NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 to sweep their three-game series. Jimmy Vesey scored two goals, Jason Spezza collected three assists and Fredrik Andersen made 26 saves in his return to action after missing four games with a lower-body injury. Auston Matthews also returned after missing two games with a wrist injury but was held scoreless.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs outscored the Oilers 13-1 in their three games, including back-to-back shutouts. They held Oilers captain Connor McDavid scoreless while Leon Draisaitl managed just one assist.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their fourth straight victory by taming the Minnesota Wild 5-1. Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves while Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Colin Stephenson each had a goal and an assist. Wild winger Zach Parise was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career with the club owing to an overextended shift during Monday’s overtime loss to Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has bounced back well from last season’s inconsistent performance. He’s among the league leaders with 11 wins, a .939 save percentage, 1.71 goals-against average and three shutouts. The 36-year-old netminder could become a Vezina Trophy finalist if he can maintain that level of play.

Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each had four-point performances as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves for the shutout. It was a costly win for the Avs as center Nathan MacKinnon left the game in the third period after a hit to the head from Sharks winger Joachim Blichfield, who received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon seemed to be doing okay following the game. We should find out today or tomorrow if he avoided serious injury.

A shootout goal by Jakub Vrana lifted the Washington Capitals over the Boston Bruins 2-1. David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins while Lars Eller replied for the Capitals. The Bruins honored former captain Zdeno Chara with a video tribute as he returned to Boston for the first time since signing with the Capitals in the offseason. Before the game, the Bruins announced center Charlie Coyle was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list.

The St. Louis Blues got power-play goals from Oskar Sundqvist, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sandford to hold the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington kicked out 27 shots. The Ducks have dropped eight straight games.

Arizona Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta stopped 40 shots as his club nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Two goals 40 seconds apart in the second period by Nick Schmaltz and Johan Larsson gave the Coyotes the win. The Kings have dropped three straight.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said his decision to fire goalie coach Stephane Waite during Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Ottawa. He said he consulted interim head coach Dominique Ducharme beforehand but not with netminder Carey Price, who learned of the move following the game. The Habs hired Sean Burke as their new director of goaltending.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin said the move was made to help Price improve his performance, which has fallen off over the past four seasons. The Habs GM is not expected to make any further organizational changes this season after firing coaches Claude Julien and Kirk Muller last week. However, Bergevin could face losing his job if his moves fail to improve the Canadiens,

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter was fined $5,000.00 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros on Tuesday. Saros is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (lower body) was placed on long-term injury reserve yesterday.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said league revenue for 2021-22 could be affected by Canada’s slow vaccine rollout. While admitting it is premature to make predictions, Daly hinted it could affect everything from revenue to competition, including division alignment, travel and trades. He also said the league remains optimistic that its trajectory remains on pace toward a normal work environment for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadian government maintains the COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all its citizens who want one by September. Recent reports suggest the distribution of those vaccines could speed up in the coming months. Nevertheless, we won’t know for certain until the start of next season what the effect will be on Canadian teams and league revenue.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 4, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 4, 2020

Some recent speculation on the Bruins, Wild and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently pondered moves by the Boston Bruins if they should struggle during the 2020-21 season. He points to their weakness on the left side of their blueline as well as the possibility of star forwards Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak missing the start of the schedule recovering from offseason surgeries.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images)

O’Brien feels management won’t need to blow things up but they could consider moving a handful of veterans at the trade deadline. Goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak and center David Krejci are unrestricted free agents next summer. Perhaps the Bruins could get something of value for one of them. He also wondered if they might try to move a supporting cast member like Charlie Coyle or Jake DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins perform in a shortened season without Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara on the blueline and their two leading scorers possibly sidelined for the opening weeks. General manager Don Sweeney could consider selling a couple of veterans at the trade deadline if his club is struggling to stay in playoff contention by then. For now, of course, it’s all hypothetical.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty was asked if defenseman Zdeno Chara would return for another season. He predicted Chara wouldn’t return, speculating the big blueliner would reject relegation to a third-pairing role. Haggerty has the feeling the Bruins are ready to move on to a younger, more mobile defense corps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL.com’s Amelie Benjamin, who covered her fair share of Bruins games with the Boston Globe, believes Chara will return for another season, though she acknowledged it’s not a certainty. Chara’s agent said his client was waiting to see what the format for the 2020-21 season would look like before deciding where he’ll play.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti wondered if the Minnesota Wild would trade defenseman Matt Dumba before the season is over. He notes the club intends to start the season with Dumba as part of their top-four blueliners.

Gulitti suggested the Wild might not be able to protect the 26-year-old Dumba in next summer’s expansion draft with Jonas Brodin recently signing a seven-year contract extension while Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon each have five years remaining on their deals. The Wild could try to move him before the trade deadline or wait until the offseason and do so before the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba, who has three years left on his contract, is the only one of those four lacking no-movement protection in the 2021 expansion draft. The Wild could protect all four but they’d have to expose an extra forward. General manager Bill Guerin could swing a deal with Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis to ensure Dumba isn’t selected in that draft.

Guerin could see Dumba as a trade chip to bring in a first-line center. He could try to move the blueliner for the right offer before the expansion draft.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins recently reported hearing something needs to give on the Oilers’ roster before the club returns to play. However, he doesn’t expect it to happen until the middle of January when training camp might be underway.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rather cryptic take by Leavins. Is he referring to their goaltending? Perhaps a short-term replacement for Oscar Klefbom if (when) he’s placed on long-term injury reserve as he recovers from treatment for his injured shoulder? An additional scoring winger? What say you, Oilers fans?










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

Check out the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, Johnny Gaudreau, Jakub Voracek, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby was absent from Pittsburgh Penguins practice yesterday after leaving the ice during Saturday’s scrimmage. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment, citing the NHL’s new rules withholding player medical information during the coronavirus pandemic. However, a team source said Crosby’s departure was a precautionary measure for an undisclosed ailment.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL.COM’s Rick Sadowski reports Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar skipped practice yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday. Coach Jared Bednar couldn’t comment on Makar’s status citing the league’s new injury protocols.

NEW YORK POST: Pavel Buchnevich’s absence from Rangers practice since Saturday is not expected to be long-term. The winger is suffering from an undisclosed ailment not related to COVID-19. Coach David Quinn doesn’t expect Buchnevich to miss the start of the Rangers’ upcoming qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the league’s cone of silence on a player’s health during the pandemic, we’ll have to get used to deciphering clues over whether they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus or dealing with something else. It’ll get easier when the games begin. A good indicator a player absence isn’t COVID-related is if he leaves the ice limping or clutching an arm or a shoulder.

CALGARY SUN: Johnny Gaudreau was reunited with linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm yesterday. It’s the first time the winger has skated at his usual spot on the Flames’ top line since training camp opened last week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames tried to downplay Gaudreau’s situation, but it sparked whispers among fans and pundits over everything from contracting the coronavirus to concerns about his conditioning to questions about his future in Calgary.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Jakub Voracek returned to practice yesterday after being “unable to participate” on Saturday.

“I feel good,” said Voracek. “Why are you asking? You guys panic so much it’s not even funny, holy f—. You guys are making it sound like I’m dying or something. Everything’s fine.”

Voracek’s absence was due to a delay in the results of his COVID-19 test on Friday, which subsequently came back negative.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was held out of practice on Saturday for precautionary reasons following an inconclusive COVID test. A follow-up test came back negative.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland revealed he’s dealing with an issue related to his vestibular system, which is an inner-ear sensory system tied to the brain dealing with balance, eye movement, and spatial transmission. It was originally suspected Ferland’s lengthy absence was related to a concussion suffered earlier this season. He’s attempting to play his way back into the Canucks lineup during Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report noted Ferland’s play still needs improvement, but he managed to play a full scrimmage on Sunday.

TORONTO SUN: Zach Hyman was back on the ice Sunday taking shots on a couple of Maple Leafs’ reserve goaltenders. He missed practice Saturday after blocking a shot on Friday.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is feeling better following the NHL’s four-month pause. He’d been struggling to regain his form following hamstring surgery in April 2019.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes posed for their annual team photo with everyone wearing masks.

 










The NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part II)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part II)

 










Would The Real Boston Bruins Please Step Forward?

Would The Real Boston Bruins Please Step Forward?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2019

Bill Peters releases a statement regarding his alleged use of racial slurs, the Boston Bruins re-sign Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Elias Lindholm. Flames defenseman TJ Brodie collected his first points since returning to the lineup after collapsing during practice on Nov. 14. The Sabres have just one win in their last six games. They also announced Vladimir Sobotka is sidelined indefinitely following surgery on his right knee while Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Flames coach Bill Peters released a statement yesterday apologizing for racial slurs aimed at former NHL player Akim Aliu a decade ago (Photo via NHL.com).

The Flames’ victory was overshadowed by the ongoing controversy surrounding head coach Bill Peters. He was accused of uttering racial slurs toward former NHL player Akim Aliu when both were with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs a decade ago. Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan also accused Peters of kicking him during a game in 2015-16.

Peters was not behind the bench against the Sabres, having returned to Calgary as the club investigates his previous conduct. Read below for further details.

Brad Marchand scored his fifth goal in four games as the Boston Bruins nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The Bruins have won five straight games. The club also announced the re-signings of Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner (details below).

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their third straight win under new coach Sheldon Keefe by crushing the Detroit Red Wings 6-0. Andreas Johnsson scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves as the Leafs peppered the Wings with 54 shots. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard left the game in the first period after suffering a mid-body injury. An ailing Jonathan Bernier took over, giving up three goals on 40 shots.

St. Louis Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist scored twice as his club held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. He subsequently left the game with a lower-body injury. Ivan Barbashev also collected three assists. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored and picked up two assists.

The New York Rangers picked up their third straight win by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves for the win as his teammates tallied three first-period goals.

Evgeni Malkin had five points while teammates Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each had four as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 6-3 deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-6. J.T. Miller and Adam Gaudette each tallied twice for the Canucks.

The Washington Capitals picked up their first win in three games by defeating the Florida Panthers 4-3. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby kicked out 37 shots. The Panthers are winless in their last three contests.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 15 saves in the third period to preserve a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers extended their points streak to four games.

Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Paul Stastny’s overtime goal as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Nashville Predators 4-3. The Knight snap a three-game winless skid. Earlier in the day, they placed forward Valentin Zykov on waivers.

Arizona Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak scored twice in the first period and buried the winner in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Coyotes have won four of their last six games.

The Colorado Avalanche tallied three third period goals to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avs, who ended Edmonton captain Connor McDavid’s points streak at 11 games.

Dustin Brown and Alex Iafallo each collected two points as the Los Angeles Kings downed the New York Islanders 4-1. It’s the Isles second straight loss coming off a 17-game points streak. The Kings also activated Trevor Lewis from injured reserve.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine collected three points as his club tallied five straight goals to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the win while Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each picked up two points.

HEADLINES

Calgary Flames head coach Peters issued an apology yesterday in a letter to general manager Brad Treliving, calling the incident “isolated and immediately regrettable.” TSN’s Frank Seravalli noticed a discrepancy in the statement. Peters claimed he immediately returned to the dressing room and apologized to the team following the racial slur aimed at Aliu, but the latter claimed that didn’t happen even after the team captain confronted Peters.

Seravalli also pointed out that Peters didn’t acknowledge the incident with Jordan. However, Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour acknowledged that incident took place, as well as another in which Peters punched an unnamed player. Brind’Amour was Peters’ assistant coach when those episodes took place. He claimed the incidents were addressed by the players and management and never happened again.

Former Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. claimed then-Hurricanes GM Ron Francis never informed him about Peters’ alleged physical abuse of the two players. He claimed he would’ve fired Peter “in a nanosecond” had Francis told him about those claims.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman cites a source claiming a face-to-face meeting between Peters and the league will likely occur, depending on the Flames’ own actions. That raises the possibility of league-mandated punishment along with whatever the Flames do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Peters remains coach of the Flames. His statement hasn’t done anything to dampen calls for his firing. This situation could result in more players coming forward, either on their own or through the NHLPA, with their own stories of mental and physical abuse by NHL and minor-league coaches.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday re-signed forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year contract extensions. Coyle inked a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5.25 million while Wagner got a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s contract was the most notable, as he was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s become a valuable part of the Bruins’ lineup since being acquired in a trade last season from Minnesota. He’s proven to be a versatile two-way third-line forward who can play center or on the wing but also move up to the second line when the need arises. The term seems a little long and the salary a little high but the Bruins are willing to pay it to keep him in the fold.