NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2022

Recapping games from a busy Thursday night includes the Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin setting a league record, 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first goal, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin became the first defenseman in league history to score in each of his first four games of the season as his club doused the Calgary Flames 6-3. Alex Tuch tallied a hat trick while Eric Comrie kicked out 40 shots for the win. Flames winger Milan Lucic skated in his 1,100th career NHL game.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dahlin is off to a terrific start and leads all NHL blueliners in scoring. The Sabres’ speed made the difference in this one as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit with three first-period goals. They’re still giving up a lot of shots but their goaltending has been solid thus far.

Montreal Canadiens rookie (and 2022 first-overall draft pick) Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first NHL goal in a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored a Pavel Datsyuk-like goal on a penalty shot while Jake Allen made 25 saves. Travis Boyd had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rout was on for the Canadiens as they grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first period. Rookie defenseman Arber Xhekaj endeared himself to the hometown crowd with a decisive win in a fight with Coyotes winger Zack Kassian.

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and three assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4. Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell made 36 stops. Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov tallied a hat trick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a head injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Robertson scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, to drop the Dallas Stars 3-2. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for the Leafs while Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood stopped 40 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson’s winner was the result of a smart defensive play on his part when he broke up a two-on-one by stripping the puck from Stars captain Jamie Benn and sending the play the other way. He finished it with a one-timer off a pass from Auston Matthews.

The Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Los Angeles Kings 6-1. Jeff Petry had a goal and Tristan Jarry kicked out 39 shots. It was a costly win for the Penguins as Jake Guentzel suffered an undisclosed injury late in the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have scored six goals in three of their first four games this season.

Kirill Kaprizov’s overtime goal gave the Minnesota Wild their first win of the season as they dropped the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Kaprizov finished with three points while Mats Zuccarello scored twice and added an assist. Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski played in his 1,000th career NHL contest while teammate Jordan Greenway left with a suspected shoulder injury. Greenway was making his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks remain winless (0-3-2) to start the season. It was also the fifth straight game in which they blew a lead.

Ottawa Senators winger Drake Batherson tallied twice and Brady Tkachuk collected two assists as their club overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves in a losing cause for the Capitals while Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless. The Senators unveiled a banner to their late owner Eugene Melnyk in a pregame ceremony to honor his memory.

The San Jose Sharks picked up their first win of the season by nipping the New York Rangers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Erik Karlsson, who also collected an assist in this contest. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored to extend his points streak to five games. He also leads the league with 11 points.

Four unanswered third-period goals carried the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Nashville Predators 5-3. Johnny Gaudreau started and ended the rally with two goals.

New Jersey Devils winger Ondrej Palat tallied twice while teammate Nico Hischier had a three-point performance to beat the New York Islanders 4-1. Jesper Bratt collected two assists for the Devils. Anders Lee scored for the Islanders while teammate Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves.

Jack Eichel scored two goals, Alex Pietrangelo collected two assists and Adin Hill stopped 26 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Eichel has five points in as many games.

A shootout goal by Taylor Hall lifted the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Hall also opened the scoring during the second period while Frank Vatrano replied for the Ducks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews is being evaluated for an injury suffered during their 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday to the Jets.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche also claimed winger Dryden Hunt off waivers from the Rangers.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Limited salary-cap space is preventing the Panthers from signing Eric Staal. The veteran forward attended training camp on a professional tryout offer and is still skating with them during practice as a non-roster player.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed backup goaltender Dan Vladar to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $2.2 million.

NHL.COM: The 32 NHL teams yesterday unveiled their “Reverse Retro” jerseys for this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

Auston Matthews tallies his 60th goal of the season, Steven Stamkos reached 100 points, the Hurricanes clinch the Metropolitan Division, the Predators and Kings secure playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice to reach the 60-goal plateau as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Matthews is the first player to score 60 goals in a season since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12. He’s also the first American-born player to reach that mark. John Tavares also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the shutout. Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. With the win, the Leafs (113 points) secure second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stamkos scored twice and collected two assists while Nikita Kucherov also had a four-point performance. The Lightning have won four straight games and sit in third place in the Atlantic with 108 points. Before the game, the Blue Jackets confirmed Boone Jenner and Sean Kuraly will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the season ended today, the Leafs and Lightning would face each other in the first round. We’ll find out for sure by week’s end.

The Carolina Hurricanes (114 points) clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division by holding off the New York Rangers 4-3. Sebastian Aho scored to reach his 400th career point, Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei each collected two points and rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov got the win with a 31-save performance. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied his 52nd goal of the season. His teammate, Andrew Copp, returned to action from a lower-body injury but left the game in the second period. So did winger Artemi Panarin but it appears both were held out of this contest for precautionary reasons. The Rangers sit second in the Metro with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes were hopeful that sidelined starting goalie Frederik Andersen would be ready to return to action for the opening game of the playoffs next week. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports the current expectation is he’ll miss the Hurricanes’ first few games of the first round.

An overtime goal by Elias Lindholm gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators, but the latter still secured a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 95 points. Matthew Tkachuk scored in the final second of regulation to tie the game and set the stage for Lindholm’s winner. Both players have 41 goals on the season. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the Predators to reach 42 goals while teammates Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund each had three points. The Flames (110 points) recently clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators goaltender Juuse Saros left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left leg. An update on his condition could come on Wednesday.

The Dallas Stars moved closer to clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference after downing the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on a shootout goal by Miro Heiskanen. Jason Robertson scored twice to reach 40 goals on the season while Jake Oettinger kicked out 33 shots. The Stars hold the final wild-card spot with 95 points. With 91 points, the Golden Knights’ playoff hopes now hang by a thread while the Stars’ victory means the idle Los Angeles Kings have clinched a postseason berth with 96 points. They will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have a slim chance if they win their final two games and the Stars lose their last two in regulation, thus ensuring they’d take the wild-card berth on the basis of regulation wins. The Stars, however, need just one to qualify for the postseason.

Speaking of the Oilers, they secured second place in the Pacific Division with 100 points by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to reach a career-high 122, widening his lead in the scoring race by seven points over the Florida Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau. Mike Smith kicked out 33 shots for his 10th straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins winger Jason Zucker left the game in the first period with an undisclosed ailment. The Penguins (101 points) have already secured a playoff berth but hold a one-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Capitals, they failed to overtake the Penguins after falling 4-1 to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 32 stops for the Islanders. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche gained ground on the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s 16-game points streak. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves for the win while Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (118 points) moved within two points of the Panthers. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected an assist. The Blues remain in third place in the Central Division with 109 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews returned to the lineup after sitting out the last four games dealing with undisclosed minor injuries. Sidelined teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are both expected to return in time for the playoffs next week.

Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand, Tayler Hall and David Pastrnak each collected two points as the Bruins (105 points) sit three points behind the Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers sit first overall with 120 points.

The Minnesota Wild remains tied with the Blues with 109 points following a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka got the win with a 35-save performance while Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Kirill Kaprizov had two assists for Minnesota, who holds second place in the Central over the Blues with a game in hand. Wild forward Marcus Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the past four games due to a bout of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Blues will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome of their final games will decide which one gets home-ice advantage in their upcoming series.

Quinn Hughes set a single-season record for Vancouver Canucks defensemen by reaching 66 with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks were officially eliminated from playoff contention by the Stars’ win over the Golden Knights. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to down the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Tim Stutzle had two goals and two assists and Brady Tkachuk picked up three helpers for the Senators. Nolan Foote tallied twice for the Devils.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Max Comtois and Sonny Milano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is traveling with his teammates to New York, where he has a medical appointment concerning his surgically repaired knee. He’s listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s sparked speculation in Montreal over whether Price will play in the Canadiens’ final game of the season on Friday against the Panthers as well as concerns about whether he can continue his playing career. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Price still plans on being in net for Friday’s game and he wants to play next season. Nevertheless, we can expect questions about Price’s future to carry over into the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

The Wild and Capitals clinch playoff berths, the Leafs and Blues set franchise records, the Panthers remain red hot and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild clinched a playoff berth with a 5-4 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks. Jared Spurgeon scored twice, including the game-winner, Kevin Fiala had a goal and three assists and Frederick Gaudreau collected three assists for the Wild, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 101 points. The Sharks have lost 10 straight games.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

William Nylander scored the game-winning goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. The Leafs set single-season franchise records with 50 wins and 106 points as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. They also officially eliminated the Islanders from playoff contention, meaning the Washington Capitals have secured a postseason berth with 94 points as they sit in the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs sat out Auston Matthews from this game as he’s nursing a minor injury. He’s listed as day-to-day but head coach Sheldon Keefe wasn’t concerned his condition might worsen.

The eight Eastern Conference playoff clubs have now been determined. What follows over the remaining games of the regular season will be jockeying for position to determine home-ice advantage in the opening round of the 2022 postseason.

The St. Louis Blues erupted for seven second-period goals to set a club record for most goals in a single period as they crushed the Nashville Predators 8-3. Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou and Calle Rosen each scored twice while Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who sit one point ahead of the Wild in second place in the Central Division. It was also the most goals the Predators have ever given up in a single period as they drop behind the Dallas Stars into the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators (91 points) are tied with the Stars but the latter holds a game in hand. Earlier in the day, the Predators announced defenseman Jeremy Lauzon would not play as he’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Blues coach Craig Berube provided an update on Nick Leddy’s condition after he had been cut under one eye during Saturday’s win over the Wild. He said the defenseman was feeling better and doesn’t think he’ll be sidelined for very long.

Florida Panthers rookie Anton Lundell scored twice and goaltender Spencer Knight made 33 saves in a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Florida winger Jonathan Huberdeau’s point streak ended at 13 games. The Panthers have won 10 straight games and sit atop the Eastern Conference with 114 points, two behind the first overall Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fun fact: the Panthers have lost only once in the 13 games they’ve played since acquiring Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a 13-game winless skid by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4. John Gibson made 31 saves for his first victory since March 1 while Troy Terry scored twice and collected an assist. Jackets winger Patrik Laine missed the game with an upper-body injury and Zach Werenski left the game early in the first period with a facial injury.

Buffalo Sabres forwards Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson each scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.

HEADLINES

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen will undergo an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

CBS SPORTS: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews is dealing with “some nagging things” and could sit for Monday’s game against the Capitals.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety regarding an illegal check to the head of Capitals winger T.J. Oshie on Saturday.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’ve set an NHL record for the most man-games lost to injury with 700.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Donald Fehr’s tenure as executive director of the NHL Players Association could come to an end before next season.

A report released Friday by the law firm Cozen O’Connor cleared Fehr and the PA of any individual or systemic wrongdoing over their handling of the Kyle Beach investigation. That report, however, has come under criticism, raising speculation about concerns among the PA membership.

LeBrun reports Fehr, 74, was facing pressure to come up with a succession plan prior to the report’s release. That process could be accelerated, especially with another round of collective bargaining with the NHL coming in five years’ time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2021

Concern as COVID-19 cases rises among the players, Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews scoring reach milestones and Ben Bishop ends his playing career. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

COVID-19 CASES RISING AMONG NHL PLAYERS

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Tuesday’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild was postponed as six Hurricanes players and a member of their training staff went into COVID protocol. Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Steve Lorentz and Ian Cole entered the protocol one day after Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis did. The NHL will provide a further update on the Hurricanes schedule on Wednesday.

CALGARY SUN: The number of Flames on COVID protocol reached 10 after Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan and Noah Hanifin were placed on the list yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal is in COVID protocol. This comes three days after Casey Cizikas was the last of eight Isles to come off the list following an outbreak that began last month.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews will miss at least six games after testing positive for COVID-19.

THE PROVINCE: Four members of the Vancouver Canucks (Luke Schenn, Tucker Poolman, Brad Hunt and Juho Lammikko) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday. Poolman was pulled from last night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets five minutes into the first period after the results of his test came through.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forward Ryan McLeod joined the COVID protocol list yesterday. Head coach Dave Tippett was held out of last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a precautionary measure.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Morgan Frost left last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils within the first five minutes of the first period due to COVID protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 24 NHL players entered the league’s COVID protocol within 36 hours. The good news is their symptoms (and those of players who tested positive earlier this season) were in most cases minor because all but one player is double-vaccinated. Nevertheless, they must self-isolate for between seven-to-10 days depending on the outcome of subsequent testing to prevent or slow the spread of the coronavirus.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL isn’t considering pausing its schedule yet because of the recent outbreaks. Doctors with the league and NHLPA advising both sides had a call on Tuesday evening to discuss the latest events and consider the next steps. That could include a return to enhanced protocols such as more mandated mask-wearing to daily testing of players and staff.

The outbreaks also raised concern over NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics based on the three-to-five week quarantine rules for players who test positive while taking part in the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament. The mood among the NHLPA membership is to wait and see, review the information and reach a decision on participation as the Jan. 10 deadline to opt-out approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also said that to his knowledge no players have yet to decide against skating in the Olympics based on those strict COVID rules. The league has left it in the NHLPA’s hands whether or not they’ll take part. It could depend on the spread of the Omicron variant between now and the Jan. 10 deadline.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby became the 14th player in NHL history to reach 400 multi-point games by collecting two assists in a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Crosby is the only active player to reach that mark. Evan Rodrigues had a goal and two assists as the Penguins pushed their winning streak to five straight. The Canadiens have dropped seven in a row.

Auston Matthews scored two goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-1 victory over the slumping Edmonton Oilers. Matthews joined Dave Keon as the only Leaf to reach 20 goals in each of their first six seasons. The Leafs sit atop the overall standings with 42 points. Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is now tied for second place in the goal-scoring race with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin with 20 goals. Edmonton Leon Draisaitl has 23.

The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to five games by nipping the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Canucks overcame a 3-0 deficit as Bo Horvat scored twice and Quinn Hughes collected three assists. They have yet to lose since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach last week.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty tallied twice to extend his goal streak to seven games in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Mark Stone collected two assists as he and Pacioretty have each collected points in nine straight contests.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Florida Panthers 8-2. Josh Norris scored twice and added an assist, Drake Batherson had a goal and three assists and Connor Brown had three helpers.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson’s hat trick led his club to a 6-1 drubbing of the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers have won three straight games after dropping their first two games under interim coach Mike Yeo.

An overtime goal by Mathieu Joseph lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. The Lightning has won six of their last seven games. With 40 points, the defending Stanley Cup champions are just two back of the league-leading Maple Leafs.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals and Nazem Kadri had three assists to beat the New York Rangers 4-2. Nathan MacKinnon also picked up two assists for the Avalanche as they’ve won five straight.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored and chipped in two assists in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Blues goalie Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves as his club is unbeaten (4-0-2) in their last six games. The Stars, meanwhile, have dropped four straight.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a seven-game skid by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Rasmus Dahlin scored twice (including the game-winner) while rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 34 saves for his first career NHL win.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 34 saves to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1. Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen tallied for the Wings while Anders Lee replied for the Isles.

The Seattle Kraken got a 33-save performance by Chris Driedger to down the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has been officially named as GM of Team USA in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop yesterday announced his playing career was over after struggling with a knee injury that has hampered him since the 2019 playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bishop and his family in their future endeavors. He was one of the NHL elite goaltenders between 2013-14 and 2019-20.

Bishop finishes with a record of 222 wins, 128 losses and 36 overtime losses with a career 2.32 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. He was a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist and a two-time Second Team All-Star during his tenures with the Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2021

The Blackhawks win their fourth straight, the Canucks woes continue, plus the latest injury updates and supplemental discipline in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated under interim coach Derek King, doubling up the Seattle Kraken 4-2 for their fourth straight win. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and an assist while Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to hold off a late rally by the Kraken.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks (5-9-2) still have a ways to go if they hope to climb out of the early-season hole they dug for themselves. Another lengthy losing skid could undo their progress and damage their postseason hopes. Nevertheless, there’s no question they’re a different team under King. They’re also getting better goaltending from Fleury and backup Kevin Lankinen, which has been crucial to their recent improvement.

Caleb Jones made his season debut after being sidelined by a wrist injury, joining Seth Jones as the fifth set of brothers to play for the Blackhawks simultaneously in the franchise’s history. The others were Bobby and Dennis Hull, Doug and Max Bentley, Brent and Rich Sutter as well as Steve and Jeff Larmer.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Nazem Kadri, Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog rallied the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and two assists for the Avs, who tallied all but one of their four goals on the power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ league-worst penalty kill was once again their undoing. Team owner Francesco Aquilini will reportedly remain patient with this club following a meeting on Tuesday with general manager Jim Benning, but a few more losses like this one will test his patience.

Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov kicked out 34 shots to blank the Los Angeles Kings 2-0, snapping the latter’s eight-game points streak. Two late goals by Garnet Hathaway gave the Capitals the win.

HEADLINES

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is listed as week-to-week following a knee-on-knee collision with New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield on Tuesday. Head coach Andrew Brunette said Barkov won’t require surgery.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher was fined $2,500.00 by the NHL department of player safety for sucker-punching New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow on Tuesday. Head coach Dominique Ducharme said forward Mathieu Perreault will require a second surgery on his injured eye, pushing back his return date by a couple of weeks.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny on Tuesday.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights forward Michael Amadio entered COVID protocol on Wednesday.

TSN: Speaking of the Golden Knights, they claimed forward Adam Brooks off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Rob Cookson as an assistant coach and elevated Marc Crawford to associate coach.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews was saddened by the flooding that has devastated his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C. “People literally rescuing livestock from drowning is quite sad to see,” said Toews. “It’s a resilient community and I know the people will bounce back and figure it out. But it’s pretty unfortunate and sad to see some of these videos.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Hive News has a list of links and information if you want to help British Columbia residents affected by this week’s flooding.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2021

The NHL finds no evidence Evander Kane bet on games, several players remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated as training camps open plus the latest contract signings, injury updates & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NO EVIDENCE KANE BET ON GAMES, SAYS NHL

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL announced Wednesday it found no evidence San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane bet on league games. The accusation was leveled by Kane’s estranged wife Anna several weeks ago, prompting the league’s investigation.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

However, the NHL is now investigating “additional unrelated allegations involving potential wrongdoing by Mr. Kane” linked to a domestic violence restraining order filed by Anna on Tuesday. The Sharks released a statement yesterday indicating the 30-year-old winger has agreed not to participate in training camp until further notice.

LATEST NHL COVID-19 NEWS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith will miss the opening week of training camp. He’ll be in quarantine until Oct. 1 after traveling to the United States to get a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said winger Josh Archibald is the only unvaccinated player in training camp. If he remains that way for the coming season, he’ll need a 14-day quarantine to participate in road games in the United States. He will be suspended without pay during that period which won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Archibald could miss 30-plus games and forfeit $600k in wages.

Oilers goaltender Alex Stalock is expected to be sidelined for the entire season due to a heart condition (myocarditis) related to his bout with COVID-19 last November. Holland said there are no plans at this time to seek another veteran goalie.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said winger Tyler Bertuzzi is the only player on his team to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. He’ll be unable to travel to Canada under current border restrictions which require a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated players traveling into the country. He could forfeit $400K of his salary based on those Canadian road games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland and Yzerman indicated they aren’t going to force anyone to get vaccinated. The league’s COVID restrictions and the prospect of lost wages, however, could eventually convince Archibald and Bertuzzi to change their minds. Their stance has the potential to create a rift among teammates who could consider them a risk to their health and safety.

Most NHL players are well-conditioned athletes with good odds of avoiding the worst serious symptoms of COVID-19. Stalock’s situation, however, should serve as a warning that they’re not totally immune.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander is not yet fully vaccinated but will be when the season opens next month. “I had a couple of medical things that I had to take care of but I’ll be vaccinated by the beginning of the season.”

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic was reportedly not in training camp and his absence isn’t injury-related. That led to speculation his absence was related to the league’s COVID protocols but GM Jim Benning said he’ll be in camp.

Benning also acknowledged winger Justin Bailey has tested positive for COVID-19 before crossing the Canada – US border. He’ll have to wait another 10 days before he can join his teammates in Vancouver.

Speaking of the Canucks, they signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens forward Jesse Ylonen has changed his mind and agreed to be vaccinated.

TSN: More than a dozen infectious disease and critical care doctors are calling on the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers to drop plans to stage games in full-capacity arenas this season. The province of Alberta is reeling through an unprecedented medical crisis amid the fourth wave of COVID-19.

The Oilers issued a statement indicating fans will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry to Rogers Place. They will also insist fans wear masks when not eating or drinking.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Calgary Flames have a mandatory vaccine policy in place for fans attending their games this season.

NOTABLE CONTRACT SIGNINGS

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to a three-year, $18 million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair signing for both sides. Dahlin gets a significant pay raise coming off his entry-level contract while the Sabres commit to a short-term bridge deal. His signing leaves Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk as the only remaining notable restricted free agents.

THE SCORE: The Los Angeles Kings signed goaltender Cal Petersen to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petersen is the heir apparent to long-time Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick. He took over the starter’s role last season, appearing in 35 games to Quick’s 22. The latter is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.8 million.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed right wing Logan O’Connor to a three-year, $3.15 million contract extension.

INJURY UPDATES

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is sidelined two-three weeks with a foot injury suffered during offseason training.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews will miss the first part of the upcoming season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Cal Foote will be sidelined by a hand injury for the entire training camp and preseason as well as the first two-to-four weeks of the regular season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The St. Louis Blues announced they’ve named Peter Chiarelli as their vice-president of hockey operations while Ken Hitchcock rejoins the club as a coaching consultant.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers confirmed their arena will be called the FLA Live Arena for this season. The club is looking for a new naming rights partner for 2022.