NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

Remembering the late Mike Bossy, Carey Price returns to action with the Canadiens, an independent report clears NHLPA of wrongdoing in Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COMMUNITY HONORS MIKE BOSSY

NHL.com: Hall-of-Fame scorer Mike Bossy passed away yesterday at age 65 of lung cancer. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the New York Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Bossy also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982 and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

New York Islanders hall-of-famer Mike Bossy (NHL.com).

Retiring in 1987, Bossy scored 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games, along with 85 goals and 160 points in 129 playoff games. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky as the only players to score 50 goals nine times but is the only one to do it in nine consecutive seasons.

Gretzky, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (who has eight 50-goal seasons) and former teammates Denis Potvin, Glenn “Chico” Resch and Bryan Trottier were among those in the NHL community paying tribute to Bossy as a player and a person.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bossy was the purest goal scorer I ever saw. Others may have tallied more career goals but only because a back injury cut short his career. His streak of nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are testament to his greatness.

Along with Potvin, Trottier, Billy Smith, Butch Goring and the late Clark Gillies, Bossy was instrumental in turning the Islanders into the last true Stanley Cup dynasty. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, former teammates, the Islanders organization and his broadcasting colleagues at TVA Sports.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carey Price returned to action for the first time since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final but he couldn’t prevent his Montreal Canadiens from being blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders. Price stopped 17 of 19 shots but Isles goaltender Ilya Sorokin stole the show with a 44-save performance. Zach Parise and Noah Dobson beat Price with Brock Nelson getting an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens honored Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence.

Price didn’t look too bad considering he’d been sidelined for nearly the entire season. He couldn’t be faulted for Parise’s 3-on-0 goal or Dobson’s screened wrister that beat him on the stick side. His teammates dominated much of the play through the first two periods. However, Sorokin was on top of his game in this contest, picking up his seventh shutout to tie a franchise single-season record.

The Florida Panthers picked up their ninth straight win by thumping the Winnipeg Jets 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau extended his points streak to 13 games with two goals and an assist. Claude Giroux collected three assists and Gustav Forsling scored twice as the Panthers (112 points) moved within two points of the first-overall Colorado Avalanche. Jets captain Blake Wheeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau now has 108 points and sits two behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in this season’s scoring race.

This loss could be the dagger in the heart of the Jets’ playoff hopes. They have 81 points with seven games remaining in their schedule, sitting eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the Stars holding a game in hand.

HEADLINES

TSN: An independent report into the NHLPA’s handling of the Kyle Beach investigation did not find any “individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure”. The Toronto law firm Cozen O’Connor was hired to investigate PA executive director Donald Fehr’s response to concerns raised by two player agents about former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s allegations he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Fehr denied any recollection he’s received a call from one of those agents. However, he didn’t deny the call may have happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was critical of the report’s findings. He pointed out Dr. Brian Shaw, a program administrator for the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, found Beach’s account to be a credible report of sexual assault. “After reading this passage, I don’t understand how anyone can claim there wasn’t any ‘systemic failure’ here,” writes Friedman.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche can clinch first place in the Western Conference with a win tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames get another chance to secure a playoff berth when they face the Arizona Coyotes. They sit atop the Pacific Division with 99 points.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat has been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after taking a shot off his left leg on Thursday against the Coyotes. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks when the schedule has ended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting five points out of a wild-card berth, the Canucks already face an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. Losing Horvat makes that pursuit more difficult.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brandon Carlo could be in the lineup after the defenseman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s game.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is being evaluated for a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with his teammates to Boston.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss this weekend’s games against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders due to an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach suffered a sprained right shoulder on Thursday. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract extension worth $900K.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2022

Will the Avalanche use LTIR to help them land a player or two before the trade deadline? Should the Rangers wait until the offseason to make a big move? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE AVS USE LTIR TO BOLSTER THEIR ROSTER?

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh wonders if the Colorado Avalanche will use long-term injury reserve to their advantage at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. Captain Gabriel Landeskog will undergo knee surgery today while defenseman Samuel Girard is sidelined for four weeks with a lower-body injury. Landeskog carries a $7 million salary-cap hit while Girard’s is $5 million.

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

The Avs could simply try to accrue cap space before the March 21 trade deadline but that could be affected if they call up players from their AHL affiliate to replace Landeskog and Girard. They could put those two on LTIR and use the combined $12 million to go shopping at the trade deadline but would have to become cap compliant if one or both return before the end of the regular season.

A third option could involve placing Landeskog on LTIR. There’s no timetable yet for his recovery from surgery. If he’s not expected back until early May they could use his $7 million to exceed the cap ceiling and pursue a player such as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux (if the Flyers agree to retain some of his salary) or the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Avalanche GM Joe Sakic does here. I expect he’ll wait and see what the timeline is for Landeskog’s return and perhaps put him on LTIR if he’s out for the remainder of the regular season.

SHOULD THE RANGERS MAKE A BIG MOVE NOW OR IN THE OFFSEASON?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests Rangers general manager Chris Drury should hang onto his trade chips until the offseason if pending free-agent center Ryan Strome isn’t signed to a contract extension by the March 21 trade deadline. He feels Drury will need them to replace Strome this summer as their second-line center, with the Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele and Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat as primary trade targets and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach as a secondary target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion by Brooks, who acknowledged the Rangers’ ongoing need for a scoring right winger and how their third line will need to be rebuilt from scratch this summer. Horvat is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2022-23 while Scheifele is signed through 2023-24 and carries a 10-team no-trade list. Dach is completing his entry-level contract.

Horvat could be the easiest of that trio to acquire as he lacks no-trade protection and could prove too expensive for the Canucks to re-sign. The Jets aren’t in any hurry to trade Scheifele given his contract status but perhaps a core shakeup could be coming if they miss the playoffs this season. I don’t see the Blackhawks trading Dach as they’ll want to rebuild with young players like him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2022

Seven-goal performances by the Oilers and Leafs during Hockey Day in Canada, Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the scoring race, and Hockey Night in Canada pioneer Ralph Mellanby passes away. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers crushed the Montreal Canadiens 7-2. Evander Kane also scored in his debut with the Oilers (46 points), who have four straight wins and sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad start for Kane with his new club in his first game of the season. Meanwhile, Draisaitl moved into second place in the NHL scoring race with 61 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting collected a hat track as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 7-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Toronto tallied five unanswered goals in the third period with Bunting tallying two of them. With 57 points, the Leafs remain in third place in the Atlantic Division, seven points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on a goal by Mark Stone in the seventh shootout round. The Bolts were down 2-0 but rallied on third-period goals by Ross Colton and Corey Perry. With 65 points, they sit two behind the first-overall Florida Panthers. The Golden Knights (55 points) remain one up on the Anaheim Ducks for first in the Pacific Division.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau took over the lead in the scoring race with a goal and two assists as the Panthers defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Sam Bennett. Jonathan Dahlen tallied twice and Nick Bonino collected three assists for the Sharks, who sit one point out of the final Western wild-card berth with 47 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes (62 points) moved one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins into first place in the Metropolitan Division by nipping the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Antti Raanta made 24 saves in his first game since Jan. 1 while teammates Jordan Martinook and Andrei Svechnikov scored. Jesper Boqvist replied for the Devils.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom needed just 15 saves to extend his league-leading shutouts for this season to seven in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Johnny Gaudreau netted the winner in overtime while Vancouver netminder Thatcher Demko turned aside 31 shots. The Canucks picked up a point to sit four back of the Flames (48 points) for that final Western wild-card spot.

The Winnipeg Jets (43 points) picked up a big win by beating the St. Louis Blues 4-1 as they snapped a six-game losing skid to sit five points back of the Flames. Paul Stastny scored two goals while goalie Eric Comrie made 28 saves for the win. The Blues (57 points) sit one back of the second-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry potted his 25th goal of the season and John Gibson stopped 44 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Rickard Rakell also scored for Anaheim while Tyler Ennis replied for the Senators. With the win, the Ducks (54 points) move one point behind the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

An overtime goal by Scott Laughton lifted the Philadelphia Flyers over the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to snap their 13-game losing skid. Flyers winger Cam Atkinson scored twice and collected an assist while Viktor Arvidsson tallied two goals for the Kings, who sit three points back of the Ducks in third place in the Pacific.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson made 27 saves in his first game since Nov. 2 to backstop his club over the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

HEADLINES

TSN: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price skated in full equipment for 10 minutes during practice yesterday but didn’t face any shots. He’s still recuperating from offseason knee surgery. Canadiens goalie coach Eric Raymond said Price is looking forward to returning to action later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on when Price will be back. His return won’t save the Canadiens’ dreadful season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets following offseason hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have missed his two-way experience and leadership this season.

SPORTSNET: Canadiens defenseman David Savard will miss the next eight weeks with an injured right ankle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been that kind of season for the Habs. Injuries have decimated their lineup and contributed to their woeful performance.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris is likely sidelined by a shoulder injury until after the All-Star break.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a tough week for the Senators, losing their leading goal scorer in Norris (18 goals) and their points leader in Drake Batherson (34 points) earlier in the week.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks center Kirby Dach removed social media from his phone back in December to get away from the noise and pressure he felt from fans. “Obviously you miss out on news, what’s going on and stuff cause that’s how you get it nowadays but I’ve enjoyed it. I like the break from it,” said Dach.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars owner Tom Gaglardi admitted he’s felt frustrated by his club’s inconsistent performance this season. Nevertheless, he’s preaching patience over the second half of the season and prefers not to make midseason changes. He also remains confident that his coaching staff and management can find a way into the playoffs.

TSN: Canadian sports broadcasting pioneer Ralph Mellanby has passed away at age 87. He was the creative force behind CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada as its executive producer from 1966 to 1987. He introduced new camera angles in arenas, slow-motion replays, telestrators and on-air graphics to Hockey Night broadcasts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mellanby helped make Hockey Night in Canada a sports institution in Canada. My condolences to his family, friends and broadcast colleagues.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

Are the Blackhawks and Flames interested in Jack Eichel? Will Duncan Keith be traded to the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD EICHEL LAND WITH THE BLACKHAWKS OR FLAMES?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a source said the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t planning to get into the bidding for Jack Eichel. They cited the fact the club already has two $10-million players on the roster (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) and don’t see how they can have a third.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Powers said the Blackhawks are already preparing to pay Alex DeBrincat between $8 million and $9 million on his next contract. He has two years left on his current contract. He also advised not to put much stock into any trade scenario involving DeBrincat or Kirby Dach as they’re among the club’s untouchables.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames could pursue a deal for Eichel. He speculates general manager Brad Treliving could be interested in the 24-year-old Sabres captain so long as there aren’t any long-term concerns regarding his neck injury.

The Flames lack a high first-round pick or an obvious stud prospect. Gilbertson thinks the Sabres asking price could start with wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane plus a promising player and more.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently dismissed the notion of the Flames acquiring Eichel, calling it little more than a pipe dream. He doesn’t believe they have sufficient tradeable assets to make a successful bid. He also expressed concern over Eichel’s big contract and the uncertainty regarding his neck injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Treliving or Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman contacted their counterpart in Buffalo to inquire about Eichel’s availability and the asking price. Unless Sabres GM Kevyn Adams gets desperate and lowers his asking price, don’t expect to see Eichel in a Blackhawks or Sabres jersey anytime soon.

LATEST ON KEITH AND THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Duncan Keith was the one who initiated discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks about a potential trade this summer. A team source said the veteran defenseman wants to be closer to his son in Penticton, BC.

The question is whether a team will take on the 37-year-old’s $5.538 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. A league source thought the Edmonton Oilers could be a destination, citing their need for a defenseman and their asset to make a deal.

Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are thought to be among Keith’s preferred destinations. A team source indicated the interest is mutual but only at the right price and circumstances.

The Oilers want the Blackhawks to absorb part of Keith’s cap hit or take back a bad contract (such as James Neal, Zack Kassian or Mikko Koskinen) in the deal. They also don’t expect the Hawks to just give him away because he’s a legacy player. The Oilers don’t view Keith as a top-pairing defenseman but that’s not an issue because they have Darnell Nurse as their top left-hand blueliner.

Hanging over this is uncertainty over Oscar Klefbom’s status following shoulder surgery in March. Nugent-Bowman feels the writing’s on the wall here because Klefbom’s agent said they probably couldn’t provide any clarity until the fall.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Bob Stauffer saying he’s heard the Blackhawks don’t want to take salary back on Keith as they’re hoping to use the savings to put toward acquiring Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Oilers want to maintain cap flexibility in any trade for Keith. He also said there are whispers the Blackhawks would like to acquire Oilers blueliner Caleb Jones in hopes of reuniting him with Seth. He wondered if it would make sense for the Blackhawks to acquire a player from the Oilers in a Keith trade that they can buy out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be interested in Keith but they’re not under any pressure to make this move. If they can’t make a deal work they can just walk away and seek more affordable blueline options elsewhere.

The Blackhawks will have to retain part of Keith’s contract or take back a contract they can buy out to make the dollars fit here. Maybe they can acquire a contract from the Oilers and flip it to another team for a draft pick or prospect.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2021

Connor McDavid’s march to 100 points continues, Auston Matthews nets his 40th goal of the season, the league fines the Rangers $250,000, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is within four points of reaching 100 on the season after collecting three assists in a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Leon Draisaitl also scored twice for the Oilers, who pulled goalie Mikko Koskinen from the net after the Canucks scored four goals on their first four shots. Brock Boeser, Nils Hoglander, Travis Hamonic and Jayce Hawryluk each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid has four games remaining in the season to reach 100 points. The Oilers sit in second place in the Scotia North Division with 66 points, eight behind the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs and seven up on the third-place Winnipeg Jets.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Leafs, Auston Matthews tallied his 40th goal in his 49th game of the season in a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens center Phillip Danault left the game with an upper-body injury. The fourth-place Canadiens missed an opportunity to secure the final playoff berth in the division. With 57 points, they hold a 10-game lead over the Calgary Flames and need just one point to clinch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews might’ve had a shot at 50 goals if not for a nagging wrist injury that cost him four games. This is the third time in his five NHL seasons he’s reached the 40-goal plateau.

A four-goal performance by Jeff Carter carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-4 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Frederick Gaudreau and Jared McCann each collected three points as the Penguins moved into sole possession of first place in the MassMutual East Division with 75 points, two ahead of the second-place Capitals. The Caps, however, hold two games in hand.

Patrice Bergeron tallied the game-winner as the Boston Bruins blanked the New York Rangers 4-0. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman turned aside 15 shots for the shutout while Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had two assists as the Bruins (71 points) moved within two points of the Capitals.

A 32-save performance by Mackenzie Blackwood gave the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Michael MacLeod snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period. The slumping Isles have dropped six of their last eight games and sit three points back of the third-place Bruins.

The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on an overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat. Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia kicked out 36 shots for the win. The Hurricanes extended their points streak to 13 games and sit atop the overall standings with 80 points, holding a five-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division.

HEADLINES

The NHL fined the New York Rangers $250,000.00 for issuing a public statement on Tuesday condemning George Parros, the director of the league’s department of player safety. The comments came after Parros fined Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson for roughing Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich while Rangers winger Artemi Panarin suffered a season-ending injury after tussling with Wilson.

It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety,” said league commissioner Gary Bettman.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers CEO James Dolan appeared unperturbed by the fine. He said his club said what it felt it needed to say and the league did what it felt it needed to do. “Hopefully, we’ll both move on. I don’t think it’s worth enflaming anymore.”

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Rangers statement galvanized support for Parros from other teams and general managers in feedback delivered to NHL headquarters. The league has no intention of replacing Parros.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dolan has no love lost for Bettman dating back to the commissioner shutting down the Rangers’ attempt in 2007 to establish its own website outside of the NHL.com umbrella, even threatening to strip control of the Rangers from the Dolans. He knew he would get a slap on the wrist for his public comments.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Dolan’s hamhanded attempt to get Parros replaced failed. Bettman enjoys the support of most of the team owners. Their general managers toe the company line. The NHL brain trust thinks its player safety department is doing a good job, a view that seems to be shared around the league, and it really doesn’t care about criticism from the fans and media.

THE SCORE: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich received a one-game suspension for high-sticking Capitals winger Anthony Mantha during Wednesday’s fight-filled rematch between the two clubs.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen was fined $2,000 for embellishment during a game against the San Jose Sharks on April 30.

CBS SPORTS: Blackhawks center Kirby Dach won’t play in the club’s final three games of the season. He aggravated scar tissue in his surgically repaired wrist on Monday.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: ESPN has approached Wayne Gretzky about a broadcasting role. They’re also looking at Ray Ferraro, Kevin Weekes and John Davidson.










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?