NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2023

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin believes he and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby “saved the NHL”, the Blackhawks’ Taylor Hall is done for the season while the club is silent over Corey Perry’s absence. Details on these and other stories and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NOTE: There were no NHL games on Thursday due to the American Thanksgiving holiday. Action resumes on Friday with 15 games.

THE ATHLETIC: Reflecting on his long NHL career, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin believes he and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby saved the league as it emerged from a season-killing lockout.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images)

We saved the NHL,” said Ovechkin. He noted that today’s generation of superstars hasn’t yet overshadowed his accomplishments and those of his longtime rival Crosby.

We saved the league. Now they come in and I guess we’re old news,” said Ovechkin. “But we saved it. It’s up to those guys to come in and prove me wrong that we’re not the best.”

Crosby’s response was more understated. “Hopefully, we’re still a little bit away from being pushed out of the way,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL was in a bad place entering the 2005-06 season. Fans and pundits were disgusted by the lockout that cost an entire season. The league no longer had a national US cable TV contract with ESPN. Wayne Gretzky, hockey’s greatest star, was long retired. His rival, Mario Lemieux, lasted just 26 games into the ’05-’06 campaign before retiring for the second and final time.

Ovechkin and Crosby entered the NHL at the same time that season, sparking a rivalry as they quickly became the league’s biggest stars. They helped the NHL not only recover but thrive and grow, adding two new clubs since 2017, returning to ESPN two years ago, setting an attendance record last season (22.4 million), and tapping into other lucrative new revenue streams.

Now in the twilight of their careers, Ovechkin and Crosby aren’t playing at the dominating level of their playing prime but they’re still among the league’s best. Ovechkin’s 42 goals last season were among the league’s top 10 as he continues his chase of Gretzky’s goal record. Meanwhile, Crosby was among the top 20 in points with 93. While younger stars are now outperforming them, the duo remains the NHL’s most recognizable stars.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall will miss the remainder of this season as he undergoes surgery on his right knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall played just 10 games this season with two goals and four points. He has one season remaining on his contract and will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2025.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they’re keeping silent as to why winger Corey Perry was a healthy scratch and Wednesday and his absence from Thursday’s practice. Head coach Luke Richardson said the reason was an internal decision for now and wouldn’t answer any more questions about the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are getting scolded in some corners of social media for their lack of transparency. Here’s hoping Perry’s absence isn’t anything serious.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman John Klingberg on long-term injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. The move allows them to activate blueliner Conor Timmins off LTIR. Klingberg underwent double hip surgery in 2014 and there’s speculation he’s hindered by the same issue. It’s unclear if he’ll return to action this season.

SPECTOR’S NOT: The Leafs will have over $3.375 million in trade deadline cap space if Klingberg is indeed done for the season.

CBS SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning placed goaltender Matt Tomkins on waivers as starter Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to return to action on Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPORTSNET’S Greg Balloch shared an announcement from Vaughn Custom Sports that former NHL goaltender Andy Moog has been diagnosed with cancer. Moog asked them to share the news with the hockey community.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moog played 713 regular-season games with the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens from 1980-81 to 1997-98, winning 372 games as well as three Stanley Cups with the Oilers and the Jennings Trophy with the Bruins in 1989-90. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2023

The Devils fall to the Blues and lose Jack Hughes, the Flyers defeat the Sabres, Sidney Crosby approaches another milestone, and the Rangers get bad news on Adam Fox and Filip Chytil. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes scored his first two goals of the season in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Hayes finished the night with three points while Jordan Binnington made 33 saves for the Blues, who improved their record to 4-4-1. Curtis Lazar replied for the Devils (6-3-1), who lost scoring leader Jack Hughes to an upper-body injury in the first period when he lost his balance and crashed into the boards behind the Blues net.

St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes played one more shift and left the game before the end of the first period. Following the game, Devils coach Lindy Ruff said the 22-year-old center would be reevaluated on Saturday.

Three first-period goals carried the Philadelphia Flyers over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-1. Travis Konecny scored his ninth of the season to move into a tie for the NHL goal-scoring lead with Detroit’s Alex DeBrincat and Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano. Bobby Brink and Joel Farabee each collected two points for the 5-5-1 Flyers. Henri Jokiharju scored for the Sabres as they dropped to 5-6-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (mid-body) and center Sean Couturier (lower body) missed this game and are listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson left this game with a lower-body injury.

Both clubs are off to surprising starts this season. The Flyers were expected to be near the bottom of the standings while the Sabres were considered a playoff contender. There’s still a long way to go in this season for both clubs but it’s safe to say that the Flyers have exceeded expectations thus far while the Sabres have not met theirs.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be appearing in his 1,200th career NHL game when his club faces off on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby is already the Penguins’ all-time leader in games played. He will tie Owen Nolan for 127th overall on the league’s all-time list.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers placed defenseman Adam Fox on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. Fox was sidelined by a leg-on-leg hit from Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho on Thursday. They also placed center Filip Chytil on injured reserve with an upper-body injury that occurred during the same game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those are significant losses for the Rangers. Fox is their top defenseman while Chytil centered their third line. The absence of former Norris Trophy winner Fox hurts the most given his workload as their blueline linchpin.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He’s already missed the first seven games of this season due to an injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: Anaheim Ducks head coach Greg Cronin was fined $25,000.00 by the NHL “for unprofessional conduct directed at the officials” during Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TSN 1200: Ottawa Senators defenseman Artem Zub will remain sidelined for at least the next two games as he continues to recover from a concussion.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers sent defenseman Philip Broberg to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Broberg struggled to play up to expectations this season and lost his spot on the Oilers’ blueline to Vincent Desharnais.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2023

Recaps of Friday’s preseason action, injury updates on the Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm, the Wild’s Jared Spurgeon and the Jets’ Ville Heinola, the latest players on the waiver wire and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid made 30 saves to shut out the New York Islanders 3-0. Max Willman, Kevin Bahl and Simon Nemec were the goal scorers as the Devils went undefeated (7-0-0) in all their preseason games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri made his preseason debut in this contest. He’d been sidelined by an undisclosed offseason injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

The Pittsburgh Penguins got two goals by Drew O’Connor and two assists from team captain Sidney Crosby in a 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Devon Levi stopped 28 shots for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby also got into a brief tussle with Sabres forward Peyton Krebs over the latter’s hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who was unhurt on the play.

Carolina Hurricanes forwards Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as their club beat the Nashville Predators 4-1. Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves for the Predators.

The Edmonton Oilers got a 35-save performance by Jack Campbell in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Evander Kane, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman scored for the Oilers while Jared McCann replied for the Kraken.

Vancouver Canucks forward Phillip Di Giuseppe had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-1. Nazem Kadri replied for the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A moment of silence was held before the game to honor the memory of Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow, who died on Sept. 30 from ALS at age 42.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are turning to veteran blueliner Alex Goligoski as Spurgeon’s replacement.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Wild, they’re reportedly closing in on a contract extension for Ryan Hartman. The 29-year-old forward’s new deal is expected to be for three years with an average annual value of $4.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a nice raise in pay over the $1.7 million AAV that Hartman is earning on his current contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With Mattias Ekholm questionable to be ready to play in the Oilers’ season opener, some observers are wondering about the seriousness of his lingering hip injury that sidelined him throughout training camp and preseason play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm downplayed those concerns, saying he and the club are being extra cautious. Still, the worries are understandable given his value to the Oilers blueline since his acquisition from the Nashville Predators before last season’s trade deadline.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Ville Heinola suffered a fractured ankle in his club’s 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He will be sidelined for between eight to 12 weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heinola had a terrific training camp and played well in preseason action until his injury. It’s a setback not just for his development as an NHL regular but also for the Jets defense corps.

DAILY FACEOFF: Anaheim Ducks forward Leo Carlsson was helped from the ice during practice on Friday as he was unable to put any weight on his right foot. The full extent of the injury has not been revealed. The 18-year-old center was the Ducks first-round pick (second overall) in this year’s draft and was expected to play for them this season.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John Klingberg is expected to be ready for the club’s season-opener next week after spending the past week sidelined with an upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, goaltender Ilya Samsonov avoided serious injury in practice on Friday after taking a Calle Jarnkrok slap shot around his shoulder/collarbone area. He left practice but head coach Sheldon Keefe later said that Samsonov was fine.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks forward Oskar Lindblom, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Caleb Jones and Philadelphia Flyers forward Wade Allison are among the notable names to hit the waiver wire on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allison being placed on waivers caught Flyers followers by surprise. Despite his injury history, the 25-year-old winger could draw some interest from clubs seeking depth on their forward lines.

TSN: The Florida Panthers loaned goaltender Spencer Knight to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. He’s entering the first season of a three-year contract with an AAV of $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knight is trying to get his NHL career back on track after spending time last season in the NHL-NHLPA player assistance program seeking treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panthers coach Paul Maurice said sending Knight to the AHL was being done to give him more playing time in a starter’s role as they hope to build on his strong preseason play.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2023

Attainable milestones for the upcoming season plus the latest on Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: has a complete roundup of Sunday’s preseason action.

THE SCORE: Several NHL players are in line to reach league milestones this season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is within one goal of becoming the first player in league history to tally 300 career power-play goals. He’s also just 15 points away from reaching 1,500 career points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby needs 88 points to tie Phil Esposito for 10th on the all-time points list. Esposito has 1,590 points.

Phil Kessel, the league’s reigning Ironman record holder, is just eight points away from reaching 1,000 career points. That’s assuming the 35-year-old unrestricted free agent finds a new contract with an NHL club. Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is 25 points away from 1,000.

Twenty players, including Nashville’s Ryan O’Reilly, Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, Vegas’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Brad Marchand and Pittsburgh’s Erik Karlsson, could reach 1,000 career games.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has yet to suit up for training camp as he deals with an undisclosed injury. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Vasilevskiy is “wrestling with some things right now physically” and is considered day-to-day.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day after leaving scrimmage on Sunday with an upper-body injury.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Seattle Kraken have officially removed winger Andre Burakovsky off injured reserved. He’d been on IR since Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken managed to adjust to Burakovsky’s absence as they reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Nevertheless, he helped set the stage for that success with 39 points in 49 games before suffering a torn groin.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will be evaluated today after leaving Sunday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres. He was struck in the right arm by a shot in the third period, left the game and didn’t return.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Alex Nedeljkovic is hoping a fresh start with the Pittsburgh Penguins will help reset his career after two unsatisfying seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. He was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2020-21 with the Carolina Hurricanes but struggled to replicate that success after getting traded to the Red Wings.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2023

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby weighs in on best-on-best international tournaments, Jack Hughes believes he can be a 100-point player for the Devils, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Sidney Crosby would welcome the return of best-on-best international tournaments involving NHL stars. “Seeing all the other countries, you look at their lineups, I mean, it’s pretty tight,” said the Pittsburgh Penguins captain. He went on the praise what he called the “incredible” level of hockey in those tournaments.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Talk of a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2025 would provide Crosby with the chance to play alongside Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the first time on Team Canada. The 36-year-old center said he’d welcome the opportunity, joking that he’d be willing to skate on McDavid’s wing. “He can carry the mail. I’ll just find the opening.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last best-on-best international tournament featuring NHL stars was the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. A similar competition is long overdue.

At their current levels of performance, Crosby and McDavid are locks for Canada’s roster in 2025. Whether they skate on the same line remains to be seen.

THE SCORE: cited Jack Hughes telling Sportsnet’s “32 Thoughts” podcast that he sees himself as a 100-point player for the New Jersey Devils. He came within one point of doing so last season, finishing with 99 in 78 games.

I’m a competitive person, so definitely a little like, ‘Damn’, you know?” said Hughes. “I wanted that because I’m competitive.” He said he believes he can reach the 100-point plateau if he maintains his current path and continues to work at it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avoiding injury will also play a significant role in the 5’11’, 175-pound Hughes’ quest to reach 100 points. The potential to reach that level was there during an injury-shortened 2021-22 when he had 56 points in 49 games.

SPORTSNET: The NHL Players’ Association released a statement yesterday saying they’d provided an update to the league on the investigation into Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock requesting personal photos from his players’ phones. The PA provided no further comment on the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock defended his actions by claiming he was trying to get to know his players better and had shown them his own family photos. Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner and scoring star Johnny Gaudreau said they had no problem with it. Subsequent reports claim some younger players were uncomfortable with Babcock’s request.

The situation sparked some pundits to suggest that Babcock could lose his job over this or at least face a suspension from the league. So far, there’s no indication as to what the end result could be.

DAILY FACEOFF: The NHL has updated its rule book for the coming season. Among the changes are the mandated wearing of helmets during warmups to anyone who joined the league since 2019 as well as clarifications on puck-in-netting and line changes on delayed offsides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These are among the most noteworthy. Follow the link above for the complete list of changes.

TSN: It has now been confirmed that the 2023-24 NHL Trade Deadline is slated for 3 p.m. ET on Friday, March 8, 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second straight year that the trade deadline is on a Friday. I wish they would hold it on a Friday every year. It provides an extra level of buzz heading into Saturday which is almost always the busiest day of the week on the NHL calendar in terms of scheduled games.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2023

The Stars stave off elimination in the Western Conference Final, Stanley Cup Final schedule scenarios are revealed plus the latest on Kyle Dubas and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars avoided being swept from the Western Conference Final in a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 on an overtime power-play goal by Joe Pavelski.

Jason Robertson scored twice, Roope Hintz and Miro Heiskanen each collected two assists while Jake Oettinger made 37 saves for the win. William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas while Adin Hill stopped 39 shots.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

The series returns to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Saturday with the Golden Knights leading the series three games to one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars’ best players rose to the occasion in this contest despite the absence of team captain Jamie Benn, who’ll also miss Game 5 as he serves his two-game suspension.

Pavelski tallied his 73rd career playoff goal making him the leader among active NHL players in that category. He also made NHL history by becoming the oldest player (38) to score a postseason overtime goal.

The league also released its Stanley Cup Final schedule scenarios. Depending on the outcome of the Western Conference Final, the best-of-seven series will begin on May 31 or June 3. The winner of this Golden Knights-Stars series will face off against the Florida Panthers for hockey’s holy grail.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas met with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the Penguins’ practice facility on Tuesday night. The Pens received permission from the Leafs to speak with Dubas regarding their vacant GM position.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of Dubas, the NHL Players’ Association is reviewing his relationship with his agent for “potential violation of the Certified Agent regulations that govern agent activity.”

Dubas was represented in his recent negotiations with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment by Chris Armstrong of Wasserman Sports, the same agency that also represents Leafs center Auston Matthews.

The PA’s certified agent regulations prohibit agents from representing any officer or employee of an NHL club. Wasserman, however, is currently not a certified NHL agent and is not subject to discipline by the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It has yet to be determined if Dubas and his agent violated those regulations. It’s uncertain how much of an effect this might have on the Penguins’ interest in hiring him as their new GM.

THE ATHLETIC: Hollywood producer Neko Sparks’ ownership group has been seeking additional investors in their bid to purchase the Ottawa Senators. They have reportedly secured international funds for their bid but are seeking additional Canadian investors.

The Sparks group is one of four finalists hoping to purchase the Senators alongside Toronto businessmen Michael Andlauder, Steve Apostolopoulos and the Kimel family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sparks group’s scramble for additional investors at this late stage could adversely affect their efforts for a successful bid.

A judge recently ruled that Evander Kane could walk away from most of his outstanding debt in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The judge ruled in Kane’s favor against Centennial Bank, which made an $8 million loan to the Edmonton Oilers winger, who has a self-described gambling addiction.

Kane’s former girlfriend Hope Parker also has an outstanding lawsuit within the bankruptcy process. She alleges Kane owes her $3 million for abortions she agreed to. He also has another lender with an active claim.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: New Jersey Devils assistant coach Andrew Brunette was interviewed by the Columbus Blue Jackets for their vacant head-coaching job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets are still talking with other prospective coaches. A decision could be reached after May 29 when general manager Jarmo Kekalainen returns from scouting the IIHF World Championship.