NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2019

Henrik Lundqvist ties Curtis Joseph on the all-time wins list, the NHLPA files a grievance on behalf of Dustin Byfuglien, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 454th career victory in a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals. He ties Curtis Joseph for fifth on the all-time list. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom missed the game with an upper-body injury, while teammate Garnet Hathaway received a three-game suspension for spitting on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 454th career win (Photo via NHL Images).

Brady Tkachuk scored in overtime as the Ottawa Senators edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau tallied his team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Senators played without winger Bobby Ryan, who entered the NHL/NHLPA assistance program. Before the game, the Canadiens honored Guy Carbonneau for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


WINNIPEG SUN: The NHLPA filed a grievance yesterday against the league on behalf of Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien challenging his suspension. Byfuglien was suspended by the club for failing to show up for training camp. It was initially believed he was taking time to consider his playing future. The situation took a turn earlier this month when he underwent surgery to repair his ankle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien isn’t being paid during this suspension. There have been questions over why he didn’t show up to training camp, fail his medical, undergo surgery, go on long-term injury reserve, and receive payment. Both sides have kept quiet on the matter, but differing opinions have emerged.

The Jets reportedly claimed Byfuglien, who was hampered by an ankle injury last season, passed his exit medical at the end of last season. The Byfuglien camp apparently disputed this, believing their client hadn’t fully recovered. The grievance will be heard by an independent arbiter soon, likely early in the new year.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Sammy Blais requires wrist surgery and will be sidelined for at least 10 weeks. The club signed free-agent winger Troy Brouwer to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres assistant coach Don Granato is back behind the bench after being sidelined by severe pneumonia for several weeks.

What We Learned This Week In The NHL: Week 5

What We Learned This Week In The NHL: Week 5


NHL Injury Outlook Week Six

NHL Injury Outlook Week Six


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 3, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 3, 2019

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien and Jesse Puljujarvi plus some recent Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a resolution in the ongoing saga between the Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Byfuglien doesn’t seem likely. The defenseman has been absent from the club pondering his future. He recently underwent ankle surgery and could be sidelined until sometime in the new year. Friedman claims the situation has become emotional, heated, and heading to arbitration.

The relationship between Dustin Byfuglien and Winnipeg Jets’ front office seems to be souring (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman said the Jets were told not to discuss the situation, which explains general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s guarded comments. During Byfuglien’s exit physical at the end of last season, the team felt he was ready to play. He didn’t tell them he had issues with his ankle during the summer and informed them of his intention to retire.

Byfuglien’s side of the story is he was injured going into the playoffs, played hurt, took the summer off to heal, returned to Winnipeg intending to play but his ankle acted up again while skating. Friedman said a broken bone was also discovered in Byfuglien’s foot during the surgery. There’s a dispute over when the injury happened and when everyone knew about it.

Chris Johnston said there are bad feelings and money involved. As Byfuglien is still under contract, part of an arbiter’s role could be trying to determine when the defenseman starts getting paid again. The Jets suspended him during his leave of absence for salary-cap purposes. While Byfuglien is uncertain over the status of his career, he’s indicated a willingness to return to action.

If Byfuglien does return, Friedman said it remains to be seen if he’ll play for the Jets or if they’ll want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this requires arbitration to settle it could spell the end of Byfuglien’s tenure in Winnipeg. If he’s still willing to play, however, it could prove difficult for the Jets to trade him. 

Playoff contenders would certainly have interest in Byfuglien’s services. However, his recent surgery, age (34), salary-cap hit ($7.6 million annually through 2020-21) and 14-team no-trade list will affect efforts to move him. 

Meanwhile, this situation hampers the Jets’ ability to address their weakened blueline. Byfuglien’s suspension currently gives them over $6.6 million in salary-cap space. If he returns, however, they must shed salary to become cap compliant.

They could be forced to make a dollar-for-dollar swap. The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton recently observed there are veteran options like Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Pittsburgh’s Jack Johnson or the New York Rangers’ Marc Staal. However, they have their contract baggage of their own and won’t improve the Jets’ defense corps.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Jesse Puljujarvi’s strong play in Finland has attracted some suitors in the NHL trade market. The 21-year-old restricted free agent is playing overseas while awaiting a trade by the Edmonton Oilers. General manager Ken Holland is heading to Finland to watch Puljujarvi play in an upcoming international tournament.

Johnston doesn’t believe the organization has made a decision if they’ll try to trade Puljujarvi right away, wait until the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him approaches, or try and keep him. Holland spoke extensively with teams since the summer. Johnston believes the New York Rangers have shown persistent interest in Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are a rebuilding club. They’re using defenseman Brendan Smith as a fourth-line right wing. Depending on the asking price, Puljujarvi could be a fit with the Blueshirts.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked about the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Jack Johnson since Erik Gudbranson was shipped to Anaheim. He doesn’t see Johnson getting moved but didn’t rule it out. He points out they had a deal to trade the veteran defenseman on the table in late September. However, they aren’t displeased with his performance.

Asked about Nick Bjugstad, Yohe thinks he could be the next forward to go. He hasn’t been impressed with Bjugstad’s performance since joining the Penguins last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why didn’t Penguins GM Jim Rutherford move Johnson if they had a deal on the table? Perhaps the return wasn’t that good, or maybe they had to include a first-round pick, something Rutherford doesn’t want to do. Bjugstad’s unimpressive play could also hurt any attempt to trade him during the season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2019

The Canadiens and Flames rally for overtime victories plus the latest on Dustin Byfuglien, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Max Domi’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher to force the extra frame. Domi and Tatar each had a goal and an assist. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty collected an assist against his former club for his 500th career NHL point. Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed the game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.

The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0, 4-1, and 5-4 deficits to burn the Nashville Predators 6-5 on a between-the-legs overtime goal by Matthew Tkachuk, who also tallied the game-tying goal. Tkachuk and Sean Monahan finished with three points apiece. Predators winger Auston Watson celebrated his new three-year, $4.5-million contract extension with a four-point performance. Teammate Calle Jarnkrok also tallied twice.


TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien could require up to four months to recover from recent ankle surgery. His agent is in discussions with the NHL Players Association as they review his case. it could have financial complications if it’s determined he injured his ankle playing hockey.

Dustin Byfuglien’s ankle surgery raises more questions over his future with the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien is on a leave of absence mulling his future and was suspended without pay for salary-cap purposes. He underwent this surgery in his home state of Minnesota without informing the team.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff shed little light on the situation, raising speculation of a difference of opinion between the player and the organization over the status of his injured ankle. The silence from both sides only generates more questions over the future of Byfuglien’s playing career. For the time being, it seems increasingly likely he won’t be back with the Jets this season.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets got more bad news as center Mark Letestu has been sidelined by a heart virus (myocarditis) for six months. Winger Patrik Laine remains sidelined with a minor lower-body injury. Center Bryan Little left practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury and could miss tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letestu is expected to make a full recovery but he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season.

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has hired a lawyer to investigate how his name became associated with a Russian virtual reality start-up that reportedly lost millions of dollars. The report claimed Malkin invested $4 million into the company, which used his name to attract other investors. He denied investing in the company.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they’ve assigned Sam Lafferty to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Buffalo Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey (lower body) has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day. San Jose Sharks center Dylan Gambrell is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings forward Tyler Toffoli was a healthy scratch during Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is an unrestricted free agent in July. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to this move.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist.

The Charlotte Checkers have released Jamie McGinn from his professional tryout offer.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2019

Game recaps, Dustin Byfuglien undergoes ankle surgery, John Tavares could soon return to action, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 7-6 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Brayden Point each collected three points. Devils winger Kyle Palmieri tallied a hat trick while teammate Jesper Bratt scored two goals. Earlier in the day, the Lightning recalled Luke Schenn, Cory Conacher, and Alexander Volkov. 

Brock Boeser’s hat trick powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win over the LA Kings (Photo via NHL Images).

Brock Boeser’s hat trick powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson had a goal and three assists for the Canucks, who went four-for-six on the power play. Jeff Carter tallied twice for the Kings.

Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists and James Neal tallied his 11th goal of the season.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth win in the last five games by edging the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Alex Pietrangelo snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello netted his first goal of the season.

Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Carey Price made 33 saves to lead the Montreal Canadiens over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1.


WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery last week in Minnesota and is expected to be sidelined until sometime in January. Byfuglien has been suspended by the Jets for salary-cap reasons as he was on a leave of absence mulling his future. It appears the Jets were unaware he had opted for surgery but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed his full support. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien’s surgery raised questions over why he didn’t undergo the precedure during training camp last month. Whatever the reason, his ongoing absence leaves a significant void on the blueline that the Jets have struggled to fill. The uncertainty over his future also make it difficult for Cheveldayoff to look for help via trade or free agency. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks blueliners Josh Manson will be sidelined five-to-ten weeks with a sprained knee.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (broken finger) could return to action as soon as Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour (broken hand) could return to the lineup by this weekend. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach will remain with the Blackhawks this season. He was the third-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. 

TORONTO SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory has died at age 83. In his 10 seasons as GM, the Leafs drafted such notables as Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald. He went on to become the NHL’s director of Central Scouting, executive director of hockey operations, senior vice-president of hockey operations and supervision, and chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gregory was also among the first general managers to discover European talent, the most notable being Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming. Other standouts drafted by Gregory include Rick Kehoe, Ian Turnbull, Tiger Williams, Mike Palmateer, Doug Jarvis, Randy Carlyle, and Joel Quenneville. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and associates.