NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2021

Update on new contracts for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, no players opt-out of the coming season, Robin Lehner speaks out about Jack Eichel’s standoff with the Sabres, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE PROVINCE: New contracts for Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson and defenseman Quinn Hughes are expected to be formally announced over the weekend. Pettersson, 22, has reportedly agreed to a three-year contract worth an annual average value of $7.35 million while the 21-year-old Hughes’ new deal is for six years with an AAV of $7.85 million.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: General manager Jim Benning is garnering praise from the media for getting both players signed for less than they were seeking. Still, Pettersson and Hughes are being well-compensated as the Canucks’ two best players. They will be in a better position to garner bigger raises on their next contracts.

Speaking of the Canucks, defenseman Travis Hamonic has decided not to opt out of participating in the upcoming season by Friday’s deadline. He remains at home in Manitoba dealing with a personal matter. Benning released a statement indicating the club supports him but didn’t indicate when the 31-year-old blueliner will return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No NHL player took the opt-out option by yesterday’s deadline.

Meanwhile, Canucks winger Brock Boeser is out for at least a week with an undisclosed injury.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner called out the NHL Players Association on Twitter regarding the standoff between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel. The two sides are locked in a disagreement over medical treatment for a herniated disc in his neck.

A former Sabre and teammate of Eichel, Lehner criticized what he believes to be the PA’s lack of support for Eichel over what the goalie considers an attack on the players’ freedom of choice regarding their health. He also expressed disappointment for what he perceived as his fellow players’ unwillingness to stick up for each other.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem is the collective bargaining agreement gives the teams the final say over what treatment players receive for hockey-related injuries. The PA has been involved with the league in trying to find a solution to this standoff. Whether they’ll be part of any further action on Eichel’s part to address this situation remains to be seen.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The prospect of facing 14-day quarantines following every American road trip convinced Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith to get the COVID-19 vaccination. While not an anti-vaxxer, Keith believed his conditioning as an elite athlete and the steps he’s taken to strengthen his immune system would leave him facing little risk of contracting the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This list of unvaccinated players who missed games last season for COVID-related reasons says otherwise. Not every player on that list contracted COVID-19 but a significant number of them did, missing several games or even undergoing a pause in their schedules as a result. 

WPLG MIAMI: Contract talks between the Florida Panthers and captain Aleksander Barkov are progressing slowly. The 26-year-old center is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Barkov remains confident a deal will get done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers better be prepared to pay big bucks to keep their best player in the fold. Barkov’s camp could seek $10 million annually on an eight-year deal but Panthers management could try to sell him on Florida’s lack of a state tax as justification to accept a little less than that.

Whatever Barkov gets could leave the Panthers with a cap crunch for 2022-23. Cap Friendly shows them carrying a projected $66.9 million invested in 14 players.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan revealed he played through the second half of last season with a fractured left tibia. “I tried my best to stay in the lineup and stay healthy,” said de Haan. “It didn’t feel good”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As someone who also suffered a fractured left tibia, I agree with de Haan that it doesn’t feel good. However, I didn’t try to play hockey on it, or anything else for that matter until it fully healed.

ECHL.COM: The Allen Americans have entered into an affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest on Brandon Carlo, Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: First-period goals by Anders Lee and Brock Nelson 62 seconds apart powered the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Isles’ fifth straight victory and the Sabres’ seventh consecutive loss. Nelson scored twice while Jeff Skinner tallied his first of the season for Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders (34 points) hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 714 and Ilya Samsonov made 36 saves as the Capitals downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Before the game, Ovechkin weighed in on teammate Tom Wilson’s seven-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, calling it “a kind of joke.” Wilson will not appeal the suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Ovechkin is sticking up for his teammate but I wonder if he’d feel the same way if, say, Brad Marchand (like Wilson, a skilled player with a history of reckless play) hit one of the Capitals in the same way Wilson did to Carlo.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood turned in a 40-save shutout to blank the Bruins 1-0. Kyle Palmieri tallied the only goal. Speaking of Carlo, he was released from the hospital on Saturday and is listed as week-to-week with a head injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Four of their goals came on the power play as they extended their points streak to eight games. Yanni Gourde led the way with two goals and two assists. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy received a match penalty for a dangerous hit to the head of Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and could face supplemental discipline. The Hawks also played without rearguard Calvin de Haan, who’s ailing from blocking a shot during Friday’s game between the two clubs.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 1,000th career NHL game. With the win, the Hurricanes (35 points) are one point behind the first-place Lightning in the Discover Central Division and one point ahead of the Panthers.

A three-point performance by Kasperi Kapanen helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 5-1. The Penguins blew the game open with three goals by Kapanen, John Marino and Sidney Crosby within 61 seconds in the second period. Pittsburgh (29 points) moved two points ahead of the Flyers into fourth in the East Division. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba picked up an assist in his first game since suffering a broken thumb on Feb. 16.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Roman Josi. The Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals to force overtime and the shootout.

A shootout goal by Drake Batherson gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, who dropped their second straight game since firing head coach Geoff Ward.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto was fined $3, 854.17 for tripping Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson during Saturday’s game.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. He hasn’t practiced in five weeks and there’s no timetable for his return.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers president John Davidson reached out to Barry Beck after the former Rangers captain recently wrote a scathing Facebook post blaming the Rangers, USA Hockey and the NHL for the death of former teammate Mark Pavelich, who passed away last week at age 63.

Beck believes Pavelich’s struggles late in his life were attributable to head trauma suffered during his playing career with the Rangers in the 1980s. He criticized the club and USA Hockey for what he considered their lack of support of Pavelich. He also called the NHL “cowards” for avoiding discussion about the lasting effect of brain and head injuries suffered while playing. Pavelich’s death is still under investigation.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is among the finalists for the 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.

NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.

WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.

SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2020

Training camps slated to open on July 10, CBA updates, and the latest on Patrick Kane, David Pastrnak, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL TRAINING CAMP TO OPEN JULY 10

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced yesterday Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan will see training camps open on July 10. Both parties agree this will take place provided medical and safety conditions allow, and the two sides reach an agreement on resuming play (Phase 4).

NHL training camps could begin on July 1 (Photo via NHL.com).

Earlier this week, the league and PA implemented Phase 2, allowing small-group workouts at team facilities voluntarily.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks listed the outstanding issues that must be addressed before Phase 4 (24-team playoff tournament) begins. They include travel and quarantine restrictions when crossing the Canada-United States border, determining the location of two hub cities to stage the tournament, various health and safety issues, as well as escrow and salary cap issues.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun cautions the start date for Phase 3 could change if negotiations drag between the league and the PA. They’re also hoping for the Phase 4 start date to be around August 1.

Darren Dreger reports Las Vegas is considered a front-runner as one of the two hub cities. Toronto could have the inside track among the three Canadian cities because of its experience hosting the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Vancouver and Edmonton also made pitches to be a host city.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports those three Canadian cities could learn by today if the Canadian government’s quarantine restrictions will be loosened for NHL teams.

If those restrictions aren’t lifted entirely, they could consider extending the quarantine area to include the team employee’s home and arena, thus allowing them to practice while serving out their 14-day quarantine period.

If a Canadian city is chosen as a hub, teams from the United States participating in the tournament could quarantine inside an “NHL bubble” created between the team hotel, practice arena, and the NHL arena.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane wants the league to take a cautious approach toward resuming play.

The NHL is putting out these dates and whatnot, and as players, we’re taking a step back and saying, ‘Why are these dates being put out when we haven’t really agreed to anything yet?’ ” Kane said. “We just want to be cautious.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The PA also agreed to those dates, but as the joint statement yesterday indicated, it’s based on whether medical and safety conditions are met and both sides have reached an agreement on resuming play.

This can still be derailed at any time by the pandemic. The players could also vote against it if they feel their health and safety cannot be assured.

Yesterday’s announcement of training camps opening on July 10 is a positive step, but significant hurdles remain between now and then.

NHL CBA UPDATES

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the two sides are believed discussing a four- or five-year CBA extension. A four-year one would push the CBA to the end of the 2025-26 season. Whatever news rules are agreed upon would be implemented right away.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports escrow and the salary cap are the key issues before a CBA extension can be reached before the playoff tournament begins in August.

NHL players could potentially face escrow deductions of 40 percent or more next season. The league and the PA are attempting to negotiate an escrow cap that would allow the players to make their payments over a longer period.

The two sides are also discussing keeping next season’s salary cap at a flat rate ($81.5 million). Without it, Brooks speculates the cap could drop by $10 million. That would produce chaos and instability around the league as teams shed salary, flooding the free-agent market and depressing salaries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension would ensure labor peace for the next six years. It would be the silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19 hanging over the league right now.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak won the Golden Hockey Stick as the Czech Player of the Year for the fourth straight season, tying the record set by future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Peter Laviolette could be the front-runner for the role of New Jersey Devils head coach. Laviolette is among four candidates, including Devils interim bench boss Alain Nasreddine.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports sources claim NBC Sports broadcaster Ed Olczyk was among those interviewed for the Devils GM position. When asked, Olczyk said he speaks to a lot of people in the NHL. Interim GM Tom Fitzgerald remains a candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are leaving Nasreddine and Fitzgerald twisting in the wind. Those two should be commended for how well they’re handling this situation.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan is expected to be fully recovered from shoulder surgery to participate in the playoff tournament in August.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed goaltender Oscar Dansk to a one-year, two-way contract extension worth $700K at the NHL level.

TSN: Kim Pegula will be staying on as president of the Buffalo Sabres.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Former San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels announced his retirement. Wingels spent 337 of his 448 career NHL games with the Sharks from 2010-11 to 2016-17, as well as stops with the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins from 2016-17 to 2017-18. He had 62 goals and 143 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Wingels in his future endeavors.










The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part I)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part I)

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 27, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 27, 2019

With Seabrook and de Haan sidelined, will the Blackhawks go shopping for replacements? Are the Penguins planning to move a goaltender? Could the Senators shop Craig Anderson? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE BLACKHAWKS SEEK REPLACEMENTS FOR SIDELINED SEABROOK AND DE HAAN?

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: With Blackhawks defensemen Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan sidelined for the season, Ben Pope reports the club put them on long-term injury reserve. That will free up their combined $11.4 million salary-cap hit, providing the Blackhawks with immense flexibility.

Should the Chicago Blackhawks pursue New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen? (Photo via NHL Images)

What general manager Stan Bowman will, and should, do with that space is unclear. He could pursue one or two rental players via the trade market, such as New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen or Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. However, giving up assets to acquire those players seems short-sighted.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield speculates Bowman could pass on the opportunity to use that additional cap space to bolster his roster. The Blackhawks are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and they aren’t flush with prospects to use as trade bait.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers also ponders possible moves by Bowman. He could simply let the season play out and see where the chips fall. He could wait until the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches to get a better idea if he’ll be a buyer or a seller. He could be aggressive now in hope of adding rental players who can provide immediate help to the roster.

Powers also points out they lack sufficient assets to tempt rival clubs in the trade market. He doesn’t see Bowman trading away Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell. Perhaps Bowman could attempt to use his cap space to plan for the future by acquiring an expiring toxic contract or two packaged with draft picks and prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Blackhawks. Bowman will likely see how things unfold in the coming weeks before deciding upon his course of action. He undoubtedly wants to restock his prospect pipeline but also wants to give his current roster a fighting chance to reach the postseason. If they can gain ground in the standings, perhaps he’ll see what affordable options are available.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford doesn’t plan to act urgently with his goaltending situation. Tristan Jarry has outplayed starter Matt Murray, who’s only appeared in two games this month.

While Rutherford acknowledged one never knows what could come up between now and the trade deadline, he’s not looking to move a goaltender right now. Jarry and Murray are both restricted free agents next summer, so there’s no urgency to move either player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several teams would love to acquire Jarry. Rutherford could attempt to trade the young netminder while his stock is high. Given Murray’s injury history, however, I suspect the Penguins GM will hang on Jarry for the rest of the season. He could shop third-stringer Casey DeSmith, but he’s good insurance in case Murray or Jarry gets hurt.

COULD THE SENATORS SHOP ANDERSON?

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion will have to decide over the next two months which veterans he’ll need to keep to bridge the gap as his younger core continues to develop. He believes pending free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson’s days in the Senators net are drawing to a close. The better Anderson plays, the better the return if and when a team comes calling for an experienced backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just throwing this out there: Anderson to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They need a reliable backup and the two clubs have a recent trade history.

The Senators would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his $4.75-million annual cap hit. Even then, it could still get complicated cap-wise for the Leafs.