NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

Latest on Sean Couturier and Josh Morrissey, Randy Lee steps down as Senators assistant GM and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TVA SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reinjured the medial collateral ligament of his right knee during a tournament in Quebec City two weekends ago. He originally injured the knee in practice during the 2018 playoffs. After meeting with Flyers doctors, Couturier isn’t expected to undergo surgery. However, it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready in time for the start of training camp next month.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reportedly reinjured his right knee earlier this month. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier enjoyed the best season of his NHL career before his injury, tallying 31 goals and 76 points.Though he returned to play with the Flyers after missing one game in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he later told reporters he likely would’ve missed four weeks if the injury occurred during the regular season. That he doesn’t require surgery suggests he could be good to go for training camp.

OTTAWA SUN: Randy Lee has stepped down as assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators. He’s awaiting “the outcome of court proceedings on two non-criminal harassment charges filed against him for an alleged incident in Buffalo in May.”

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Restricted free agent defenseman Josh Morrissey believes he’ll be under contract before training camp opens next month.  “Everyone’s confident it will be handled and done, definitely in time for the season,” Morrissey said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time for Morrissey and the Jets to get a deal worked out. The only question is whether it’ll be an affordable bridge deal with the promise of a bigger pay raise in two or three years or a long-term contract. Given the Jets’ cap constraints next summer and with big stars such as Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine to re-sign, perhaps they’ll go the bridge route to give the Jets some cap flexibility. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Jets, they signed  forward Nicolas Kerdiles to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

USA TODAY: Former NHL forward Joe Murphy is reportedly homeless in Kenora, Ontario. The first-overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Draft, Murphy won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and scored 233 goals and 528 points during his NHL career. He is the subject of a TSN documentary tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sad to hear about Murphy’s current status. There are several organizations that provide assistance to former players in need. Here’s hoping they reach out to him if he’s unable to contact them for help. 

SPORTSNET: Defenseman Brandon Davidson reportedly rejected a professional tryout offer from the Edmonton Oilers. He’s more interested in landing a contract and could be close to getting one with another club.

CALGARY SUN:  The Calgary Flames inked winger Anthony Peluso to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650K in the NHL.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Jim Corsi as their goaltending development coach. Corsi spent 16 seasons as the Buffalo Sabres goalie coach and held the same role for three seasons with the St. Louis Blues. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have officially named the Fort Wayne Komets as their ECHL affiliate. 

HOKEJPORTAL.SK: Former NHL forward Michal Handzus is expected to announce his retirement as a player on Friday. Handzus spent 15 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, winning a Stanley Cup in 2013 with the Blackhawks. Between 2014-15 to 2016-17, he played three seasons for Banska Bystrica. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link. Best wishes to Handzus in his future endeavors. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Alex Ovechkin, Patrice Bergeron, Mike Smith and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Thanks to two third-period goals by Kyle Palmieri, the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils also honored Patrik Elias by retiring his No. 26 in a pre-game ceremony. They also exercised the option in head coach John Hynes’ contract. Before the game, the Islanders acquired defenseman Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2019.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner had a four-point performance in a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins 4-3 on a late goal by Ron Hainsey. Leafs forward Mitch Marner had a four-point game (one goal, three assists) while Bruins winger Brad Marchand tallied twice. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was spotted after the game with his right foot encased in a walking boot cast. He’ll be re-evaluated on Sunday. 

Alex Ovechkin scored twice as the Washington Capitals thumped the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Ovechkin now sits four goals shy of 600 for his career. Teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov had a four-point performance, scoring once and setting up three others. 

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their fifth consecutive win by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning had a goal and two assists. Things are also starting to get ugly between team owner Eugene Melnyk and some unhappy Senators fans, as arena security confiscated some homemade signs critical of Melnyk before the game. One fan was also ejected when they attempted to film the encounter.

Mikael Backlund scored and set up two others as the Calgary Flames romped to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Flames goaltender Jon Gillies made 27 saves for his second straight victory. Earlier in the day, the Flames placed goaltender Mike Smith (lower body) on injured reserve. 

Evgenii Dadonov’s hat trick powered the Florida Panthers to their ninth win in 12 games by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. Evgeni Malkin scored twice for the Penguins. 

Patrik Laine scored two goals, Dustin Byfuglien collected three assists and Nikolaj Ehlers had three points as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Dallas Stars 5-3. 

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Wings center Henrik Zetterberg tallied his 335th career NHL goal, tying Ted Lindsay for the fifth-most goals in Red Wings history. 

Brayden Point’s shootout goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. Montreal’s Max Pacioretty also tallied and added an assist. 

The Edmonton Oilers spoiled the return of Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings’ lineup with a 4-3 win. Mike Cammalleri collected three assists for the Oilers. Carter had been sidelined since Oct. 18 with an ankle injury.

Josh Anderson’s third period goal stood as the winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. 

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth win in eight games by blanking the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta kicked out 26 shots for the shutout. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2017

Game recaps, Joe Thornton fined for slashing, latest on the Oilers & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Blake Wheeler scored and set up three others and Connor Hellebuyck made 21 saves as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the Ottawa Senators 5-0. Wheeler is now fourth among the league’s scoring leaders and first in assists with 28. The Jets were playing without rookie winger Kyle Connor, who’s day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg also supplanted the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division and the Western Conference. After watching the Jets’ inconsistency in the past, this season’s version looks like they’re for real. They’re fifth in goals-for per game (3.44) while giving up the fifth-fewest goals (2.63) with the second-best power-play percentage (27.4). 

Tyler Seguin and Brett Ritchie each scored twice leading the Dallas Stars to a 7-2 thumping of the Colorado Avalanche. 

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves while Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown each tallied a goal and an assist to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings have won five straight games while the Blackhawks have dropped four in a row. 

Reilly Smith’s overtime goal snapped the Vegas Golden Knights’ three-game losing skid as they edged the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist for Vegas, while Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored in his first game back from offseason knee surgery. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton was fined $5,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson on Saturday. 

CBS SPORTS: The New York Islanders placed forward Casey Cizikas (lower-body injury) on injured reserve. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers claimed defenseman Brandon Davidson off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. 

YAHOO SPORTS: Speaking of the Oilers, Kyle Cantlon reports team owner Daryl Katz reportedly bought the most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles, plunking down $120 million for the six-acre estate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cantlon sums this up nicely: “Good thing the city of Edmonton was able to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the Oilers new arena, eh?”


NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2017

Latest on John Tavares, Evander Kane and Drew Doughty plus update on the Oilers and Canadiens


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports New York Islanders captain John Tavares is sounding more like someone making excuses to re-sign rather than depart via free agency. Tavares is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. LeBrun said there’s still no guarantee the Isles captain stays put, as he wants to take his time before making what could be the biggest decision of his hockey career and could wait until the offseason to do so. Still, he remains open to all options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are playing very well so far this season. If they maintain that solid performance throughout the remainder of the schedule it could prove to Tavares that the club is heading in the right direction. That could be a significant factor in his decision. For all the speculation suggesting the Isles could moves Tavares by the Feb. 26 trade deadline if he’s unsigned by then, I believe they’ll also be patient and wait for their captain’s decision, even if it takes until late-June for him to reach it. 


Darren Dreger reports it’s “very unlikely” Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli will make a significant deal comparable to yesterday’s deal that saw the Anaheim Ducks ship defenseman Sami Vatanen to the New Jersey Devils for forwards Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi. However, Chiarelli has admitted he’s dabbling in the trade market and is willing to discuss “certain players” such as Drake Caggiula, Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Thursday on the NHL Network discussing possible moves by the Oilers. Regarding speculation suggesting Chiarelli should shop center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Friedman feels the Oilers GM doesn’t want to make that move as he’s been among their better players this season. He speculates if Chiarelli were to move Nugent-Hopkins he’ll want an “even better return” than the one he got for winger Taylor Hall, who was traded last year to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s important to remember the Hall-for-Larsson swap occurred in late June. As I’ve frequently said, if the Oilers trade Nugent-Hopkins it’ll be in the offseason,when the Oilers stand a better chance of getting a solid return. As for Caggiula, Khaira and Slepyshev, they won’t fetch a return that turns the Oilers’ season around. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports Sabres GM Jason Botterill is very pleased with the play of left wing Evander Kane, who is the club’s only consistent scorer this season. However, he remains undecided if he’ll re-sign the 26-year-old winger or move him before the trade deadline. The Sabres have multiple roster needs and risk losing Kane to free agency in July. In 25 games, Kanes has 12 goals and 23 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a difficult decision for Botterill. Sure, it’s easy for fans to yell out suggestions, but this won’t be an easy move for the Sabres GM. If he trades Kane, he gives up his best scorer with no guarantee of getting back a return than will significantly improve the Sabres. On the other hand, he can’t risk losing Kane next summer for nothing. This could come down to how much Kane seeks on his next contract and the willingness of ownership to pay it. 


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox examined “6 reasonable reactions” to Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s recent comments regarding his free-agent status in 2019. Doughty believes he should earn more than Nashville’s P.K. Subban ($9 million annual cap hit) on his next contract, adding he will touch base with Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson (also eligible for UFA status in 2019) regarding contract negotiation strategy and how much he loved playing for Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock in the Olympics.

Fox cites colleague Nick Kypreos saying this is a huge distraction for the Kings and Senators, something they don’t need right now. While Kypreos said Doughty’s stance isn’t out of the ordinary it’s not something that’s mentioned in public by a player a year and a half before his UFA eligibility. He points out Doughty and Karlsson are both represented by Newport Sports Management so it’s only natural that they would exchange information.

Fox also notes Doughty, though he returns regularly to Ontario, wasn’t a Leafs fan growing up, but a good way to start a bidding war would be mentioning hockey-mad Toronto. He adds that Doughty is an outspoken player who didn’t do anything wrong or slam anyone with his latest comments. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings GM Rob Blake downplayed Doughty’s comments and claims it won’t be a distraction. But of course, what would you expect him to say? It’s refreshing that Doughty isn’t beating around the bush. Sure, he could opt to test the UFA market in 2019, especially if the Kings can’t afford to re-sign him or if the club hasn’t returned to Cup contender status by then. Heck, yeah, he could sign with the Leafs or maybe join them via trade before his UFA eligibility, maybe as early as next summer. It’s also just as likely that he’s making these public statements to leverage the best deal he can get from the Kings. 


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports a source saying the Montreal Canadiens are shopping defenceman Brandon Davidson and have informed the other NHL clubs via e-mail that he’s available. The 26-year-old Davidson was a healthy scratch from several recent games and appeared in just 13 contests with the Habs this season. 

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect a significant return, Habs fans. Montreal will likely get a draft pick for Davidson. 


Desharnais to Oilers, Oduya returns to Blackhawks

Desharnais to Oilers, Oduya returns to Blackhawks

The Montreal Canadiens trade David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Brandon Davidson.

The Montreal Canadiens trade center David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Brandon Davidson. The Canadiens also retained $700K of Desharnais’ $3.5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that Desharnais, an unrestricted free agent,  is on his way out of Montreal. His production steadily declined from his career-best 52 point season in 2013-14. He missed time earlier this season to a knee injury and in recent games was a frequent healthy scratch.

The Oilers were reportedly seeking a third-line center who was strong in the faceoff circle. Desharnais is ok in that department (47.8 percent). However, the Oilers were looking at big guys like Martin Hanzal and Brian Boyle before their recent trades to Minnesota and Toronto respectively. Having lost out on those guys, perhaps the Oilers opted for speed and offensive skills. Perhaps they can plug Desharnais into their second line and move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins down to the third line.

The Habs, meanwhile, acquire their second defenseman in as many days, having dealt for Jordie Benn yesterday. Davidson, 25, is in only his second full NHL season. He missed over 30 games earlier this season to injury. The 6’2″, 210 pounder has good size and plays a physical game.

The Canadiens were lacking skilled depth at center before trading Desharnais to Edmonton. With this move, one has to assume the Habs aren’t done dealing. Having added Davidson, perhaps they intend to shop another blueliner in hopes of adding a center. 

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars in exchange for minor-league forward Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. Should the Blackhawks reach the 2017 Western Conference Final and Oduya play in at 50 percent or more of their games, that pick becomes a third rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oduya spent nearly four seasons with the Blackhawks from 2011-12 to 2014-15, helping them win two Stanley Cups. Signed by the Dallas Stars to a two-year deal, it’s clear he no longer had a future with the Stars after this season. He’s now at the tail end of his career, but the 35-year-old Oduya should be a solid depth addition to the Hawks as they look to add another championship. 

Earlier today, the Ottawa Senators acquired forward Viktor Stalberg from the Carolilna Hurricanes in exchange for a 2017 third round pick.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2017

Could the Colorado Avalanche dangle Gabriel Landeskog at the Anaheim Ducks for a defenseman?

Latest on the Avalanche, Rangers, Senators, Canucks, Blackhawks & more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman were scouting the Anaheim Ducks recent game against the Florida Panthers. He notes the Ducks have a surplus of young defenseman “and it’s been believed for a while now GM Bob Murray will trade one for a forward. Both the Avalanche and Lightning have that.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Ducks biggest need is to add a first- or second-line left wing. The Avs had that commodity in Landeskog. The Bolts have Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin, who are restricted free agents this summer and could prove expensive to re-sign.  

Friedman also doubts the Ottawa Senators are interested in paying a big price for Colorado’s Matt Duchene. He also notes the Senators are getting calls about struggling young forward Curtis Lazar but doubts they want to part with him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also believes the Sens are unlikely to part with Lazar, as they don’t want to give up on him yet. If they were to put him on the block, and Garrioch considers that doubtful, they’ll want “a high-end pick or top prospect” in return. 

Friedman speculates the Avalanche could be among the clubs with interest in Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson. He’s not someone the Oilers want to trade, but the difficulty in protecting him in the expansion draft and the need to re-sign other key players could make him tough to retain. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers don’t have to move Davidson now. They could attempt to trade him before the June 17 deadline for submitting their expansion draft protected list. 

Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was spotted in Chicago for the recent Blackhawks-Dallas Stars game. While Hawks management is downplaying the possibility of a big move, Friedman observes they love to win and opponents think they could make a stealth move. He speculates they could target Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks only have $1.7 million in deadline cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary or get a trade partner to pick up part of the cap hit of any notable player they could be interested in (like, say, Vanek or the Coyotes Shane Doan) to make this happen. Bowman has pulled off deadline moves before and I wouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility that he could it again. As Friedman notes, however, the Hawks GM won’t move his first-round pick because his club is hosting this year’s NHL Draft. 

Friedman notes the New York Rangers are looking for defensemen. While he mentioned Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner (and former Ranger) Matt Hunwick as a possibility, he points out the Rangers need a right-side defenseman, which Hunwick is not. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman probably won’t be a big player at this year’s NHL trade deadline. He also reports the Ottawa Senators kicked the tires on Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, but given the high asking prices, they’re unlikely to call back. 

Earlier this season, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said he wouldn’t ask pending UFAs Alex Burrows and Ryan Miller  to waive their no-trade clauses. Bob McKenzie reports, however, that situation might change. If the Canucks decide to sell, and if there’s interest in Burrows and/or Miller, Benning could go to those players, explain what’s being made available to them and see if they’re willing to waive their clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning was quite insistent about not asking players carrying no-trade/no-movement clauses to waive them. We’ll find out soon enough if he’s changed his mind. 

Earlier in the day, McKenzie told Vancouver’s TSN 1040 that if the Canucks were able to parlay a young defenseman such as Ben Hutton into a good young scoring forward, it could be a good option for them. He stressed, however, that he’s not saying Hutton’s being shopped. 

Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets will be hard-pressed to replace defenseman Tyler Myers, who’s now out for several weeks because of a lower-body surgery. He’s already missed most of this season to injuries. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was already shopping for blueline depth and will continue to look. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff should be looking for a proven starting goalie. While I agree they could use more depth on defense (especially with Myers out most of this season), inconsistent goaltending is once again their biggest weakness. That’s been an ongoing issue for years, and until it’s suitably addressed, the Jets will remain a non-playoff club. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers need a big-minute, puck-moving right-side defenseman, but argues against them overpaying for that player at the trade deadline. If they’re going to pursue someone like St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, he suggests it’s better to wait until free agency in July, when all it will cost them is money. He also suggests blueliners such as Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton, Nashville’s Ryan Ellis or Anaheim’s Brandon Montour might be available. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers could land Shattenkirk in a sign-and-trade deal in which they don’t give up a lot of assets, then (as Brooks suggest) it’s worth exploring. Otherwise, however, it would be a wasteful effort to pursue him as a rental. Addressing that weakness on their right side will likely have to wait until this summer. Trouba, Ellis and perhaps Montour could be trade possibilities, but I take Flames president Brian Burke at his word when he said last fall that Hamilton’s unavailable.