NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2021

The Jets avoid arbitration with Andrew Copp, the NHL won’t pay for players’ COVID insurance at 2022 Beijing Olympics, several Canadian teams prepare for full capacity this season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Copp, reaching an agreement on a one-year, $3.64 million contract.

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Jets sitting $5.797 million over the $81.5 million salary cap. Teams are allowed to sit above the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be compliant when the season opens in October.

One way could be putting sidelined center Bryan Little ($5.291 million) on long-term injury reserve but that still leaves him over the cap. They could also attempt to trade someone like Nathan Beaulieu, trade or demote Sami Niku and demote Ville Heinola and/or Dylan Samberg.

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks tweeted the NHL Players Association has alerted its members the NHL won’t pay for COVID insurance at the 2022 Winter Olympics or Olympic qualifiers. “League position is that players will not be paid for games they miss because of COVID if contracted at Olympic events.”

Brooks also indicated the PA has presented the International Ice Hockey Federation the cost of insurance but was told international federations wouldn’t pay. He said the PA “strongly advises players not to participate in Olympic qualifying events.” He said talks are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect this to drag on for long. A decision on NHL participation in the 2022 Games is supposedly expected by the end of August.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets will require all fans to be fully vaccinated to attend games at Canada Life Centre this season. The club’s parent company said season ticket holders made it clear that this was their preference. They intend to fill the arena for the Jets’ home games. Fans will also be required to wear masks in the arena.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks are considering measures similar to those of the Jets for access to their home games at Rogers Arena this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs expect to have full capacity for this season. They’re awaiting the green light from Ontario’s health minister.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Access to arenas of Canadian NHL clubs will depend upon provincial health guidelines. The piece indicates the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have no restrictions on attendance in their arenas. The Montreal Canadiens are expected to be close to capacity to start the season. Their plans could be affected by the rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases.

TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent gave investigators his account of abuse allegations leveled by two players against former video coach Bradley Aldrich. Vincent said he first heard of the allegations from Blackhawks defenseman Nick Boynton when the club was in San Jose for the 2010 Western Conference Final.

After speaking with Boynton, Vincent said he spoke with the two alleged victims for 10 minutes and shared the allegations with the club’s sports psychologist, James Gary, and security officer Brian Higgins. Higgins’ lawyer told TSN his client did work at the United Center during the 2009-10 season but didn’t officially start working for the Blackhawks until October 2010. The lawyer said Vincent’s statement that he informed his client of the allegations was false but Vincent is sticking to his story.

Vincent also said he was subsequently called into a meeting with team officials including Gary, team president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, and vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac. He said he was informed by MacIsaac the team was looking into the matter and he didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read the full story at the link above. It comes with a caution that it contains references to sexual assault. The internal investigation by the Blackhawks is ongoing and details will be publicly shared upon its completion.

THE ATHLETIC: The lawsuits and the investigation into the Blackhawks’ handling of the sexual assault allegations have some of their fans evaluating their loyalty to the club.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $925K.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: The Walt Disney Company will pay the NHL $350 million to buy its 10 percent stake in Disney Streaming Services.

OTTAWA SUN: Charges have been withdrawn against an Ontario Provincial Police officer accused of fraud in the sale of a hockey stick once used by Wayne Gretzky.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, referee Tim Peel will no longer work NHL games, the Lightning and Ducks makes a trade, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. A further evaluation of his condition is expected today. With 42 points, the Penguins sit two points behind the second-place Washington Capitals in the MassMutual East Division. The Sabres have dropped a league-record 15 straight games in the shootout era. It’s also a franchise record for the beleaguered club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point, I almost wish there was a mercy rule so the Sabres could just end their schedule today and start the rebuild process. It’s just so painful watching this club flounder through the remainder of a lost season.

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (NHL Images).

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp scored a career-high four goals to lead his club to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Bo Horvat returned to the Canucks lineup after leaving the previous game between the two clubs with a lower-body injury. The Jets (42 points) move into a three-way tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers with the Leafs holding first place in the Scotia North Division with a game in hand over the Jets and two on the Oilers. Meanwhile, the Canucks (35 points) remain two points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens, who hold six games in hand.

The Ottawa Senators staged their second straight upset of the Calgary Flames with a 3-1 victory on second-period goals by Josh Norris, Chris Tierney and Nikita Zaitsev. Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves for his second straight win. The Flames have dropped three straight and remain two points behind the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced winger Austin Watson (hand injury) will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the sidelined Canadiens hold games in hand, victories aren’t assured for them in what becomes a more compact, difficult schedule. The Canucks and Flames had golden opportunities to overtake the Habs in the standings. These recent losses could prove costly to their playoff hopes.

Jared Spurgeon scored twice and Ryan Suter collected his 600th career point as the Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2, handing the latter their 10th straight loss on home ice. With 41 points, the Wild sit two back of the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols. 

The San Jose Sharks got two goals from Evander Kane and a 42-save performance by Martin Jones to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game in the final minutes of the third period following a late hit by Kings forward Jeff Carter.

HEADLINES

The NHL yesterday announced referee Tim Peel will no longer be working games after he was got on a hot mic stating his desire to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators during Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peel wasn’t fired but simply relieved of his duties until his intended retirement following what was slated to be his final game on April 24. The incident has raised concerns from Predators players and from pundits over how games are managed by on-ice officials. Some observers believe this could be an opportunity for the league to address this issue but there’s no guarantee we’ll see significant change. The league could simply dismiss this incident as a one-off and move on.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Tampa Bay Lightning traded forward Alexander Volkov to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward prospect Antoine Morand and a seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois explained this move as a way of providing some short-term salary-cap flexibility and insurance against dressing only five defensemen in the event some of their blueliners suffer multiple short-term injuries. Volkov saw his ice time decline over the course of this season. Ducks GM Bob Murray believes he’ll benefit from a fresh start in Anaheim as the Ducks add more youthful talent.

NBC SPORTS: Bob McKenzie reports contract talks have started between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov’s representatives. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer. McKenzie suggests they could be working toward a mid-range deal of five or six years or possibly longer. A bridge contract might not work here because it’ll take Kaprizov up to his UFA eligibility age.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. There is no definitive timeline for his return.

STLTODAY.COM: Former Blues defenseman Bob Plager was killed yesterday in a traffic accident in St. Louis. He was 78. An original member of the Blues renowned for his hip checks, Plager spent 11 of his 14 seasons in St. Louis and three seasons before that with the New York Rangers, finishing his career with 146 points in 644 NHL games. He and his brothers Barclay and Bill skated for the Blues from 1967 to 1972. Plager was one of the most popular players in franchise history and among the most popular of their alumni.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former NHL linesman Swede Knox passed away on Monday from lung cancer at the age of 73. Knox worked 2,248 NHL games from 1972 to 2000, including five Stanley Cup Finals and one NHL All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Plager and Knox families, as well as their friends and former teammates and colleagues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, waiver news, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen turned aside 35 shots backstopping his club to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Brayden Schenn and Mackenzie MacEachern tallied for the Blues, who’ve won eight of the last 11 contests. Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen made 42 stops as his teammates went 0-for-4 on the power play.

Jake Allen made 35 saves as the St. Louis Blues held off the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 (Photo via NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils picked up their first win since trading Taylor Hall on Monday, downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri, and Sami Vatanen were the goal scorers. The Ducks were playing without forwards Troy Terry and Derek Grant. Terry is out 10 weeks with a broken leg while Grant is sidelined four-to-six weeks with a sprained AC joint.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz made 31 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Ian Cole each collected two points. The Avs have won nine of their last 11 games. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith returned to the lineup following a nine-game absence with a sprained groin while Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch.

HEADLINES

THE NHL HOLIDAY ROSTER FREEZE PERIOD BEGINS AT MIDNIGHT ON DEC. 19 AND RUNS THROUGH DEC. 27.

THE SCORE: In his first press conference since being traded to Arizona, Taylor Hall said he was excited to join the ascendant Coyotes. “That’s one of the great things about what’s going on here is that there seems to be a buzz building,” he said. Hall assisted on the game-winning goal in his first game with the club on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: After a month-long absence, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk could return to action tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. He’s been on a leave of absence tending to his ailing wife.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Mathieu Perreault is out indefinitely with a concussion while forward Andrew Copp is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

THE DETROIT NEWS: With Jimmy Howard set to return from injury, the Red Wings placed goaltender Eric Comrie on waivers.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Stefan Noesen on waivers.

CALGARY SUN: Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The 38-year-old father of two is enrolled in a clinical trial to treat the disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping the treatment works for Snow. Best of luck to him in this fight against this deadly disease.

The Flames placed winger Austin Czarnik on waivers.

TORONTO SUN: Former NHL forward George Ferguson passed away Sunday at age 67. He spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota North Stars, tallying 160 goals and 298 points in 797 career games, including four straight 20-plus goal seasons with the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ferguson’s family, friends, former teammates, and associates.










2019 Summer NHL Arbitration Update

2019 Summer NHL Arbitration Update

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

The Leafs reacquire David Clarkson’s contract, the Predators re-sign Colton Sissons to a seven-year deal, and an arbiter awards Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year contract. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of David Clarkson from the Vegas Golden Knights last night in exchange for goaltender Garret Sparks. The Leafs also received a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues to juggle his limited salary cap space. By taking back Clarkson’s dormant contract, Dubas can allocate his $5.25-million cap hit, and that of permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million), toward re-signing restricted free agent Mitch Marner by placing both on long-term injury reserve.

Some suggest the cap-strapped Leafs could start the season without Marner, place Clarkson and Horton on LTIR on the opening day of the regular season, and then re-sign the winger. It’ll be interesting to see how Dubas plays this. 

As for Sparks, he’ll likely start this season with the Golden Knights’ farm club. Having lost the confidence of the Leafs coaching staff, this move gives the goaltender a chance to get his career back on track with Vegas.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Soon after trading Clarkson’s contract to Toronto, the Golden Knights signed defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $700K with performance bonuses that could take him up to $1.5 million. The move gives the Golden Knights a projected $1.025-million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have restricted free agent Nikita Gusev to re-sign, but it sounds like they’ll instead try to trade his rights. Shedding Clarkson’s cap hit makes it easier for them to make other minor salary moves if necessary without the LTIR hassle.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday avoided salary arbitration with Colton Sissons, re-signing the winger to a seven-year, $20-million contract. The annual average value is $2.857 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile praised Sissons work ethic, versatility, and leadership when announcing this deal. While the cap hit is reasonable, it’s an unusually long term for a role player. Some observers wonder why Sissons would agree to such a lengthy deal with that low cap hit. Perhaps it’s because he’s playing in a city where there’s no state tax. It could just be because he loves living and playing in Nashville.

TSN: An arbiter awarded Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year, $4.56-million contract. The annual average value is $2.28 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Copp sought a one-year, $2.9-million contract while the Jets pitches a two-year deal worth $1.5 million annually. The arbiter split the difference. This will affect the Jets’ efforts to re-sign Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. I’ll have more later today in the Rumors section.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Anton Lindholm to a two-year, two-way contract.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL forward Alex Tanguay is joining the Iowa Wild as an assistant coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers added Brian Wiseman to their coaching staff. Wiseman spent several seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2019

The aftermath of the Milan Lucic-for-James Neal trade, plus the latest on Artemi Panarin, Connor McDavid, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CALGARY SUN: Milan Lucic is looking forward to a fresh start with the Flames. He was traded yesterday to Calgary for winger James Neal. The Oilers agreed to pick up 12.5 percent of his $6 million annual average value and also included a conditional 2020 third-round pick in the deal. 

Milan Lucic is looking forward to a fresh start with the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

“I just think a fresh start is exactly what I needed,” Lucic said. “I think going to a team that was first in the West last year helps, too, because I know going into the season that we’ll be playing some meaningful games throughout the whole year.”

SPORTSNET’s Mark Spector last night tweeted the two conditions that must be met for the Oilers to sent that third-rounder to the Flames. “James Neal has to record at least 21 goals and Lucic scores at least 10 fewer goals than Neal.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those conditions are met I doubt Oilers fans will complain about giving up that third-round pick. Follow this link for my take on this trade.

SPORTSNET: The Flames also reached a tentative deal yesterday with the city of Calgary for a new arena. Eric Francis reported the investment by Flames ownership would be “significantly more” than that of Daryl Katz in the Oilers’ arena in Edmonton. “Flames would run the arena, which will be owned by the city. Again, the parameters of the deal are all subject to council vote.” The cost of the new arena could reach between $550 – $600 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames’ need for a new arena and the sometimes contentious negotiations with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi sparked worries the club would relocate if an agreement couldn’t be reached between the two sides. I’ll be surprised if this tentative deal fails to receive council approval. 

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin elaborated on his recent criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He felt big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg are thriving at the expense of the small towns. Panarin pointed out that’s not the case in the United States, singling out Columbus (where he played for two seasons) as an example.

“I lived in Columbus, which isn’t even in the top 10 American cities, but look at the pictures and you will see how nice it looks. Everything is clean, safe, everyone is calm. It’s great. American cities are developing thanks to local taxes which stay in the state. But here, a lot of money goes to Moscow, so people everywhere work for Moscow’s benefit. I always thought it’s unfair.”

NBC SPORTS: An Edmonton man has been charged with forging the signature of Oilers captain Connor McDavid on team jerseys and selling them for big profits. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Copp is seeking a one-year, $2.9-million contract via arbitration. The club is countering with a two-year deal worth $1.5-million annually. His arbitration hearing is set for Sunday in Toronto. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens avoided salary arbitration with forward Charles Hudon, re-signing him to a one-year, one-way, $800K contract.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers re-signed goaltender Sam Montembeault to a one-year, two-way contract.