What Are Pierre Dorion’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Ottawa Senators?
Nathan MacKinnon willing to accept less on his next contract to stay with the Avalanche, the Stars scratch Alex Radulov, Joe Thornton punches a goaltender, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took a 3-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens and held on for a 3-2 victory. Avs winger Gabriel Landeskog scored in his return to the lineup after being sidelined 16 games with a leg injury. Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau made 32 saves in his NHL debut. Habs center Jesperi Kotkaniemi left the game after falling awkwardly on his head following a questionable hit by Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Earlier in the day, Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon said he had no regrets over his current contract. He also said he’ll accept less money on his next deal because he wants to win with the Avs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon inked his current seven-year, $44.1-million contract following the 2015-16 season, when he was coming off three inconsistent, injury-hampered performances. At the time, it was a significant raise for the young center coming out of his entry-level contract. It was also a gamble that turned into a long-term bargain for the Avs as MacKinnon blossomed into a dominant 90-plus point player.
I don’t doubt MacKinnon’s sincerity about accepting less than market value. He’s taking a page out of his buddy Sidney Crosby’s book. However, he’s still going to get a hefty pay raise on his next deal.
When MacKinnon’s current contract expires in 2023, the salary cap could reach $90 million, meaning the highest-paid players could command between $14-$15 million annually. MacKinnon could get between $12-$13 million per season if he’s still racking up 90-point seasons by that point.
The Dallas Stars snapped a four-game winless skid with a 3-2 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra period. Joe Pavelski tallied the game-winner for the Stars, who raised eyebrows earlier in the day by announcing winger Alexander Radulov would be a healthy scratch from this contest. Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen each collected two points for the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov has 15 points in 29 games this season. He has five points in his last 10 games, with three of those coming against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 25. He was held scoreless in his last four contests.
Andrei Svechnikov scored the only goal in a shootout as the Carolina Hurricanes nipped the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Svechnikov also had a goal and an assist in regulation play. During the second period, Sharks center Joe Thornton laid out Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrazek with a punch to the mask when the latter objected to Thornton jabbing at the puck after the netminder covered it in the crease. Mrazek recovered and finished the game.
Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the season as the Calgary Flames held on for a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who’ve won three straight games. Earlier in the day, the city of Calgary reached an agreement with the Flames and the Calgary Stampede on a deal to construct a new arena.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can finally put to rest those silly rumors suggesting the Flames would relocate if they didn’t get a new arena. Despite public posturing by Calgary’s mayor, I had no doubt the city would eventually agree to construct a new arena.
The Minnesota Wild picked up their fifth straight victory by upsetting the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner and collected two assists for the surging Wild, who’ve climbed from dead-last in the league over a month ago into a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel scored twice as his club downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. The Coyotes have won eight of their last 10 games, moving into first place in the Pacific Division.
New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored against his former club in a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexandar Georgiev made 45 saves for the win, handing the Jackets their third straight defeat.
Ryan Pulock’s overtime goal lifted the New York Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov kicked out 31 shots for the win. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Golden Knights roster following a leave of absence to spend time with his dying father. He was the backup for this contest.
Jonathan Toews scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. The Bruins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Dylan Strome scored and added an assist for the Blackhawks.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Brent Sopel released a statement yesterday clarifying comments he made a year ago describing encountered with Marc Crawford that could be considered abusive behavior by the former NHL coach. “It was not my intent to make any allegations against anyone or any organization,” Sopel said as part of his statement “I was only speaking to how Coach Crawford affected me. I cannot speak for how others were affected by him.”
TSN: A former NHL Players Association executive has filed a lawsuit against the PA claiming it covered up theft of over $100K in association funds by one of its executives. The PA is denying the accusation.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have sent struggling defenseman Erik Brannstrom to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.
Game recaps, the Blues and Golden Knights clinch playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sean Monahan scored twice and set up two others as the Calgary Flames roasted the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Flames (103 points) sit eight points over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference standings.
The St. Louis Blues gave up four unanswered goals to the New York Rangers in a 4-2 loss but still clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On New Year’s Day, the Blues were last in the Western Conference and had the league’s second-worst record while stars such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo were regular fixtures in the trade-rumor mill. Credit for their impressive second-half rally belongs to interim coach Craig Berube and rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Despite falling 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights also clinched a postseason spot. Paul Stastny scored both goals for Vegas while Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for the Wild (81 points), who sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Blues and Golden Knights secured their playoff spots because the Arizona Coyotes dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon tallied the only goal in the shootout. With 85 points, the Avalanche sit three up on the Coyotes for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Nashville Predators (94 points) moved into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. P.K. Subban and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist. Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta returned to action after missing 21 games with a shoulder injury.
Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard combined for a 28-save shutout as the Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 4-0. Bernier made 21 saves before leaving the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is expected to return to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 14 by an ankle injury.
TSN: Ottawa Senators defenseman Max Lajoie is expected to be sidelined eight-to-10 weeks after undergoing season-ending sports hernia surgery. Rookie blueliner Erik Brannstrom is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
Game recaps, Steven Stamkos ties a franchise record, Chris Kreider fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tied Vincent Lecavalier’s franchise record for most goals (383) in a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov reached 115 points with a four-point performance as the Bolts overcame a 3-0 deficit, including four goals in the third period.
Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club thumped the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Coyotes (77 points) widened their lead over the Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves for the Coyotes, who’ve won eight of their last 10 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite being wracked with injuries, the Coyotes have surged up the standings over the last two months. Exceeding expectations to clinch a playoff spot this season could provide this rebuilding club with a much-needed boost going forward. At the very least, it’s a feel-good story.
The Dallas Stars’ 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild was overshadowed by Stars goalie Ben Bishop exiting the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Bishop had set the franchise record for the longest shutout streak and was going for his fourth consecutive shutout prior to the injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Friday. With the win, the Stars (79 points) moved into third place in the Central Division while the Wild (74 points) slipped three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was playing his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation. Hopefully, his injury isn’t too serious.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith kicked out 26 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Nick Bjugstad each had two points as the Penguins (87 points) opened a four-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Anders Lee scored the game-winner late in the third period as the New York Islanders (89 points) edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. It was the Islanders’ fourth win in their last five games, putting them two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan. The Canadiens (81 points) remained tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a must-win game for the Canadiens, who are struggling at the worst possible time, dropping six of their last 10 contests. With 11 games remaining in the schedule, the Habs have little room for error here. If the Blue Jackets get hot over the next three weeks, the Canadiens can forget about the playoffs.
Speaking of the Capitals, they picked up their eighth victory in their last nine games by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Brett Connolly led the way for the Capitals with two goals and an assist. The Flyers (76 points) remain five points behind the Blue Jackets and Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have been hot of late, picking up points in seven of their last 10 games. However, this loss prevented them from narrowing the gap between them and the Blue Jackets for that final wild-card spot.
Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, handing the latter their third straight defeat. The Jets (86 points) maintained their hold on top spot in the Central Division.
The Nashville Predators remains one point behind the Jets. Colton Sissons had a goal and an assist to give the Predators a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Ottawa Senators goalie Anders Nilsson had a 35-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 2-0 blanking of the St. Louis Blues. Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney were the goal scorers and Senators prospects Erik Brannstrom and Max Veronneau looked good in their NHL debuts. The Blues (79 points) dropped down into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. Earlier in the day, Sharks winger Evander Kane revealed his wife lost their child during pregnancy. He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 26. Meanwhile, the Sharks announced defenseman Radim Simek requires surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kane and his wife for their loss. Truly heartbreaking news.
NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson.
Roussel hurt his knee and is out for the remainder of the year, confirms Coach Green.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 14, 2019