NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2018

Game recaps, injury, waiver updates, possible candidates for the vacant Flyers GM job, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Another questionable hit by Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson overshadowed his club’s 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Wilson was ejected for an illegal hit to the head of Devils forward Brett Seney, though it was actually a hit from behind to Seney’s shoulder. The Capitals winger only recently returned from a 20-game suspension (reduced by an independent arbiter to 14 games) for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson could once again face supplemental discipline for another questionable hit. (Photo via NHL Images)

Meanwhile, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 626th career NHL goal to move past Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla into sole possession of 15th place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Ryan Getzlaf’s overtime goal gave the surging Anaheim Ducks their fifth win in six games by edging the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Hurricanes were skating with winger Micheal Ferland, who’s listed as day-to-day with a concussion. Earlier in the day, they demoted goaltender Scott Darling to their AHL affiliate and saw winger Valentin Zykov plucked off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers.

Third-period goals by Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, and Sean Monahan lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings were also playing without Ilya Kovalchuk, who was scratch from the game and is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko scored in overtime as his club nipped the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Avs blueliner Erik Johnson was ejected during the second period for elbowing Blues center Alexander Steen in the head.

Coming off a 10-game winning streak, the Buffalo Sabres dropped their second in a row by falling to the Florida Panthers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Aleksander Barkov.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins blueliner Brandon Carlo is expected to return to action tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Carlo’s been sidelined since Nov. 10 with a shoulder injury. 

CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings rearguard Trevor Daley (lower-body injury) is expected to be sidelined this weekend.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito, former Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis, former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis, and former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as five candidates to fill the vacant Philadelphia Flyers general manager position. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored Fletcher is the front-runner. Reports emerged yesterday claiming the Flyers sought permission to speak with Nonis (who’s now a consultant with the Anaheim Ducks) and Zito. Yzerman might not be available as it’s widely assumed he could take over from Ken Holland as Red Wings GM next summer. 

TSN: “Todd Ewen was posthumously diagnosed earlier this year by a Boston University neuropathologist with the brain-withering disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a development that contradicts the findings of a Toronto doctor two years ago that the former National Hockey League player didn’t have the disease.”


NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2018

Latest on William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Scott Darling, and more in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: With the 5 pm ET deadline on Dec. 1 for signing restricted free agent William Nylander fast approaching, Pierre LeBrun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have sent feelers to teams with interest in the young winger to determine how serious they are in acquiring him. This doesn’t mean a trade is coming, as the Leafs still hope to re-sign Nylander. LeBrun believes this is the Leafs “Plan B”. He also suggests this impasse could carry on toward the Feb. 25 trade deadline or the offseason.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are circling back to teams with interest in winger William Nylander. (Photo via NHL Images)

Bob McKenzie said the trade market for Nylander’s been shrinking because of the high cap hit for this season if he signs before the deadline.  “So if Nylander gets a contract in the high-sixes from the Leafs with an AAV (average annual value) of $6.8 or $6.9 million. The first-year cap hit is going to be up around $9.5 million. The Leafs love that because a high cap hit doesn’t hurt them and then you get lower cap hits in the remaining years.  For teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild that have interest in Nylander, they can’t afford a $9.5 million cap hit this year.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs want to cover all the bases here. They don’t want to find out after the fact that a team was willing to pitch an irresistible offer for Nylander if they’d only asked. Contract negotiations are expected to go down to the wire.

Teams with available cap space, like the Carolina Hurricanes, could remain interested in Nylander and they’re said to be monitoring this situation. Whether they’ll make a significant pitch for him remains to be seen. 

Speaking of the Leafs, LeBrun reports Mitch Marner’s representatives are considering the merits of pursuing a four- or five-year contract instead of seeking the league maximum. He speculates it could cost between $9-$10 million per season to re-sign Marner, based on the season he’s having. A four-year deal would bring Marner up to his eligibility for unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs and Marner won’t open contract talks until season’s end. Management probably prefers locking up Marner for seven or eight years. If he keeps producing at his current rate over a four-year deal, it could cost considerably more to keep him off the UFA market.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton noted the Carolina Hurricanes placing goaltender Scott Darling on waivers yesterday. If he clears at noon ET today, he could be demoted to their AHL affiliate as his $4.15-million annual average value makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed by another club.

However, Clinton wonders if a rival club might flip “a low-level asset or two” for Darling, provided the Hurricanes agree to pick up part of his cap hit. He points out the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, and St. Louis Blues are desperate for help between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but I’ll be surprised if any of those clubs take a chance on Darling. He’s been a significant disappointment during his tenure as the Hurricanes’ starting goaltender. 

THE ATHLETIC: Sara Civian recently listed defenseman Brett Pesce as the Hurricanes’ most likely player to move if they make a pitch for Toronto’s William Nylander. “It just makes the most sense when you think about it — a 24-year-old, solid defenseman on a six-year, $4.025 million deal. The Canes are one of the only teams in the NHL with the luxury to give something like that up to a team that’s desperate for some top-six defense.” Other possible trade candidates include defenseman Haydn Fleury and forward Valentin Zykov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce could also be a trade chip if the Hurricanes pass on Nylander and look elsewhere for scoring help. Fleury is currently on IR but when healthy could be packaged in a larger deal. Zykov made be tradeable but his struggles to stick in the NHL full time hurt his trade value. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites Darren Dreger’s appearance yesterday on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the state of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltending. With Matt Murray struggling when healthy this season and the inexperience of Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry, Dreger noted there have been quiet mutterings suggesting the Penguins could make Murray a trade commodity down the road when he’s healthy.

Dreger also pointed out how much the Pens are missing sidelined defenseman Justin Schultz. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rutherford and the Penguins try and acquire some form of puck-moving defenseman in the future, but it’s difficult to do.”

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports it’s extremely unlikely the Penguins will seek outside help to address their goalie issues. While they’re by no means happy with the current state of their goaltending, “there’s little they can do when you look at acquiring cost, the team’s salary-cap situation and the quality of netminders available.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they’re not making a pitch for Scott Darling. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2018

Game recaps, injury and waiver updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres 10-game winning streak came to an end last night as they fell 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos scored the tying goal and Cedric Paquette netted the winner in the third period. Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Sabres.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine is the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 career goals. (Photo via NHL Images)

Patrik Laine scored his 100th career goal to become the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach that milestone as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Laine scored twice (his 20th and 21st of the season) while teammate Nikolaj Ehlers tallied a hat trick.  The Jets skated without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ryan Donato scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. During a pre-game ceremony, the Bruins honored Rick Middleton by raising his No. 16 to the rafters. Meanwhile, Bruins president Cam Neely suggested it was “unlikely” the club would extend a similar honor to former goaltender Tim Thomas, citing his limited tenure with the Bruins, who haven’t retired the numbers of any of their former goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas is a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for backstopping the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup. Gerry Cheevers helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cups. Frankie “Mr. Zero” Brimsek won the Calder Trophy, two Vezina Trophies, was twice named to the First All-Star Team, and won two Stanley Cups. It’s ridiculous that the Bruins haven’t honored them.

The Edmonton Oilers spoiled the return of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a 3-2 victory. Defenseman Oscar Klefbom potted the game-winner late in the third period. Quick had been sidelined since Oct. 23 by knee surgery.

Arizona Coyotes netminder Adin Hill made 29 saves to pick up his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Nashville Predators. Recently acquired center Nick Schmaltz tallied his first goal as a Coyote. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes claimed goalie Calvin Pickard off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Max Pacioretty scored twice and William Karlsson netted the winning goal as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 to pick up their fifth straight win. Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was knocked from the game in the third period after being hit from behind by Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson turned in a 27-save shutout to blank to New York Rangers 3-0. The Rangers were skating without Vladislav Namestnikov, who remains in concussion protocol since Monday’s game against the Senators.

Second-period goals from Cam Atkinson, Riley Nash, and Artemi Panarin gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Scott Darling on waivers yesterday and placed defenseman Haydn Fleury on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired and signed last year to a four-year contract, Darling’s been a bust as the Hurricanes’ starting goaltender. He’s been outplayed this season by Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek. If he clears waivers he’s expected to be sent to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have demoted defenseman Victor Mete to their AHL affiliate in Laval. 

NJ.COM:  The Devils placed rookie forward Joe Anderson (broken ankle, week-to-week) on injured reserve. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Nikita Soshnikov on waivers. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins reclaimed Jean-Sebastien Dea off waivers from the New Jersey Devils and sent him to their AHL affiliate. 


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 25, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 25, 2018

Updates on William Nylander’s contract standoff with the Leafs plus the latest on the Flyers, Canadiens, and Hurricanes in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

William Nylander’s contract standoff with the Toronto Maple Leafs could reach its conclusion by the end of this week. (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the clock is ticking on the Toronto Maple Leafs ending their contract impasse with restricted free agent William Nylander. If no agreement is reached on a new deal by Dec. 1, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season.

Johnston said a six-year deal remains possible, with the Nylander camp perhaps willing to accept something around $6.9 million per season. Elliotte Friedman reports the two sides aren’t that far apart, “within about half-a-million dollars with each other and they both feel like they’ve come a long way.”

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski speculates the Leafs could trade Nylander if they cannot hammer out a new contract by Dec. 1. He feels blueline help is key to any swap.

He notes the Carolina Hurricanes discussed trade scenarios with the Leafs, and while they won’t part with Jaccob Slavin, they have high-end defensemen such as Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Dougie Hamilton. There’s was talk suggesting Anaheim Ducks rearguard Brandon Montour would be a good fit with the Leafs.

Minnesota Wild d-man Matt Dumba was linked to the Leafs but the Wild couldn’t pay Nylander more than $7 million annually if they hope to re-sign Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund. The Philadelphia Flyers need offensive help but probably won’t part with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

Some pending free agent targets that might work include “Columbus winger Artemi Panarin, Winnipeg defencemen Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba, Ottawa center Matt Duchene, Philadelphia winger Wayne Simmonds, and Buffalo winger Jeff Skinner.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, folks, the Nylander contract saga will be coming to a close by the end of this week. Of course, if he’s unsigned and the Leafs opt not to trade him, it’ll pick back up again next summer, but at least we’ll have a respite from it over the remainder of this season.

It wouldn’t surprise me if negotiations between the Leafs and the Nylander camp go down to the wire. If they’re as close as Friedman believes, Nylander will re-sign by next Saturday.

As for those trade targets, the Hurricanes would be the best option and they’re likely waiting to see what happens with Nylander but they could look elsewhere for a scorer. The Ducks probably won’t part with Montour, especially with Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm sidelined.

The Wild aren’t parting with Dumba while it’s obvious the Flyers’ priority is finding a quality goaltender. Of those possible free-agent targets, Simmonds is the only one who might be available at this time. Speaking of the Flyers…


THE INQUIRER:  Sam Carchidi suggests changes might be coming soon for the struggling Philadelphia Flyers if they don’t turn things around soon. Noting the club’s inconsistent play during head coach Dave Hakstol’s tenure, Carchidi wonders if general manager Ron Hextall will make a major move via trade (Wayne Simmonds?) or behind the bench. He points out former Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is available, “at least for now.”

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently pointed out that Simmonds, a pending UFA next summer, is skating on the Flyers’ third line and is no longer being used as a core player. He thinks the winger could be the Flyer most likely to be moved in a “shake-up” trade this season. 

Other trade candidates could include forward Jordan Weal and defenseman Radko Gudas. Forward Jori Lehtera, defenseman Andrew MacDonald, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth could be available but O’Connor doesn’t see a market for their services. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending is the Flyers’ biggest weakness. Hextall would probably love to trade for a reliable starter but there’s really no one available to fill that role right now. Despite the decline in Simmond’s play, he could be a valuable trade chip for clubs seeking a physical scoring presence on the wing. Whether he’ll fetch a return that helps the Flyers right away, however, is another matter. 


SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said the feeling is if the Montreal Canadiens remain in the playoff chase they could pursue an experienced defenseman. He speculates they could target the St. Louis Blues or Los Angeles Kings if those clubs continue to falter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings blueliners Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin have frequently surfaced of late in the rumor mill. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Canadiens looked at one of those guys. Forget about prying Drew Doughty away from the Kings as that’s not happening.

As for the Blues, they’re probably willing to part with the fading Jay Bouwmeester, the struggling Jordan Schmaltz or the oft-injured Carl Gunnarsson. However, I don’t see any of them filling the Habs’ need for an experienced blueliner who can help them right away. 


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Carolina Hurricanes could have a logjam in goal with Scott Darling, Petr Mrazek, and Curtis McElhinney, who’s played very well for Carolina since being plucked off the waiver wire earlier this season from the Maple Leafs. Some are wondering if this could mean the end of the struggling Darling’s tenure with the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darling’s been a big disappointment since joining the Hurricanes in 2017 as their starting goalie. Hampered by injuries (and poor conditioning last season), he’s in danger of losing the starter’s job to McElhinney. Cap Friendly indicates he two years left on his contract with a $4.15 million salary cap hit and a 15-team trade list. Good luck peddling that. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2018

Game recaps, Bettman upholds Wilson’s 20-game suspension, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cam Talbot made 31 saves and rookie defenseman Evan Bouchard scored his first career NHL goal to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension of Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Capitals, they learned earlier in the day that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension of Capitals winger Tom Wilson, who received the punishment for hitting St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the head during a preseason game. Wilson has seven days to decide if he’ll take his case to an independent arbitrator.

Sidney Crosby and Derick Brassard each collected three points while Patric Hornqvist and Phil Kessel each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Calgary Flames 9-1. Earlier in the day, the Flames activated defenseman Travis Hamonic off injured reserve.

Boone Jenner and Anthony Duclair each scored twice and Artemi Panarin collected three assists to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The loss gives the Blues just two wins and seven points in nine games, raising questions over head coach Mike Yeo’s future behind the bench.  They also played without defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who was placed on injured reserve

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues were supposed to be much better than this. Last season, the problem was a lack of scoring depth. This season, it’s lousy defensive play. If they don’t reverse their fortunes soon, Yeo could be relieved of his duties. 

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, uncertainty over the futures of pending free agents Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin is among the factors behind the drop in their attendance thus far this season. Attendance is down nearly 1,000 fans per game compared to this point last season and more than 2,000 from the whole of last season. 

The Minnesota Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves and Eric Fehr scored a goal and set up another.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of coaches in danger of losing their jobs, this latest defeat does nothing to help Kings’ bench boss John Stevens. Firing him, however, probably won’t help. The aging Kings’ core is struggling in a league trending toward youth and speed. 

Jason Dickinson scored twice and set up another in the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf tallied both goals for the Ducks, who’ve lost their fourth straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After getting off to a strong start in October the Ducks are in free-fall approaching month’s end. Their weak puck possession is catching up with them.

Zdeno Chara scored twice and Jaroslav Halak had a 28-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.

The Buffalo Sabres overcame three one-goal deficits to edge the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Jason Pominville potted two goals and Kyle Okposo scored the winner on a power-play with 1:01 remaining in the third period. Max Domi also scored twice for the Canadiens.

Filip Forsberg scored the game-tying goal in the third period and Kyle Turris tallied the winner in overtime as the Nashville Predators squeezed past the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Nico Hischier netted two of the Devils’ goals.

Patrick Kane scored his ninth goal of the season as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Alex DeBrincat also scored and set up another goal. The Rangers also lost defenseman Adam McQuaid to a lower-body injury in the second period. 

Third-period goals by Clayton Keller, Brad Richardson, and Lawson Crouse carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green is set to make his season debut tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. Green’s been sidelined by a liver virus. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes recalled goaltender Scott Darling from his AHL conditioning stint. 

CBC.CA: Former NHL player Peter Worrell recalls the racist incident that occurred to him during a Junior hockey game in Quebec and how his teammates, coaches, and management helped him overcome it and continue his playing career. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week plus updates on Seth Jones, Alex Galchenyuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while teammate Nicklas Backstrom collected his 600th assist in a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Backstrom had three assists on the evening.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom got his 600th career assist during a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images)

Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen made franchise history as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. The duo extended their respective points streaks to nine games, become the first Avs to accomplish this feat at the start of the season. Rantanen scored twice and MacKinnon added an assist.

Flyers winger Michael Raffl left the game during the second period with an apparent left leg injury and didn’t return. No update was provided regarding his status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rantanen is tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews (16 points) as the NHL’s leading scorer and also leads the league with 12 assists. MacKinnon is right behind Rantanen and Matthews with 15 points. 

Bryan Little’s late third-period goal set the stage for Jacob Trouba’s overtime winner as the Winnipeg Jets edged the St. Louis Blues 5-4. Jets center Mark Scheifele had a four-point game (two goals, two assists) while the Blues Ryan O’Reilly tallied three points.

Sebastian Aho had an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to nine games as the Carolina Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland kept his goal streak alive at four games.

Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes announced goaltender Scott Darling was taken off injured reserve and was sent to their AHL affiliate for conditioning. Darling’s been sidelined since Oct. 3 with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 21, 2019

CBS SPORTS: Good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets as defenseman Seth Jones came off injured reserve and will make his season debut tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. Jones suffered a sprained knee during a preseason game. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes center Alex Galchenyuk could also make his season debut tonight. He’s been sidelined since suffering a lower-body injury during preseason play. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Rockford. 

SPORTSNET: Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado joined their AHL affiliate on a minor-league contract.