NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2020

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk weighs in on next season, a suggestion for a 35-game schedule, how the Golden Knights roster has changed and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is excited about his current roster, believing they’ll be competitive in 2020-21. While acknowledging there’s no guarantee next season will take place, he remains optimistic, noting the league is working hard to make it happen. He also indicated “there’s a lot of stuff that has to be done financially because everybody’s taking a big hit.”

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (NHL.com).

Melnyk half-jokingly said he’s not a fan of a proposed temporary Canadian division. “It’s only for a hockey reason. This is not our year. We’ll be competitive but this is the year the Canadian teams are all better. Every one of them – including mine. I’m still at the beginning of my rise up. Everybody else was good and they’re getting better.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The financial stuff Melnyk’s alluding to is the reports the league could ask the players to accept prorated salaries for ’20-’21 or deferring more of their salaries to a future date. The players have already agreed under the new CBA to receive 72 percent of their gross pay for the coming season. The PA is reportedly against proration.

Melnyk has a point about the difficulty the Senators would face in an all-Canadian division. They were better than the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings and finished just six points behind the Buffalo Sabres in the Atlantic Division last season. They’ll potentially be the weakest team in a Canadian division. The Sens wouldn’t be facing any of the other six clubs that failed to reach the playoffs last season or a Conference rival, such as the Florida Panthers, that may be weaker in the coming season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire recently suggesting 35 games might be the minimum for the NHL to complete the upcoming season. American Hockey League president and CEO Scott Howson agreed with McGuire. “Well, I think a 35-game season is better than no season in any league,” he said, pointing out the difficulties both leagues could endure in the face of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All the speculation thus far suggests 48 games would be the minimum the NHL would accept. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility of a 35-game season. The course of the pandemic will ultimately be the deciding factor.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The 2020-21 Golden Knights will look a lot different from their debut roster of 2017-18. Only nine players – William Carrier, Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Brayden McNabb, Tomas Nosek, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch – remain from their original lineup.

Seven players – Robin Lehner, Alec Martinez, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves, Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone – were acquired via trade. Two (Alex Pietrangelo and Nick Holden) were signed via unrestricted free agency. Cody Glass was selected in the NHL draft while Zach Whitecloud arrived via college free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several of those players (Lehner, Pacioretty, Reaves, Stone) were in the final year of their contracts and due to become unrestricted free agents when they were acquired via trade and signed to extensions. With Cap Friendly indicating the Golden Knights carry limited cap space for the foreseeable future, they’ll probably look more toward building from within as the prospects they stockpiled develop into NHL-caliber players. They’ll also probably lose another from their “Golden Misfits” expansion draft class next summer with Nosek due to become a UFA.

THE SCORE: The NHL has completed its teasers of all 31 of their “Reverse Retro” third jerseys for 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not a fan of the third jersey gimmick, but I can understand the push behind the current one. The NHL and its players need all the revenue it can get in 2020-21.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Collin Delia is looking forward to challenging for the starting goaltender position with the Blackhawks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2019

Game recaps, Evgeni Malkin to have a disciplinary hearing, stars of the week, Kings trade Nate Thompson to the Canadiens, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 50 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to snap a four-game losing skid. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist while Nick Bjugstad tallied his first goal as a Penguin.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin faces supplemental discipline for swinging his stick at Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl (Photo via NHL Images).

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin faces supplementary discipline for swinging his stick at Flyers winger Michael Raffl after the latter punched him in the back of the head. Malkin was ejected from the game. Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Penguins (65 points) opened a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Malkin was fined $5,000.00 last January for spearing LA Kings winger Dustin Brown. Raffl was grazed by Malkin’s stick but wasn’t injured, which could factor into whatever punishment the Penguins winger could face. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice and set up two others, including Alex Ovechkin’s 38th goal of the season, as the Washington Capitals defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-4. Austin Wagner tallied twice for the Kings. 

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton picked up his 1,050th career assist to pass Gordie Howe for ninth on the all-time list during his club’s 7-2 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks. Evander Kane scored twice for the Sharks, who’ve have won 11 of their last 12 contests. The Canucks were playing without goaltender Jacob Markstrom (undisclosed) and center Brandon Sutter (lower body). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the loss, the Canucks (57 points) remain two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second Western Conference wild-card spot. 

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, and Chicago Blackhawks center Dylan Strome are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 10.

The Montreal Canadiens yesterday acquired center Nate Thompson and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft (originally belonging to Arizona) from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019 (originally acquired from Calgary). The Canadiens also called up winger Dale Weise, who was acquired on Saturday from Philadelphia. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens acquired Thompson and Weise to shore up their fourth line, which has been a problem area this season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks yesterday announced goaltender Collin Delia signed a three-year, $3-million contract extension.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils claimed forward Kenny Agostino off waivers from the Canadiens. 

CBS SPORTS: The Colorado Avalanche recalled winger Tyson Jost. 

TUCKER HOCKEY: Provides a diagram explaining how the NHL became a billion-dollar business.