NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2022

Check out the latest on the Rangers and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently examined some potential external options for the New York Rangers to bolster their top six and their third defense pairing.

Possible top-six trade targets could include San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The availability of Hertl, Pavelski and Rakell could depend upon where their respective clubs are in the NHL standings approaching the March 21 trade deadline. Giroux has a full no-movement clause and it’s uncertain what he intends to do as the Flyers continue to struggle.

DeBrusk requested a trade in late November but there haven’t been any takers yet. Smith could be shopped by the Golden Knights as a cost-cutting measure to make room for Jack Eichel’s debut next month.

To boost the third line, Staple suggested Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen, though he noted the latter has had preliminary contract talks with the Habs. Other options included Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney, Arizona Coyotes forward Travis Boyd, and Seattle Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok or former Ranger Colin Blackwell.

Turning to defensemen, Staple believes the asking price for Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun and Montreal’s Ben Chiarot could be too expensive. Seattle’s Mark Giordano won’t be as expensive but still won’t be a cheap rental. Nevertheless, he could fill a need for the Rangers. Other options include Seattle’s Carson Soucy, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, Philadelphia’s Justin Braun, the Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller or Detroit Red Wings’ (and former Rangers) Marc Staal or Nick Holden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Staple isn’t saying the Rangers are pursuing the aforementioned players or have them on any potential wish list. Nevertheless, they have the cap space and depth in prospects and promising young players to make competitive bids for one or two of them.

Smith is most often mentioned as a possible rental target given he previously played for Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant when the latter was the Golden Knights’ bench boss. It wouldn’t be surprising if he joins the Blueshirts sometime next month.

SPORTSNET/TSN: Eric Engels reports the Montreal Canadiens search for a new general manager could be resolved in the coming days. He’s heard Daniel Briere and Mathieu Darche are among the three finalists for the job.

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are believed to have circled back to player agent Kent Hughes this week after he wasn’t part of their initial interviews. He includes Hughes among the top 3-4 candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lovers of chaos will be disappointed Patrick Roy doesn’t appear to be among the final candidates, though he was among those initially interviewed for the position. The bottom line is the best candidate will be the one who can work best with hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton. I’m leaning toward Darche given his experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning but Hughes could also be a good fit given his experience as an agent.

TVA SPORTS: Yvon Pedneault took note of John Klingberg no longer being in the good graces of Dallas Stars management in his contract year. He suggested the Canadiens offer up Jeff Petry for Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is four years younger than the 34-year-old Petry, who has three more years left on his contract worth an annual cap hit of $6.25 million. Solely on that basis, Stars GM Jim Nill will never make that trade.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

A five-point night for Joe Pavelski, a new investigation could halt Evander Kane’s efforts to land a new contract, Tuukka Rask set to return today, the mid-season scouting rankings are released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski had a had in every one of the Dallas Stars goals in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken, handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Pavelski scored twice and set up three others while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists. With 38 points, the Stars sit three back of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Marchand has tallied eight goals in his last four games as the Bruins have won six of their last seven contests. Montreal goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss drops the Canadiens into last place in the overall standing while the Bruins (42 points) opened a five-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Arizona Coyotes moved into second-last in the overall standings by upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Ryan Dzingel snapped a 1-1 tie while Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves for the win. Leafs center Auston Matthews set a franchise record by scoring in nine consecutive road games.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL has opened an investigation into how Evander Kane crossed the border from the United States into Canada on Dec. 29. Kane had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and was still under the AHL’s 10-day COVID protocol when he crossed the border. It was one of the factors that prompted the San Jose Sharks to place the 30-year-old winger on unconditional waivers and terminate his contract last Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said this will likely prevent Kane from landing a new NHL contract as teams await the results of the league’s findings. Some teams are willing to ignore the winger’s apparent disregard for league rules (including a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID passport last fall) and other well-documented issues because they feel they can get a productive player on an affordable, prorated one-year contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he wouldn’t be opposed to Kane joining his club. The Oilers are believed among a handful of clubs in the running to sign the troublesome winner.

TSN: Tuukka Rask is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins earlier this week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports recurring concussion symptoms are behind Bowen Byram’s departure from the Avalanche for personal reasons. His father said his son told him he can’t continue playing feeling the way he does. The 20-year-old defenseman has already suffered three concussions in his young NHL career. There’s no word when he’ll return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Byram can find the treatment he needs to regain his health and hopefully return to the Avalanche. It would be a shame for his promising career to come to a premature end.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are among the noteworthy players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin with Braden Holtby recently being added to COVID protocol.

ESPN.COM: The Buffalo Sabres signed minor-league goaltender Michael Hauser to a one-year, $750K contract and recalled Aaron Dell from the minors to shore up their injury-depleted goaltending. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael Subban were recently sidelined while Craig Anderson remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while Dustin Tokarski is still recovering from COVID-19.

TSN: The Canadiens yesterday claimed Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

NHL.COM: Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright tops Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking of the top North American skaters. Winger Joakim Kemell of JYP in Liiga (Finland’s top professional league) is the leader among International skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright is expected to be the top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal with the first round on July 7. The young center had a slow start to this season but his production has picked up with four multi-point games in his last five contests. TSN’s Craig Button has compared his style of play to that of Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

SPORTSNET: Two former NHL off-ice officials have filed a lawsuit against the league alleging they were fired for “pretextual reasons” after calling out two former supervisors for racist behavior.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2022

Should the Flames or Islanders consider signing Evander Kane? Should the Oilers try to acquire Canadiens winger Josh Anderson? Which defensemen could the Panthers target? Will the Penguins go shopping at the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE FLAMES OR ISLANDERS SIGN EVANDER KANE?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders whether the Calgary Flames should consider signing San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane after he cleared unconditional waivers yesterday. He acknowledged the 30-year-old winger’s well-documented personal baggage and reputation as a bothersome teammate but observed he’s a proven point producer who could be an affordable free-agent signing.

Will there be teams interested in signing Evander Kane as a free agent? (NHL Images)

Macfarlane suggested the Flames should at least consider that option given their need to add another scoring forward. He felt general manager Brad Treliving should poll his players to determine if they’d be open to adding Kane to their roster. He also felt head coach Darryl Sutter might be able to handle the talented-but-troublesome winger.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner also examined whether the New York Islanders should bring in Kane to provide a boost to their sagging offense. He believes they should avoid him at all cost given Kane has proven to be untrustworthy and disdainful of rules, something that wouldn’t be tolerated under general manager Lou Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks can terminate Kane’s contract without penalty for breach of contract owing to the winger allegedly violating AHL COVID protocols and failing to report back to their AHL affiliate on time. However, the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance perhaps as early as today. It could take several weeks for an arbiter to determine the outcome.

Despite Kane’s reputation as a bad teammate and his off-ice issues, there are reportedly teams that could be willing to sign him to an affordable short-term contract if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, I doubt you’ll see his agent receive any formal offers until his grievance has been settled.

SHOULD THE OILERS TARGET JOSH ANDERSON?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wondered if the Oilers should attempt to pry away Josh Anderson from the floundering Montreal Canadiens. He pointed out they lack a “power forward, mean-streak type in their top six.”

Anderson is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury but the 27-year-old winger is expected back early next month. He’s in the second year of a seven-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million and carries an eight-team no-trade list. Matheson wondered if the Habs would be interested in an offer of a 2022 first-round pick, prospect Xavier Bourgault and “something else.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what plans Canadiens hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton and whoever he hires as a general manager has in store for their club before the trade deadline. They are expected to shop pending unrestricted free agents like Ben Chiarot but they could entertain offers for players under contract beyond this season such as Anderson.

It probably wouldn’t hurt for the Oilers to contact the Canadiens about Anderson. However, he can’t address their pressing need to reduce their goals-against. Right now, the Oilers need a reliable starting goaltender. They shouldn’t be wasting their tradeable assets on a power forward. 

LATEST ON THE PANTHERS AND PENGUINS

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports the Panthers are in “go-for-it” mode this season and will be buyers at the March 21 NHL trade deadline. The main focus will be on bolstering the blueline.

Richards lists Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, Dallas’ John Klingberg, Montreal’s Ben Chiarot, Seattle’s Mark Giordano and Detroit’s Nick Leddy as potential trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Richards isn’t confident that the Panthers have sufficient trade capital to win a bidding war for Chyrchrun. He also suggested their limited salary-cap space could make it difficult to acquire Giordano or Leddy.

Klingberg could be affordable in cap hit and return but there’s no certainty the Stars will move him if they’re in playoff contention by the trade deadline. That leaves Chiarot, who has been linked to the Panthers by other NHL insiders.

The Canadiens’ asking price for Chiarot could be a first-round pick, but Panthers GM Bill Zito could be willing to pay that much for a rental shutdown defenseman with playoff experience. His $3.5 million cap hit could also be squeezed into their cap space if they move out another player or convince the Canadiens to absorb half of his cap hit.

NHL.COM: Dave McCarthy reports Pittsburgh Penguins team president Brian Burke is impressed by his club’s recent success this season. He also admitted that it will be difficult for his club to make any significant additions before the trade deadline.

Burke said his club will still be looking in the trade market but their limited salary-cap space will make it tough to swing a major deal. He’s also reluctant to continue borrowing against the team’s future to address present needs. He felt they must stop the trend where they give up a lot for a 20 percent chance of winning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins really don’t have much choice. They’re playing well now but they have an aging core of talent such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang who will soon have to be replaced. Gutting their future for a quick fix will only make the inevitable rebuild much longer and more painful.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2022

Could the Canadiens move Carey Price by the trade deadline? What’s the latest on John Klingberg and Jakob Chychrun? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

IS A PRICE DEADLINE DAY DEAL POSSIBLE?

SPORTSNET: In a mailbag segment earlier this week, Eric Engels was asked about the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens moving Carey Price by the March 21 trade deadline. He doesn’t see that happening unless the 34-year-old goaltender returns to action and plays well before deadline day.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Even under that scenario, Price isn’t going anywhere unless he agrees to waive his no-movement clause. Engels believes that conversation could take place at some point between the netminder and hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton if it hasn’t happened already. He doesn’t see Price sitting through what could be a five-year rebuild with the Canadiens for another shot at the Stanley Cup.

CALGARY HERALD: Michael Traikos doesn’t expect Price to be moved before the trade deadline. His contract ($10.5 million annually) is too hefty to move in-season plus he hasn’t played since Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

Nevertheless, Traikos mused over what it might take for the Edmonton Oilers to acquire Price to address their porous goaltending. He suggested a package of Mikko Koskinen, Jesse Puljujarvi, prospect Dylan Holloway and/or the Oilers 2022 first-round pick with the Canadiens picking up half of Price’s cap hit.

Traikos also suggested more sensible options such as Canadiens backup Jake Allen, Seattle’s Chris Driedger or Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo. However, none of those goalies have the potential to backstop the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canadiens find a taker for Price before the trade deadline but that’s probably a slim hope at best. Even if he returns before March and regains his form, that contract is just too hefty to move during a season where just 10 teams currently have over $5 million in projected salary-cap space.

LATEST ON KLINGBERG AND CHYCHRUN

YAHOO! SPORTS: Thomas Williams cites The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta indicating sources claim John Klingberg requested a trade from the Dallas Stars. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Pagnotta said contract talks between the two sides “hit a wall” with Klingberg seeking a long-term deal. Williams sees the Stars attempting to cash in on the offensive blueliner at the trade deadline. However, they’re also still in the thick of the playoff chase and that could complicate things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word in the Dallas media or from other NHL insiders about Klingberg’s trade request. It appears the request may have come earlier in the season. If so, the Stars don’t seem to be in any hurry to move him.

If they remain in the playoff race by the deadline they could simply retain Klingberg as an “own-rental” for the postseason. That could change, however, if they fall out of contention by March 21. Given Klingberg’s value as a puck-moving defenseman, he could fetch a solid return if he hits the trade block.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan noted the recent rumors swirling around Jakob Chychrun. He agrees Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong will set a high asking price for the 23-year-old defenseman. However, he also points out the Coyotes aren’t in any rush to trade Chychrun and there’s no guarantee they’ll move him.

Morgan observed the March 21 trade deadline will create pressure for some teams to get something done but so does the need to win. He wonders if the Edmonton Oilers might get back into the mix despite Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent report calling the Oilers an unlikely destination.

TORONTO STAR: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin McGran was asked if Chychrun would be worth the Maple Leafs giving up top prospects, a first-round pick and a solid roster player. McGran isn’t sure they would be in the market for a player like him during the season because of their limited cap space. He thinks they’ll look at low-cost rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun is an attractive trade target and I don’t doubt there’s considerable interest in him. However, I agree with Morgan that the Coyotes aren’t in any rush here with the blueliner under contract for three more years. If they don’t find a return to their liking before the trade deadline, they’ll revisit trade options during the offseason, likely around the July draft weekend.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game as the Penguins get their 10th straight win, Nathan MacKinnon has a five-point performance, Joe Thornton and Jakub Voracek reach milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game (two goals, one assist) as his Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to pick up their 10th straight win. Jake Guentzel also tallied twice while Kris Letang collected three assists. With 45 points, the Penguins have a comfortable hold on the first wild-card berth in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers (32 points) have lost three straight and sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Bruins, they failed to gain ground on the Penguins by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Matt Boldy scored what proved to be the game-winner in his NHL debut while teammate Kirill Kaprizov left the game in the second period following what Wild coach Dean Evason called a “predatory hit” by Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Minnesota (42 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but sits just five points out of first in the Conference. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 12 points in a 7-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, Landeskog tallied a hat trick and collected an assist while Rantanen has a goal and two helpers as the Avs (42 points) picked up their third straight win to move into third place in the Central Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up two assists in his first game since Oct. 16 to help his club defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning sits atop the overall standings with 51 points. The Flames (40 points) are third in the Pacific Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down the New York Rangers 5-1, spoiling the return of Rangers coach Gerard Gallant and winger Ryan Reaves to Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 46 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had two points on the night as the Predators sit one point behind the Golden Knights.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Stars’ first game in 16 days. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers while Joe Thornton played in his 1,700th NHL game. The Panthers (49 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference while the Stars (34 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes extended his career-high points streak to five games with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the win. Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th NHL game. With the win, the Devils (33 points) are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East.

The San Jose Sharks (37 points) moved within one point of a Western Conference wild-card spot by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist while goalie Adin Hill turned aside 37 shots.

A hat trick by Johan Larsson carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Boyd collected a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced forward Jay Beagle is out “long-term” with a lower-body injury and claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the latest players placed on the COVID protocol list.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have extended their break from all activities until Saturday due to COVID-19. Twenty-two of their players are currently on the COVID protocol list.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence in the latest step toward his eventual return with the club. The 34-year-old goaltender is working his way back from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be back with the Bruins by sometime next week.

TSN: Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz is out four to six weeks with a hand injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed winger Nick Ritchie on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ gamble on Ritchie failed to pay off. However, his other affordable offseason additions (Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf) are working out rather well for the Leafs.

CTV SASKATOON: The Winnipeg Jets are looking into the possibility of playing some of their home games in Saskatoon due to strict COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Manitoba.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

The Penguins get their ninth straight win after making a minor trade, the Leafs hand the slumping Oilers another loss, plus the latest COVID updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their ninth straight win by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Bryan Rust scored twice and set up another while Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist. Brayden Schenn also had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Earlier in the day, the Penguins made a minor trade by shipping Sam Lafferty to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Alex Nylander.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were apparently concerned about losing Lafferty via waivers as they attempt to make room for Evgeni Malkin’s return. By trading him to the Blackhawks they get an asset in return who is exempt from waivers this season.

Nylander, 23, is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wiliam Nylander. A former first-round pick (eighth overall) with the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, he’s struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has spent this season in the minors. He’s expected to be sent to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Ilya Mikheyev broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Alex Kerfoot put the game away with an empty-netter. The Oilers played without Connor McDavid, who entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: McDavid, teammate Tyson Barrie and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson were among the latest players to enter COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed three more home games involving Canadian clubs. Those games are the Jan. 15 contest between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens, the Jan. 17 matchup between the Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Jan. 18 games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: The NHL and 20 of its teams are suing five of their insurance providers over rejected COVID-19 claims citing losses of $1 billion. The suit was filed in California last June.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen doesn’t appreciate bearing the brunt of the criticism from head coach Dave Tippett and the media for the club’s struggles. “It’s not nice being thrown under the bus,” he told a Finnish media outlet. “I have to be better, but at the same time, we scored seven goals in my last six losses. I can’t score goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koskinen’s shaky goaltending is a factor in the Oilers’ recent swoon but he has a good point about the lack of goal production he’s received of late.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday announced the hiring of Chantal Machabee as their new vice-president of communications. She’s spent the past 32 years with the Quebec-based sports network RDS covering the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Machabee’s hiring was met with universal acclaim by her peers throughout the NHL media. She was a pioneer for women hoping to break into sports media.

TVA SPORTS: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re currently meeting with potential candidates for the role of general manager. Among them is Patrick Roy and they’re expected to meet with him at the end of this week.

SPORTSNET: Eric Staal’s agent said his client is interested in playing for Team Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes announced a sports betting partnership with SaharaBets.