The league’s executive committee approves the sale of the Senators, Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk praises teammate Jake Sanderson, an update on Max Pacioretty, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Ottawa Senators to billionaire Michael Andlauer cleared another hurdle when the NHL’s executive committee approved his purchase of the club from the estate of Eugene Melnick, the club’s former owner. It is said to be on track for completion in the coming days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Completion of the sale of the Senators to Andlauer is expected to be completed in September. The final step will be approval from the NHL Board of Governors. A two-thirds majority is required but Garrioch writes that it’s expected the sale will receive unanimous approval.
THE SCORE: Speaking of the Senators, team captain Brady Tkachuk praised teammate Jake Sanderson. During a recent appearance on the podcast “Dropping the Gloves”, Tkachuk called the young defenseman “one of the most important players on our team.”
Sanderson, 21, made his NHL debut last season, finishing with 32 points in 77 games. Tkachuk was impressed by the young blueliner’s all-around game and leadership, calling him “the most underrated player” in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong sophomore campaign by Sanderson will be crucial to the Senators’ hope of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: It could be over a month into the 2023-24 season until Max Pacioretty makes his debut with the Capitals. Head coach Spencer Carbery recently indicated that he wasn’t sure of the exact timeline for when the 34-year-winger would join the roster.
Pacioretty’s 2022-23 season was limited to just five games by two torn Achilles tendons. Limited by salary cap constraints, the Capitals signed him to a one-year contract that is incentivized by games played, earning him $4 million if he plays over 20 games this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this summer, Pacioretty indicated that he was doing well in his recovery from surgery. He stated that he would miss the start of the season but didn’t expect to be sidelined for too long.
DAILY FACEOFF: Patrick Kane, Tomas Tatar, Paul Stastny and Phil Kessel remain the most notable players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. Max Comtois, Noah Gregor and Jaroslav Halak are also unsigned.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is rehabbing from a hip resurfacing procedure in June and isn’t expected to entertain offers from teams until December. Tatar was frequently linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins in recent weeks but there’s no indication he’s close to signing with them or another club. No word on the status of the others.
NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens are mourning the passing of journalist Yvon Pedneault at the age of 77 following a month-long battle with cancer. Pedneault covered the Canadiens and other Quebec sports clubs and events since 1965. In 1998, the Hockey Hall of Fame honored him with the Elmer Ferguson Lifetime Achievement Award.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Pedneault’s family, friends and associates
The latest on the Golden Knights and Stars ahead of Game 6 of the Western Conference Final and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights will be looking for their “killer instinct” as they enter a must-win Game 6 in the Western Conference Final tonight in Dallas. After taking a 3-0 series lead, they squandered two opportunities to eliminate the Stars and advance to the Stanley Cup.
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the round prior to the Stanley Cup Final in 47 attempts all-time.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Up three games to two, the advantage still rests with the Golden Knights. However, the momentum in this series has shifted in the Stars’ favor, giving them confidence that they can rally back and win this thing. If the Golden Knights lose tonight, it becomes a winner-take-all in Game 7 on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn returns to the lineup for Game 6 after serving his two-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas captain Mark Stone in Game 3. To make room for Benn’s return, Stars coach Peter DeBoer could be forced to sit Fredrik Olofsson or Ty Dellandrea. Both could be healthy scratches if sidelined winger Evgenii Dadonov is ready to return from his lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dellandrea was the hero of Game 5 with a two-goal performance, including the game-winner. He’ll likely remain in the lineup if Dadonov can’t return to action tonight.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk said following his brother Matthew’s performance with the Florida Panthers has given him additional motivation for next season. He’s impressed by how Matthew has stepped up at key moments during the Panthers’ playoff run thus far. “That’s something I want to do and I want to provide for Ottawa,” said Brady.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthew Tkachuk and teammate Sergei Bobrovsky appear to be neck-and-neck as the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Brady, 23, is coming off a career-best 83-point season. The Senators could make significant strides next season if he matches his big brother’s postseason performance.
FOX 5 VEGAS: Former Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty has sold his $11 million Las Vegas home. Pacioretty was traded last summer to the Carolina Hurricanes. The sale price of his home is the highest in the Greater Las Vegas area thus far this year.
NEW YORK POST: The lack of any announcement from the Islanders over the fates of general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Lane Lambert is indicative that both will likely be back in their jobs next season. It’s been a month since the Isles were eliminated from the opening round of the playoffs by the Hurricanes.
THE SCORE: Canada has won its record-setting 28th gold medal at the IIHF World Championship with a 5-2 victory over Germany on Sunday. Tied at 2 entering the third period, Canada tallied three unanswered goals from Sammy Blais, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton.
Host nation Latvia won its first-ever medal at an elite IIHF event by upsetting Team USA 4-3 in overtime to win the bronze medal.
Recaps of Friday’s games featured a big night for Senators captain Brady Tkachuk, the latest on Joe Thornton plus updates on the injury statuses of Thatcher Demko, Jakub Voracek, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” to a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers. Tkachuk scored the tying and winning goals, collected an assist on Tim Stutzle’s goal, and fought Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Tkachuk’s game-tying tally was also his 100th career goal as the Senators improved their record to 9-13-1. Vitali Kravtsov and Mika Zibanejad replied for the 11-9-5 Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a scary moment prior to Kravtsov’s goal when he fired a shot that struck Senators defenseman Travis Hamonic in the throat. Hamonic left the game but returned in the second period and played the remainder of the contest.
Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrick Laine scored twice to lead his club over the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-1. Laine had missed the previous seven games with an ankle injury. Johnny Gaudreau collected three assists and Joonas Korpisalo made 37 saves for the Blue Jackets (8-12-2). Pierre-Luc Dubois replied for the 14-7-1 Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blue Jackets announced that winger Jakub Voracek is out indefinitely with a concussion. Defenseman Zach Werenski underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum and will be sidelined for six months while blueliner Jake Bean (shoulder surgery) is out for four-to-six months.
The Nashville Predators picked up their third straight win by downing the New York Islanders 4-1. Kevin Lankinen kicked out 48 shots for the win and Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists as the Predators improved to 12-9-2. Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders as they sit at 15-10-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist in this game. With 562 career points, he’s just four points away from David Legwand’s franchise record of 566 points.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Joe Thornton has been seen attending San Jose Sharks practices and home games with members of the team’s front office in recent weeks. Thornton, 43, hasn’t announced his retirement as an NHL player but is said to be carefully considering his next move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Thornton will officially bring his playing career to a close once he decides what his off-ice career will be. One of the greatest playmakers in NHL history, he’s a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer.
DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is expected to miss at least six weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fate of the Canucks’ playoff hopes could rest upon the performance of backup Spencer Martin and call-up Collin Delia.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will spend six more weeks on injured reserve. He underwent successful surgery on Friday to repair damage to his left hand after being struck by a shot from teammate Ben Chiarot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
CBS SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes removed Teuvo Teravainen (upper body) from injured reserve on Friday. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings remains to be determined.
TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning placed defenseman Philippe Myers on waivers. He was acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators and signed to a two-year contract by the Lightning. Myers has appeared in 11 games this season.
The New Jersey Devils have recalled winger Andreas Johnsson.
The Devils extend their win streak to 12, the Bruins tie a league record for consecutive home wins, the Blues picked up their sixth straight win and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils remain red hot by defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1 to extend their winning streak to 12 games. Yegor Sherangovich and Michael McLeod each had a goal and an assist while Akira Schmid stopped 25 shots for the Devils (15-3-0) as they open a seven-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 points. Derick Brassard replied for the struggling Senators as they fall to 6-10-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators captain Brady Tkachuk took exception with some Ottawa fans chanting for the dismissal of head coach D.J. Smith at the end of this game. Tkachuk put the blame for the club’s poor play on himself and his teammates, claiming he was “sick and tired” of the criticism aimed at Smith.
Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (NHL Images).
Speaking of win streaks, the Boston Bruins won their 11th straight home game by thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1. Charlie McAvoy collected four assists and David Pastrnak tallied twice as the Bruins (16-2-0) tied an NHL record for the most season-opening home victories. They sit atop the league’s overall standings with 32 points. Jonathan Toews scored the only goal for the 6-8-3 Blackhawks.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their sixth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Pavel Buchnevich led the way with two goals and two assists while Robert Thomas had a three-point night as the Blues improve to 9-8-0. Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler replied for the Ducks as their record slides to a league-worst 5-12-1. Earlier in the day, the Ducks activated defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk off injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed this game due to illness. It’s been a weird start to this season thus far for the Blues. They won their first three games and then lost eight straight before reversing their fortunes with their current win streak.
An overtime goal by Connor McDavid lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three assists while McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers improved to 10-8-0. Mark Stone tallied twice for the Golden Knights (14-4-1) as they sit in first place in the Western Conference with 29 points.
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 to hand the latter their eighth straight loss. Leafs winger Mitch Marner collected two assists to extend his points streak to 12 games while William Nylander scored twice and John Tavares had a three-point performance. Alex Tuch and Casey Mittelstadt replied for the 7-11-0 Sabres while the Leafs raised their record to 10-5-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sabres claimed forward Tyson Jost off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.
Shootout goals by Jonathan Huberdeau and Rasmus Andersson gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. Adam Ruzicka scored twice and collected an assist for the Flames (8-7-2) while Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the 9-7-2 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first game between these two clubs since the trade in July that sent Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames in exchange for Tkachuk.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment each had two points as the Stars extended their record to 11-5-2. Mathew Barzal netted his first two goals of the season for the Islanders as they slide to 11-8-0.
The Seattle Kraken nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jordan Eberle, who finished the night with two points as the Kraken (10-5-3) have won seven of their last nine games. Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore replied for the 11-8-2 Kings.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied in overtime to tame the Nashville Predators 3-2. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists and Brayden Point had two assists for the Lightning to boost their record to 11-6-1. Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter replied for the Predators (8-8-2) while Juuse Saros made 36 saves in a losing cause.
The Colorado Avalanche blanked the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-0. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 32 shots to pick up his first shutout with the Avalanche (10-5-1) while Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonken were the goal scorers. Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves against his former club as the banged-up Capitals drop to 7-10-3.
On the night the Minnesota Wild celebrated Alex Goligoski’s 1,000th career game, he scored in overtime in a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sam Steel scored the game-tying goal late in the third period for the 8-8-2 Wild while Sebastian Aho tallied for the 10-5-3 Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped 32 shots for his first shutout of the season to blank the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel were the goal scorers while Sidney Crosby collected two assists as the Penguins bolster their record to 8-7-3. Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the 10-5-1 Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Jets announced winger Nikolaj Ehlers will be sidelined indefinitely as he undergoes sports hernia surgery next week.
The Montreal Canadiens overcame 2-0 and 4-3 deficits to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Suzuki, who finished the night with two assists. Cole Caufield scored twice (including the game-tying goal with three seconds on the clock) while Mike Matheson scored in his season debut for the 9-8-1 Canadiens. Owen Tippett scored two goals for the Flyers (7-7-4) as their winless skid extends to six games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman suffered an undisclosed injury and left the game after the second period. The Flyers went into this contest with winger Travis Konecny sidelined by an upper-body injury. They also lost forward Scott Laughton in the third period with an upper-body injury.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek scored two goals as his club romped to a 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider each collected three points as the Red Wings improved their record to 9-5-4 while the injury-ravaged Blue Jackets fell to 6-10-1.
New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves as his club held off the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-1. All the scoring came in the third period as Julien Gauthier and Adam Fox tallied for the Rangers (9-6-4) while Logan Couture replied for the 6-11-3 Sharks.
Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigns amid reports linking Habs to Jeff Gorton, Artemi Panarin and Andrei Svechnikov fined, Islanders games postpone through Nov. 30, game recaps and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
MELLANBY RESIGNS AS HABS ASSISTANT GM, CLUB LINKED TO GORTON
SPORTSNET: Scott Mellanby resigned yesterday as assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens amid reports linking the club to former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton.
Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton (NHL.com).
Elliotte Friedman reported there’s a widespread belief Marc Bergevin will not return as Canadiens general manager following this season. Friedman felt Bergevin recommended Mellanby as his successor or for a more significant role with the club. There had been recent discussions between team owner Geoff Molson and Mellanby but the latter resigned after being informed the club was going in a different direction.
The Canadiens reportedly sought and received permission from the New York Rangers to speak with former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton. Friedman said Gorton would not be taking over as the Habs GM but could fill the role of president of hockey operations or another senior front-office role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial reports, it appears Molson has made a mess of this situation by upsetting Mellanby and alienating Bergevin, who is now a lame-duck general manager. TVA Sports’ Louis Jean reports Bergevin was hurt by how this went down, that he was kept in the dark and only learned about this situation through the media.
Nevertheless, this could still work out for the Canadiens if the end result is Gorton taking over as president of hockey operations. It would be a significant step toward returning this floundering franchise to respectability and perhaps a long-overdue rebuild.
Gorton did a fine job building up the Rangers roster. He signed Artemi Panarin, acquired Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba and drafted Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Before that, he was an assistant general manager for several seasons with the Boston Bruins. During a brief period as their interim GM in 2006, he acquired Tuukka Rask, drafted Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, and signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.
Molson has indicated the role of Canadiens GM has to be filled by a Francophone or someone who is bilingual. Gorton is neither but he would hold a role of considerable influence within the organization with input on trades, signings, drafting and player development.
Should Gorton get the role of hockey ops president, finding Bergevin’s successor becomes their next priority. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels mused about Patrick Roy, Roberto Luongo, Martin Madden Jr., Vincent Damphousse and Mathieu Darche as possible candidates. Jeff Marek reported the Canadiens have not contacted Patrick Roy about a role in the organization.
It will be interesting to see how the coming week unfolds in Montreal.
NHL.COM: Speaking of the Canadiens (6-15-2), they got a rare win by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Jake Allen made a career-high 47 saves for the win while Josh Anderson scored twice and Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak each had a goal and two assists. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also had a goal and two assists while teammate Bryan Rust remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury. Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman missed the game with an upper-body injury.
The Florida Panthers’ season-opening home winning streak has ended at 11 games after falling 4-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Former Panthers goalie Chris Driedger made 33 saves while teammate Jordan Eberle celebrated his 800th career NHL game with two goals.
Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick powered the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Cale Makar collected three assists while Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky each had two helpers. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram returned to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion.
The Edmonton Oilers ran up a 3-0 lead over the Vegas Golden Knights and held on for a 3-2 victory. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 36 shots while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi scored for the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the score sheet by the Golden Knights.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists and Carl Gundstrom tallied twice to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was ejected from the game for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk’s hand during a scrum in the third period. Tkachuk wasn’t pleased, calling what Lemieux did “the most gutless thing somebody could ever do” following the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could also earn supplemental discipline for his antics. He bit Tkachuk’s hand hard enough to draw blood.
An overtime goal by rookie Lucas Raymond gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their fifth loss in six games. The Sabres’ Jeff Skinner sent the game to overtime with the tying goal late in the third period.
The Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by nipping the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Braden Holtby made 25 saves for the Stars, Joe Pavelski had two assists and Roope Hintz scored his seventh goal in his last eight games.
St. Louis Blues forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev each scored twice in a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists. Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Before the game, the Blues placed winger James Neal on injured reserve.
The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 4-2. Kyle Connor led the way with two goals for the Jets to snap a five-game skid while ending the Flames’ win streak at four games. Flames winger Milan Lucic was ejected in the second period for boarding Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was fined $5,000.00 for throwing one of his hockey gloves at Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand on Friday. Panarin said he was incensed over Russia-related insults made toward him by Marchand.
NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton on Friday.
NEW YORK POST: The NHL has postponed the New York Islanders’ next two games through Nov. 30 after Casey Cizikas became the eighth player on the club to test positive for COVID-19.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed goaltender Matt Murray on waivers. He’s expected to report to their AHL affiliate in Belleville if he goes unclaimed today. The Senators also claimed forward Adam Gaudette off waivers yesterday from the Chicago Blackhawks.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Nate Thompson missed practice yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury during Friday’s game against the Hurricanes.
The Senators hold off the Stars, Jimmy Hayes’ family reveals his cause of death, plus the latest on Brady Tkachuk, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Chris Tierney scored two power-play goals as the Ottawa Senators held off the Dallas Stars for a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s only game on the NHL schedule. Connor Brown assisted on all three Senators’ goals while Filip Gustavsson made 32 saves for the win. Michael Raffl and Joe Pavelski replied for the Stars.
OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, head coach D.J. Smith revealed Brady Tkachuk will make his season debut on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks. The 21-year-old left winger missed training camp and the opening game of the season due to contract negotiations. Signed to a new seven-year deal on Thursday, the Senators felt he needed time to get himself prepared.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they don’t want to rush Tkachuk into the lineup and risk an injury before he’s in game shape.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: The family of Jimmy Hayes revealed Sunday the former NHL forward died on Aug. 23 with fentanyl and cocaine in his system. They hope telling his story will help save lives.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This story indicates Hayes got addicted to painkillers dealing with an injury. His father noticed a problem 16-17 months ago and spoke to his son. Hayes subsequently received help and seemed on the path to recovery.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).
The opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of age or status, it is destroying lives at an alarming rate.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews makes his season debut tonight against the New York Rangers. He underwent wrist surgery two months ago.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, they’ve recalled goaltender Michael Hutchison on an emergency basis. Salary cap constraints forced them to bring in University of Toronto netminder Alex Bishop on a one-day amateur tryout as Jack Campbell’s backup during Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Senators.
THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon remains sidelined by COVID protocol and won’t travel with the team to Washington today. Defenseman Jack Johnson will make the trip following a negative COVID test on Saturday.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson still considers himself among the best players in the game as he looks to bounce back from a down year last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Karlsson in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He missed only four games last season but his production dropped to a career-low 22 points. The Sharks will need a solid effort from a healthy 31-year-old Karlsson if they hope to make the playoffs this season.
THE ATHLETIC: Karlsson’s teammate Nikolai Knyzhov will undergo surgery this week on a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be sidelined eight to 10 weeks.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko suffered an upper-body injury Saturday and was placed on injured reserve yesterday.
CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for roughing Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto on Saturday.
TSN: Former Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mikko Lehtonen signed a four-year contract with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg. He recently refused assignment to the AHL and he and the Jackets agreed to terminate his contract.
THE PROVINCE: The son of Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning was hospitalized following an alleged assault outside a local nightspot early Sunday morning. The 25-year-old and his sister were reportedly attacked by four men outside the nightclub. He declined assistance from paramedics for facial injuries and went to the hospital himself. Jim Benning and the Canucks declined to comment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Benning’s son is ok. No word yet if anyone has been apprehended.