NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2021

The Golden Knights tie their semifinal series with an OT win over the Canadiens plus ongoing reaction from Game 4 of the Islanders-Lightning series and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights tied their semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens at two games apiece with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 4. Nicolas Roy tallied the game-winner in the extra frame.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (NHL Images).

Montreal opened the scoring with a second-period goal by Paul Byron but Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb tied it midway through the third period. Robin Lehner was a surprise starter for the Golden Knights, kicking out 27 shots for the victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyebrows were raised when Vegas coach Peter DeBoer went with Lehner over starter Marc-Andre Fleury for this contest. Fleury’s turnover in Game 3 cost his club that game but he’s been otherwise superb in this postseason. It was a gusty move on DeBoer’s part that paid off. Lehner played very well, showing little sign of rust in just his second game of these playoffs.

After the Golden Knights dominated Game 3 and lost in overtime, it was the Canadiens turn to fall in the extra frame after outperforming their opponent. This was one of the Habs’ best games of the playoffs despite the loss. They’ve done an effective job bottling up the Golden Knights’ scoring forwards.

The poor quality of the NHL officiating has been an ongoing theme in this year’s playoffs. It reared its ugly head in this contest. One example was Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson boarding Vegas forward William Carrier from behind right in front of referee Dan O’Rourke. Another was NcNabb manhandling Canadiens center Nick Suzuki, punching him in the face in full view of referee Chris Lee. There was no call in either incident.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was placed in self-isolation yesterday after testing positive for COVID-19. The test result was revealed hours before Game 4. McCrimmon is the second person in this series to test positive. On Friday, Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme tested positive and is self-isolating for 14 days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme was fully vaccinated but a Golden Knights spokesman declined to comment when asked if McCrimmon had reached that status. The story goes on to say that 85 percent of their traveling party had reached the vaccination threshold that qualified for relaxed travel protocols. McCrimmon and team president George McPhee was seen maskless while watching Game 3 from a suite at the Bell Centre, which could be considered a protocol violation.

The games in this series are the first involving NHL teams traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States since March 2020. So far, no players have tested positive. You can bet the league will be closely monitoring this situation, reminding both clubs about the importance of maintaining its COVID-19 protocols.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: For the first time in two postseasons, the Lightning is tied 2-2 in a series heading into Game 5. They led each of their last six series three games to one heading into previous Game 5 situations.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock’s game-saving block in Game 4 is earning comparisons to other famous saves in sports history.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2020

More speculation on the resumption of the schedule, possible options for the 2020 NHL Draft, the latest on Mikko Koivu and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said his guess is the NHL could return to action this summer, but that will depend on when it will be safe to do so. “When we decide it’s time to play, we’ve got to get everybody back and be comfortable that not only are we not only infecting the population of players but that we’re not bringing the coronavirus from other places into jurisdictions where the players and other personnel are going,” said Bettman. He added health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus are the priority, as well as avoiding the risk of prematurely injuring players as they return.

THE SCORE: Bettman also said the resumption of the season must be done in a way that’s fair and flexible, especially to those teams on the playoff bubble when the schedule was paused. “That’s going to be very important no matter what it is we do and we’re considering all of the alternatives,” he said. “And nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested sports could resume this summer, provided fans are kept out of arenas and ballparks and players are screened weekly for COVID-19 to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s been catching flak from some fans and pundits over his “fantasy” of resuming play this summer. As I’ve said before, there’s no harm in the league exploring all options. However, it sounds like Bettman and the league board of governors understand that resuming play will be decided by the coronavirus. I think they’ll cancel the season if they cannot ensure the safety and health of the players and everyone involved regardless of where the games are played.

SPORTSNET: The NHL is also considering its options on how it’ll stage the 2020 NHL Draft and the lottery. It could be held virtually, or perhaps a scaled-down version like the one in 2005 following a season-killing lockout. If the league cannot complete this season or stage the Stanley Cup playoffs, perhaps a draft lottery could be held similar to the ’05 draft.

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu faces an uncertain future (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this. You can bet any significant changes to the draft lottery probably won’t sit well with the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. Given the current standings, they have the best odds of winning the lottery.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu may have played his final game for the Wild if the season cannot be resumed. The 37-year-old center is an unrestricted free agent following this season. He’s uncertain if he’ll continue his playing career or retire. “I don’t think I have a clear answer”, he said. “If (I said) I haven’t thought about all the options, I’d be lying.” Koivu didn’t rule out finishing his career in Finland or remaining in the game in some capacity.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed forward Sammy Blais to a two-year, $3-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $75.7 million invested in 18 players for 2020-21. That shrinks how much cap room they’ve got to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Alexandre Carrier to a three-year, two-way contract. He’s appeared in five games with the Predators since 2018-19.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets assistant coach Todd Woodcroft is the new head coach of the University of Vermont men’s hockey program.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks canceled its 2020 fan convention in July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames head coach Bill Peters was hired Wednesday as the head coach of KHL team Avtomobilist in Yekaterinburg, Russia.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

Bobby Ryan scores a hat trick in an emotion return with the Senators, Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik nets his first NHL hat trick and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bobby Ryan scored a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. It was Ryan’s second game since returning from the player assistance program for alcohol abuse. He was overcome with emotion as his teammates and Ottawa fans cheered after he scored his third goal. The loss left the Canucks with 74 points, four behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Bobby Ryan tallied a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well done, Bobby Ryan.

David Pastrnak scored his league-leading 46th goal as the Boston Bruins held off the Dallas Stars 4-3. The league-leading Bruins (92 points) widened their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning by seven points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his first NHL hat trick as his club netted five unanswered third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Lightning, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Kubalik leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 29 goals. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to down the Florida Panthers 5-3. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman, and Justin Holl each had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Leafs (76 points) moved four ahead of the Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Colton Parayko’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the New York Islanders 3-2. The Blues (86 points) widened their lead atop the Western Conference standings by five points over the Colorado Avalanche. With 78 points, the Islanders cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund scored the tying and winning goals in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Ryan Ellis collected three assists for the Predators (72 points), who hold the final Western wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets (72 points) got a 34-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to blank the Washington Capitals 3-0. Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. The Capitals (84 points) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Patrik Laine left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period. The Jets also played without defenseman Josh Morrissey and Sami Niku. Morrissey is expected back in the lineup on Saturday, but Niku could be sidelined for weeks.

The New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2, picking up their ninth straight road win. Ryan Strome scored two goals and Mika Zibanejad extended his goal streak to six games. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed the game with an injured ankle. The surging Rangers (74 points) have won nine of their last 10 and sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Matt Dumba scored twice as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1, handing Wings goalie Jimmy Howard his 20th straight defeat. Kevin Fiala had a three-point performance for the Wild (69 points), who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

Logan Couture scored in overtime as the San Jose Sharks edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights re-signed William Carrier to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $1.4 million.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson (shoulder injury) could be done for the season.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion hopes to make Mark Borowiecki a “Senators for life”. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers fire GM Peter Chiarelli, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings was overshadowed by the club firing general manager Peter Chiarelli following the game. Assistant GM Keith Gretzky takes over for Chiarelli on an interim basis until a full-time replacement can be found. 

The Edmonton Oilers fired general manager Peter Chiarelli (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This had an air of inevitability about it. The Oilers have foundered since their promising 103-point performance two years ago. While Chiarelli drafted superstar Connor McDavid in 2015, that was a no-brainer because the Oilers won the draft lottery and McDavid was the best player available.

A string of bad decisions – signing Milan Lucic to an expensive long-term contract, trading two draft picks (one of whom became Mathew Barzal) to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart, shipping Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils straight up for Adam Larsson, sending Jordan Eberle to the Isles for Ryan Strome, who was later dealt to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner – led to Chiarelli’s downfall.

Whoever takes over as Chiarelli’s full-time replacement must improve the defense, bring in a scoring winger for McDavid’s line and bolster their secondary scoring depth. That could mean shopping some promising youngsters (Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto) and their 2019 first-round pick. 

Speaking of the Oilers, Spooner and Ty Rattie cleared waivers yesterday but will remain on the roster. 

Alexander Ovechkin and Tomas Hertl engaged in dueling hat tricks, with the latter potting the winner in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 7-6 victory over Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had a four-point game while Capitals winger T.J. Oshie collected three points. Washington’s losing skid is now at six games.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth win in their last eight games by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice and added an assist. 

Shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Toews also scored the game-tying goal. 

Mikael Backlund’s overtime goal gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, extending the Flames’ points streak to nine games (8-0-1). 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said the club is engaged in a “healthy dialogue” on a contract extension for center Auston Matthews. The Leafs hope to get the extension completed as soon as possible to provide long-term salary-cap clarity. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the mutual decision between the Leafs and Mitch Marner to postpone contract discussions until the offseason, getting Matthews under contract before season’s end will give them a better idea of how much cap space they’ll have to re-sign Marner and their other notable free agents, as well as what’s available for other roster moves. I’m guessing Matthews could receive over $12 million per season. 

CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights confirmed winger William Carrier is sidelined by an injury and not an illness as originally reported by the club. He’s already missed the team’s last seven games and there’s no timetable for his return. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Cameron Gaunce had his 2017 Stanley Cup ring stolen from his home. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping they quickly catch the thieves and Gaunce’s property is returned. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2018

Islanders re-sign Brock Nelson, Golden Knights ink William Carrier. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders avoided salary arbitration with Brock Nelson. The two sides agreed to a one-year, $4.25-million contract. Nelson will either have an opportunity to compete for a top-six role or could be pushed to retain his third-line center role. 

New York Islanders avoid arbitration with center Brock Nelson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Nelson will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. This season could determine if he has a long-term future with the Islanders. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed forward William Carrier to a two-year deal worth $725k per season. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo and his wife Jayne are the proud parents of triplets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Pietrangelos on the safe arrival of their three children.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have named Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios as a team ambassador. Chelios is a Chicago native who spent nearly nine seasons with the Hawks during the 1990s. He recently left the Detroit Red Wings organization to be closer to his family, especially his aging mother. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils have named Rick Kowalsky and Mike Grier as assistant coaches. Kowalsky was head coach of the Devils’ AHL affiliate. Grier had a 14-year NHL playing career and was recently a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. 

TRIBLIVE.COM:  The logo has been revealed for the Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers’ Stadium Series game on Feb. 8, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2018

Updates on the Capitals and Golden Knights plus the latest on Henrik Zetterberg, Scott Hartnell and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has a chance to make history in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

 WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals are on the brink of capturing the Stanley Cup, which would make Alex Ovechkin the first Russian-born captain in league history to win hockey’s greatest prize. The Capitals currently lead the Stanley Cup Final three games to one over the Vegas Golden Knights. They can clinch tonight in Game 5 in Las Vegas.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: If the Capitals win the Cup, forward Devante Smith-Pelly indicated he’s made up his mind about a possible visit to the White House. “The things that [President Trump] spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” said Smith-Pelly. ““Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with.”

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson skipped yesterday’s optional practice but is expected to be in the lineup for Game 5 tonight. 

Forward William Carrier could return to the Golden Knights’ lineup for Game 5. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg confirms he’s preparing to play at least one more season. Zetterberg, 38, has three seasons remaining on his contract but injuries in recent years have hampered his performance. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Scott Hartnell is training for another NHL season but he acknowledged he could also be facing retirement. The 36-year-old is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and he isn’t expected to be re-signed by the Predators. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild cut ties with assistant coach John Anderson, replacing him with Dean Evason.