NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2024

Nathan MacKinnon regains the scoring lead with a four-goal performance, five members of Canada’s 2018 WJC team face sexual assault charges, Salt Lake City expresses interest in an expansion franchise, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon regained the lead in the NHL scoring race with a four-goal performance in a 6-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. MacKinnon also collected an assist for 82 points, two ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and four assists while Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the 31-14-3 Avalanche, who sit fourth in the overall standings with 65 points. Dylan Strome scored both goals for the 22-18-6 Capitals (50 points), who sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche extended their home point streak to a franchise-record 24 games. Makar netted his 76th career goal to become the franchise’s all-time leading goalscorer among defensemen. Meanwhile, Avs blueliner Jack Johnson missed this game with an undisclosed injury.

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice took over sole possession of second place for most games by an NHL coach with 1,813 as his club beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games while Matthew Tkachuk had two goals and an assist for the Panthers (29-14-4), who sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 62 points. Dylan Guenther had a goal and an assist for the 23-20-3 Coyotes (49 points) as they sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov collected an assist as he returned to action after being sidelined for three games by a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Auston Matthews scored in overtime to collect his league-leading 39th goal of the season as his Maple Leafs (24-14-8) regained third place in the Atlantic Division with 56 points. Laurent Brossoit stopped 29 shots for the 30-11-6 Jets as they sit third in the overall standings with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big win for Samsonov, whose struggles in December saw him briefly demoted to the Leafs’ AHL affiliate. He was touched by Leafs fans chanting his name, admitting he was nearly brought to tears. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey left this game with a leg injury after blocking a shot by Leafs forward Matthew Knies.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their third straight win with a 4-3 overtime upset of the Vancouver Canucks. Brayden Schenn tallied the winning goal after his club blew a 3-1 while Jake Neighbours had a goal and an assist for the 24-20-8 Blues (50 points), who sit one point out of the final Western wild-card berth. Pius Suter had a hat trick for the Canucks (32-11-5) as they remain in first place in the overall standings with 69 points.

A late goal by Jordan Martinook lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Boston Bruins by a score of 3-2. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had two points for the Hurricanes (26-15-5), who moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points. Brad Marchand scored both goals for the 29-9-9 Bruins as they remain in second place in the overall standings with 67 points.

The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 3-1 deficit for a 5-3 upset victory over the Los Angeles Kings. JJ Peterka scored twice and collected an assist while Jack Quinn had a goal and two assists for the 21-23-4 Sabres. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist for the Kings (22-14-9) as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 53 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings have won just twice in their last 10 games. Head coach Todd McLellan blasted his players following this match. “The stupidity that went into that loss is beyond explanation,” he said. Asked about his job security, McLellan replied that it was “a very fair question.” Kings general manager Rob Blake recently gave him a vote of confidence but that could change if this club fails to snap out of its funk.

Seattle Kraken winger Tomas Tatar scored two goals as his club beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2. Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann each collected two points as the Kraken (20-18-9) sit two points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 49 points. Seth Jones had two assists for the 14-32-2 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blackhawks announced they’d reached an agreement with goaltender Petr Mrazek on a two-year contract extension. He’ll earn an average annual value of $4.25 million.


TSN: Five members of Canada’s 2018 World Juniors team have been ordered to report to London, Ontario police to face charges of sexual assault. London police announced they would hold a press conference on Feb. 5 to share further details.

The charges are related to an alleged sexual assault in June 2018 involving the players, who have a set time to report to the police.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote have taken indefinite leaves of absence from the team. The club indicated it has no further comment at this time.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators’ unsigned winger Alex Formenton has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his Swiss team where he’s played since last season. The club declined to comment on the matter.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers GM Daniel Briere made a statement yesterday regarding the indefinite leave of absence by goaltender Carter Hart. He acknowledged the reports regarding the five unnamed players of Canada’s 2018 WJC team but said neither he nor the Flyers would make any comment until the results of the investigation are released.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube is also on an indefinite leave of absence for what the club deemed mental health reasons. Nevertheless, it’s assumed by hockey fans on social media that Dube, Hart, Formenton, McLeod and Foote are the five players sought by London police. We’ll know for certain by Feb. 5.

DAILY FACEOFF: In a release shared with NHL media yesterday, the Smith Entertainment Group formally requested that the league begin the process of bringing an expansion team to Salt Lake City. The ownership group owns the NBA’s Utah Jazz and has talked with the NHL about an expansion club since 2022. The club would play in the Jazz’s current arena until a new venue is constructed at a later date.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salt Lake City has a long hockey history with minor league teams playing there over the years. They also hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

SPORTSNET: In an interview with The Athletic, NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh said the clock is ticking on the ownership of the Arizona Coyotes as they continue efforts to find a location to build a new arena. At the most recent NHL Board of Governors’ meetings, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Coyotes ownership had until the end of January to finalize a new plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walsh’s comments combined with the news of the Utah Jazz ownership’s interest in an expansion franchise looks like a warning shot to Coyotes ownership. If they don’t soon get their plans for a new arena project sorted out, the league’s patience could finally run out. If so, this franchise could end up sold and moved to Salt Lake City.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames placed center Adam Ruzicka and defenseman Nick DeSimone on waivers.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed forward Cole Smith to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $775K.

KLTV: Former NHL player Mike Ribeiro is on trial in Franklin County, Texas. He allegedly sexually assaulted two women on June 23, 2021, and attempted to assault another.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2023

All-Star Game MVP Matthew Tkachuk has a five-point performance against the Lightning, Jamie Benn reaches a career milestone, Bo Horvat debuts with the Islanders, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Fresh off his MVP performance at the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals and collected three assists as the Florida Panthers thumped the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-1. Carter Verhaeghe had four points and Sam Bennett three points as the Panthers (25-22-6) moved to within one point with the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 56 points. Nikita Kucherov tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 32-16-1 Lightning, who sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 65 points.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves as he returned to action after being sidelined since Jan. 19 with an upper-body injury. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov left the game in the second period with an apparent hand injury but could be back in the lineup on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn played in his 1,000th career NHL game as his club downed the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on a shootout goal by Tyler Seguin. Jake Oettinger made 32 saves for the 29-13-10 Stars, who hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 68 points. Netminder John Gibson kicked out 39 shots for the Ducks (16-29-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks winger Troy Terry left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury. There was no post-game update on his condition.

Bo Horvat was held scoreless in his debut with the New York Islanders in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Semyon Varlamov got the win with a 25-save performance while Kyle Palmieri and Mathew Barzal scored for the 26-22-5 Islanders, who are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern wild-card berth with 57 points. Nicolas Deslauriers tallied for the Flyers (21-22-9), who are six points behind the Islanders and Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat was acquired last Monday from the Vancouver Canucks and signed an eight-year contract extension with the Islanders on Sunday.

After blowing a 4-1 lead, the New Jersey Devils picked up their eighth overtime victory of the season by beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Jesper Bratt scored the game-winner while Jack Hughes and Ondrej Palat each tallied twice and Dougie Hamilton collected three assists for the Devils (33-13-4) as they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 70 points. Connor Garland, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Luke Schenn each had two points for the 20-26-4 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils blueline got a boost when John Marino returned to action after being sidelined for 17 games with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil each scored twice for the 28-14-8 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 64 points. Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (24-17-10) as they hold a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

The Arizona Coyotes upset the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2 as Jake McBain snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period. Jakub Chychrun scored twice and Karel Vejmelka stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes (17-28-6). Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored his 28th goal of the season as his club sits in third place in the Central Division (58 points) with a record of 27-18-4.


NHL.COM: Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 5, 2023.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers head coach John Tortorella sent a letter to the club’s season-ticket holders. He wrote that he’s “very pleased” with the club’s “effort, drive and hunger to compete”, adding that some of the Flyers’ young players “have impressed me.”

However, Tortorella acknowledged the club still has work to do to improve and regain its place among the most respected franchises in the league. He promised those ticket holders that the team will get better and will make them proud.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella’s letter comes at a time when those fans are deciding whether or not to renew their season tickets for next season. The Flyers have performed better than expected this season but appear likely to miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cole Smith to a one-year contract extension worth $775K starting in 2023-24.

DAILY FACEOFF: Winnipeg Jets prospect Chaz Lucius is done for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery on Feb. 6. Lucius was drafted 18th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft and split the season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.