can provide some relief.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled their third jerseys for their Stadium Series matchup in Nashville on Feb. 26, 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And they’re horrible…










NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2021

Plenty of possible trade partners for Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk plus some speculation on Carey Price in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TEAMS CALLING ABOUT DEBRUSK

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Jake DeBrusk is generating plenty of interest since his trade request from the Boston Bruins over the weekend hit the news. He said as many as 12 teams, maybe more, have been in touch with the Bruins regarding the 25-year-old winger. The Bruins won’t move him right away with Brad Marchand serving a three-game suspension and their AHL affiliate in Providence dealing with a COVID issue.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Dreger listed the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues among those he believes could be among the suitors. He cited DeBrusk’s potential as a 20-goal scorer and his 16 career postseason goals as stats that would matter to interested parties.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss included the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators among this list of five potential trade destinations for DeBrusk.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited a source saying the Seattle Kraken are among the clubs linked to DeBrusk, with defenseman Vince Dunn or forward Mason Appleton as possible trade bait. The Kraken are said to be shopping Appleton, who has just three points in 11 games this season.

Murphy’s source also didn’t consider the Rangers and Bruins a good fit for a DeBrusk deal as both clubs seek a middle-six forward. It would also have to be a player-for-player swap with even money going both ways.

SPORTSNET 590‘s Nick Kypreos included the Carolina Hurricanes among his list of possible suitors.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane pointed out the Flames would have to find the right fit for DeBrusk on their roster. They would also have to shed salary to fit the winger’s $3.65 million cap hit within their limited payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of these clubs, like the Flames, Canadiens, Canucks, Oilers, Blackhawks, Hurricanes, and Blues, lack sufficient salary-cap space to acquire DeBrusk unless it’s a dollar-in, dollar-out type deal.

The Rangers have the cap space but, as Murphy’s source observed, they and the Bruins seek the same type of return. The Bruins could also use a left-side defenseman but the Blueshirts might not be keen to part with one.

Speaking of cap space, the Coyotes, Kraken and Senators can certainly afford DeBrusk and could have suitable assets to tempt the Bruins. Whether they’ll meet the asking price if it’s a middle-six forward or something else remains to be seen.

THE LATEST PRICE SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun wondered about Carey Price’s future with the Montreal Canadiens following their recent front-office shakeup. He wondered where the 34-year-old future Hall of Fame goaltender would fit into a rebuilding plan if that’s what new executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton has in mind.

Price is still working toward returning to the Canadiens lineup following offseason knee surgery and a month in the NHL’s player assistance program. He also has a full no-movement clause in his contract.

At some point, either later in the season or during next summer, LeBrun speculates Price and Gorton will have to discuss the goalie’s future. He also said there are some playoff contenders who are intrigued by Price’s situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price isn’t going anywhere for the time being. Moving him won’t be easy if he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild in Montreal. His $10.5 million annual cap hit through 2025-26 is as big a sticking point as his no-movement clause.

The Canadiens would have to absorb up to half of that cap hit to make a deal work, and then it might have to take a three-way deal with a third club absorbing half of the other $5 million to pull it off.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2021

Filip Forsberg enjoys a four-goal performance, the Panthers and Blues turn deficits into victories, the Devils re-sign Jack Hughes, Rod Brind’Amour and Brendan Lemieux fined, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Filip Forsberg scored four goals as the Nashville Predators thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0. Forsberg also reached his 400th career point in this contest. Juuse Saros made 27 saves for the shutout while Mikael Granlund collected four assists.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg now has 10 goals and 15 points in just 13 games. Granlund, meanwhile, has 25 points in just 22 games. He had a combined 57 points over the last two seasons but should exceed that total this season at his current rate of production.

Four unanswered third-period goals lifted the Florida Panthers to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. Sam Reinhart buried the winner with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad each collected three assists for the Panthers.

Ryan O’Reilly scored the only goal in a shootout as the St. Louis Blues overcame a 3-0 deficit to drop the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. O’Reilly also scored in regulation while Jordan Binnington settled down from a shaky first period to make 30 saves for the win. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game to attend the birth of his second child while Erik Cernak returned to the Bolts lineup after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz tallied a hat trick as his club downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Joe Pavelski also scored for the Stars and collected two assists while Braden Holtby picked up the win with a 39-save performance. Earlier in the day, the NHL fined Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour $25,000.00 for inappropriate conduct during Sunday’s game against the Capitals. Brind’Amour yelled at the referees late in the game over a slashing call against Sebastian Aho that gave the Capitals a 5-on-3 power play.

Shootout goals by Trevor Zegras and Kevin Shattenkirk lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Los Angeles Kings 5-4. The Kings rallied back from a 4-1 deficit in the third to tie the game. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Oct. 22. The Kings also played without winger Brendan Lemieux, who was suspended five games for biting Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the “Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree Department”, Brendan and his father Claude Lemieux hold the dubious honor of being the first father/son duo in NHL history to be suspended for biting opponents during their respective careers.

The Detroit Red Wings got a 41-save performance from Alex Nedeljkovic as they nipped the Boston Bruins 2-1. Marc Staal broke a 1-1 tie in the third period. The Bruins were playing without Brad Marchand (three-game suspension) and head coach Bruce Cassidy after he was placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of COVID protocols, the NHL sent a memo to its 32 teams yesterday outlining a series of new measures designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Those steps include canceling team Christmas parties, charity events and autograph sessions.

A 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes moved the Minnesota Wild into a tie with the Calgary Flames for first place in the Western Conference standings. Jordan Greenway had a goal and two assists while Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist. Clayton Keller scored and set up another for the Coyotes.

Timo Meier scored twice and James Reimer kicked out 32 shots as the San Jose Sharks beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Devils center Jack Hughes returned to the lineup after missing 17 games with a dislocated shoulder. Earlier in the day, the Devils announced Hughes signed an eight-year, $64-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are making a major investment in the 20-year-old Hughes after just 120 games and 55 points since 2019-20. He’s shown considerable potential since last season but will face a lot of pressure to meet the expectations that come with this contract. If he does, this could turn into a worthwhile deal for one of their core players.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Evander Kane downplayed reports from earlier this summer claiming his San Jose Sharks teammates were frustrated by his behavior and didn’t want him back on the team this season. He said his end-of-season interview with management was positive, singling out how well he worked with the younger players and praising his performance. Kane cleared waivers Monday and reported to the AHL’s San Jose Barracudas, where he took part in his first practice with the team on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meanwhile, there were reports during the offseason claiming the Sharks attempted to trade Kane earlier in the summer. They’re reportedly trying to do so again. Draw your own conclusions, folks.

CBC SPORTS: Quebec Remparts general manager and coach Patrick Roy has expressed interest in the Montreal Canadiens’ vacant general manager position. “Since 1993, this club has been running in circles,” said the Canadiens Hall-of-Famer. “What do they have to lose by giving me a chance, and seeing what I can do with this club?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The issue would be whether the temperamental Roy could work well with Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens’ new executive VP of hockey operations. That might not be possible given his departure from the Colorado Avalanche in 2016 over a disagreement regarding the direction of that club. The last thing the Habs will want is their next GM butting heads with Gorton and turning their disagreements into a media circus.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed defenseman Cody Ceci in COVID protocol yesterday. The club also canceled Tuesday’s practice and order two rounds of tests.

TSN: Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. They also traded minor leaguer Kole Sherwood to the Nashville Predators for future considerations.