NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2024

The Hurricanes force Game 6 with the Rangers, the Stars push the Avalanche to the brink of elimination, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes erupted for four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the New York Rangers 4-1 in Game 5 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Jordan Staal, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jordan Martinook and Martin Necas found the back of the net as the Hurricanes avoided elimination for the second straight game. Jacob Trouba opened the scoring for the Rangers in the second period. This series returns to Carolina for Game 6 on Thursday, May 16 at 7 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A series that seemed all but done after Game 3 has become more intriguing and entertaining.

The Rangers looked sluggish in this contest while the Hurricanes were again determined to avoid the end of their season. They didn’t fall apart after Trouba’s shorthanded goal gave the Blueshirts the early lead. Staal’s tying goal following his impressive drive to the net seemed to suck the life out of the Rangers.

Heading back to Carolina, the Rangers remain in control with a 3-2 series lead. However, if the Hurricanes take Game 6, it’ll force a seventh and deciding game back in New York with all the pressure on the Blueshirts.

Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston (NHL Images).

The Dallas Stars are poised to advance to the Western Conference Finals following a dominating 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of their second-round series. Wyatt Johnston scored twice and collected an assist while Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists for the Stars, who’ve taken a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Casey Mittelstadt replied for the Avalanche. The series returns to Dallas for Game 5 on Wednesday, May 15 at 8 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars stormed from the gate in this game, outshooting Colorado 16-2 in the first period. They had a 3-0 lead midway through the second before the Avalanche finally got on the board.

Johnston continues to thrive in this postseason. The 21-year-old sophomore forward set a franchise record by scoring his 10th career playoff goal, the most of any Stars player before the age of 21, eclipsing Mike Modano’s previous record of nine. He added another to make it 11 goals. Johnston turns 21 today.

Stars forward Roope Hintz left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury after blocking a shot by Avs defenseman Scott Walker. There was no immediate update on his condition.

Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews was sidelined by illness. Meanwhile, winger Jonathan Drouin returned for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury during their regular-season finale.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin’s postseason is over after entering Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports the 29-year-old winger failed a drug test.

Nichushkin entered the program in January and returned to the Avalanche in March. He will now be suspended without pay for a minimum of six months and can apply for reinstatement in November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche learned about Nichushkin on Monday morning. His teammates attempted to put a brave face on the situation but his absence affected their performance against the Stars in Game 4. Nichushkin’s nine goals in this postseason ties him with Edmonton’s Zach Hyman for the goal-scoring lead.

This is a major setback for the Avalanche and the second straight postseason that Nichushkin has required time away from the team to deal with personal matters. However, the important thing right now is he receives the treatment and support he needs to regain control of his health and his life.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy received a one-game suspension and blueliner Nikita Zadorov was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid at the end of Game 3 on Sunday.

NHL.COM: The Oilers aren’t revealing their starting goaltender for Game 4 against the Canucks on Tuesday. Stuart Skinner started the previous three games but was replaced by Calvin Pickard following the second period of Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner has struggled against the Canucks with a .793 save percentage in those three games. Pickard could get the nod for Game 4.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney believes the league and on-ice officials should go before the media to answer questions about controversial calls. His comments come after his club was on the wrong end of a couple of calls in their second-round series against the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney has a point but don’t hold your breath expecting the NHL to follow his advice. Commissioner Gary Bettman believes his league has “the best officials in the world.” Try not to let your eyes roll too far back into your head after reading that. 


DAILY FACEOFF: The Fontainebleau Las Vegas will host the 2024 NHL Awards on June 27.

NJ HOCKEY NOW: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier suffered a facial laceration playing for Switzerland against Czechia on Monday in the 2024 IIHF World Championships. He received stitches and returned to action as the Swiss won the game 2-1.

CITY NEWS: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have interviewed former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube for their vacant head-coaching position. They’re also expected to speak with former Los Angeles Kings bench boss Todd McLellan this week. They’ve also been interviewed by the New Jersey Devils.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres promoted Seth Appert as an assistant coach. He was the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2024

The Rangers take a 2-0 series lead over the Hurricanes, the Avalanche win their series opener with the Stars, the Sharks win the draft lottery, the Hart Trophy finalists are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: The New York Rangers took a 2-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in their best-of-seven second-round series with a 4-3 victory in Game 2.

Vincent Trocheck scored in double overtime, Igor Shesterkin kicked out 54 shots, Alexis Lafreniere scored twice and Artemi Panarin collected three assists for the Rangers. Jake Guentzel tallied two goals, Sebastian Aho had three assists and Frederik Andersen stopped 35 shots for the Hurricanes.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

The series moves to Carolina for the next two games with Game 3 on Thursday, May 9 at 7 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another entertaining game between these Metropolitan Division rivals. It also got chippy at times with Shesterkin getting run over by Carolina’s Andrei Svechnkov and Guentzel punching Rangers defenseman Adam Fox during a scrum.

Special teams made the difference in this contest. The Rangers went 2-for-7 on the powerplay and held the Hurricanes scoreless in their five attempts with the man advantage.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was a healthy scratch as Max Comtois replaced him in the Hurricanes’ lineup. 

An overtime goal by Miles Wood capped a four-goal rally by the Colorado Avalanche to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-3 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichuskin each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist and Wyatt Johnston netted his team-leading fifth goal of this postseason for the Stars. Game 2 is on Thursday in Dallas at 9:30 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche showed the rust from their layoff in the first period but regained their legs throughout this game. Meanwhile, the Stars faded a bit as this game went on having come off eliminating the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

Colorado’s special teams were a factor, going 2-for-2 on the power play and killing off three of four penalties.


NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, ensuring them the first-overall pick in this year’s draft, scheduled for June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The Sharks had the best odds of winning the lottery after finishing last in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are expected to select Boston University center Macklin Celebrini. Winner of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player, Celebrini has family ties to San Jose. He played minor hockey in the Jr. Sharks program as a 13-year-old after his family moved from Vancouver to the Bay Area when his father took a job with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player to his team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the three finalists. McDavid is a three-time winner of the Hart (2016-17, 2020-21, 2022-23) while Kucherov took home the Hart in 2018-19. This is the fourth time MacKinnon has been named a finalist.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators officially named Travis Green their new head coach, signing him to a four-year contract. Green spent nearly five seasons as coach of the Vancouver Canucks and was named interim coach of the New Jersey Devils after they fired Lindy Ruff in early March.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues announced they signed Drew Bannister to a two-year contract, officially removing the interim tag from his position as head coach. Bannister took over from Craig Berube after he was fired in December.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no surprise that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong stuck with Bannister. Under his coaching, they went 30-19-5 over the rest of the season and narrowly missed a wildcard playoff berth in the Western Conference.

THE SCORE: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting that Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko will be sidelined until Game 5 of their second-round series with the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been out with a knee injury since playing in Game 1 of the Canucks’ first-round series with the Nashville Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The solid play of Canucks’ first-round hero Arturs Silovs has bought Demko time to recover rather than rushing back into action.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: The Blackhawks signed winger Lukas Reichel to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $1.2 million.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2024

The Canucks advance to the second round, the Golden Knights force Game 7 with the Stars, the Jack Adams Award finalists are revealed, the Penguins make a change to their coaching staff, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks advanced to the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs by eliminating the Nashville Predators with a 1-0 victory in Game 6 of their first-round series. Pius Suter scored the only goal with 1:39 remaining in the game and Arturs Silovs made 28 saves as the Canucks will face the Edmonton Oilers in the next round. Juuse Saros stopped 28 shots for the Predators.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Arturs Silovs. (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the fourth straight game in this series that was decided by one goal with the Canucks winning three of those contests. They also got those victories with three different goaltenders. Thatcher Demko won Game 1, Casey DeSmith took Game 3 filling in for the injured Demko, and Silovs got their other two wins from Game 4 onward after DeSmith was sidelined.

The Predators’ popgun powerplay was their biggest weakness, scoring just twice with 22 man-advantage opportunities. They also blew the lead in Games 1 and 4 which proved costly in this series.

There will be a seventh and deciding game in the first-round series between the Dallas Stars and the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights. Noah Hanifin and Mark Stone scored in the third period and Adin Hill made 23 saves as the Golden Knights shut out the Stars 2-0. Jake Oettinger turned aside 28 shots for the Stars. Game 7 goes on Sunday, May 5 in Dallas at 7:30 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid defensive effort by Vegas made the difference in a goaltender’s duel between Hill and Oettinger. This was also a better-disciplined effort by the Golden Knights, avoiding the costly penalties that led to the Stars’ victories in Games 4 and 5.


NHL.COM: Rick Bowness of the Winnipeg Jets, Andrew Brunette of the Nashville Predators, and Rick Tocchet of the Vancouver Canucks are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award as the league’s Coach of the Year for 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Bowness, Brunette and Tocchet. This is the first time Bowness and Tocchet have been named as finalists for this award. It’s the second time for Brunette as he was runner-up in 2021-22 with the Florida Panthers.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins fired associate coach Todd Reirden on Friday. He’d been with the club since 2020-21 and oversaw the club’s power play, which fell to 30th overall this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: General manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Mike Sullivan were rumored to be in a “power struggle” over the coaching staff. However, it was clear a change had to be made given the club’s woeful performance on the power play this season.

This could further stoke rumors that Sullivan might quit or get fired but I don’t see either scenario happening. If he were getting fired it would’ve happened by now, especially with notable former NHL coaches like Craig Berube, Todd McLellan, Dean Evason and Gerard Gallant available. Reirden’s firing shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for Sullivan.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is progressing in his recovery from an undisclosed illness. However, there’s been no determination regarding his availability for Saturday’s Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. The Leafs scoring star was sidelined for Games 5 and 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will likely be a game-time decision by Matthews and the Leafs depending on how he feels following practice on Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders confirmed general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Patrick Roy will return next season. Lamoriello sounded open to the possibility of roster changes during the offseason. Eight players are slated to become free agents, five of them unrestricted.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bolstering the offense should be Lamoriello’s priority. The Isles’ limited scoring punch nearly derailed their playoff hopes and proved costly in their elimination from the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty isn’t sure what the future holds after this season. The 34-year-old staged a comeback from double Achilles surgery in 2022-23 and played in 47 games this season but admitted being “a shell of my former self” with four goals and 23 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty is on a one-year, $2 million contract. With the Capitals transitioning toward younger players, it seems unlikely he’ll be brought back.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

Pierre-Luc Dubois believes he’s been misunderstood, Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock named to the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame, the Rangers re-sign K’Andre Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: Pierre-Luc Dubois said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to fully be himself with the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded to the Kings on June 27 and signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the club.

Dubois felt he’s been misunderstood at times stemming from his trade requests from the Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he had “three unbelievable years in Columbus” and “three great years in Winnipeg,” the 25-year-old forward felt he was ready to move on and do what was right for him and his career. He believes he’ll get that opportunity with the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ departure from Columbus and Winnipeg stoked the opinion among fans and pundits that he puts himself above his team. Nevertheless, he has the right to do what he believes is best for himself over the remainder of his playing career.

This move to the Kings could work out quite well for Dubois and his new teammates, so his tenures in his last two NHL cities will become footnotes to his career. On the other hand, if things go sideways and he requests a trade it will only feed the perception of Dubois as a selfish player.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock will be enshrined this season into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Belfour backstopped the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup with Hitchcock as their head coach. Belfour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 while Hitchcock will be inducted as a builder among the Class of 2023 in November.

New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s fair to say that the Stars wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup without Belfour in goal and Hitchcock behind the bench.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed defenseman K’Andre Miller to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.872 million. Miller, 23, is completing his entry-level contract and coming off a career-best 43-point season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ limited cap space for 2023-24 combined with Miller’s lack of arbitration rights made this bridge deal possible. It’s an affordable contract for Miller, who is quickly becoming a key part of the Blueshirts’ defense corps.

Miller will be in line for a more substantial raise on his next contract when the salary cap will be significantly higher. By that point, the Rangers should be able to pay him a more lucrative salary.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens signed forward Alex Newhook to a four-contract contract with an AAV of $2.9 million. Newhook, 22, was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche where he tallied 33 points in his rookie season (2021-22) and 30 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A speedy forward who can play center or wing, Newhook saw checking-line minutes on a deep Avalanche roster. He could be skating on the second line with the rebuilding Canadiens. It’s an equitable contract that could become a real bargain if Newhook exceeds expectations.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Brendan Lemieux to a one-year, $800K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are adding more grit to their lineup after getting swept from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Florida Panthers. They signed winger Michael Bunting on July 1 to a three-year deal.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Predators signed winger Denis Gurianov to a one-year, $850K contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed defenseman Travis Dermott to a one-year, two-way contract worth $800K at the NHL level.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Brent Thompson and David Rook as assistant coaches to head coach Greg Cronin. Thompson is the former head coach of the New York Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Rook spent five years as the goaltending development coach with the Nashville Predators.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators have parted ways with assistant general manager Trent Mann. The move comes a day after Anthony LeBlanc resigned as president of business operations. These changes come as the club completes an ownership change led by billionaire Michael Andlauer.

NEW YORK POST: The Philadelphia Flyers have issued an apology after members of their social media team were heard making disparaging remarks about a reporter’s question to new Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway during a live stream on Twitter.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2023

The Golden Knights advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the schedule for the Final is released, plus the latest on Milan Lucic, Oliver Wahlstrom and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are heading to the Stanley Cup Final after blanking the Dallas Stars 6-0 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final to win the series four games to two. It’s the second time in the Golden Knights’ six-season history that they’ve gone to the Cup Final.

Vegas Golden Knights pose with Clarence Campbell Bowl as the 2023 Western Conference champions (NHL.com).

Adin Hill stopped 23 shots for his second career playoff shutout while William Karlsson scored twice and collected an assist. William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar and Michael Amadio each had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As in the Golden Knights’ lopsided victory in Game 3, they jumped out to an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. They dominated the Stars with their aggressive forecheck and exploited the Stars’ defensive breakdowns.

Vegas’ quick start was powered by the fourth line of Carrier, Kolesar and Nicolas Roy. They started the game on the opening faceoff and were key to their club’s quick start with Carrier and Kolesar tallying two of the Golden Knights’ three first-period goals.

It was another tough night for Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger as he gave up all six goals. However, Stars head coach Peter DeBoer pointed out that his club left Oettinger hung out to dry. “We put him in some tough spots,” said DeBoer. “We can’t ask him to win that game all by himself.”

Stars captain Jamie Benn returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas captain Mark Stone in Game 3. However, he was a non-factor in this game.

The Golden Knights will face off against the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final with Game 1 in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 3 at 8 pm ET.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers will have had a 10-day break from the end of the Eastern Conference Final to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. They intend on making the most of it to prepare for the Golden Knights and allow time for banged-up players to recuperate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The downside of such a lengthy break is the Panthers could be rusty when they face off against the Golden Knights on Saturday. Practice helps but is no substitute for game action.

TSN: Milan Lucic is mulling his future after helping Canada win gold at the 2023 IIHF World Championship. The 34-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after spending the past four seasons with the Calgary Flames. He said he’ll spend the next month thinking about the next step in his career and the best fit moving forward.

NEW YORK POST: Oliver Wahlstrom’s role with the Islanders remains unclear heading into the offseason. The 22-year-old restricted free-agent winger is expected to be back with the Isles next season.

Because it’s unclear whether veteran wingers like Pierre Engvall, Zack Parise and Josh Bailey will return next season, it’s unclear whether Wahlstrom will move into a top-six role with the Isles next season.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL sources claimed the sale of the Senators has reached its final pivotal stages. One of the sources believes Toronto billionaire Steve Apostopoulos had the highest bid at $1 billion USD. “It’s getting there,” said one source, adding it’s hoped there will be something announced later this week.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2022

Kris Letang returns to the Penguins following a stroke, the Leafs and Mitch Marner continue their streaks, the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos extends his points streak, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 as defenseman Kris Letang returned to their lineup for the first time since suffering a minor stroke 12 days ago. Letang was held pointless but played a team-leading 22:14 of ice time while Sidney Crosby scored two goals and collected an assist for the Penguins, who’ve won five straight and improved their record to 16-8-4. Peyton Krebs replied for the Sabres as they dropped to 12-14-2.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres played without winger Jeff Skinner. He’s serving a three-game suspension for cross-checking Penguins winger Jake Guentzel in the face during their game on Friday.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his franchise-record points streak to 22 games in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Marner scored the game-winner and collected an assist on one of William Nylander’s two goals as the latter reached a single-game personal best of five points. The Leafs (18-5-6) are unbeaten in their last 14 games (11-0-3). Noah Hanifin tallied twice for the Flames as they slipped to 13-11-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs (42 points) are one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. Before the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said forward Nick Robertson could miss six-to-eight weeks with a shoulder injury. He is not expected to undergo surgery.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev and Steven Stamkos lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 4-1. Stamkos extended his points streak to 13 games while the Lightning boosted their record to 17-9-1. The Panthers dropped to 13-11-4.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 35 saves to shut out the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-0. Matt Boldy, Connor Dewar and Sam Steel were the goal scorers as Minnesota sits at 14-11-2. Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov was held scoreless, bringing his 14-game points streak to an end. The Canucks dropped to 12-13-3.

Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron scored in his 1,000th career NHL game but his club dropped a 3-2 decision to the Dallas Stars. Nils Lundkvist got the winner in overtime as the Stars improved to 16-7-5 while the Wings sit at 13-8-6.

The Carolina Hurricanes blanked the New York Islanders 3-0 on a 16-save shutout by Pyotr Kochetkov. Paul Stastny, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Staal scored for the Hurricanes (15-6-6) while the Islanders are 17-12-0 on the season.

First-period goals by Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson 19 seconds apart enabled the Los Angeles Kings to double up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 and improve their record to 15-11-4. Cole Caufield tallied his 16th goal of the season for the Canadiens (13-12-2) as they’ve dropped three of their last four contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens moved sidelined winger Brendan Gallagher to injured reserve. Winger Mike Hoffman returned to the Habs lineup after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators got third-period goals by Alex DeBrincat and Drake Batherson to hold off the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-2. The Senators improve to 11-14-2 while the Predators slide to 12-11-2.


SPORTSNET: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa still had more to say about former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claiming the Canucks were practicing passing around the Stanley Cup before Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Final between the two clubs. Chara made that claim recently on the “Games with Names” podcast.

Now a Hockey Night in Canada analyst, Bieksa previously told colleague Jeff Marek that the incident never happened nor did the Canucks contact the league to ask how many family members would be allowed on the ice when they won the Cup.

During Saturday’s HNiC telecast, Bieksa called Chara’s comments “one of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.” He pointed to the fact that there was no record of this supposed incident despite the plethora of media coverage of that series.

Bieksa also noted that Chara seemed to walk back his comments during the podcast. He believed the former Bruins captain was showing a lack of respect toward the Canucks and their leaders at the time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieska made a valid point about the lack of substantiation of Chara’s claims. So far, there’s been no response from the former Bruins star.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for a hit to the head of Washington Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks goaltender Petr Mrazek hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday to face the Capitals. He’s missed the last three games with a minor groin injury.

THE SCORE: The Edmonton Oilers will host the Calgary Flames at the 2023 Heritage Classic.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Chris Therien has released a book chronicling his life and career, including his struggle with alcoholism and his subsequent decade of sobriety.