NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 27, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 27, 2017

Johnny Bower passes away plus injury updates on Cam Atkinson, Tyson Barrie and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower passed away on Dec. 26 after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was 93.

Bower began his NHL career with the New York Rangers but spent 12 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He backstopped the Leafs to four Stanley Cups (1962-64, 1967) and was a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bower was also renowned as one of the league’s most personable players. He was actively involved in charity work during and after his playing days and was beloved by hockey fans everywhere. Bower was well-respected by teammates and opponents alike. He didn’t reach the NHL until he was in his thirties and retired at age 45 following a knee injury. His perseverance served as an inspiration for players and fans. Rest in peace, China Wall. 

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Cam Atkinson (fractured foot) and Alexander Wennberg (back injury) will be sidelined four-to-six weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for Atkinson and Wennberg just got worse. Both were struggling offensively prior to their respective injuries. 

BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche are still awaiting word on defenseman Tyson Barrie, who broke a bone in his hand after blocking a shot during Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. He could be out anywhere between 10 days to eight weeks. 

NJ.COM: No update yet on the status of New Jersey Devils forwards Kyle Palmieri and Brian Boyle. Both left Saturday’s game against Chicago for precautionary reasons with undisclosed injuries. 

PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers activated goaltender Michal Neuvirth from injured reserve. He’s been sidelined since Nov. 27 with a lower-body injury. 

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have granted center Alex Burmistrov’s request to be released from his one-year, $900K contract. He’s expected to join a Russian team in the KHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (eighth overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010, Burmistrov struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He’s yet another example of the hazards of rushing a youngster into an NHL roster before he’s fully ready for big-league play. 

SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo waived his right for an in-person hearing yesterday with the NHL’s department of player safety. He will instead face a telephone hearing today to determine if he’ll receive supplemental discipline for sucker-punching Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard during’s Saturday’s game between the two clubs. Rinaldo received a match penalty for the incident. Girard left the game for examination and later returned to action. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinaldo already has a lengthy NHL suspension history. Don’t be surprised if he’s hit with another. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2017

The New Jersey Devils select Nico Hischier as the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Results of opening round of the 2017 draft, latest contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils selected Halifax Mooseheads center Nico Hischier with first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick was taken second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, while the Dallas Stars selected HIFK defenseman Miro Heiskanen third overall.

With the 29th overall selection, host team Chicago Blackhawks picked Portland Winterhawks blueliner Henri Jokiharju.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the full list and analysis of all the opening-round picks at the link above. Unlike recent drafts, there were no obvious can’t-miss NHL superstars such as Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews in this round. However, some of these kids could go on to NHL stardom in their own right. 

CSN MID-ATLANTIC:  The Washington Capitals re-signed right wing T.J. Oshie to an eight-year, $46-million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised that the Capitals retained Oshie. Since coming to Washington in a trade from St. Louis in 2015, he quickly become an invaluable part of their roster core. His new annual cap hit of $5.75 million is a reasonable rate, as he likely could’ve received more on the open market. However, handing a winger who turns 31 in December an eight-year deal is a gamble. His game will inevitably decline over that period. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed left wing Patrick Eaves to a three-year, $9.45-million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a $3.15 million annual average salary for the 33-year-old Eaves, up from $1 million last season. He’s coming off a career-best 32-goal, 51-point campaign split between the Ducks and the Dallas Stars, with 11 of those goals and 14 of those points coming in Anaheim.

Eaves proved to be a good addition after joining the Ducks before last season’s trade deadline. At this stage in his career it remains to be seen if he’ll come close to those numbers again. Still, it’s a justifiable term and salary for the Ducks. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers yesterday re-signed defenseman Kris Russell to a four-year, $16-million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Analytics followers will hate Russell’s deal. Those who believe in human intangibles feel he’s worth retaining, though perhaps not for four years. What’s notable about the 30-year-old blueliner is he’s among the NHL’s best shot blockers. Oilers management obviously liked what he brought to their defense core. I’m sure his value to the Oilers will be debated by their fans for the next four years. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday officially bought out the final season of defenseman Matt Greene’s contract. He was slated to earn $2.5 million. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan believes the Coyotes are unlikely to re-sign restricted free agent center Alex Burmistrov. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2017

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg celebrates one of his two goals against the Buffalo Sabres.

Game recaps, Ott to Montreal, Hansen to the Sharks and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.com: Filip Forsberg scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, to give the Nashville Predators a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Forsberg now has 10 goals in his last five games. 

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz collected his 700th career NHL victory as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. It was defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s first game with the Caps following his trade on Monday from St. Louis. He had four shots but didn’t tally a point.

The Rangers were playing without defenseman Dan Girardi, who could miss two weeks to a gash on the inside of his right ankle suffered on Feb. 7 that hasn’t healed properly. 

Brad Marchand scored and set up another as the Boston Bruins beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1, giving the Bruins their seventh victory in eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy. Coyotes winger Alex Burmistrov was carried off the ice on a stretch after being hit by Bruins defenseman Colin Miller. He was taken to hospital but has since been released and will rejoin the club. 

The Florida Panthers snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr tallied a power-play goal, becoming only the third player in NHL history to score multiple goals at the age of 45. The Hurricanes were missing forward Jeff Skinner, who returned to Raleigh to be evaluated for an upper-body injury

Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime and Carey Price kicked out 26 shots as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 in overtime. Last night, the Canadiens also announced the acquisition of forward Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ott is an aging agitating forward who will be expected to bring grit and experience to the Habs forward lines. 

Justin Abdelkader’s overtime goal lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks also announced the trade of winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2017.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good trade for both clubs. The Sharks pick up a solid depth winger in Hansen, who’s also under contract for one more season. The Canucks add a promising young forward in Goldobin, who has the potential to become a scoring winger. 

Speaking of the Sharks, they overcame a 1-0 deficit to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Auston Matthews scored his 31st of the season.

Jason Zucker’s overtime goal gave the Minnesota Wild a 6-5 win over the Winnipeg Jets, who overcome a 4-1 deficit. Mikael Granlund had a three-point night for the Wild, as did Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault for the Jets, who also welcomed back defenseman Toby Enstrom from a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced the signing of defenseman Mike Weber to a one-year, two-way contract

The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Stars winger Patrick Sharp is trying to play through an injury, which could affect his value as a possible trade candidate. Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed forward Eric Fehr on waivers

Wayne Simmonds scored twice and Steve Mason made 33 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers blanked the Colorado Avalanche 4-0.

Cam Talbot made 25 saves to backstop the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. 

T.J. Brodie scored in overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, giving the Flames their fifth consecutive win. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The NHL expansion franchise Vegas Golden Knights can start doing business with other clubs today, though nothing official can be released until the club finalizes its paperwork to join the league and makes the final installment of their $500 million expansion fee. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Long-time Kings broadcaster Bob Miller is expected to announce his retirement on Thursday. The 78-year-old recently had a minor stroke a year after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Vladimir Petrov, a member of two Olympic championship teams with the Soviet Union, died yesterday at the age of 69. Petrov was also a member of the Soviet team that played against Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Petrov’s family and friends. I remember watching him play in the Summit Series alongside Boris Mikhailov and Valeri Kharlamov. That line gave the Canadians fits in that series. 

 












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2017



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2017

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko celebrates one of his two goals against the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2017 Winter Classic.

Blues win 2017 Winter Classic, three stars of the week & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Two third-period goals by Vladimir Tarasenko carried the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory in the 2017 Winter Classic before over 46,000 fans at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. Alexander Steen also tallied a goal and an assist for the Blues. 

Corey Schneider turned in a 22-save shutout performance backstopping the New Jersey Devils to a 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins. Taylor Hall scored one goal and set up another for the Devils. 

Sven Baertschi scored twice (including the game winner) and goaltender Ryan Miller got his 350th career victory as the Vancouver Canucks edged the hapless Colorado Avalanche 3-2. The Avs have only one win in their last 10 games. 

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 1, 2017. 

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed backup goaltender Al Montoya to a two-year, $2.125 million contract extension. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes claimed forward Alexander Burmistrov off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A former first-round pick of the Jets, Burmistrov’s struggled through five NHL seasons. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him reach his potential. Otherwise, this season could be his last in the NHL. He’s a restricted free agent in July. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM:  The New Jersey Devils  claimed forward Reid Boucher off waivers from the Nashville Predators. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Sabres center Johan Larsson’s season is over after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated wrist and elbow.

THE MERCURY NEWS:  The San Jose Sharks recalled defenseman Mirco Mueller. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2017



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (left) celebrates his overtime goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Centennial Classic.

Game recaps, injury updates, unveiling 33 of 100 greatest NHL players & more in your morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Centennial Classic game at BMO Field in Toronto. The Wings had rallied back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime with 1 second remaining in regulation. Henrik Zetterberg collected three assists for Detroit. 

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson made a franchise-record 51 saves, Ryan Kesler netted a hat trick and Corey Perry netted the game winner in a shootout in a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Gibson was briefly pulled in the second period after the Flyers tied the game at 3 but returned and was solid in goal for the remainder of the game.

The Flyers welcomed winger Matt Read back to the lineup after being sidelined since early-December with an olique pull. 

Karl Alzner and Taylor Chorney tallied for the Washington Capitals in their 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. 

Prior to the Centennial Classic, the NHL revealed 33 of its greatest 100 players of all time. All played predominantly during the league’s first 50 seasons (1917-1967). Here they are in alphabetical order:

Sid Abel, Syl Apps, Andy Bathgate, Jean Beliveau, Max Bentley, Toe Blake, Johnny Bower, Turk Broda, Johnny Bucyk, King Clancy, Charlie Conacher, Alex Delvecchio, Bill Durnan, Bernie Geoffrion, Glenn Hall, Doug Harvey, Tim Horton, Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, Red Kelly, Ted Kennedy, Elmer Lach, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore, Howie Morenz, Jacques Plante, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk, Milt Schmidt, Eddie Shore and Georges Vezina.

The Nashville Predators announced defenseman P.K. Subban was placed on injured reserve (herniated disc) and will be re-evaluated in two-three weeks. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Marian Hossa (upper-body injury) will miss today’s Winter Classic game against the St. Louis Blues, while center Marcus Kruger (upper-body injury) is sidelined for around three weeks. 

WINNIPEG SUN:  The Jets placed winger Alexander Burmistrov on waivers. If he clears, he’ll be demoted to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burmistrov’s name briefly popped up earlier this season in trade speculation linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. We’ll find out by noon ET today if the Habs or another club selects him. He’s had a disappointing NHL career thus far.  In 23 games this season, he has only two assists and was a healthy scratch in the Jets’ previous 10 games. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo received a three-game suspension for physically abusing an official after trying to shove away the arms of linesman Julien Brisebois while arguing with him during Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals have reassigned forward Jakub Vrana to their AHL affiliate in Hershey.

USA TODAY: NHL Players Association director Donald Fehr is optimistic over NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, but league commissioner Gary Bettman remains pessimistic. The two sides are expected to meet for further discussion on the subject later this month. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league will  reportedly reach a decision on the ’18 Games by the end of January. I expect discussions (negotiations?) with the PA will do right down to the wire.

While Bettman cites concern by the team owners about shutting down the league, condensing the schedule and injuries, those excuses ring hollow when one considers they had no problem doing so for last fall’s league-sponsored World Cup of Hockey. If the PA accepted Bettman’s recent proposal of Olympic participation in exchange for extending the current collective bargaining agreement by three years, those concerns would magically vanish. 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 8, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – December 8, 2016

Should the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Ben Bishop now?

Should the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Ben Bishop now?

Latest on Ben Bishop, top-five rental players & more in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin recently listed five reasons the Tampa Bay Lightning should trade goaltender Ben Bishop now. Injuries to key players such as Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan, the club finding themselves in an unexpected dogfight for a playoff berth and Andrei Vasilevskiy being ready for the starter’s job topped the list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said he was willing to maintain his current goalie tandem for another run at the Stanley Cup next spring. Obviously, if issues arise that threatens those chances for a Cup run, Yzerman could reconsider. If he does, however, I expect he’ll be patient and see how the club performs in the coming weeks before deciding to pull the trigger on a Bishop deal. 

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman, Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata, “goalie to be named later” (Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Vancouver’s Ryan Miller, Islanders Thomas Greiss or Philadelphia’s Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth) and Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla as this season’s top-five rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanzal and Vrbata could be moved if they’re unwilling to accept short-term deals from the Coyotes. Wideman is a goner if the Flames are out of playoff contention by the March 1 trade deadline. Bishop and Greiss could move, but the Canucks seem intent to re-sign Miller.  Mason’s play has significantly improved of late, contributing to the Flyers climb up the Eastern Conference standings. They could keep him and Neuvirth for the remainder of the season. Iglina will likely be shopped. 

SPORTSNET: If the struggling Colorado Avalanche decide to shake things up with a trade this season, Elliotte Friedman believes goaltender Semyon Varlamov is an obvious trade candidate, as his hold on the starter’s job is tenuous. The Avs are looking to add defensemen. Center Nathan MacKinnon isn’t going anywhere. Forwards Gabriel Landeksog and Matt Duchene have “great value contracts”, which increases the asking price. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Varlamov, Landeskog or Duchene during the season could prove difficult because of their contracts. Such moves could wait until the offseason. 

Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden said a possible decision to re-sign goaltender Ryan Miller won’t take place until next summer. Friedman wonders what the Anaheim Ducks might do to sweeten a Miller for Jonathan Bernier deal. Like Miller, Bernier’s contract expires next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, the Canucks probably won’t be interested in that swap. Unless the Ducks are willing to toss in a young defenseman like Shea Theodore (which they won’t), I don’t see this deal happening. Bernier may be younger but isn’t a significant upgrade over Miller. 

Despite the solid play this season of centers Alexander Wennberg and William Karlsson, Friedman wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets might take a look at Arizona Coyotes pending UFA center Martin Hanzal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend upon where the Jackets are in the standings if Hanzal gets dangled before the trade deadline. If they’re still in playoff contention, maybe they’ll take a look at it. However, they won’t be the only club interested in Hanzal by the deadline.

He wonders if Winnipeg Jets center Alex Burmistrov might be a suitable replacement for sidelined Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d also suggest Toronto Maple Leafs center Peter Holland. Won’t put up a lot of points but he will work hard and bring some energy to the Habs checking lines. 

The Los Angeles Kings tried to trade winger Teddy Purcell($1.6 million cap hit) but couldn’t find any takers because of budget issues. The Kings didn’t want to take any salary back. Purcell recently cleared waivers and Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if a team pursued him later in the season when they can afford him. 

Friedman expects some trade movement by the Dallas Stars this season, but doesn’t see them dealing defensemen John Klingberg, Julius Honka, Jordie Benn or Stephen Johns. 

Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks could be a good fit with the Minnesota Wild, who are seeking fourth-line help, though the Oilers would have to keep part of his salary. 

The New York Islanders strongly denied rumors claiming they were shopping prospect forward Joshua Ho-Sang.