NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2020

The Canucks and Flyers stave off playoff elimination, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Mathew Barzal, Zdeno Chara, Sidney Crosby, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Rookie goaltender Thatcher Demko made 42 saves as the Vancouver Canucks avoided playoff elimination by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in Game 5 of their second-round series. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson scored as the Canucks overcome a 1-0 deficit. Shea Theodore tallied for the Golden Knights, who lead the series 3-2. Game 6 goes Thursday.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Filling in for banged-up starter Jacob Markstrom, Demko was outstanding in his first game since March. Markstrom is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury and could be questionable for Game 6. Demko’s solid performance in Game 5 could ease the concerns of Canucks fans.

Scott Laughton scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers stayed alive in their series with the New York Islanders in a 4-3 win in Game 5. The Islanders overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. Flyers captain Claude Giroux and winger James van Riemsdyk each netted their first goals of the postseason.

It was a costly game for both clubs, as Flyers center Sean Couturier left the game with a possible leg injury while Isles center Mathew Barzal was accidentally clipped in the face by Giroux’s stick. An update on their conditions could be revealed today.

TSN: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hasn’t made a decision yet over whether he’ll return for a 23rd NHL season. He’s an unrestricted free agent this fall. The Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery on Monday. Recovery time is three-to-four weeks.

STLTODAY.COM: A Russian sportswriter can expect the cold shoulder from several Russian NHL players following disparaging comments he made toward Yana Tarasenko, wife of St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

Yana took to Instagram denying a claim by Alexei Shevchenko that her husband’s ongoing shoulder injury had the winger close to retirement. Shevchenko replied the only purpose of her husband and other players is to entertain the public, calling her “useless.”

Taranseko’s agent, Dan Milstein, said the remark outraged his Russian clients and their families. Milstein also represents Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tarasenko, meanwhile, issued a statement indicating he has no plans to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lashing out at a player’s wife or belittling her husband’s profession was uncalled for. “I stand by my story” would’ve sufficed. If your source was wrong, apologize and move on.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are still awaiting word when they’ll travel from Toronto to Edmonton for the Eastern Conference Final. The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals will be held in Edmonton. The Lightning eliminated the Bruins from the second round on Monday.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NEWS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Frank Seravalli reporting Bill Zito could become the new general manager of the Florida Panthers. Zito is currently the assistant GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Panthers could make an announcement as early as today.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed forwards Austin Wagner and Carl Grundstrom to contract extensions. Wagner got a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.33 million, while Grundstrom’s is for two years at $725K annually.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres named Matt Ellis their director of player development.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Speaking of the Sabres, John Vogl reports their Hall of Fame has been largely inactive since its chairman, Bob Swados, passed away in 2012. Restarting the Hall has been on the back burner for years. It was raised several times to team executives, but Vogl indicated it always failed to gain traction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the front office won’t even put in the time to honor a club’s history, that’s a pretty good indicator of a poorly-run franchise.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2019

The Red Wings snap a 12-game winless skid, Joe Thornton reaches another milestone, Tim Thomas reveals concussion issues, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings picked up their first win in a month, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, and Filip Hronek each picked up three points as the Wings snapped a 12-game winless skid (0-10-2). Kyle Connor tallied both goals for the Jets.

Robby Fabbri scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings snapped a 12-game winless skid (Photo via NHL Images).

Steven Stamkos tallied two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Boston Bruins 3-2, leaving the latter winless in their last five games (0-4-1). Bolts winger Nikita Kucherov collected two assists.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice to lead his club over the Nashville Predators 4-3. Eichel now has points in his last 15 games. Sam Reinhart also picked up two assists.

Artemi Panarin tallied a hat trick to lead the New York Rangers over the San Jose Sharks 6-3, spoiling Bob Boughner’s debut as the Sharks’ interim coach. Mika Zibanejad also scored twice for the Rangers. San Jose is now winless in six games (0-5-1). Sharks center Joe Thornton picked up an assist in his 1,600th career game.

A three-goal third period, including two by Johnny Gaudreau, lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames have won seven straight games. Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had two-point performances for the Leafs.

Clayton Keller scored twice as the Arizona Coyotes rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Vinnie Hinostroza collected three assists for the Coyotes, who’ve won four of their last six contests. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Calvin de Haan (shoulder) on injured reserve.

Vancouver Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom kicked out 43 shot in a 1-0 shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes. Elias Pettersson potted the winner in overtime. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed goaltender Thatcher Demko was sidelined with a concussion. Vancouver winger Micheal Ferland is seeing a specialist to deal with concussion-like symptoms.

Goaltender Thomas Greiss made 32 saves as the New York Islanders held off the Florida Panthers 3-1. Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle each had two points. The Panthers scratched struggling defenseman Mike Matheson from this contest.

Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry made 17 saves to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0. Bryan Rust tallied the winner in overtime. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game due to illness.

The St. Louis Blues halted a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist returned to action after being sidelined for six games and collected a goal and an assist.

Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” as his club held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5. Eric Staal and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Wild. Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom each collected a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who’ve dropped six of their last eight games.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped an 11-game road winless skid by edging the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 36 saves for the win.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL goaltender Tim Thomas revealed he’s been dealing with brain damage related to his playing career that’s derailed his life. Doctors told Thomas that two-thirds of his brain were getting less than 5% blood flow and the other third was averaging about 50%.

Thomas revealed the news during a press conference before his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He revealed it was a concussion suffered in Dec. 2013 that changed his life and lead to his retirement. He’s better now but still isn’t close to normal, admitting he’s had difficulty communicating with people and watching hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was heartbreaking watching an emotional Thomas reveal this to the world. I wish him well in his ongoing efforts to cope with this condition.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens forward Matthew Peca is expected to miss the next six weeks with a knee injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens mascot Youppi was voted in the Mascot Hall of Fame. Youppi got his start with the Montreal Expos and joined the Canadiens after the Expos moved to Washington.










NHL Most Important Players: Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Most Important Players: Vancouver Canucks.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2019

Hurricanes upset the Capitals to advance to the second round, the full second-round schedule released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: There will be a new Stanley Cup champion this season as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Washington Capitals 4-3 in double overtime to win Game 7 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Brock McGinn scored the winning goal as the Hurricanes overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to force overtime. Justin Williams picked up his NHL record 15th career Game 7 point by assisting on McGinn’s goal. The Hurricanes will face the New York Islanders with Game 1 of that series starting tomorrow night at Barclays Center in New York.

Brock McGinn scored in double overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Washington Capitals 4-3 in Game 7 of their opening-round series (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The spring of upsets continues in this year’s postseason, with all four division leaders eliminated from the opening round for the first time in NHL history. This was the first series victory for the Hurricanes in 10 years. Their remarkable run this season reignited their once-dormant fan base.

It was a tough loss for the Capitals, who’d hoped to stage a second straight championship run. Not to detract from the Hurricanes’ impressive never-say-die attitude and solid work ethic in this series, but the Capitals were also their own worst enemies. Having two two-goal leads slip through their fingers and failing to generate a shot on goal during a rare overtime powerplay in this game will haunt them throughout the offseason. 

The league released the full second-round schedule. It kicks off tonight with the Boston Bruins hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their series while the Dallas Stars travel to St. Louis to face the Blues.

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, Nashville Predators winger Wayne Simmonds, and Hurricanes winger Justin Williams are this year’s finalists for the Messier NHL Leadership Award.

 

 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (lower-body injury) is ruled out for Game 1 of Dallas’ series against the St. Louis Blues.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a two-year, $2.1-million contract. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators have sought permission from the Pittsburgh Penguins to speak with assistant coach Jacques Martin. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have parted ways with assistant coach Don Granato. 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 31, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 31, 2019

Check out the latest on the Canucks and Oilers in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe the Vancouver Canucks must invest in secondary scoring and bolster the right side of their blueline this summer. There’s talk they could trade for a young right-handed defenseman but it remains to be seen who they’ll pursue and how much it’ll cost. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ defense is indeed quite thin on the right side, which is currently filled by Alex Biega, Troy Stecher and Luke Schenn. A skilled young top-four rearguard is desperately needed there but finding one won’t be easy via trade or free agency.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was a frequent fixture in the rumor mill leading up to the trade deadline but the questions about his play that sparked those rumors won’t help the Canucks. Salary-cap constraints could force the Winnipeg Jets to trade Jacob Trouba or let Tyler Myers depart via free agency but there’s no certainty either guy will want to go to a rebuilding club. Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen has also popped up in recent media trade chatter but it could cost the Canucks one of their good young forwards to get him. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Harman Dayal examines the performance of Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton, who’s coming off a two-year, $5.6-million contract and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Dayal notes Hutton’s agent could seek a new deal worth in the range of $4 million per season because he’s been deployed as a top-pairing rearguard. Despite the positive buzz over Hutton’s play this season, Dayal concludes he’s actually struggling as a top-four defenseman and recommends the Canucks try to move Hutton while his trade value is high.

Should the Canucks trade Ben Hutton this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The question is, does Canucks general manager Jim Benning also believe Hutton lacks the stuff to become a reliable top-four defenseman? If it appears the Hutton camp will seek more than the Canucks are willing to pay this summer, perhaps that’ll prompt Benning to shop him. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston wonders if Thatcher Demko is the Canucks goalie of the future or if he’ll better serve the club as a trade chip. Given Jacob Markstrom‘s emergence as a reliable starting goalie this season and with promising Mike DiPietro waiting in the wings, Demko could fetch a solid return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t have to rush into a decision regarding their goaltending this summer. Markstrom is signed through 2019-20, Demko will be an affordable re-signing coming out of his entry-level contract and DiPietro could use at least one season in the minors. 

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like there’s some discussion between the Canucks and defenseman Luke Schenn regarding a one-year contract extension. Schenn has played well for the Canucks since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in mid-January. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is on a one-year, $800K contract so he won’t be expensive to retain. 

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allen Mitchell recently examined some affordable options for the Edmonton Oilers to bolster their roster this summer. His proposed goalie targets are Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson or Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott. San Jose’s Gustav Nyquist, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland, Vegas’ Brandon Pirri and the Islanders (and former Oiler) Jordan Eberle are among his suggested forward choices. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $71.7 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20, the Oilers won’t have much room if the cap is set for $83 million as projected. Unless they can shed salary they’ll have little choice but to pursue affordable depth via trades or free agency.

Elliott is more consistent than Mrazek and Nilsson but his age (33) and injury history are a concern. Not sure how keen Eberle would be to return to Edmonton. Ferland is a solid physical presence but his spate of injuries this season sends up warning flags plus he reportedly seeks Tom Wilson money. Nyquist will likely cost over $5 million annually to sign plus he could prefer signing with a contender. Ultimately, the Oilers could be going into the bargain bin for guys like Pirri this summer. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers should resist trading or buying out defenseman Andrej Sekera. He points out Sekera’s improvement since returning to action from injury this season and also notes the Oilers need his puck-moving skills. Sekera also has two years left on his deal with a $5.5 million AAV, a modified no-trade clause starting July 1, and has suffered two serious injuries in as many seasons, which would hamper the Oilers efforts to trade him and would also hurt his value in the trade market.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Staples. Moving Sekera would free up invaluable cap room but their defense is better when he’s healthy and in the lineup. Giving the hindrance of his contract and injury history, the Oilers probably won’t find many takers in the trade market.