NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2020

Players mull over the idea of performing in arenas without fans, Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane put aside their differences to help form Hockey Diversity Alliance, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE CANADIAN PRESS (via CTV News): Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and teammate Darnell Nurse, Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, and Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler are among several NHL players pondering playing in arenas without fans under the league’s return-to-play plan later this summer.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL players are accustomed to playing in front of thousands of noisy fans, drawing energy and intensity from the crowds. That won’t be the case during the 24-team playoff tournament, as fans won’t be allowed into the two hub arenas due to COVID-19 concerns.

Nurse believes it will be a test for the players to create their own intensity. Tavares acknowledged it’ll be unlike what the players are used to, but pointed out the game between the boards remains the same.

Wheeler suggests players will have to push aside the distraction of silence and remember millions of fans will be watching them on television. McDavid, meanwhile, acknowledged it won’t be the same. “It’ll suck, but we gotta do what we gotta do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lack of fan noise will be a little disconcerting at first, but I expect the players will quickly adjust. As Nurse pointed out, the players will have to find other ways to create their own environment and draw sufficient motivation.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane have a well-documented rivalry. However, the two put their differences aside to become part of the newly-formed Hockey Diversity Alliance, which seeks to eradicate racism from hockey.

I spoke to Evander and told him I want to jump in on this powerful message,” Reaves told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Ed Graney. “We have to put aside our differences on the ice and come together for a much bigger cause.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said he and his staff intend to use their time leading up to the tournament in preparation to face the Edmonton Oilers, their qualifying-round opponent. They intend to work on improving their systems while ramping up their focus on the Oilers as the tournament draws near.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL coaches will have plenty of time to prepare. Late July is the earliest the tournament could begin, though early August seems the more likely time.

NJ.COM: Executives from the seven non-playoff clubs are hoping the NHL will allow them to spend some on-ice time evaluating their players during their long off-season. The New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks failed to qualify for the post-season tournament.

Devils interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald said those teams are hoping to get in some form of game action for their players.

Bring them in in any shape or form. It could be a mini-camp. It could be rookie camp. It could be a rookie tournament. Maybe the Eastern teams get together. Maybe there’s an appetite for all of us to somehow have some sort of mini-tournament. But there’s definitely going to be some push from us at least to be able to have the ability to work with our players in a smaller window, whatever that may look like. We all believe it’s not fair that we go nine months without being able to have contact with our players.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getting those teams together could be difficult as they’d all have to follow the same protocols as those participating in the playoff tournament. Perhaps mini-camps or rookie camps would be acceptable, though those clubs might have to pick up the costs of travel, accommodation, and COVID-19 testing.

HOKEJ.CZ: reports Dallas Stars forward Martin Hanzal is considering retirement after spending the past several seasons plagued by back injuries. He’s in the final year of his contract and spent the entire 2019-20 season on long-term injury reserve. With his contract still technically on the Stars’ books, he’ll likely wait until this season is over before making it official.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Craig Morgan reports Hanzal told him two months ago retirement was likely, but he’d wait until his contract expired to make an official decision. Morgan writes Hanzal’s back problems flare up whenever he plays hockey.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oiler Nail Yakupov, the first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, is bouncing around the KHL with the same frequency as he did during his final NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I attributed Yakupov’s NHL woes to the revolving door of coaches during his four seasons with the Oilers. However, it appears his problems are much deeper than that. He has the dubious honor of being among the biggest draft busts in NHL history.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens mascot Youppi! is the first character from a Canadian-based sports team to be inducted into The Mascot Hall of Fame. He’s also the first two-sport mascot to be inducted, having joined the Canadiens in 2005 after serving with the Montreal Expos from 1979 until the MLB club was relocated in 2004. Youppi! is also the only mascot to be ejected from an MLB game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Youppi! One of my favorite mascots of all time.

With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?

With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?


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Struggling Blackhawks Have Fascinating Future


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NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2018

Game recaps, Joe Thornton and Zach Parise reach career milestones, injury updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Bo Horvat scored two goals and set up two others and Loui Eriksson also scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks to an 8-5 victory over the Boston Bruins. Jake DeBrusk had a three-point night in a losing cause for the Bruins. The Canucks played without winger Brock Boeser, who returned to Vancouver to see a specialist regarding a nagging groin injury.

Bo Horvat’s four-point performance carried the Vancouver Canucks to an 8-5 win over the Boston Bruins. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Florida Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1, picking up their first home win over the Oilers since 2002. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for the victory.

Shayne Gostisbehere scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers squeezed past the Arizona Coyotes 5-4, overcoming two shorthanded goals by the Coyotes. Scott Laughton tallied twice for the Flyers.

Jeff Skinner scored twice and Rasmus Ristolainen potted the winner as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 in overtime. Max Domi collected three assists for the Canadiens, who were playing without forwards Paul Byron and Joel Armia. Byron is week-to-week with a lower-body injury while Armia is sidelined six-to-eight weeks with an injured knee.

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a three-goal lead but two third-period tallies gave them a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa rookie Brady Tkachuk was held scoreless in his first game back from a leg injury.

Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos scored late third-period goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. Josh Bailey scored twice for the Islanders.

Jeremy Colliton lost his first game behind the Chicago Blackhawks’ bench as his club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes, who jumped to a 4-0 lead and managed to hang on for the win.

Devin Shore scored two goals to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg could be sidelined for three weeks after suffering an injury blocking a shot in the third period. Sharks center Joe Thornton reached another notable milestone, playing in his 1,500th career NHL game.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise’s 700th career point came in the form of the game-winning goal as his club beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1.

NEWSDAY: New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello will miss the club’s next two games with a groin strain.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Patrick Maroon will be a healthy scratch in tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Eddie Lack on waivers.

THE SCORE: Former NHL coach Dave Tippett said he won’t be returning to the coaching ranks as he intends to remain in his role as an advisor to the ownership group that is trying to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle.

TWINCITIES.COM: Bob Naegele Jr., the original owner of the Minnesota Wild, passed away on Wednesday at age 78 of complications from cancer. He was majority owners of the Wild from 2000 to 2008.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Naegele’s family, friends, and the Wild organization.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2018

Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville, plus game recaps players of the week, Brendan Lemieux suspended, and more trouble for the Senators in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

The Chicago Blackhawks have fired head coach Joel Quenneville and replaced him with Jeremy Colliton. They also fired assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson “and named Barry Smith to the coaching staff as an assistant.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a major move by the Blackhawks, who are struggling to regain their once-dominant form. Under Quenneville, the Hawks won three Stanley Cup during his 11-year tenure. Since their last championship in 2015, however, their fortunes have steadily declined, missing the playoff last season for the first time in a decade.

In my opinion, Quenneville is paying for management’s sins. Limited salary-cap space in recent years depleted the Blackhawks’ depth, giving him less talent to work with compared to previous years. Given his experience, he probably won’t be unemployed for long.

Colliton is earning a quick promotion from the head coach of the Blackhawks AHL affiliate in Rockford, where in his first season (2017-18) he guided the IceHogs to the third round of the 2018 AHL playoffs. 

NHL.COM: On Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night in Pittsburgh, New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle netted a natural hat trick to lead his club to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins. Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on Sept. 19, 2017, but his condition is now in remission.

New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle’s hat trick carried his club to a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo via NHL Images)

Alex Ovechkin scored his 234th career power-play goal as the Washington Capitals doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Ovechkin tied Marcel Dionne for eighth on the all-time list. Oilers center Connor McDavid scored to keep his points streak alive at eight games.

Claude Giroux scored twice and set up another to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, snapping the latter’s five-game winning streak.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to down the New York Islanders 4-3 in the shootout. Joel Armia tallied the game-winner while Max Domi rallied the Habs with a goal and an assist.

Brad Marchand scored in overtime as the Boston Bruins edged the Dallas Stars 2-1, snapping the latter’s three-game winning streak.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 4, 2018.

Winnipeg Jets forward Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck.

TSN: A group of Ottawa Senators players issued a statement last night apologizing for critical remarks about assistant coach Marty Raymond that were caught on camera in an Uber vehicle and posted online. Matt Duchene, Chris Wideman, Chris Tierney, Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Alex Formenton, and Colin White made the remarks in Phoenix on Oct. 29. Head coach Guy Boucher defended the players, offering support for Raymond, and calling the incident a privacy breach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some are pointing to this incident as yet another example of dysfunction in the Senators’ dressing room. This could also be simply a case of a few players blowing off a bit of steam. It was a private conversation recorded without their knowledge that shouldn’t have been publicly shared. It’s a reminder for players to mind what they say in public.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson (lower body, day-to-day) was placed on injured reserve.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl is listed as day-to-day “after taking a shoulder to the head in Saturday night’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.”