NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2022

The Canadiens rally to beat the Blues, the Oilers win the latest chapter of “The Battle of Alberta”, the Stars lose Jake Oettinger to injury, and Flyers center Sean Couturier is sidelined for months by back surgery. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to upset the St. Louis Blues 7-4. Christian Dvorak had a hat trick while Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield each collected three points for the Canadiens (5-4-0). Jordan Kyrou scored twice for the Blues, whose record falls to 3-4-0. Pavel Buchnevich returned to the Blues lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury.

Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most surprising outcome of the evening. A big comeback win against the Blues for the Canadiens, who would’ve folded like a cheap lawnchair at this point last season had they fallen behind 3-1 to the Blues or any other club. Habs rookie Juraj Slafkovsky tallied his first-ever NHL power-play goal in this contest while fellow rookie Jordan Harris collected two assists.

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and Zach Hyman scored twice to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in the latest chapter of “The Battle of Alberta”. Stuart Skinner kicked out 40 shots to pick up the win for the Oilers, who improved to 6-3-0. Mikael Backlund and Brett Ritchie replied for the Flames (5-2-0).

The Florida Panthers got three-point performances from Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour as they dropped the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Verhaeghe tallied twice as the Panthers improved to 5-3-1. Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg made 53 saves as his club’s record fell to 4-4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flattered the Senators, who would’ve lost by a more lopsided margin if not for Forsberg, who deserved better from his teammates as they wasted his performance in this one. He kept them in this game despite facing 47(!) shots through the first two periods. Yes, the Sens were playing without one of their top-four defensemen in Artem Zub, but they still should’ve put forth a better defensive effort.

Four straight third-period goals (two within 17 seconds by Scott Mayfield and Anthony Beauvillier) lifted the New York Islanders from a 3-1 deficit to hold off the Colorado Avalanche 5-4. The Isles were down 3-0 at one point in the second period until Noah Dobson got them on the scoreboard. Their record now sits at 5-4-0. Evan Rodrigues scored twice for the Avalanche as the defending champions fall to 4-4-1.

Three goals in a 2:07 span in the third period lifted the New York Rangers over the Dallas Stars 6-3 to snap a four-game winless skid. Vincent Trocheck scored twice and collected an assist while Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (4-3-2). The Stars dropped to 5-3-1 but also lost starting goalie Jake Oettinger to a lower-body injury midway through the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger will be reevaluated today. The Stars will be hoping his injury isn’t serious. He’s the league leader in goals-against average (1.40) while his .952 save percentage is second overall.

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Anze Kopitar picked up two helpers as the Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. John Tavares and Pierre Engvall scored for the slumping Leafs (4-4-1), who have lost three straight games. The Kings improved their record to 5-5-0.

A late goal by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Brayden Point and Brandon Hagel each had two assists while Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (5-4-0). Erik Karlsson tallied twice for the Sharks but their record now stands at 3-8-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s been among the few bright spots in an otherwise horrible start for the Sharks. He leads all NHL defensemen with six goals and 11 points.

An overtime goal by Brent Burns gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist in his 1,100th career game as his club improves to 5-2-1. Wade Allison and Nicolas Deslauriers each had a goal and an assist for the 5-2-1 Flyers. Hurricanes center Derek Stepan left this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers also announced Sean Couturier will be sidelined for three-four months due to back surgery while winger James van Riemsdyk will miss six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a broken finger. Couturier has now undergone two procedures on his back since February, raising concerns that his condition could prematurely end his career.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 shots to shut out the Nashville Predators 3-0. Alex Ovechkin tallied the Capitals’ third goal. It was a costly win for the Capitals (5-4-0) as T.J. Oshie and John Carlson left the game with lower-body injuries in the first period. The Predators dropped to 3-5-1.

Three unanswered goals by Jordan Eberle, Morgan Geekie and Jaden Schwartz gave the Seattle Kraken a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending the latter’s losing streak to four games. Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker returned to the lineup with Guentzel tallying the only goal for the Penguins, who fall to 4-4-1 while the Kraken improve to 4-4-2.

The Buffalo Sabres got two goals each from Tage Thompson and Victor Olofsson as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Olofsson opened and closed the scoring for the Sabres, who improve to 5-3-0. Blackhawks goalie Arvid Soderblom made 41 saves for the Blackhawks as their record sits at 4-3-1.

Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond scored his first two goals of the season and Ville Husso made 30 saves in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov tallied for the Wild (3-4-1) while the Wings improve to 4-2-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Ondrej Palat on injured reserve with a lower-body injury retroactive to Oct. 24.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks are awaiting test results on Jamie Drysdale, who suffered an upper-body injury in Friday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Drysdale was hurt following a hit by Golden Knights’ forward William Carrier.

TSN: Devan Dubnyk yesterday officially announced his NHL retirement after 12 seasons and 542 games with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. He won 253 games with a career 2.61 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and 33 shutouts. In 2014-15, he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and was named to the Second All-Star Team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk spent nearly six seasons with the Wild, where he played his best hockey. He’s now working as an analyst for NHL Network. Best wishes to him in his post-playing career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2022

Brad Marchand makes a triumphant return to the Bruins lineup, the Canucks finally get their first win of the season, Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun suffers a setback in his recovery from a wrist injury, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brad Marchand scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. It was Marchand’s first game since undergoing double hip surgery in May. David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists while Jeremy Swayman made 28 saves for the Bruins (7-1-0). The Red Wings fall to 3-2-2.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand wasn’t expected to return to action until the American Thanksgiving long weekend so he was well ahead of schedule in his recovery. Meanwhile, Bruins center David Krejci left the game with an apparent arm injury. He’s considered day-to-day and won’t be traveling to Columbus with the club for tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their first win of the season by holding off the Seattle Kraken 5-4 to give head coach Bruce Boudreau his 600th career NHL victory. Ilya Mikheyev scored twice and Conor Garland tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal as the Canucks record is now 1-5-2. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist as the Kraken fall to 3-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Canucks, they acquired center Jack Studnicka in exchange for goaltender Michael DiPietro and prospect Jonathan Myrenberg. Studnicka, 23, will try to get his NHL career on track after struggling to make the cut with the Bruins. The Canucks also placed defenseman Travis Dermott (concussion) on long-term injury reserve.

An overtime breakaway goal by Erik Karlsson lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Sharks captain Logan Couture scored twice, including his 300th career NHL goal. Auston Matthews scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Maple Leafs (4-3-1)while the Sharks are 3-7-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs continue to sleepwalk through October. This is the third time this season they’ve lost to a club that, on paper, they should’ve defeated, dropping games to the Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes. The best they can say about this loss is they at least get a loser point out of it.

Leon Draisaitl scored with 38 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Edmonton Oilers a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists while Connor McDavid had a hat trick and chipped in an assist for the Oilers as they improve their record to 5-3-0. Patrick Kane and Max Domi each had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks (4-3-0).

The Minnesota Wild doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2 to snap the latter’s four-game win streak. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves while Kirill Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman and Frederic Gaudreau each had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who improve their record to 3-3-1. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who are 4-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Senators announced the signing of rookie center Mark Kastelic to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $850K.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger turned in a 27-save shutout to blank the Washington Capitals 2-0 to improve his club’s record to 5-2-1. Jason Robertson and Joel Kiviranta were the goalscorers. The Capitals are 4-4-0 in their first eight games.

The Winnipeg Jets got third-period goals by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Blake Wheeler to snap a 4-4 tie in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 40 shots as the Jets improved their record to 4-3-0. Jonathan Quick made just 13 saves for the Kings as they fall to 3-4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck was the difference in this game. The outcome could’ve been very different without him.

Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene each had three points as the Nashville Predators scored five unanswered goals to defeat the St. Louis Blues 6-2. Juuse Saros made 32 stops for the win as the Predators improve to 3-4-1 while the Blues are 3-3-1. Brayden Schenn and Robert Thomas tallied for the Blues.

The Philadelphia Flyers got a 48-save effort from netminder Carter Hart to hold off the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-3. Joel Farabee had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who move to 5-2-0 on the season. Eric Staal was held scoreless in his debut with the Panthers, who drop to 4-3-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced Sean Couturier had suffered a setback in his recovery from an injured back and was no longer skating. Winger Cam Atkinson remains sidelined by an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Kieffer Bellows off waivers from the New York Islanders.

The Montreal Canadiens nipped the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on a late goal by Josh Anderson. Samuel Montembeault stopped 43 shots while Kaiden Guhle netted his first career NHL goal as the Canadiens improved to 4-4-0. Jeff Skinner and Dylan Cozens replied for the Sabres, who fall to 4-3-0.

IN OTHER NEWS…

DAILY FACEOFF: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is still listed as week-to-week in his recovery from off-season wrist surgery. He’s yet to play this season but has been the topic of trade speculation for weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that speculation will drag on despite this setback in Chychrun’s recovery. However, he’s not going anywhere until he finally returns to action and interested teams can see how well he performs before they make any firm trade offers.

CBS SPORTS: New Jersey Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood has been sidelined by an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov has been sidelined for the second time this season with another upper-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

NHL.COM: The Rangers also signed defenseman Ben Harpur to a one-year contract.










Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Five days after being sidelined by Hurricane Fiona, Spector’s Hockey is back with the latest notable NHL headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Did you miss me? Because I sure missed all of you!

It’s been difficult for everyone here on Prince Edward Island and for others in Atlantic Canada affected by Hurricane Fiona. My family and I emerged unscathed with no damage to our home or property but many of my neighbors and fellow Islanders weren’t so lucky.

Repairs and cleanup are ongoing but in some cases, it could take weeks. Please spare a thought or prayers for those who still have a lot of work ahead of them to get back to normal. If you wish to make donations to aid those affected by Hurricane Fiona you can follow this link.

I’m grateful to two of my friends for providing me with a place to work until my electricity and internet are restored in the (hopefully) new future. A big thank you to the crews at Maritime Electric and everyone else working hard to get everyone back online.

The following is a brief summary of noteworthy NHL news of the last couple of days. I hope to be back with the daily morning coffee headlines starting Thursday, September 29.

THE SCORE: The NHL salary cap could rise by as much as $10 million by 2025-26. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Rory Boylen, the cap is projected to increase to $83.5 million for 2023-24, to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25, and to approximately $92 million by 2025-26.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And I’m sure we’ll see NHL teams (especially the general managers) being far more prudent spenders and show restraint when signing new contracts over that period…Nahhhhh!

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares recently suffered an oblique strain and will be out for three weeks.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers center Sean Couturier will not require surgery for an ongoing back injury. However, he remains sidelined week-to-week.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry was fined $5,000.00 for roughing Detroit Red Wings forward Jonatan Berggren during preseason play on Tuesday. The Wings won that game 6-2.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks winger Brock Boeser is out three-to-four weeks following surgery to repair a hand injury. TSN reports teammate Ilya Mikheyev suffered a lower-body injury during Monday’s preseason game against the Calgary Flames. He’s listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to dog Boeser, who inked a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $6.65 million with the Canucks this summer.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini denies allegations of child abuse by his own children. The NHL is monitoring the situation. The allegations arose during an open hearing earlier this week over whether Aquilini is still responsible for paying for his three youngest children’s education. He and his wife divorced in 2013.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed Spencer Knight to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.5 million beginning in 2023-24. Along with Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million AAV through 2025-26), the Panthers have the highest-paid goalie tandem in the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those two will become an expensive backup over that period.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Andrew Peeke to a three-year, $8.25 million contract extension.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche released Alexander Galchenyuk from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could spell the end of Galchenyuk’s NHL career. He was the third overall pick in the 2012 Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. After several seasons in Montreal, he’s bounced from the Habs to the Arizona Coyotes (twice), Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning moved their training camp to Nashville ahead of Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida. They postponed two home preseason games earlier this week.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Golden Knights remain among the hottest tickets in the secondary market. They’re fourth in demand among the 32 NHL clubs on the ticket resale marketplace StubHub.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

Sean Couturier is sidelined again, Keith Yandle announces his retirement, updates on Dylan Larkin, Claude Giroux and Mark Stone, the Rangers trade Nils Lundkvist to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: A week after declaring himself good to go following back surgery, Sean Couturier suffered what the Philadelphia Flyers call an “upper-body injury.” The 29-year-old center will be reevaluated during training camp and is considered week-to-week.

CROSSING BROAD: Anthony SanFilippo cited “multiple team sources” claiming Couturier suffered a herniated disc in his back during strength and conditioning drills last week. It’s believed he could miss at least 12 weeks but that’s considered an optimistic assessment.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Flyers and Couturier are seeking a second opinion to determine the exact nature of the injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a serious blow to the Flyers’ hopes of rebounding from an awful 2021-22 campaign. Couturier is their top center, their best two-way forward and one of their leaders. His back injury and subsequent absence from the lineup last season contributed to their poor performance.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Forwards Antoine Roussel and Artem Anisimov will be attending Flyers training camp on professional tryout offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roussel recently confirmed his PTO with the Flyers. Anisimov is a 34-year-old center with 13 NHL seasons under his belt with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators. Anisimov played in the KHL last season. He also spent four seasons playing for Flyers head coach John Tortorella during their days with the Rangers.

SPORTSNET: Keith Yandle announced his retirement on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. The 36-year-old defenseman spent 16 seasons in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, amassing 619 points in 1,109 regular-season games. Yandle also holds the league’s “Ironman” record of 989 consecutive games played.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Yandle in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Dylan Larkin recently told Elliotte Friedman on the “32 Thoughts” podcast that he’s discussing a contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his current deal with an average annual value of $6.1 million.

I don’t really see myself playing for another team,” said the Red Wings captain. “It’s moving along. I can’t really tell you when or how (the deal gets resolved), but that’s where I want to be.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuilding Wings consider Larkin a crucial member of their roster core. A Michigan native, he could seek a maximum eight-year contract with an AAV of $8 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Claude Giroux as one of their alternate captains. The 34-year-old is the former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A logical decision by the Senators. Giroux’s experience as Flyers captain ensured he’d be part of their leadership group before he even stepped on the ice with them this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said team captain Mark Stone is feeling good and is expected to be on the ice for their opening day of training camp. The medical team could put limits on his efforts but for now, he said he’s feeling great.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone, 30, underwent a successful lumbar discectomy in May and was expected to make a full recovery. The Golden Knights captain was limited to just 37 games last season.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.

If the Stars’ own first-round pick in 2023 is among the top 10, the Rangers will instead receive Dallas’ 2024 first-rounder. That pick will be unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad return for the Rangers for an unhappy blueliner chosen 28th overall in the 2018 draft with just 25 NHL games on his resume.

It’s not immediate help to the Blueshirts roster but that extra first-rounder could prove useful trade bait at the trade deadline if they pursue a quality rental player at the March trade deadline. Otherwise, it’ll provide them with an extra first-rounder next year or in 2024.

Lundkvist, 22, should provide additional right-side depth to the Stars blueline. He won’t replace the departed John Klingberg’s offense but could grow into the role of a top-four puck-moving rearguard.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Anaheim Ducks winger Sonny Milano to a professional tryout offer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed winger Jake Virtanen to a PTO.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move has drawn criticism among some pundits, bloggers and Oilers fans. There are those who raised the point of Virtanen facing a civil suit after being found not guilty of sexual assault in a B.C. Court in July. Others point to his poor on-ice performance in recent years.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting that oft-injured Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick might not play this season with some wondering about his future as a player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Flyers, Patrick has played just 25 NHL games because of nagging upper-body injuries, including migraines related to a possible concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Kurtis Gabriel has retired after nine seasons in the NHL and AHL. He saw 51 games of NHL action with the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks with five points and 153 PIMs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gabriel in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

The Canadiens name Nick Suzuki as their new captain, an update on Carey Price, the Avalanche sign Evan Rodrigues, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday announced Nick Suzuki had been named as the 31st captain in franchise history. The 23-year-old center succeeds Shea Weber, whose playing days were cut short by injuries. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson were named alternate captains.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels pointed out that this is a departure from the old way of doing things when it comes to choosing the Canadiens captain. In the past, the honor was bestowed upon a long-time veteran of the team.

Suzuki is the youngest captain in franchise history with just three seasons under his belt. The move is in line with the club’s efforts to build around promising young talent. His best seasons remain ahead of him and he would be in a better position to lead by example.

The new Canadiens captain is already facing pressure from Quebec politicians to learn French, something he’s been doing during the offseason. Suzuki also has the support of Gallagher and Edmundson, who praised his maturity and pointed out how quickly he garnered respect in the dressing room.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price isn’t expected to suit up with the Canadiens this season. However, the 35-year-old goaltender intends to spend the season in Montreal and be around the team as he continues receiving treatment for his nagging knee injury.

Price has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He’s been placed on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. The indications are he’d like to play again if he can. That could require more surgery on his knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spending time with the Canadiens could also serve as a stepping stone toward scouting, coaching or a management role for Price if he’s unable to continue his playing career.

The Canadiens will also be among seven NHL teams that will take advantage of a new league rule allowing them to carry advertising on their jerseys. They’ll sport a small RBC patch on their right chests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news generated howls of protests on social media among some Canadiens followers and other fans who are against ad patches on NHL jerseys. I don’t have a problem with it as long as they don’t end up looking like the jerseys of some European leagues where they’re covered in ad patches. The league has limited them to just two small patches per jersey.

We’ll soon see every team in the league sporting those patches because they can earn between $5 million and $10 million annually from jersey ad deals. It’s part of hockey-related revenue, which will help to increase the salary cap, making it a little easier for your favorite team to retain your favorite players.

Besides, it’s silly to get upset over a couple of small ad patches on jerseys. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out, you’ve been watching a game for years in arenas named for corporations where the boards and ice have been covered with ads.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old center was an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, enjoying a career-high 43-point performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues didn’t get much term on this contract but he does get a nice pay raise over the $1 million he received last season. He’s expected to fill the second-line center position with the Avalanche vacated by Nazem Kadri after he signed with the Calgary Flames last month.

A strong effort with the defending Stanley Cup champions should ensure Rodrigues gets a more lucrative contract next summer, either with the Avalanche or another club via free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Good news for the Flyers entering training camp as Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes both received clean bills of health. Hayes missed 34 games last season due to two abdominal injuries and an infection in his groin area. Couturier, meanwhile, was sidelined for 54 games due to persistent back problems that required season-ending surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Michael Stone has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Flames. The 32-year-old defenseman has spent the past six seasons in Calgary.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Matthew DeFranks reports former Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been hired as their player development coordinator.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes recently reported Chris Phillips has returned to the Ottawa Senators as their vice president of business operations. The former Senators defenseman had severed ties with the club last summer by announcing his departure from the Senators Community Foundation. Phillips’ return is seen as another step by the franchise to repair the relationship with the local community.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2022

Sean Couturier could have some good news today, better conditioning contributed to the Flames’ improvement last season, plus the latest on Joe Thornton, Matt Dumba and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers center Sean Couturier will address the media later today regarding his rehab from back surgery. It could be an indication that his rehab went well and he’ll be ready for training camp next week. The Flyers will have their physicals on Sept. 21 and will take to the ice the following day.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy Couturier will be vital to the Flyers’ hopes for improvement. His injury and absence contributed to their poor performance last season.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Improved player conditioning last summer played a key role in the Flames bouncing back from missing the playoffs in 2021 to finishing atop the Pacific Division last season.

Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said the club was among the poorest-trained he’d ever seen after taking over behind the bench midway through the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. He demanded that his players train harder last summer to become faster players. As a result, half a dozen of them went on to career-best performances in 2021-22.

Sutter’s message to the players heading into this summer wasn’t much different. “Train 10 percent harder”, he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pandemic likely had something to do with the Flames’ poor team conditioning in 2020-21. There was considerable uncertainty throughout the autumn of 2020 over when the season would take place, how many games would be played and what the scheduling would look like.

That would’ve created havoc for the players’ offseason training. Creatures of habit, their workout programs were thrown off-kilter by the pandemic, sometimes forcing them to train on their own or in groups smaller than they were used to.

Some teams probably had more difficulty adjusting than others. Last summer brought more of a semblance of normalcy toward their offseason plans and probably made it easier for them to improve their conditioning.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Flames, they’ve signed forward Cody Eakin to a professional tryout offer.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks center Joe Thornton has returned to San Jose with his family while he figures out his future. He’s been recently seen skating a few times with some of the Sharks players at the club’s practice facility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton’s playing career could come to an end if he doesn’t get a contract with an NHL club for 2022-23. The 43-year-old saw action in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest with the Florida Panthers last season.

TSN: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba was among several black NHL players who took part in the documentary “Black Ice” examining the role of players of color in Canadian hockey. Dumba, 28, is a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

TVA SPORTS: Former NHL coach Craig Ramsay believes Juraj Slafkovsky will make his debut with the Montreal Canadiens this season. Ramsay, 71, saw the first-overall draft pick’s potential as part of Slovakia’s coaching staff in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where the 18-year-old winger was the tournament’s leading scorer.

Ramsay, 71, explained why Slafkovsky shone in international play while his stats were unimpressive playing in Finland. The Slovakian team let the young winger play to his strengths as an offensive player whereas he was forced to play a more defensive trapping style in Finland.

Slafkovsky could thrive playing for Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. Ramsay believes St. Louis will help the young Slovakian winger correct his mistakes while allowing him the freedom to let him bloom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ramsay said he never yelled at Slafkovksy behind the bench for making mistakes but instead spoke quietly to him about them in a positive way following the game. That’s the same approach St. Louis took with his players last season and they responded well.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin continues to work his way back from a career-threatening eye injury suffered in practice last March. He took part in scrimmages with teammates last week wearing a regular practice jersey.

GOPHNX.COM: Conor Timmins has fully recovered from a season-ending knee injury and is ready to start his first full season with the Arizona Coyotes. The 23-year-old defenseman played in just six games for the Coyotes last season.

THE ATHLETIC: Andrew Lustgarten will step down as president and CEO of MSG Sports at the end of 2022. MSG Sports is the parent company of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. James Dolan, owner of both clubs, will continue to oversee operations for the Rangers and Knicks.