NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s games feature Patrick Kane and Alain Vigneault reaching career milestones plus updates on Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Gabriel Landeskog and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrick Kane scored his 400th career goal as the Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-2. He had a three-point performance while Alex DeBrincat collected four points and Kevin Lankinen made 44 saves for the Blackhawks. They’ve won six of their last eight games and sit third in the Discover Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied career goal 400 in a 7-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wondered how the Blackhawks would fill the leadership void when team captain Jonathan Toews was sidelined by a mysterious illness. Kane has certainly risen to the occasion. He’s also tied for second with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (34 points) in the NHL scoring race.

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault picked up career win 700 as his club blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Goalie Carter Hart made 28 saves for the shutout while James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault is tied with Mike Babcock for eighth on the all-time list.

The Boston Bruins got two goals from Charlie Coyle and two assists from David Pastrnak as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-1. Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev played most of the game with a scratched left eye suffered in the first period. He went to the bench for repairs and returned to the game.

A 28-save performance by Juuse Saros helped the Nashville Predators down the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, sweeping their two-game series and handing the Jackets their fifth straight loss. Columbus coach John Tortorella said he wasn’t concerned about his job security in a post-game press conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Changes could be coming to the Jackets if they don’t snap out of this tailspin soon. They’re now six points behind the fourth-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Central.

Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves in his first game since coming off the COVID-19 protocol list. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Caps. Devils captain Nico Hischier missed the game and is listed as day-to-day after taking a puck to the face on Saturday.

New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves for his second straight shutout in a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were the goal scorers.


THE SCORE: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel claimed he didn’t get hurt during pregame warmup before Thursday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils, contradicting what coach Ralph Krueger told reporters that night. Eichel said he got hurt in New Jersey on Tuesday, which also forced him to miss Thursday’s game. Krueger said Sunday he wasn’t trying to mislead anyone with his statement on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would be at best a minor issue for a normal team. For the floundering Sabres, however, it’s seen by their critics as yet another example of the dysfunction within the club.

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs could face the Edmonton Oilers tonight without center Auston Matthews and goalies Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. They’re nursing injuries and listed as day-to-day. Michael Hutchinson will get the call if Andersen and Campbell can’t play.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog tied Peter Forsberg for the third-most goals (202) in franchise history during Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers winger Brett Connolly and Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock were placed on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m interested to see if a team in need of goalie depth plucks Stalock off the waiver wire. He had decent numbers last season but has been relegated to third-stringer behind Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen this season.

STLTODAY.COM: Jacob de la Rose became the sixth player on the St. Louis Blues to be placed on injured reserve.

TSN: Four players – Arizona’s John Hayden, Detroit’s Patrik Nemeth, the New York Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl – remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were calls from some in the media in mid-February for the NHL to pause or reduce the schedule over the growing number of players on the protocol list and the postponement of games as a result. Those numbers have significantly dropped over the last two weeks, suggesting the league’s updated protocols are working.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2019

The Blues down the Oilers, the Rangers thump the Red Wings, the Blues and Wings swing a trade plus the latest on Auston Matthews, Bryan Little, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues picked up their sixth straight win by downing the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and two assists while Jake Allen made 32 saves for the win. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had two points for the Oilers.

Henrik Lundqvist backstopped the New York Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images).

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 35 shots backstopping the New York Rangers to a 5-1 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich and Tony DeAngelo collected two points each. The Wings dropped their fourth straight game and have just four victories in 17 games.


WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little needed 25-30 stitches and spent the night in a neurological ward after getting hit in the head by a Nikolaj Ehlers slapshot in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Jets released a statement indicating Little was alert at all times and in good spirits on Wednesday.

TSN: A trial readiness conference will be held on Nov. 27 between Arizona prosecutors and attorneys representing Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews. He faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge related to an incident last May in Scottsdale, Arizona.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula is listed as day-to-day with an issue related to his surgically repaired right knee.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils rookie Jack Hughes signed an endorsement deal with Gatorade.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings traded center Jacob De La Rose to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for winger Robby Fabbri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players struggled to earn permanent roster spots with their former clubs.

De La Rose is a versatile checking-line forward who can play center or wing. With the Blues adjusting to the absence of winger Vladimir Tarasenko to shoulder surgery, De La Rose will likely play a fourth-line role in St. Louis.

Fabbri is a former first-round pick (21st overall in the 2014 draft) whose promising career was hampered by knee, groin, and shoulder injuries. A frequent healthy scratch with the Blues this season, Fabbri will get an opportunity for playing time with the struggling Red Wings.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets assigned goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of my readers asked if this move was in anticipation of the Jackets acquiring a more experienced goaltender. Looks like this move is simply to give Merzlikins more playing time. He appeared in just four games this season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

Game recaps plus the latest on Ben Bishop, Mats Zuccarello, Paul Byron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: David Pastrnak scored a hat trick and set up two other goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. The Bruins (103 points) sit five up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins roster depth was also bolstered by the return of defenseman Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson from injuries. 

David Pastrnak’s three-goal, five-point performance powered the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers kept their wild-card hopes alive by edging the Leafs 5-4 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Carter Hart made 38 saves for the Flyers while Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. The Flyers (82 points) sit eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the second wild-card spot. Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin made his season debut after being sidelined by a knee injury

Speaking of the Flyers, forward Jori Lehtera was reportedly sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine. The Flyers placed Lehtera on waivers in early-February and he last played for their AHL affiliate on March 1. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Lehtera’s play already narrowed his chances of landing with another NHL team after this season. This news likely slams that door. Here’s hoping he can get his life back on track.

The Dallas Stars (86 points) maintained their three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by nipping the Calgary Flames 2-1. It was a costly win for the Stars, as starting goalie Ben Bishop was once again sidelined with a lower-body injury. Bishop is listed as day-to-day and the club intends to call up a goaltender for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. 

Stars winger Mats Zuccarello required a couple of stitches over his right eye following a collision with teammate Joel L’Esperance during morning practice yesterday. Zuccarello was otherwise unharmed as he continues his recovery from a broken arm. 

The Avalanche, meanwhile, defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected two points and Tyson Barrie set a franchise record for most goals (73) by a defenseman. The Avs (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot. 

THE SCORE: Agent JP Barry, who represents Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron, is questioning the unwritten rules about players settling scores by fighting. Byron suffered a concussion during a fight with Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Tuesday. Weegar missed two weeks with a concussion in January following a hit by Byron, who received a three-game suspension. Barry pointed out Byron gave up five inches and 50 pounds to Weegar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  If Byron had a history of dirty play, was unrepentant over that hit on Weegar and received no supplemental discipline by the league, one could argue he got what he deserved. But that’s not the case. Hockey’s a rough game but that fight served no purpose at all.

CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers winger Brad Malone was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of demoting him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed defenseman Carl Dahlstrom to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $850K.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2019

Game recaps, Connor McDavid tops NHLPA poll, Wings re-sign Jimmy Howard, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 54 saves and Victor Hedman scored in overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. Nikita Kucherov scored two goals while Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists. The Lightning played without defenseman Dan Girardi, who’s sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny left the game in the second period after injuring his left leg. Despite the loss, the Capitals (94 points) hold a three-point lead over the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. 

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 35th goal of the season and his 200th career point in a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Auston Matthews tallied his 35th goal of the season and his 200th career NHL point as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. John Tavares also had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (93 points), who sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. 

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck picked up his first shutout of the season by blanking the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Hellebuyck made 29 saves while Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers were the goal scorers. Jets defenseman Joe Morrow returned to action for the first time since being sidelined in mid-February by a lower-body injury. With 92 points, the Jets hold a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division. 

Despite a four-goal third period by the Ottawa Senators, the Vancouver Canucks went on to defeat them by a scored of 7-4. Alexander Edler collected three assists, Loui Eriksson had a four-point performance and Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson each scored twice for the Canucks. Dylan DeMelo had three helpers for the Senators. 

NHLPA: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was voted the NHL’s best forward in this season’s NHLPA player poll. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman was voted the best defenseman and the Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price was the best goaltender. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a one-year contract extension worth $4 million. The deal comes with a $1.1-million bonus if the Wings reach the playoffs next season but doesn’t include a no-trade clause. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, this is a fair deal for both sides. Another solid season by Howard could earn him another contract with the Wings after next season. The deal also gives the Wings time to find a suitable replacement for Howard in the near future. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Jacob de la Rose is doing well but will undergo further examination following a cardiac episode on Tuesday. 

The New York Islanders announced center Valtteri Filppula will be sidelined four weeks with an upper-body injury. Jordan Eberle is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2019

Game recaps, Sharks clinch a playoff spot, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Tyler Seguin collected four assists, Alexander Radulov scored twice, and Ben Bishop returned to action as the Dallas Stars doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers. The Stars (82 points) opened a four-point lead over the Coyotes for the first Western wild-card position. 

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin collected four assists in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers (Photo via NHL Images).

Jaden Schwartz tallied a hat trick and David Perron scored twice as the St. Louis Blues thumped the Edmonton Oilers 7-2. Oilers winger Milan Lucic was ejected following a nasty cross-check on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The Blues (84 points) remain five points behind the Nashville Predators for second place in the Central Division. 

Sean Kuraly scored twice and Tuukka Rask stopped 13 shots as the Boston Bruins blanked the New York Islanders 5-0. The loss drops the Islanders (91 points) into second place in the Metropolitan Division. Isles forwards Valtteri Filppula and Cal Clutterbuck left the game with upper-body injuries

Jimmy Howard kicked out 41 shots and Andreas Athanasiou scored two goals to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers. Wings forward Jacob de la Rose was diagnosed with an accelerated heartbeat following the second period and was hospitalized for precautionary reasons. He will return home and will soon see a specialist. Speaking of Howard, he’s expected to sign a one-year, $4-million contract extension later this week. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping de la Rose makes a full recovery and can continue his playing career. Howard, 34, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent but he and the Wings expressed a mutual interest in working out a new contract. This anticipated deal would be a reasonable one for both sides, giving the Wings more time to find Howard’s eventual successor. 

The Montreal Canadiens (83 points) moved within one point of the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Carey Price made 32 saves while Brendan Gallagher, Shea Weber, and Max Domi scored for the Habs. The loss leaves the Flyers (78 points) six points out of a playoff berth. 

Dougie Hamilton’s shootout goal gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, moving the Canes (87 points) within two points of the Penguins for third in the Metropolitan Division. Pens defenseman Kris Letang scored in his return to the lineup while teammate Phil Kessel set a franchise record for consecutive games with 320. 

The Washington Capitals regained first place in the Metropolitan Division by downing the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Brett Connolly had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who’ll visit the White House on Monday to commemorate their 2018 Stanley Cup championship.

Connolly, however, said he’ll respectfully decline the invitation in solidarity with teammate and friend Devante Smith-Pelly, who indicated last fall he was not attending. “The things that (President Donald Trump) spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” said Smith-Pelly. “Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction will be toward the Capitals’ White House visit. The Pittsburgh Penguins faced criticism from some quarters for their 2017 visit, though that came in the midst of a protest among NFL players (and some owners) over Trump’s remarks against black players taking a knee during the American national anthem against police brutality toward the black community. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne kicked out 22 shots to shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0, handing the latter their fourth loss in their last five games. Wayne Simmonds tallied his first goal with the Predators (89 points), who sit one behind the Winnipeg Jets for the top spot in the Central Division. 

A 36-save performance by Philipp Grubauer gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche (76 points) sit one point behind the Wild and two back of the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. 

The Calgary Flames opened a three-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Western Conference by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Johnny Gaudreau tallied his 35th goal of the season.

NBC SPORTS: Thanks to the Avalanche’s victory over the Wild, the San Jose Sharks clinched a playoff spot. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2018

Game recaps plus the latest on Corey Crawford, Mike Matheson, Nick Ritchie, Brady Tkachuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice, John Carlson had a three-point night and Matt Niskanen tallied in overtime as the Washington Capitals edged the New York Rangers 4-3. Defenseman Neal Pionk assisted on all three Rangers goals.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice in his club’s 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. (Photo via NHL Images)

Johnny Gaudreau netted his 100th career NHL goal and Michael Frolik scored twice in the Calgary Flames’ 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Gaudreau had to leave the game in the third period as part of the league’s concussion protocol following a high hit from Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No update was provided on Gaudreau’s condition but it doesn’t sound as though it’s serious. Hopefully, we’ll learn more later today. 

Ryan Kesler scored twice as the Anaheim Ducks downed the New York Islanders 4-1.

The Ducks also ended their contract impasse with winger Nick Ritchie as they reached an agreement on a three-year, $4.6-million deal ($1.533-million annual average value) and inked unrestricted free agent defenseman Jake Dotchin to a one-year, $800K contract.

Dotchin must clear waivers before joining the Ducks. He’s also filed a grievance against his former club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, for terminating his contract over what they called a “material breach” regarding his conditioning.

Brendan Gallagher’s goal with 11 seconds remaining in the third period gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Max Domi and Mike Reilly scored their first goals this season for the Canadiens, who have a 4-1-1 record.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar also picked up an assist, giving him a team-leading eight points in six games. Former Habs captain Max Pacioretty, the guy Tatar was traded for, has one point in his first seven games with the Vegas Golden Knights.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford hopes to make his long-awaited return from concussion symptoms tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. Crawford’s last game was Dec. 23, 2017.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson said he’s received death threats and online harassment following his hit on Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson on Saturday. Matheson was slapped with a two-game suspension for the hit by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson doesn’t deserve this. You can take issue with his hit on Pettersson but there’s no reason to harass him online. I daresay those making those threats lack the guts to make those comments to his face. Lots of folks with keyboard courage out there. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators rookie Brady Tkachuk will miss a month because of a torn ligament in his left leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough break for the Senators and Tkachuk, who was off to a promising start (six points in four games) to the season.

SPORTSNET: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Cory Conacher to a one-year, two-way contract extension worth $700K at the NHL level. He was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of demotion to their AHL affiliate.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings claimed forward Jacob de la Rose off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes placed forward Phil Di Giuseppe on waivers.