NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.

The Dallas Stars yesterday fired head coach Jim Montgomery (Photo via NHL.com).

General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.

The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.

Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.

The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).

Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.

A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

Latest CBA news, updates on Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen, the Kings signed Ben Hutton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s encouraged by the collective bargaining discussions with the NHL Players Association. He’s hopeful of securing labor peace beyond the 2022 expiration of the current agreement and isn’t ruling out an extension. Bettman also expressed his happiness that the players opted not to reopen the CBA, which would’ve moved up the expiration timeline to Sept. 15, 2020.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports negotiations are ongoing. If all goes well, he speculated a tentative CBA extension could be in place within the next two months. He also reports Bettman dismissed the notion that the league might lack the urgency to push ahead with CBA talks now that the players declined to exercise its early opt-out. He also waved off the idea that he’s thinking about his legacy and didn’t want another work stoppage clouding his final years as commissioner.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports sources saying the NHLPA executive leadership favored reopening the CBA but they lacked sufficient support among the membership to do so, especially among the influential veterans in the 30-33 age bracket. The players were concerned taking the early opt-out would make the current amicable negotiations more contentious.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is please by the NHLPA’s decision not to re-open the CBA (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also reported the team owners haven’t been part of the negotiations with the players, who felt continuing talks directly with Bettman and league VP Bill Daly remains the best path. He also said the league’s desire for labor peace is very real, more so than at any point in his coverage of the league over the past 25 years.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine raised eyebrows when he appeared to complain to a Finnish reporter that he’d be a top-line player on other clubs. He spent most of last season on the Jets’ second line with center Bryan Little. “There are top lines and then there is our line. But I play with the guys I’m told to play,” he said. The 21-year-old restricted free agent remains mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is practicing with SC Bern in Switzerland.

THE SCORE: Jets captain Blake Wheeler said he didn’t have an issue with Laine’s remarks. “I would say those are all good things. You want guys that are hungry for more and not content with where he’s at,” said Wheeler, who praised the youngster’s skills and his contributions to the Jets’ power play.

Meanwhile, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is joining Laine with SC Bern. Like Laine, he’s yet to sign a new contract with his NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s latest comments fueled speculation over his future with the Jets. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings signed former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan took part in his first training-camp practice with the club. Traded to Chicago by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, de Haan has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and a nagging groin injury.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. With blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the move provides additional depth to the Hurricanes’ blue line.

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will consult a specialist for a second opinion regarding his ongoing headache issues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2019

Update on Mitch Marner plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will have Mitch Marner re-signed on the opening day of the 2019-20 season. He’ll miss all of training camp and perhaps the first few games of the regular season but it’ll be a better outcome than William Nylander’s contract standoff a year ago.

Could it take until the start of the regular season for the Toronto Maple Leafs to re-sign Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule out that possibility. I doubt Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants another season where one of his best young players isn’t signed until December and I don’t think Marner’s keen on that possibility.

By reacquiring all-but-retired David Clarkson, Dubas can place his $5.25-million salary-cap hit and that of Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on LTIR to start the season. That’ll provide sufficient cap space for Marner’s next contract. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with David Rittich, re-signing the goaltender to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable bridge deal for Rittich, allowing the Flames sufficient time to evaluate his performance to determine if he’s ready to become a full-time starting goalie.

This signing also affects the Flames’ salary-cap space for 2019-20 and their efforts to re-sign power forward Matthew Tkachuk. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section. 

DKPITTSBURGHSPORTS.COM: Defenseman Marcus Pettersson won’t be re-signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins until the club frees up sufficient salary-cap space. His agent, Peter Wallen, said the Penguins are currently up against the $81.5-million salary-cap ceiling and lack the money to re-sign his client. “I guess we’re waiting for them to make some room,” said Wallen. The Penguins currently sit just over $157K over the cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wallen said he’s had cordial negotiations with Penguins management and acknowledged there’s sufficient time to get a deal done. However, he’d like to have a new contract in place for Petterssen before training camp opens in September.

Depending on how much it’ll take to re-sign Petterssen, the Penguins could bury a couple of contracts in the minors or make a trade to free up cap room. Petterssen completed his entry-level contract last season so he doesn’t have much leverage. He also shouldn’t be too expensive to retain. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed forward Mike McCarron to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2019

The Hurricanes ship Calvin de Haan to the Blackhawks in a four-player trade, the Flyers re-sign Travis Sanheim and ship Ryan Hartman to Dallas, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/NEWSOBSERVER.COM: last night reported the Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela to the Chicago Blackhawks for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.

Carolina Hurricanes trade defenseman Calvin de Haan to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Having recently acquired Olli Maatta, the Blackhawks continue shoring up their defense corps with veteran players. de Haan brings a measure of “stay-at-home” defensive ability to a blueline that was missing that element this season.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, move out a third-pairing rearguard who was earning $4.55 million annually for three more years. Taking back Forsberg provides additional goaltending depth that might be needed soon. The Athletic’s Craig Custance believes Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney intends to test the unrestricted free agent market on Monday. 

COURIER-POST ONLINE: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Travis Sanheim to a two-year contract worth $3.25 million per season. They also traded winger Ryan Hartman to the Dallas Stars in exchange for winger Tyler Pitlick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim gets a cost-effective short-term bridge contract. Hartman was a restricted free agent who no longer fit into the Flyers’ plans. Pitlick has a year remaining on his contract worth $1 million. The Flyers now have around $17 million in salary-cap space for 2019-20. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Brad Hunt to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins will reportedly re-sign defenseman Steven Kampfer to a two-year contract extension.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Robert Thomas underwent surgery to repair a tendon in his left wrist.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2019

St. Louis Blues are going to the Stanley Cup Final. Game recap plus updates on Erik Karlsson, the latest on the Oilers and Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time in 49 years, the St. Louis Blues will be playing in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Ryan O’Reilly collected three assists, David Perron had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves. The Blues will take on the Boston Bruins – the team they faced during their last trip to the Final – in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Monday night

The St. Louis Blues are the 2019 NHL Western Conference champions. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are the feel-good story of 2018-19. On Jan. 3, they were dead last in the league standings. They overcame the odds (in part thanks to Binnington’s goaltending) to reach the playoffs, eliminating the Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, and Dallas Stars along the way. 

NBC SPORTS: The Sharks played without defenseman Erik Karlsson, winger Tomas Hertl and captain Joe Pavelski. The trio was sidelined by various injuries. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had those three been healthy, perhaps the outcome of Game 6 would’ve been different. Karlsson was plagued by injury throughout the regular season. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said the blueliner was healthy and dialed in “for about six weeks.”  An unrestricted free agent this summer, Karlsson’s future in San Jose is uncertain. I’ll have more on his status later today in the Rumors section.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion met with former Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy yesterday in Montreal. Roy was reportedly being interviewed for the Senators’ head-coaching position. Dorion has also interviewed “associate coach Marc Crawford, Belleville coach Troy Mann, Pittsburgh assistant Jacques Martin, Providence College coach Nate Leaman, Toronto assistant D.J. Smith and Dallas assistant Rick Bowness.” A decision could come as early as this weekend. 

TSN: Former Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett remains the front-runner for the Edmonton Oilers’ coaching job. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers also dismissed Duane Sutter as their vice president of player personnel. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook (core muscle injury) and defenseman Calvin de Haan (right shoulder) recently underwent surgery. Martinook’s recovery time is four-to-six weeks while de Haan will be sidelined four-to-six months. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin was injured during Team USA’s 3-0 loss to Canada during a preliminary round game at the IIHF World Championships. No update as to his status but it’s believed to be a groin injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2019

Game recaps, including milestone nights for Evgeni Malkin, Carey Price, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Johnny Gaudreau, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin collected two assists for his 1,000th career point as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Washington Capitals 5-3. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also became the only active player with six 90-point seasons on his resume.  Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had an assist to reach 1,200 career points. The Penguins (85 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin tallied his 1,000th career NHL point in a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price picked up his franchise-record 315th win as his club defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Price passed Hall-of-Famer Jacques Plante, whose record stood for nearly 56 years. The Canadiens (81 points) sit just outside the Eastern wild-card picture. 

The Calgary Flames erupted with six third-period goals to crush the New Jersey Devils 9-4. Johnny Gaudreau led the way with six points, including a hat trick, while Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm each collected four points. Gaudreau becomes the sixth player in franchise history to tally six points in a game. 

A goal by Joe Pavelski with five seconds remaining in regulation lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Gustav Nyquist scored twice and Marc-Edouard Vlasic collected three points for the Sharks (94 points), who maintain a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the top spot in the Western Conference. 

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop picked up his third straight shutout backstopping his club to a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. With the win, the Stars (77 points) maintain their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop is also playing his way into this season’s Vezina Trophy conversation. He leads the league in save percentage (.932), sits second in goals-against average (2.08), and is tied for second in shutouts with six. 

Boone Jenner tallied his first NHL hat trick while Josh Anderson and Zach Werenski each collected four points to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-4 victory over the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins. The Blue Jackets (81 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. 

Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as the Arizona Coyotes held off the St. Louis Blues 3-1. With the win, the Coyotes (75 points) vaulted over the Minnesota Wild into the final Western Conference wild-card spot, having won nine of their last 11 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers have garnered most of the attention with their surges up the standings in recent weeks, the Coyotes have also been among the hottest teams in the league since early-January. They’re also doing it with an injury-depleted roster. 

John Gibson made 32 stops as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. 

TORONTO SUN: The NHL has determined that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly did not utter a homophobic slur during Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Some on social media accused Rielly of making the remark against referee Brad Meier. 

NEWSOBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan is expected to recover from an eye injury suffered during Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. “We are optimistic that he will make a normal recovery without restrictions to his ability to play hockey in the near future,” said general manager Don Waddell.