NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2022

The Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season, Alex Pietrangelo returns for the Golden Knights, the once red-hot Devils suffer their fifth straight loss, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season as they doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, extending their home points streak to 18 games. David Pastrnak tallied his 20th goal of the season while Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves and narrowly missed scoring an empty-net goal. The Bruins (24-4-2) hold a five-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings. Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for the 10-18-2 Blue Jackets.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Golden Knights (22-10-1), they suffered their fifth straight home loss by dropping a 5-2 decision to the New York Islanders. Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves for the win despite leaving late in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Zach Parise and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 18-13-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup for the first time since taking a leave of absence for personal reasons on Nov. 27. He explained that his four-year-old daughter took ill over the American Thanksgiving weekend resulting in a lesion on her brain that required hospitalization. Her condition has since improved and she is expected to make a full recovery.

In other Golden Knights news, Paul Cotter missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Vegas sits first overall in the Western Conference with 45 points. Meanwhile, the Islanders played without Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri, who are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

The Florida Panthers dropped the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Sam Reinhart scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots as the Panthers improved to 15-13-4. John Marino and Erik Haula replied for the 21-8-2 Devils, who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 44 points and a game in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Panthers as captain Aleksander Barkov left the game late in the first period with a possible knee injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson tallied his first career hat trick to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Sonny Milano collected three assists and Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves as the Capitals move to 16-13-4 on the season. Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (19-7-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie left this game with an upper-body injury. The Caps were already shorthanded entering this contest with Nic Dowd (lower body) and Hunter Shepard (upper body) on the sidelines.

An overtime goal by Martin Necas lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Dallas Stars 5-4 to extend their points streak to 10 games. Necas, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes (18-6-6) moved to within two points of the Devils in the Metropolitan Division. Jason Robertson collected three assists for the 18-8-6 Stars, who sit atop the Central Division with 42 points.

The Winnipeg Jets (20-9-1) moved to within a point of the Stars in the Central with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kyle Connor and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois picked up three assists. Bo Horvat replied for the Canucks as they fell to 13-14-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without Blake Wheeler (groin injury) and Nate Schmidt (upper body) as they’re both sidelined for at least a month. Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser missed this contest with a non-COVID illness.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel scored twice and chipped in an assist as his club dumped the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (20-9-1) as they move to within three points of the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Nick Suzuki replied for the Canadiens (14-15-2) as they fall into the bottom of their division with 30 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson returned to the lineup following a four-game absence with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Habs moved blueliner David Savard to injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 4.

The New York Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (17-10-5) sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points. Carter Hart made 29 saves for the 10-15-7 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers placed winger Cam Atkinson on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined the entire season with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves for the win as the Avalanche improved to 16-11-2 and sit fourth in the Central Division with 34 points. Matt Duchene scored for the 12-13-4 Predators.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson scored his 25th goal of the season in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jeff Skinner returned to the Sabres lineup following a three-game suspension and tallied twice. The Sabres (15-14-2) have won three straight. Connor Ingram kicked out 38 shots for the Coyotes as they drop to 10-15-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes played without Liam O’Brien as they announced earlier in the day that he’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 46-save performance by Lukas Dostal to upset the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. John Klingberg broke a 3-3 tie for the Ducks (9-20-3) after the Oilers (17-14-1)had overcome a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist.

Special teams made the difference for the Ottawa Senators as they clipped the Detroit Red Wings 6-3, tallying three power-play goals and two short-handed tallies. Alex DeBrincat had three assists as the Senators improved to 14-14-2. Olli Maatta returned to the Red Wings (13-11-6) following a four-game absence due to a non-COVID illness. The Wings have now lost five straight contests.

Shootout goals by Kevin Fiala and Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Phillip Danault and Josh Anderson-Dolan scored for the Kings (17-12-5) while Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc replied for the Sharks as they fell to 10-16-6.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

Could the Senators attempt to bring back Erik Karlsson or are there better trade options for them with the Canadiens or Penguins? Should the Leafs target Karlsson or are there better alternatives to address their defense? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE SENATORS TRY TO REACQUIRE ERIK KARLSSON?

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Sharks may have had conversations with the Ottawa Senators regarding Erik Karlsson. In 2018, the Senators traded Karlsson to the Sharks, who signed him to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson has never lost his affection for the city of Ottawa and he and his family still maintain a home there. With the 32-year-old defenseman enjoying the best start of his career, Sharks general manager Mike Grier earlier this week indicated he was willing to entertain offers for the blueliner.

Peng points out that trading Karlsson will be difficult given how few teams can afford his contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause. He also noted that Friedman doubted the Senators could afford to do so even if the Sharks agreed to retain 50 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit. That’s because they still want to re-sign winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Artem Zub.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier’s comments combined with Senators GM Pierre Dorion telling reporters he’s still actively shopping for a defenseman prompted some folks to suggest a reunion with Karlsson. If the Sens had more long-term cap space perhaps there would be a possibility, assuming that Karlsson would waive his NMC to return to Ottawa.

The Senators have $21.7 million of cap space for 2023-24 if the cap only rises by $1 million as originally projected with just 10 players under contract. DeBrincat, Zub and Shane Pinto will eat up a big chunk of that cap room as well as pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot if they attempt to re-sign him. If not, replacing Talbot could also prove to be expensive.

There is also the question of the Sharks’ asking price. They’re not going to just give Karlsson away, especially if they have to retain a portion of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. They’ll want a decent return, perhaps in the form of a package containing a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a promising young player like Pinto or Jake Sanderson. And if it becomes a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around, that third team will also want a sweetener.

ARE THERE OTHER BLUELINE TRADE OPTIONS FOR THE SENATORS?

TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean wondered why the Senators didn’t attempt to sign David Savard in 2021 when he became an unrestricted free agent. He felt the 32-year-old rearguard would’ve been a perfect complement for Thomas Chabot.

Savard is currently signed with the Montreal Canadiens through 2024-25 with an AAV of $3.5 million. Jean wondered if Dorion might put in a call to Habs GM Kent Hughes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t see that call taking place. If Dorion wasn’t interested in Savard in 2021, he’s probably not interested now.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Penguins and Senators could become trade partners. In addition to needing defensemen, the Senators could use some help at center with Josh Norris sidelined until at least January with a shoulder injury.

Kingerski suggested Brian Dumoulin and Jeff Carter as short-term options for the Senators since both are slated to become UFAs next summer. Other options could include center Teddy Blueger and defensemen such as Mark Friedman or Ty Smith.

In return, Kingerski suggested the Senators part with Alex Formenton. The Sens have until Dec. 1 to sign the RFA winger or he’ll become ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators could be on Dumoulin’s 10-team no-trade list and I don’t see Carter agreeing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Ottawa. If Dorion were interested in the Penguins’ defensemen I believe he’d prefer Marcus Pettersson or Pierre-Olivier Joseph than Friedman or Smith.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos proposed a way for the Maple Leafs to acquire Erik Karlsson. “Could the Leafs get the Sharks to take (Jake) Muzzin’s contract back, retain salary, and build a deal around top prospect Matthews Knies?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why would the Sharks want Muzzin’s contract? He’s earning a $5.6 million AAV through 2024-25 with a full no-trade clause this season. They could agree to that if the Leafs are taking Karlsson’s full cap hit through 2026-27 off their books, assuming Muzzin agrees to be shipped to the Sharks.

I’m assuming the “retain salary” bit refers to the Sharks’ absorbing part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million AAV. However, if they’re taking on Muzzin’s contract, why would they retain any part of Karlsson’s cap hit? Sorry, I don’t see that happening.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli lists six trade options for the Leafs to replace Muzzin by using his placement on long-term injured reserve to acquire a defenseman.

The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg tops Seravalli’s list, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov and the Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy. The Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Washington Capitals’ Nick Jensen or Dmitry Orlov round out the list. He also suggested keeping an eye on the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those defensemen likely won’t be available until close to the March 3 trade deadline.

Klingberg isn’t a shutdown blueliner like Muzzin so I don’t see him as a good fit for the Leafs. Gavrikov could be a better option but I think the Jackets intend to re-sign him.

Seravalli points out the Kings have a surplus of defensemen and Roy has another year on his contract. However, they could be reluctant to part with him given his adaptability and ability to play big minutes. Seravalli also admitted Soucy might not be available yet given the Kraken have exceeded expectations thus far this season. I agree that he could be an intriguing option if the Kraken are out of playoff contention by March and looking to sell.

The Capitals could go into sell mode if they’re out of a playoff berth before the March trade deadline. However, I see them improving as their injury-ravaged roster gets healthier, which could put Jensen or Orlov out of reach. As for Dumba, his status could depend on where the Wild are in the standings as March approaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2022

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

GAME RECAPS

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

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

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

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

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEADLINES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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