NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

The Stars regain the lead in the Western Conference Final, Sean Couturier wins the Selke Trophy, and updates on Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into overtime as the Dallas Stars edged the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The Stars hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist while Anton Khudobin made 38 saves for the win. Mark Stone had two points for the Golden Knights, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime. Game 4 of the series is Saturday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of the scoring came in the third period, with the Golden Knights out-shooting the Stars 18-4 thanks to three power-play opportunities. Khudobin was outstanding for Dallas while Stars coach Rick Bowness’ decision to reunite Benn, Radulov and Tyler Seguin on the top line provided a much-needed boost to their offense.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is this year’s winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Couturier for a long-overdue recognition of his place among the league’s best defensive forwards. He’s the first Flyer to win the Selke since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn for one game for boarding New York Islanders center Brock Nelson in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Lightning could also be without their leading scorer for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Center Brayden Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and might not dress for tonight’s contest with the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning coped without Killorn and Point for most of Game 2. It will be a bigger challenge offsetting their absences for the entirety of Game 3.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports 17 NHL teams have slashed expenditures and reduced payroll amid a COVID-19 crunch. That includes Original Six teams like the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of the seven Canadian teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t yet reduced the pay of staff members, including team presidents, coaches and general managers. The Ottawa Senators’ coaching staff received relief from the league after having their pay cut by 50 percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Seravalli points out, the teams are doing this because there’s been no meaningful revenue coming in since mid-March and none on the immediate horizon. He also anticipates those cuts will affect free agency and salary-cap payrolls.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki will test the free-agent market.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Jacob de la Rose to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Adam Cracknell to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed a three-year agreement with the Chicago Wolves to be their new AHL affiliate.

NHL.COM: The Charlotte Checkers (the Hurricanes’ former AHL farm club) signed a multi-year affiliation deal with the Florida Panthers.

CBS SPORTS: Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio signed a three-year contract with Lausanne HC of Switzerland’s National League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

The Lightning crush the Islanders to open the Eastern Conference Final, Bobby Ryan wins the Masterton Trophy, plus updates on Sean Couturier, Mikael Granlund and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the New York Islanders 8-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each collected five points while Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk each had three points. Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy replied for the Islanders, who pulled goalie Thomas Greiss in the first period after he gave up three goals on nine shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning dominated the Islanders from the opening faceoff to the final whistle. Whatever the reason – lack of time to prepare following their Game 7 win over the Flyers on Saturday, the travel day between games – the Isles were flat in this contest. The Bolts aren’t expecting further lopsided wins in this series as their opponent is expected to put up a better effort in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan is this year’s winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. He took an extended leave of absence in November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Ryan returned in February and tallied a hat trick in his second game back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Ryan and best wishes in his ongoing recovery.

THE SCORE: The NHL recorded its seventh consecutive week of zero positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff participating in the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league and the NHLPA deserve praise for how they’ve pulled this off. None of the doom-and-gloom forecasts from some observers came to pass.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier played through a sprained MCL during Game 7 against the Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund intends to test this year’s unrestricted free agent market.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2020

The Canucks and Flyers stave off playoff elimination, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Mathew Barzal, Zdeno Chara, Sidney Crosby, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Rookie goaltender Thatcher Demko made 42 saves as the Vancouver Canucks avoided playoff elimination by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in Game 5 of their second-round series. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson scored as the Canucks overcome a 1-0 deficit. Shea Theodore tallied for the Golden Knights, who lead the series 3-2. Game 6 goes Thursday.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Filling in for banged-up starter Jacob Markstrom, Demko was outstanding in his first game since March. Markstrom is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury and could be questionable for Game 6. Demko’s solid performance in Game 5 could ease the concerns of Canucks fans.

Scott Laughton scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers stayed alive in their series with the New York Islanders in a 4-3 win in Game 5. The Islanders overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. Flyers captain Claude Giroux and winger James van Riemsdyk each netted their first goals of the postseason.

It was a costly game for both clubs, as Flyers center Sean Couturier left the game with a possible leg injury while Isles center Mathew Barzal was accidentally clipped in the face by Giroux’s stick. An update on their conditions could be revealed today.

TSN: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hasn’t made a decision yet over whether he’ll return for a 23rd NHL season. He’s an unrestricted free agent this fall. The Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery on Monday. Recovery time is three-to-four weeks.

STLTODAY.COM: A Russian sportswriter can expect the cold shoulder from several Russian NHL players following disparaging comments he made toward Yana Tarasenko, wife of St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

Yana took to Instagram denying a claim by Alexei Shevchenko that her husband’s ongoing shoulder injury had the winger close to retirement. Shevchenko replied the only purpose of her husband and other players is to entertain the public, calling her “useless.”

Taranseko’s agent, Dan Milstein, said the remark outraged his Russian clients and their families. Milstein also represents Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tarasenko, meanwhile, issued a statement indicating he has no plans to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lashing out at a player’s wife or belittling her husband’s profession was uncalled for. “I stand by my story” would’ve sufficed. If your source was wrong, apologize and move on.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are still awaiting word when they’ll travel from Toronto to Edmonton for the Eastern Conference Final. The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals will be held in Edmonton. The Lightning eliminated the Bruins from the second round on Monday.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NEWS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Frank Seravalli reporting Bill Zito could become the new general manager of the Florida Panthers. Zito is currently the assistant GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Panthers could make an announcement as early as today.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed forwards Austin Wagner and Carl Grundstrom to contract extensions. Wagner got a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.33 million, while Grundstrom’s is for two years at $725K annually.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres named Matt Ellis their director of player development.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Speaking of the Sabres, John Vogl reports their Hall of Fame has been largely inactive since its chairman, Bob Swados, passed away in 2012. Restarting the Hall has been on the back burner for years. It was raised several times to team executives, but Vogl indicated it always failed to gain traction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the front office won’t even put in the time to honor a club’s history, that’s a pretty good indicator of a poorly-run franchise.










2020 NHL Awards: Hart, Norris, and Selke Finalists

2020 NHL Awards: Hart, Norris, and Selke Finalists

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

The Norris Trophy & Selke Trophy finalists are revealed, the latest COVID-19 testing results, plus the latest on Max Domi, Charlie McAvoy, Ilya Samsonov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hedman is a former Norris winner (2018) and was a finalist last season. This is the first time as finalists for Carlson and Josi. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring, with Josi second and Hedman third.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top defensive forward as voted by the PHWA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could win the Selke for a record-setting fifth time. O’Reilly won the award last season while Couturier was a finalist in 2017-18.

LATEST NHL COVID-19 TESTING RESULTS

The NHL yesterday released the results of their COVID-19 testing from last week, indicating two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Both players are self-isolating and following CDC and Health Canada guidelines. The league administered 2,618 tests to over 800 players from July 13-17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a notable improvement over the previous numbers released by the league. At that rate, the league’s chances of staging its playoff tournament in Edmonton and Toronto look very good.

This week, however, will be the crucial period, as the players have been around each other more since Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan began on July 13.

PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Domi rejoined his teammates yesterday after taking a week to evaluate the risks to his health associated with COVID-19. He’s a type-1 diabetic and also suffers from celiac disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi will need some time to get up to speed with his teammates. Nevertheless, his return to the lineup should provide a boost to their forward lines entering their best-of-five qualifying-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner were missing from Bruins practice yesterday, joining wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase on the sidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy couldn’t elaborate as to why McAvoy and Wagner weren’t at practice due to league protocols. However, he seemed to hint at the reason behind their absence, noting that COVID-19 tests results are sometimes delayed or inconclusive. Pastrnak is out for precautionary reasons linked to possible secondary exposure to a person with the coronavirus. As per league rules, the Bruins say Kase remains unfit to participate. 

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is the sole member of the roster not to participate in Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of league protocols, we don’t know if Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19 or is nursing an injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist was among nine players returning to the ice yesterday after being held out of practice as a precaution for potential secondary exposure to COVID-19. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed practice again yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. He will serve that suspension during the opening two games of his club’s qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: released its broadcast schedule for the qualifying round and round-robin series commencing Aug. 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon reported hearing the NHL plans to put its World feed on a five-second delay to monitor the players’ language. Expect to hear plenty of bleeps given how salty their on-ice language tends to be and how clearly it will be heard without fan noise to drown it out.

Former NHL winger Alex Kovalev was named head coach of KHL team Kunlun Red Star.

Former NHL defenseman Jack McIlhargey passed away from cancer on Sunday at age 68. McIlhargey spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Hartford Whalers from 1974-75 to 1981-82, tallying 47 points and collecting 1,102 PIMs in 393 games. Following his playing career, he served within the Canucks system from 1984 until 2007 as a minor-league head coach and as a scout.

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