NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2023

No Patrick Kane signing this summer plus the latest on Cam Atkinson, Tristan Jarry, Nazem Kadri and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Patrick Kane intends to take his time recovering from major hip surgery that is expected to sideline him for four to six months. Once he’s ready to return (which could be by December), the 34-year-old right winger will select the suitor he feels will give him the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Wyshynski noted the drawbacks of this strategy. Kane can’t control how general managers will manage their rosters. Desirable clubs might not have the salary-cap flexibility in December that they currently have in the offseason. On the other hand, signing with a team now runs the risk of committing to a club that might not become a contender.

Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, is unconcerned by this strategy. He noted that teams have called to express interest in his client. “You could offer me a one-year or a two-year deal right now at $7 million or so,” said Brisson. “I don’t even know if I want to entertain it, because it’s not what he needs. We’ll see, at the right time, how he feels, where he’s at, and then we’ll take it from there.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap for 2023-24 likely means Kane will have to accept a one-year contract when he’s ready to return by December. Most Stanley Cup contenders in the market for a scoring winger with championship experience will have little cap room by that point.

Kane earned an annual average value of $10.5 million on his previous contract. At this stage of his career, he and his agent understand they won’t get anything close to that. Given the cap situation, he might have to accept a significant pay cut that could be well below what they anticipate.

It’s likely more important for Kane to show the hockey world that he’s fully recovered from his surgery and is still capable of being an effective scorer despite his age. A strong showing this season on a low-cost, one-year contract will set him up for a better deal next summer when the cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.

TSN: After missing all of 2022-23 to an upper-body injury and neck surgery, Cam Atkinson is looking forward to returning to action this season with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old winger said he’s fully recovered from his surgery and no longer experiences pain in his neck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Atkinson’s absence was a contributing factor in the Flyers’ decline last season. A return to form in 2023-24 could help them become a better-than-expected team.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Nazem Kadri believes the Flames’ coaching change will re-energize the roster for 2023-24. He feels the elevation of Ryan Huska as head coach will have them playing more to their style. Kadri also said Huska is a coach who communicates well, adding he thinks that’s what the team needs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huska’s predecessor, Darryl Sutter, was a taciturn old-school coach who reportedly clashed at times last season with several of the Flames’ roster core. The change of style could help this club unlock its potential.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry said he’s 100 percent healthy after struggling through injuries last season. He indicated that he’s changed his offseason training to get stronger and fitter in a different way. While the precise nature of his injuries last season hasn’t been divulged, Jarry denied that they were chronic issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins management evidently believes Jarry has put his injury woes behind him, signing the 28-year-old goalie to a five-year contract worth an AAV of nearly $5.4 million. A healthy season by Jarry will be crucial to the club’s hope of returning to playoff contention.

THE ATHLETIC: The Arizona Coyotes placed Alex Galchenyuk on unconditional waivers on Thursday for the purpose of terminating his contract. The 29-year-old winger had signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Coyotes on July 1.

The decision was made after the club became aware of an off-ice issue involving Galchenyuk. It was subsequently reported he was arrested by Scottsdale police on July 9 on a number of charges including private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest and threatening or intimidating. The police indicated the hit and run was “only property damage and no injuries. Galchenyuk was released on his own recognizance and arraigned on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was no comment from Galchenyuk’s agent or his attorney. We’ll likely learn more details of this story in the coming weeks.

TSN’s Rick Westhead tweeted yesterday that several NHL executives, sponsors and player agents are bracing for the NHL’s possible release of its investigation regarding an alleged sexual assault involving as many as eight players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.

If the league names and suspends the players allegedly involved, those players will likely appeal any sanctions with an arbitrator as per the CBA and might pursue defamation lawsuits against the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report of the NHL’s investigation was expected to be released sometime in July.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Ty Dellandrea to a one-year, $900K contract.

TSN: The New York Islanders have promoted Rick Kowalsky as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He served as Bridgeport’s assistant coach for the past two seasons. He replaces Brent Thompson, who recently joined the Anaheim Ducks’ coaching staff.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres have signed a two-year affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2023

The Stars beat the Golden Knights again to stay alive in the Western Conference Final plus the latest on Matthew Tkachuk, the Leafs GM search and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars avoided elimination again by doubling up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Ty Dellandrea scored the game-winner and the insurance goal in just over a minute and a half midway through the third period while Jake Oettinger got the win with a 27-save performance.

Dallas Stars forward Ty Dellandrea (NHL Images)

The Stars had to overcome 1-0 and 2-1 deficits as the Golden Knights got goals from Ivan Barbashev and Chandler Stephenson. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault extended his points streak to four games with two assists in this contest.

Game 6 is Monday night in Dallas with the Golden Knights holding a 3-2 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still hold the advantage in this series but the momentum has shifted in the Stars’ favor. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy attempted to downplay the pressure now placed on his team after failing to eliminate the Stars in the last two games. Nevertheless, he has to ensure that doubts aren’t starting to creep in among his players after blowing two opportunities to end this series and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Stars’ confidence has returned. They now believe they can win, which is a much better place to be mentally and emotionally after playing desperation hockey following their disastrous Game 3 performance.

The Stars will also benefit from team captain Jamie Benn returning to the lineup for Game 6 following his two-game suspension, provided he doesn’t let his emotions get the better of him again. They still face elimination but they have to like their chances now as they return to home ice.

With the Stars forcing Game 6 on Monday, the 2023 Stanley Cup Final will officially begin on Saturday, June 3 in either Dallas or Las Vegas.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk joined Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Anderson on the NBA on TNT pregame show on Saturday night ahead of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Final between the host Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk bantered for several minutes with the hosts over his performance in the Eastern Conference Final and the postseason thus far. He and his teammates are awaiting the winner of the Western Conference Final.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have held preliminary discussions with Doug Wilson regarding their vacant general manager position.

Wilson was GM of the San Jose Sharks from 2003 until stepping down in 2022 for medical reasons. With his health improving, he is reportedly interested in returning to the NHL in some capacity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson is just one of several former NHL general managers being interviewed by the Maple Leafs. Others reportedly include Brad Treliving, Marc Bergevin, Peter Chiarelli and Jason Botterill.

TORONTO SUN: The Leafs ongoing search for a new general manager has left their unrestricted free agents such as Luke Schenn in limbo. They’re forced to wait until the dust settles before they can find out if the Leafs intend to bring them back on new contracts.

OTTAWA SUN: The four potential buyers of the Senators met last week with Anna and Olivia Melnyk, daughters of the club’s late owner Eugene Melnyk. They’re among several groups that must sign off on the sale of the franchise. Anna and Olivia wish to maintain a 10 percent stake in the Senators.

A preferred bidder could be selected by the end of this week.

THE SCORE: Germany pulled off a major upset in the IIHF World Championship by defeating Team USA 4-3 in overtime of their semifinal game. They advance to face Canada in the gold-medal game on Sunday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2022

Notable highlights from Friday’s preseason play, Canadiens’ rookie Juraj Slafkovsky’s underwhelming preseason play, Flyers goaltender Carter Hart says he’ll be ready for his club’s season-opener, plus the latest injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Matt Duchene scored twice in a five-point performance to lead the Nashville Predators to a 7-1 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Lightning in preseason action on Friday. Tanner Jeannot had four points (including two goals) while Filip Forsberg collected three assists.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (NHL Images).

San Jose Sharks hopeful Danil Gushchin tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Jack Eichel scored two goals for the Golden Knights. Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was stretchered from the ice after crashing into the end boards. He was taken to a hospital for observation and was said to have full movement of his extremities and was fully conscious and alert.

Speaking of the Ducks, sophomore center Trevor Zegras will undergo more medical tests after suffering an upper-body injury in a preseason game on Wednesday.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Robertson scored twice and added an assist as his club downed the Ottawa Senators 6-3.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes called Juraj Slafkovsky’s performance in his first two NHL preseason contests “a little underwhelming”. Hughes said the club would do what was best to help the 2022 first-overall pick to improve. He didn’t rule out having the 18-year-old winger start the season with their AHL affiliate in Laval.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Internet trolls and panicky Canadiens fans are already calling Slafkovsky a bust. Sensible hockey fans understand it’s far too early for that kind of assessment.

The young Slovak is trying to adjust to a different style of game on a smaller ice surface. Some players can adjust quickly while others need more time.

The worst thing the Canadiens can do is try to push Slafkovsky into their lineup before he’s ready. If he needs a season in the AHL to adjust to the North American game then so be it. If he’s not NHL-ready yet he shouldn’t be on their roster this season simply because he’s a first-overall draft pick.

Slafkovsky could become a superstar. He could become a bust. He could become something in-between. It’s ridiculous to write him off after just two meaningless preseason contests.

Speaking of the Canadiens, winger Josh Anderson explained the upper-body injury that sidelined him since the start of training camp was a spider bite on his hand that got infected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t a radioactive spider so he won’t turn into the NHL’s version of Spiderman. Anderson is expected to return to their lineup before the end of their preseason schedule.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Carter Hart will miss the Flyers’ first four preseason games. However, the 24-year-old goaltender said he expected to be ready for the club’s season opener on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers will need a healthy Hart at his best if they hope to reach the playoffs this season. They’re already missing Ryan Ellis from their blueline for the season while center Sean Couturier will miss the start of the schedule with an upper-body injury.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Andrew Copp hopes to make his debut with the Red Wings in their season-opener on Oct. 14. The versatile 28-year-old forward signed with the Wings as a free agent but is still recovering from offseason abdominal surgery.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Dahlstrom requires shoulder surgery that will sideline him for six months. Blueliner Jordie Benn will be out for three weeks with a groin strain.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Ty Dellandrea will miss the next two-three weeks with a broken finger.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings forward Jacob Doty received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for interference on Sharks forward Jeffrey Viel in a recent preseason game.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks signed Scott Harrington to a one-year, two-way contract. The 29-year-old defenseman earned the job while on a professional tryout offer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2022

The Leafs sign Rasmus Sandin and could try Mitch Marner on defense, Devils captain Nico Hischier suffers a hamstring injury, an update on MacKenzie Weegar’s contract talks with the Flames, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs signed Rasmus Sandin to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $1.4 million. His deal is similar to that of teammate Timothy Liljegren. The 22-year-old defenseman missed the start of training camp due to his contract negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sandin camp reportedly reached out to Leafs management to expedite this situation as injuries have already sidelined blueliners Liljegren, Jake Muzzin, Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing puts the Leafs over the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.89 million but they can garner some temporary relief by placing Liljegren on long-term injury reserve and demoting another player. Sooner or later, however, they could be forced to make a cost-cutting trade.

SPORTSNET: With their defense corps already depleted by injuries, the Leafs are considering having All-Star winger Mitch Marner take some shifts on the blue line. The 25-year-old right winger is among the NHL’s best defensive forwards.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall-of-Fame forwards Bob Gainey and Sergei Fedorov also used to sometimes play defense in certain circumstances. It might not be a bad idea to experiment with Marner on defense during preseason play to see how he fares in that role until their blueline is healthy again.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier suffered a hamstring injury in preseason play and will be re-evaluated in 10 days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hischier has been hampered by injuries for most of his young NHL career. The 23-year-old center is coming off a career-best 60-point performance in 70 games last season.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports MacKenzie Weegar and his agent are pushing to get a contract extension done with the Calgary Flames before the start of the upcoming regular season. Acquired from the Florida Panthers in July, the 28-year-old defenseman netted a career-best 44 points last season and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis expects Weegar could earn more than $6.5 million annually if he hits the open market on July 1. Both sides reportedly remain optimistic so there’s a chance an agreement could be hammered out before the Flames open their season on Oct. 13.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks are still awaiting word as to the severity of Trevor Zegras’ upper-body injury. The 21-year-old sophomore center left Wednesday’s preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes after receiving a thunderous bodycheck by Jan Jenik.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild forward Tyson Jost admitted he found it difficult watching the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup this year. Jost, 24, spent nearly six seasons with the Avs until he was traded to the Wild before last season’s trade deadline.

It was just tough to watch, and now you’ve got to live with that,” he said, crediting his mother for helping him through that emotional time. He also deleted his Instagram account for a time after several Avs fans trolled him by leaving him messages saying their club wouldn’t have won the Cup if he’d still been with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re so used to players saying how happy they are for their former teammates when they win the Cup. That feeling may be sincere but some of it could also be for public consumption. Privately, it has to affect them in some way to have missed out on winning hockey’s holy grail.

Jost doesn’t have any ill will toward the Avalanche. He’s also in a good position to play a larger role with a promising team in Minnesota than he did in Colorado. Maybe he’ll get his opportunity to win the Cup with the Wild.

TSN: Los Angeles Kings forward Jacob Doty will have a hearing on Friday with the NHL department of player safety for interference on San Jose Sharks forward Jeffrey Viel. The incident occurred during a preseason game on Wednesday.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Ty Dellandrea broke a bone at the tip of one of his fingers after blocking a shot during Thursday’s preseason game against the Minnesota Wild. He’s expected to be sidelined for two-three weeks.