NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines: The Senators avoid arbitration with Chris Tierney, the latest on the Penguins and Coyotes, and long-time Edmonton sports icon Joey Moss passes away.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided salary arbitration with Chris Tierney as the two sides agreed to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.5 million. The 26-year-old center’s arbitration hearing was slated for Nov. 8.

Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another affordable move by the Senators to keep a key veteran in the folk. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018, Tierney’s become an invaluable two-way center for the Sens, netting 37 points in 71 games last season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins fired assistant general manager Jason Karmanos yesterday. No reason was given for the move. He’d been in the position since 2014, hired a week after Jim Rutherford was named general manager. Karmanos also served as GM of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Penguins also announced Trevor Daley was hired as a hockey operations advisor. Daley, 37, has retired as an NHL defenseman after 16 seasons spent with the Penguins, Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pens in 2016 and 2017, finishing his career with 89 goals and 309 points in 1,058 games.

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

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are facing criticism for selecting Mitchell Miller in this year’s draft after it was revealed the defenseman admitted to repeatedly bullying, hitting and racially taunting an African-American classmate with developmental disabilities four years ago. The club and GM Bill Armstrong responded with statements pointing out Miller sent a letter to all 31 NHL teams acknowledging his behavior and expressing remorse, but the mother of the victim said he has never personally apologized. Armstrong had not officially taken over as GM when Miller was selected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Coyotes are under fire for their selection, The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell points out there were many others in the hockey world willing to have Miller on their team despite his checkered past. Campbell raises legitimate questions over Miller’s character, if he’s truly remorseful for his actions, and if he’s deserving of a chance to play in the NHL.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Coyotes, they’re reportedly in discussions with Shane Doan regarding the possible return of their former captain to the organization.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joey Moss, the long-time dressing-room attendant for the Oilers and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, passed away at 57 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and recent hip surgery. Moss, who had Down syndrome, was hired by the Oilers in 1984 and the Eskimos in 1986 on the recommendation of Wayne Gretzky. He quickly endeared himself with both clubs, becoming a popular, well-recognized part of the Edmonton community. In 2015, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moss was an inspiration as well as a beloved icon of the Oilers and Eskimos. My condolences to his family, friends and the Oilers’ and Eskimos’ organizations.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2020

The NHL and NHLPA are working toward a 24-team conference-based format to resume the season, the latest on potential host cities, plus reaction from James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler, Matt Duchene and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

LATEST ON THE NHL’S RETURN-TO-PLAY EFFORTS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports “multiple sources indicate the NHL and NHLPA are working on a 24-team conference-based playoff setup,” with discussions on the proposal perhaps taking place on Thursday.

The top-four seeds (based on points percentage in each conference (Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West) would receive byes through the play-in process, but would participate in a three-game tournament. The play-in series would be a best-of-five format, while the rest of the playoffs would be best-of-seven.

The rest of the playoffs would be bracketed, meaning “in both conferences 5 vs. 12 (winner plays four seed), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays three seed), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays two seed) and 8 vs. 9 (winner plays one seed).”

Chris Johnston indicates the discussions between the league and the PA are about the format of the 24-team tournament. It doesn’t cover other issues such as COVID testing protocols, hub cities, and more. This format is expected to be discussed during Thursday’s schedule NHLPA executive board call.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman points out this remains in the discussion stage and nothing is set in stone. Nevertheless, momentum seems to be building toward a 24-team tournament format. The idea of resuming the regular-season schedule with all 31 teams is no longer an option, taking the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres out of the equation.

SEVERAL PLAYERS WEIGH IN ON POSSIBLE 24-TEAM FORMAT

Philadelphia Flyers NHLPA rep James van Riemsdyk (Photo via NHL Images).

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers NHLPA representative James van Riemsdyk said several different formats are under discussion. He pointed out the difficulty of determining the leading format because of how quickly things can change.

THE SCORE: During an interview with TSN’s Darren Dreger, Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler cautions a 24-team format could give bubble teams a competitive advantage. “I think the hard thing would be to have the bubble teams play a play-in and all of the sudden now Boston or St. Louis or Colorado who’ve been at the top of the standings all year, they’re sitting there cold and have to play a team that’s already played a three-to-five game series and they’re coming in hot,” said Wheeler.

NBC SPORTS: Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene prefers preserving the integrity of the game by returning to play with a 16-team, best-of-seven playoff format. “You don’t want to have a COVID Cup,” he said. “I’m worried that if we force this thing and try and it’s a little gimmicky or if it’s not quite right, whoever wins the Cup is gonna have people trying to take it away from them their whole lives and they don’t deserve that,” he said. “I feel very passionately about this part of things.”

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie has no problem with a 20- or 24-team format. “It’s not ideal, but in a time like this, how could anything be super-traditional?” said Barrie. “The integrity will be there because it’s still going to be the best players in the world playing against each other for the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. We all have to adapt and try to realize it’s not going to be perfect classic NHL playoffs. For the situation we’re in, for a year, I think that’s fine.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no perfect format to please everyone, but the 24-team tournament could be the best option. As Barrie pointed out, this is a unique situation. If the league can return and fully ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, most fans probably won’t care about the format once the puck drops. The fact the PA is heavily involved in these discussions suggests a majority of their membership wants to return and complete the season.

THE LATEST ON POTENTIAL HOST CITIES

RDS: Pierre LeBrun assumes the NBA leaning toward Orlando as a host city could make Las Vegas’ candidacy as a neutral-site NHL host city more interesting. Vegas is reportedly low on the NBA’s list. Ryan Rishaug reports conversations are taking place so that a Canadian market can also be a host city.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychowski reports the Oilers believe they’re among the leading contenders in the bidding for an NHL host city. “Edmonton’s Ice District and the city’s overall response to COVID-19 should make it an automatic choice to host one of the 12-team playoff groups”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some suggest if Vegas becomes a host city, the other will be located in the East, perhaps taking Canadian cities out of the running. However, the lower cost of a Canadian host city could be enticing for the league.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the best-case scenario for Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play schedule could be the end of May or early June. Under that phase, the players return to their NHL cities and allow small-group workouts following a two-week self-isolation period.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly indicated the NHL is close to deciding on when to stage the 2020 NHL Draft and the draft lottery. “This week or next week is probably fair,” Daly wrote. “I can’t tell you there’s a precise timetable because there are other things involved.” The league is currently focused on working with the PA on a format for resuming the season.

Garrioch speculates the league could hold the draft lottery and the draft a couple of months apart. Over the weekend, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk suggested the league might hold the lottery in June and the draft later in the summer.

PUCKPEDIA: Part II of their player agent poll examined which general managers they prefer to deal with, the worst current contract from a team perspective, and the most team-friendly contract.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Detroit Red Wings

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Detroit Red Wings

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2020

A look at several veterans who could face retirement in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis lists Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry and Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu among six pending unrestricted free agents that may have played their final NHL games if the league cancels the remainder of this season and the playoffs. Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patrick Marleau, and Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams round out his list.

Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry is among several veterans who may have played their final NHL games if the season doesn’t resume (Photo via NHL Images).

Perry’s low production (21 points) makes it hard to imagine another team signing him after this season. Injuries have hampered Koivu, who’s slipped down the Wild’s depth chart. He’s also shown no interest in playing elsewhere. Injuries have also taken a toll on Hamhuis’ play.

Howard’s struggles in recent years leads Ellis to suggest a club would be desperate to take a chance on the veteran netminder. Marleau didn’t manage much offense with the Penguins after being traded to Pittsburgh last month. Williams put up decent numbers following his return from a half-season hiatus, but his two-way play was rusty and his ice time reduced from last season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently looked at which NHL players may have played their final games if the league doesn’t return to action this season.

He also notes Koivu’s Wild-or-nothing position could make things tricky for the veteran center. He also believes the Stars’ one-year gamble on Perry hasn’t worked out. However, Williams could still be an affordable option if he decides to return next season. For teams with flexibility, a player like Marleau, Toronto’s Jason Spezza or Washington’s Ilya Kovalchuk might be worthwhile signings.

Turning to defensemen, O’Brien suggests injuries could force the end of the careers of Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Dallas’ Roman Polak, Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson, and Trevor Daley. He also hopes St. Louis Blues rearguard Jay Bouwmeester hangs up his skates following his health scare last month. He feels Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is a “play as long as you want” option, while Hamhuis and Ottawa’s Ron Hainsey could remain good veteran options.

Among the goaltenders, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller could get nudged out the door. O’Brien wondered if Henrik Lundqvist would accept a backup role if the New York Rangers buy him out. He speculates Howard might accept less money and a reduced role to remain in the NHL. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are aging and struggled in recent seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL cancels this season, it will rob those on Ellis’ and O’Brien’s lists the opportunity for a last hurrah.

I think Perry, Koivu, Howard, Hamhuis, Miller, Anderson, Polak, Ericsson, and Daley have probably played their final NHL games. Bouwmeester’s cardiac incident last month will probably bring his playing days to an end.

Lundqvist’s situation will be interesting if he and the Rangers part company. He could move on to a mentor role with another club or call it a career. At this point, it could go either way.

Chara will return with the Bruins next season on another one-year, bonus-laden deal. I can see Marleau doing the same with the Sharks, though that’ll depend upon their cap space. Williams could return with the Hurricanes, but they’ll probably want a full-season commitment this time around.

Seabrook could be placed on long-term injury reserve for next season if he needs more time to recover from his surgeries. Smith’s had his inconsistencies, but he’s played well enough to remain in Edmonton in a backup role for another season.

Spezza could stick with the Leafs for another season on a cheap one-year deal. Speculation out of Montreal claims Kovalchuk is all-but-certain to return to the Canadiens on a bonus-filled one-year deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2020

Who could the Bruins target in the trade market, and could Charlie McAvoy become trade bait? What’s the latest on the Rangers and Red Wings? Check out the details in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST BRUINS TRADE BUZZ

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez and San Jose’s Brenden Dillon top Nick Goss’ list of five defensemen for the Bruins to pursue at the trade deadline. New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen, Ottawa’s Ron Hainsey, and Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson round out his list.

Joe Haggerty suggests the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider and the LA Kings’ Tyler Toffoli among the top-six forward trade options for the Bruins. New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Montreal’s Ilya Kovalchuk, and Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel are the other notables on Haggerty’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were active during the last two trade deadlines, bringing in Rick Nash in 2018 and Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson last year. They believe their Stanley Cup window remains wide open, so they’ll likely make a significant move in the coming weeks. Adding a scoring winger is their pressing need, but we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility they’ll also add a veteran blueliner.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported an NHL scout texted him saying, “Don’t be surprised if the Bruins move (Charlie) McAvoy.” While other sources say the young defenseman isn’t being shopped, there’s growing speculation McAvoy could be used by general manager Don Sweeney to make a “statement trade” to add a young scoring winger with term remaining on his contract.

Could the Boston Bruins shop defenseman Charlie McAvoy for a scoring forward? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would be surprised if the Bruins trade McAvoy, who was re-signed last summer to a cap-friendly, three-year contract. Nevertheless, if Sweeney indeed wants to make a significant move to bolster his offense, swapping the 22-year-old defenseman for a scoring forward would certainly do it. That type of move usually doesn’t take place until the off-season. We’ll find out soon enough what Sweeney has in store.

UPDATES ON THE RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the trade buzz surrounding Alexandar Georgiev is picking up, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche said to be interested in the Rangers’ backup goaltender. If the Blueshirts don’t improve and remain in the playoff hunt over the next several weeks, Brooks feels Georgiev and other possible playoff rentals (Chris Kreider, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast) and perhaps winger Pavel Buchnevich) could hit the trade block.

Noting the growing interest in Georgiev, Brooks suggests the Rangers strike now while the 23-year-old’s trade value is high. A bidding war for Georgiev’s services might fetch “a no-doubt top-nine winger with potential top-six upside.” He doesn’t believe veteran Henrik Lundqvist will ask to be moved or approached about waiving his no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers can get a quality return for Georgiev, they’ll move him. If not, they’ll retain him and see what his value will be in the off-season trade market. It’s expected Kreider will be moved unless the Rangers surge up the standings before the trade deadline. Not so sure about Strome, Fast, DeAngelo or Buchnevich getting shopped, but each could attract varying degrees of interest if management is willing to entertain offers.

 

RED WINGS’ LIMITED TRADE OPTIONS

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman hopes to shop several pending unrestricted free agents for draft picks at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Unfortunately, those trade candidates (Mike Green, Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard) are struggling this season and have limited trade value.

Khan thinks Green’s offensive abilities might draw some interest. Daley and Ericsson have been hurt a lot and clubs could seek better options. Howard’s performance and a thin goalie market probably make him untradeable. Asked about Valtteri Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou, Khan believes teams would want the Wings to pick up part of Filppula’s $3-million annual average salary, while Athanasiou’s struggles has sent his trade value plummeting this season.

Khan listed the Wings’ untouchables as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek on the current roster, and Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno and Michael Rasmussen in their system. He also wouldn’t give up on defenseman Dennis Cholowski.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Mark Falkner cites NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire reporting Trevor Daley requested a trade to a Stanley Cup contender. McGuire suggests the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights could be interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Daley’s injury history and declining performance, I don’t see him helping the Stars, Avs or Golden Knights.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2019

The Islanders extended their winning streak to 10 games, Zdeno Chara plays his 1,500th career NHL game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders extended their league-leading win streak to 10 games with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist while rookie Cole Bardreau tallied his first career NHL goal on a penalty shot.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played in his 1,500 career NHL game (Photo via NHL Images).

The Montreal Canadiens blew three leads but managed to defeat the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-4. Victor Mete tallied twice for the Canadiens. Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored a goal to extend his points streak to 13 games while teammate Brad Marchand’s 13-game point streak came to an end. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara skated in his 1,500th career NHL game while Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien coached his 1,200th career NHL contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara received a nice ovation for his achievement from the Bell Centre fans. Despite the long-running rivaly between the two clubs, Chara is respected by Canadiens fans.

The New Jersey Devils nipped the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on shootout goals by Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist. Mackenzie Blackhawks made 32 saves for the Devils. Jets center Bryan Little left the game in the third period after being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers. A further update on his condition is expected today. Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu made his season debut.

Ben Bishop made 36 stops and Radek Faksa scored twice as the Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. After going 1-7-1 to open the season, the Stars are 7-1-0 in their last eight games. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg left the game with a lower-body injury. He could be sidelined for at least two weeks. Following a hot start to the season, the Avs have dropped five straight games.

The San Jose Sharks downed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 to pick up their first win in six games. Timo Meier tallied a goal and an assist while teammate Patrick Marleau became the sixth player in league history to skate in his 800th consecutive NHL game. The Sharks also welcomed back defenseman Radim Simek. He’d been sidelined since March 12 recovering from a knee injury. Earlier in the day, it was reported Sharks winger Evander Kane was being sued by a Las Vegas casino over $500,000 in unpaid gambling markers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is his own worst enemy. This is the latest in a string of questionable off-ice behavior stretching back to his days with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres.

Reilly Smith scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1, extending the latter’s winless skid to five games. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win with a 29-save performance.

Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and William Nylander 30 seconds apart lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Matthews and Nylander finished the night with two points each.

The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal.

Jaden Schwartz scored on a 3-on-none rush in overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues have won five in a row.

Unanswered third-period goals by Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Claude Giroux carried the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots for the win.

Third-period goals by Mats Zuccarello, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise enabled the Minnesota Wild to double up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Zuccarello finished with two points as the Wild picked up their first road win in five games.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE ATHLETIC: (Subscription required) There is concern over synthetic drugs like cocaine and molly (a pill form of MDMA also known as Ecstasy) becoming more popular among some younger NHL players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a fascinating in-depth examination of the topic of drug use by NHL players. The piece notes the subject is “often shrouded in secrecy, protected by confidentiality and mostly kept obscured, save for the odd rumor that gains traction on Twitter or hockey message boards.” It attempts to answer how common drug use is in the NHL, the most prevalent drugs, and what the league and the players association are doing to address the issue. It’s well worth the read.

ESPN.COM: In a recent poll of NHL players, the Washington Capitals have the worst visitors’ dressing room while Winnipeg is considered the worst road city.

CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley was placed on injured reserve.