NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2021

Start times for the upcoming season released, former Oilers coach John Muckler passes away and updates on Alex Ovechkin, Brad Marchand, Gabriel Landeskog, Joe Pavelski, Sergei Bobrovsky and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines,

NHL.COM: The league officially announced start times for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The schedule opens on Jan. 13 with five games on the slate. The Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Philadelphia Flyers at 5: 30 pm ET, the Montreal Canadiens tangle with the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 pm ET, the Chicago Blackhawks meet the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at 8 pm ET, the Vancouver Canucks square off with the Edmonton Oilers at 10 pm ET, followed by the St. Louis Blues meeting the Colorado Avalanche at 10:30 pm ET.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oilers coach John Muckler passed away Monday at age 86. Muckler was assistant and associate coach during the Oilers’ first four Stanley Cup runs and was head coach during their fifth and final championship in 1990.

Before joining the Oilers, Muckler did stints in various positions with the Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. After leaving the Oilers in 1991, he served as head of hockey operations and head coach with the Buffalo Sabres, went on to become head coach of the Rangers, followed by becoming general manager of the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muckler had a long, distinguished career in the NHL. My condolences to his family, friends, former associates and players, and the Oilers organization.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Contract talks between the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin have yet to begin but the superstar winger isn’t concerned. He pointed out there’s no rush and plenty of time to get a deal done. The Capitals captain is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. “Whatever is done is done. If it’s not done, we’re gonna talk and we’ll see,” said Ovechkin, who is acting as his own agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin wants to stay in Washington and the Capitals want to keep him. Unless his salary demands become exorbitant, I expect they’ll reach an agreement that keeps both sides happy.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Brad Marchand is hoping to be ready in time for the club’s season-opener on Jan. 14. He underwent sports hernia surgery on Sept. 14 and the recovery period was expected to be four months.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getting one of their two sidelined top-line forwards back for the start of the season (or soon afterward) will provide a big boost to the Bruins’ offense. David Pastrnak is also on the shelf (hip surgery) and isn’t expected to return until sometime in February.

NHL.COM: Gabriel Landeskog is among several members of the Colorado Avalanche to miss the first day of on-ice activities. Winger Brandon Saad, defenseman Erik Johnson and goaltender Philipp Grubauer joined the Avs captain on the sidelines. All were listed as “unfit to play” with no timetable as to when they’re return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under league guidelines, teams are not allowed to comment if players are sidelined during training camp due to COVID-19 testing or contract tracing. However, the league will announce if players test positive during the regular season.

This could be a testing issue in which they received false positives and have to be re-tested again. This was commonplace among several NHL teams during the 2020 playoffs. We’ll learn more about their status as the week progresses.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars center Joe Pavelski is listed as day-to-day pending further results from medicals. Meanwhile, immigration issues has delayed goaltender Anton Khudobin’s efforts to report to training camp. He’s fulfilling his mandatory seven-day quarantine and it’s expected he’ll be on the ice at some point during training camp.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Sergei Bobrovsky and Patric Hornqvist were among several Florida Panthers declared “unfit to play” yesterday.

TSN: Mathew Barzal is at New York Islanders training camp and underwent his team physical. However, the young center remains without a contract and cannot practice with his teammates until he’s signed.

TWINCITIES.COM: Winger Kevin Fiala missed on-ice practice yesterday for precautionary reasons. He returned to the ice after practice to skate with assistant coaches Brett McLean and Darby Hendrickson.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: James Neal and Dominik Kahun are among four Oilers declared unfit to play yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom is in quarantine for seven days after coming in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

CBS SPORTS: The Chicago Blackhawks placed forward Zack Smith on waivers.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets placed forward Marko Dano on waivers.

TSN: The province of Quebec is the third province to approve NHL games this season in Canada. Manitoba and Ontario have yet to make a final announcement, though Manitoba is showing support for the league’s plan.

THE AHL: 28 teams will participate in the AHL’s 2020-21 schedule.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2020

Alex Ovechkin discusses his future, the Rangers avoid arbitration with Ryan Strome, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Alexander Ovechkin told Russian Television International he’d like to finish his playing career with KHL club Dynamo Moscow. However, he still intends to finish his NHL career with the Washington Capitals. “It is clear, in two, three, four years, maybe five, I will end my career in Washington,” he said.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He is still motivated to win another Stanley Cup, but he’s also chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. Ovechkin sits 188 goals behind Gretzky’s 894. He’s also one season shy of tying Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons (10).

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers avoided arbitration with Ryan Strome, signing the 27-year-old center to a two-year, $9 million contract. The annual average value is $4.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a nice pay raise for Strome over the $3.1 million AAV of his previous contract. Larry Brooks noted the move also provides stability at center for the Rangers, though they could leave Strome unprotected in next year’s expansion draft. Cap Friendly indicates the Blueshirts have over $6.3 million in projected cap space with Brendan Lemieux left to sign. He’s slated for arbitration today. 

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a three-year, $8.4 million contract. The annual average value is $2.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gavrikov, 24, had a solid NHL debut with 18 points in 69 games while averaging almost 19 minutes per game. His contract leaves the Blue Jackets with $9.225 million in cap space with Pierre-Luc Dubois to sign.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed prospect winger Jacob Perreault to a three-year, entry-level contract. Perreault was selected 27th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed winger Marko Dano to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

The latest on Alex Ovechkin, Joe Murphy, Marko Dano, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin doesn’t want to discuss speculation he might retire when his contract expires in 2021. Earlier this month, Ovechkin said he’d wait and see whether he’d continue his career depending on his health. Speaking from Beijing where he’s spending the week as an NHL ambassador, Ovechkin said he’ll talk about that in two years. For now, he’s focused on the upcoming season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin isn’t ready yet to consider retirement (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Ovechkin, who turns 34 next month, continues playing at a high level over the next two years, I can see him continuing his NHL career with the Capitals. I believe they’ll be quite receptive to re-signing him.

If pursuing another Stanley Cup isn’t motivation enough, breaking the record for most 50-goal seasons could be enticing. Ovechkin is one season away from tying the record (nine seasons) held by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. With 658 career NHL goals, he also has a shot at perhaps beating Gretzky’s record of 894 goals.

USA TODAY: Former NHLer Joe Murphy is once again homeless and refusing help in Kenora, Ontario. Over the past two years, dozens of people – “including the NHL Alumni Association, members of the local police department, former teammates, his lawyer and an entire team of mental health experts and social workers” – have tried to assist Murphy. He suffered several concussions during his playing days but it’s inclusive whether those injuries contributed to his current condition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A year ago, Murphy was the focus of a TSN documentary on his plight. While people are trying to help him, it’s done little to change his current situation. It’s a sad situation that probably won’t end well for Murphy.

CBS SPORTS: Marko Dano is back with the team that drafted him, signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round draft pick (27th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft), Dano was once a highly touted young player. Sadly, he hasn’t developed as anticipated. He’s bounced from Columbus, Chicago, Winnipeg, and Colorado before returning to the Jackets. It’s probably his last chance to establish himself as an NHL regular.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman John Marino to a two-year, entry-level contract on Thursday. Acquired in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, the latter receives a sixth-round draft pick in 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Former Florida Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell has been named ” hockey director of the team’s IceDen in Coral Springs.”

THE SCORE: The New York Islanders arena project at Belmont Park received approval of its environmental impact statement by the state of New York yesterday. “The next step before groundbreaking can begin is for the Franchise Oversight board to rubber-stamp the state’s environmental review.” That’s expected in a matter of weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2018

Game recaps, updates on Joe Thornton, Roberto Luongo, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists and Joe Thornton moved past Mario Lemieux into 11th place on the NHL all-time assist list as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, handing the latter their eighth consecutive defeat. Thornton now has 1,034 assists. Canucks forward Antoine Roussel could face supplemental discipline for biting Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s left hand during a fracas at the end of the game.

Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen scored twice to lead his club to a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Bobby Ryan had three assists for the Senators while goalie Craig Anderson made 48 saves in a losing cause. Speaking of lost causes, that might be the best way to describe the Senators’ hopes for a new arena in downtown Ottawa. Team owner Eugene Melnyk has filed a lawsuit against now-former partner John Ruddy over their “failed” arena bid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Athletic’s Chris Stevenson observed, “there is now no way the Senators will be playing in a new rink at LeBreton as long as Melnyk owns the team.” 

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo is sidelined by an apparent knee injury. (Photo via NHL Images)

Jordan Martinook tallied his NHL hat trick as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game with an apparent right knee injury and is listed as day-to-day. Teammate Mike Hoffman had his personal points streak ended at 17 games.

Craig Berube got his first win as coach of the St. Louis Blues as his club rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Earlier in the day, the Blues placed Jaden Schwartz (upper body) on injured reserve. It was also reported that former Blues president Jack Quinn died on Tuesday of cancer at age 80.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Quinn’s family, friends, and the Blues organization. 

The Buffalo Sabres extended their winning streak to eight games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Jeff Skinner scored the tying and winning goals.

Josh Anderson scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson extended his goal streak to six games.

Four unanswered third-period goals by Nino Niederreiter, Eric Fehr, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise rallied the Minnesota Wild from a 2-0 deficit to a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the day, the Jets reclaimed winger Marko Dano off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

Calvin Pickard made 31 saves backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-0 shutout over the New York Rangers. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny each collected three points.

Tyler Johnson’s two first-period goals powered the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Two first-period shorthanded goals by J.T. Compher paved the way for the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-1 win over the slumping Arizona Coyotes, who’ve won just three games in their last 10.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist and Braden Holtby kicked out 31 shots to give the Washington Capitals a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 28 shots to shut out the Calgary Flames 2-0.

Joakim Nordstrom’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve won just twice in their last 10 games. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves.

Nick Ritchie’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period set the stage for Rickard Rakell’s overtime winner as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Edmonton Oilers 2-1.

Mathew Barzal’s overtime goal gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2018

Senators trade Chris Wideman to Edmonton plus updates on Matt Murray, Shea Weber, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins starting goaltender Matt Murray was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury expected to keep him sidelined “longer term.” The Penguins recalled Tristan Jarry from their AHL affiliate

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber could return to action next week. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might explain Murray’s struggles this season. It also provides fodder for critics who consider him injury prone. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber could make his season debut on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Weber’s been recovering from offseason knee surgery. The club also recalled blueliner Brett Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s imminent return should be a welcome boost to a Canadiens blueline that has struggled in his absence despite the club’s otherwise better-than-expected start to this season. 

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames placed defenseman Michael Stone and winger Michael Frolik on injured reserve. Stone has a blood clot and there’s no timetable for his return. Frolik, meanwhile, is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators traded defenseman Chris Wideman to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Senators turning toward younger talent there wasn’t any room for the 28-year-old Wideman, who saw his ice time in Ottawa decrease this season. He’s expected to skate on the Oilers’ third defense pairing. 

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, their efforts to get a new area constructed in downtown Ottawa are in danger of falling through. Issues between Rendezvous Lebreton Group primary partners Eugene Melnyk (owner of the Senators) and John Ruddy (part-owner of the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks) are cited as factors that could put their proposal to the National Capital Commission into jeopardy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the cantankerous Melnyk’s bargaining tactics are to blame, as he apparently wants to avoid paying for the arena’s construction. 

CBS SPORTS: New York Rangers forward Cody McLeod will be sidelined four-to-six weeks due to a fractured hand. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets rookie Kristian Vesalainen has exercised his out-clause in his entry-level contract allowing him to return to KHL club Jokerit for the remainder of this season. He spent five games with the Jets before being assigned to their AHL affiliate. He’s eligible to return to the Jets or their AHL farm team once Jokerit’s KHL season ends. 

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche placed forward Marko Dano on waivers. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2018

Game recaps, players of the week, injury updates and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews continues to make history with the Toronto Maple Leafs, collecting two assists in his club’s 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Matthews is the fifth player in NHL history to have multiple points in each of his first seven games of a season. Kasperi Kapanen scored twice for the Leafs while Ilya Kovalchuk tallied for the Kings. The Leafs, who’ve won five straight, played without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen, who’s listed as day-to-day with a knee injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews continues to make history this season. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Kings, defenseman Drew Doughty admitted he never seriously considered departing Los Angeles as a free agent last summer. He floated the notion of joining the Leafs as a negotiating tactic with Kings management, who inked him earlier this year to an eight-year, $88-million extension.

Tomas Plekanec scored in his 1,000th NHL game, Tomas Tatar scored a goal and collected two assists and Jonathan Drouin scored twice to give the Montreal Canadiens a 7-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Andreas Athanasiou scored twice in a losing cause for the Wings, who’re still seeking their first win (0-4-2) of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired in a preseason trade from the Vegas Golden Knights in the Max Pacioretty trade, Tatar is lighting it up with his new club. With 3 goals and 7 points, he’s the Canadiens’ leading scorer

Rookie defenseman Maxime Lajoie extended his points streak to three games and Matt Duchene collected two assists in the Ottawa Senators’ 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars. During the game, the Senators paid tribute to their former starting goalie Ray Emery, who passed away over the summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Lajoie’s three goals makes him the Senators’ leading goal scorer

P.K. Subban picked up two assists and Filip Forsberg tallied his third goal in two games as the Nashville Predators doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, and Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 14, 2018

TSN: Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson received a two-game suspension for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct on Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Elias Pettersson, who is expected to be sidelined 7-10 days with a concussion.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Canucks, center Jay Beagle suffered a broken wrist and could miss up to six weeks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz will be sidelined four months with a fractured lower left leg.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could be out for two months with a lower-body injury.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury. More information is expected to be made available later this week.

NBC SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon surprised members of Kenya’s senior men’s hockey team by joining them for a game this summer. The team had been flown to Canada by Tim Horton’s. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad could be a healthy scratch from their upcoming game against the Arizona Coyotes. Saad has struggled this season and was recently demoted to their fourth line. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman must be regretting his decision to ship Artemi Panarin to Columbus in June 2017 to bring back Saad. Panarin tallied over 80 points last season while Saad managed 35. 

OTTAWA SUN: Dallas Stars defenseman Marc Methot acknowledged he’s been dealing with knee issues since last season. While he hopes to continue playing, he intends to take things one year at a time. Methot is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. 

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed winger Marko Dano off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets.