NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2023
NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2023
Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallies his 60th goal of the season, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reaches a goal-scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals, including his 60th of the season in overtime, to nip the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also tallied twice while Leon Draisaitl collected four assists for the 41-23-8 Oilers (90 points), who sit two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Clayton Keller scored twice and Nick Schmaltz had two assists for the 27-33-12 Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid joins Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Auston Matthews as the fourth active player to reach the 60-goal plateau. He’s also the fastest player to score 60 goals in a season (72 games) since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 and is on pace to reach 68 goals, which would be the most since Lemieux netted 69 goals in ’95-’96. McDavid is one goal away from 300 career goals and on track to become the third-fastest active player to reach that mark.
Keller, meanwhile, is a big reason why the Coyotes aren’t wallowing near the very bottom of the overall standings this season. The 24-year-old is enjoying a career-best performance with 34 goals, 44 assists and 78 points.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reached the 30-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career in a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Jeff Carter scored two goals for the Penguins (35-26-10) as they moved one point ahead of the Florida Panthers into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 80 points. J.T. Compher had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves for the 41-23-6 Avalanche (88 points), who remain two points back of the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby becomes the 20th player in NHL history to record 11 30-goal seasons and ties Lemieux for the most in Penguins history. He’s also the first player in NHL history to have a 30-goal season at age 18 and another at 35 or older.
NHLPA.COM: The results of the NHL Players Association annual player poll were revealed on Wednesday. Among the notable results:
The Oilers’ Connor McDavid was named the most impactful forward in a must-win game. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was named the goalie the players would want on their team if they need to win one game.
Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche was named the best defenseman while the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby was named the most complete player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list and results by following the NHLPA link above.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks will not wear Pride jerseys for warm-ups before Sunday’s Pride Night game against the Vancouver Canucks. The decision was made out of safety concerns for the club’s Russian players due to Russia’s homophobic law banning “gay propaganda”.
The law makes it illegal for Russians to promote or “praise” LGBTQ relationships or suggest they are normal. Blackhawks roster players Nikita Zaitsev, Philipp Kurashev and Anton Khudobin are of Russian heritage or have family in Russia.
This decision was made by the Blackhawks’ front office and not the players. The club still intends to hold a variety of Pride-related events on Sunday at the United Center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could be justified in their concern that their Russian players and their families risk persecution by their government over this issue. It was two years ago that New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was the victim of an unsuccessful smear campaign for supporting Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
There’s also the possibility that another club uses this as a convenient excuse to scrape its participation in Pride Night on-ice events for reasons other than protecting their Russian players.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is expected to remain sidelined for the rest of this season due to a sprained ankle suffered on Feb. 15.
DAILY FACEOFF: Brian Boyle announced his retirement as an NHL player on Wednesday. He will be joining NHL Network as a studio analyst.
Boyle, 38, played 14 seasons as a center with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
In 871 games, Boyle scored 141 goals and 111 assists for 252 points along with 33 points in 124 playoff games. He was a two-time Stanley Cup Finalist with the Rangers (2014) and Lightning (2015) and won the Masterton Trophy in 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Boyle in his new role with NHL Network.