NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2021

Game recaps plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, J.T. Miller, Erik Johnson, Jason Spezza and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel tallied the only goal in a shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their first win over the season by edging the Washington Capitals 4-3. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his first of the season, moving to within one career goal of tying Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

Three unanswered third-period goals by Eetu Luostarinen, Patric Hornqvist and Jonathan Huberdeau lifted the Florida Panthers to a 5-2 season-opening victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Huberdeau had a goal and two assists while teammate Keith Yandle tallied his 100th career goal in his 867th consecutive NHL game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade rumors dogged Yandle last week amidst speculation he could become a healthy scratch, snapping his Ironman streak. It remains to be seen how things unfold for the veteran blueliner and the Panthers.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine left practice yesterday with an apparent injury above his left hip. Head coach Paul Maurice shed little light on Laine’s status, adding he’ll see how the winger is doing on Monday. Laine is slated to travel with the team to Toronto.

AZCENTRAL: The Arizona Coyotes placed captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson on injured reserve. He’s slated to miss their next three games. Ekman-Larsson suffered a lower-body injury during Saturday’s 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks following a hit from Sharks’ winger Evander Kane.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller returns to the lineup after missing the club’s first three games in coronavirus quarantine as a high-risk contact of teammate Jordie Benn.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defensemen Erik Johnson and Bowen Byram will join their teammates after completing COVID-19 quarantine. Johnson missed all of training camp and the Avs’ first test games after testing positive for the coronavirus. Byram was in quarantine after traveling from Canada following the 2021 World Juniors in Edmonton.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed center Jason Spezza and goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers for the purpose of assigning them to their taxi squad. Spezza indicated he’ll retire immediately if claimed by another club. Dell, meanwhile, could be targeted by a club with goalie issues like the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll learn their fate by noon ET today.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed defenseman Mike Matheson on injured reserve retroactive to Friday with an undisclosed ailment. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Matheson was injured during Friday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo on injured reserve following a hit to the head suffered during Friday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Bortuzzo was struck by the shoulder of Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase is doubtful for Monday’s game against the New York Islanders. Kase suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils.

CBS SPORTS: The Calgary Flames signed forward Brett Ritchie to a one-year, two-way contract. He’d attended Flames’ training camp on a professional tryout offer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

A roundup of notable news from the opening day of Phase 3 training camp, including the latest on Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, Corey Crawford, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTES FROM DAY ONE OF TRAINING CAMP

NHL.COM: The league revealed a total of 30 positive COVID-19 tests from 4,934 tests administered to over 600 players taking part in the Phase 2 voluntary training period (June 8 to July 12). They’re also aware of an additional 13 players who tested positive outside the Phase 2 training. All players who tested positive were/have been self-isolated and followed CDC and Health Canada protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league will continue testing players in Phase 3 and will release weekly updates. Bear in mind this doesn’t mean all the players with positive tests remain sidelined. A number of them may have already recovered. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 last month. He said he was asymptomatic during his two weeks of self-quarantine at his Arizona home and is now fully healthy. Matthews indicated he couldn’t really pinpoint how and when he contracted the virus.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews remains the only player to be publicly identified as testing positive for the Coronavirus.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were missing from the opening day of Bruins’ training camp. Their absence was due to their quarantine period since returning from the Czech Republic. They’re expected to join their teammates within the next couple of days.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford missed practice yesterday and was declared “unfit to play” by head coach Jeremy Colliton. Under the NHL’s return-to-play protocols, the Blackhawks cannot disclose the reason behind Crawford’s absence or how long he’ll be away. Center Zack Smith (back injury) was also absent. 

TSN: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw opted out of participating in the return-to-play plan to recover from ongoing concussion symptoms. He hopes to return to action for the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for opting out was 5:30 pm ET yesterday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and forward Robert Bortuzzo were absent from practice yesterday. General manager Doug Armstrong said he expects the duo will return soon.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist is among 11 players absent from Penguins practice yesterday The others include forwards Anthony Angello, Adam Johnson, Sam Miletic, Sam Poulin, Phil Varone, defensemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Juuso Riikola, goaltenders Casey DeSmith, Alex D’Orio, and Emil Larmi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nine of the players were reportedly sidelined because of exposure with a person who has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, though the teams didn’t identify them as per league protocols. They won’t be participating in practices until they’ve passed additional screenings. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and forward Colton Sissons weren’t with the main group at practice but skated earlier in the day.

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland was listed as unfit to play yesterday. It’s believed linked to post-concussion symptoms related to a head injury suffered nine months ago.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Martin Necas was the notable absence from the Carolina Hurricanes practice yesterday.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arpon Basu updated his story on three Montreal Canadiens reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, indicating two of those players tested were false positives.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: reported Brett Kulak, Xavier Ouellet, and Josh Brook missed practice yesterday. Max Domi is taking 7-10 days to decide if he’ll rejoin his teammates because he’s a type-1 diabetic with celiac disease.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones was listed unfit to play with the main group yesterday, but would skate with a smaller group working with extra goaltenders.

CALGARY SUN: Flames forwards Dillon Dube and Buddy Robinson were absent from yesterday’s practice.

TSN: Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen opted out of the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We better get used to this lack of information regarding the absence of players throughout the return-to-play plan. Don’t be surprised if this trend continues beyond the return-to-play period. It could make one yearn for the days when a player was absent because of an “upper-body” or “lower-body” injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gotisbehere underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the league’s hiatus. He was at training camp yesterday but admitted he’s not fully 100 percent.

TSN: Speaking of the Flyers, Nolan Patrick remains sidelined with a migraine disorder. He’s not expected to participate in the return-to-play plan.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE/NEW YORK POST/TWINCITIES.COM: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov, New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, and Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov signed their entry-level contracts (ELC) yesterday. They’re allowed to practice with their new clubs but cannot participate in the upcoming playoff tournament in Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan. They will also burn off the first year of their ELCs.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild removed the interim label from head coach Dean Evason’s title, signing him to a two-year contract extension.

SPORTSNET: Mikhail Grigorenko is returning to the NHL in 2020-21, signing a one-year, $1.2-million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL.

TORONTO SUN: Canadian broadcasters are unhappy over NBC Sports serving as the world feed for all NHL games played in the hub city of Toronto. Sportsnet will provide the world feed for the hub city of Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final, to be held in Edmonton, will have Canadian and American feeds for the individual rights-holders.

 










When It Comes to Discipline, NHL Remains a Garage League

When It Comes to Discipline, NHL Remains a Garage League

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2019

Connor McDavid extends his points streak to 11 games, Robert Bortuzzo receives a four-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored the only goal in a shootout as the Edmonton Oilers nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. He also picked up an assist in regulation to extend his points streak to 11 games. McDavid sits one point behind linemate Leon Draisaitl (48 points) in the NHL scoring race. Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski collected three assists. The Oilers played without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who could be sidelined for two more games with an injured hand.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 11 games in a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes (Photo via NHL Images)

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark kicked out 43 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Jack Eichel had three points and Zemgus Girgensons tallied twice for the Sabres. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle maintained his ironman streak at 820 games. He underwent dental surgery to replace nine missing teeth after taking a puck to the mouth during Saturday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist as his club blanked the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Goaltender James Reimer made 19 saves for the shutout. The Wings are winless in their last six contests.

HEADLINES

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo received a four-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators announced Arvidsson will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a slap on the wrist for Bortuzzo, who has a history of questionable hits. He was suspended last year for two pre-season games and a regular-season game for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny, fined in 2017 for repeatedly cross-checking New York Islanders center Brock Nelson, and received a two-game suspension in 2014 for a late hit on Jaromir Jagr. Meanwhile, the Predators will be without one of their better forwards for over a month.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Alexander Kerfoot has a hearing scheduled for today with the department of player safety for boarding Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson on Saturday.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman TJ Brodie is poised to return to action after collapsing on the ice during practice on Nov. 14. Subsequent medical examinations did not uncover any significant concerns.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2019

Connor McDavid extends his points streak to 10 games, the Leafs get their second straight win under Sheldon Keefe, the Islanders’ point streak reaches 17 games and more from a busy Saturday in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Linemate Leon Draisaitl collected three assists to maintain a one-point lead (47-46) over McDavid in the NHL scoring race

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 10 games (Photo via NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their second straight win under new head coach Sheldon Keefe by downing the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. Former Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie collected two points while former Leafs center Nazem Kadri picked up two assists.

Logan Couture’s overtime goal lifted the San Jose Sharks over the New York Islanders 2-1. Despite the loss, the Isles extended their points streak to 17 games (15-0-2).

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat tallied the only goal in a shootout as his club edged the Washington Capitals 2-1. Elias Petterson also scored for the Canucks while Jakub Vrana tallied for the Capitals. Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler left the game with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames snapped a six-game winless skid with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Matthew Tkachuk netted the only goal in the shootout frame while goalie David Rittich made 36 saves for the win. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Antti Raanta kicked out 43 shots as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. The Coyotes have won three of their last four games to maintain their hold on fourth overall in the Western Conference. The Kings’ five-game home-winning streak came to an end. Arizona forward Lawson Crouse left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Andrew Copp’s third-period goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored and added an assist. It was a costly win for the Jets, as blueliners Josh Morrissey and Nathan Beaulieu and goalie Laurent Brossoit left the game with injuries.

The Boston Bruins overcame a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on an overtime goal by Torey Krug. David Krejci scored two consecutive third-period goals to force the extra frame while Patrice Bergeron collected four assists.

Brendan Lemieux scored twice as the New York Rangers rallied from a 4-0 deficit to upset the Montreal Canadiens 6-5. Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen each scored twice in a losing cause for the Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his franchise-best 132nd career win backstopping his club over the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov returned from a two-game absence with a goal and an assist. Brayden Point scored two goals for the Bolts.

The New Jersey Devils rolled to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Blake Coleman tallied twice for the Devils while Wings forward Anthony Mantha left the game in the first period with an lower-body injury.

Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Teuvo Teravainen collected three assists. The Hurricanes have won five of their last six contests.

The Nashville Predators ended a six-game winless streak by dropping the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Viktor Arvidsson, who left the game with a lower-body injury.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Roope Hintz and John Klingberg each picked up a point in their first games back from injury.