NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

League commissioner Bettman weighs in on the upcoming season, Mika Zibanejad reveals COVID-19 diagnosis, Evander Kane files for bankruptcy, Mike Hoffman signs with Blues, Jay Bouwmeester retires, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is prepared to lose billions of dollars to play the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it’s important for the game to stage the season, the players and fans wanted it, and it might help provide people dealing with COVID-19 restrictions some sense of normalcy.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman also said it would be cheaper for the league not to play the season, claiming they would lose money at the club and league level. “But the owners are unanimously OK with that because they know how important it is for our fans and for the game.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s remarks about financial losses isn’t sitting well on the players’ side. Player agent Allan Walsh observed the commissioner neglected to mention that, under the CBA extension, the owners will be made whole for their losses by the players because of the 50-50 division of revenue. Bettman sounds like he’s still sore over the player’s firm rejection of his request last fall for increased escrow claw-backs and salary deferrals.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, meanwhile, pointed out the NHL wasn’t going to risk hurting its visibility and fan engagement by shuttering its season with other major professional sports leagues staging theirs during this pandemic. Campbell also noted it would’ve pushed the NHL’s expiring US TV contract ahead to 2022, depriving them of the opportunity of landing a more lucrative deal later this year.

The commissioner revealed players will wear decals on their helmets honoring the 63rd anniversary of Willie O’Ree playing his first NHL game and to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also announced The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, featuring the Colorado Avalanche facing the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20 followed by the Boston Bruins meeting the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to training camp. He missed the opening days of camp but now claims he’s feeling better. Zibanejad resumed skating with his teammates while consulting with doctors. Rangers coach David Quinn is hopeful Zibanejad will be ready for their season opener on Jan. 14 but the 27-year-old center wouldn’t confirm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad isn’t the only player to test positive and won’t be the last over the course of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Evander Kane has filed for bankruptcy with $26.8 million of debt and assets of $10 million. The filing also indicates the 29-year-old San Jose Sharks winger can terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season because of the pandemic and the recent birth of his daughter. The NHL’s opt-out date was Dec. 24 while Kane’s bankruptcy filing was Jan. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could opt-out of this season rather than terminate his contract. While the league’s opt-out deadline has passed there could be an allowance here due to unforeseen circumstances. A precedent was set last summer when Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask left the club during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs to attend to a family medical emergency.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues yesterday signed Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $4 million contract. The 31-year-old winger was skating with the club on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was anticipated the Blues would formally sign Hoffman once they sorted out their salary-cap situation. That includes putting a couple of players on their taxi squad for cap compliance reasons and placing Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injury reserve.

TSN: Speaking of the Blues, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester quietly retired after 17 NHL seasons. He hadn’t played since suffering a cardiac incident on the bench during a game with the Anaheim Ducks last February. Bouwmeester played 1,240 NHL games with the Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, finishing with 424 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bouwmeester and his family in their future endeavors.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired former captain Shane Doan as their new chief hockey development officer. Doan retired in 2017 after 21 NHL seasons. He began his career with the former Winnipeg Jets and moved with the franchise to Arizona in 1996.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers claimed defenseman Noah Juulsen off waivers yesterday from the Montreal Canadiens.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will return to the ice today after canceling practices and close its training facilities when six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks will meet with Santa Clara County officials regarding when they can return to SAP Center at San Jose. They’re scheduled to play their first home game on Feb. 1 but the county remains under a strict stay-at-home order because of a high number of COVID cases.

SPORTSNET: NBC Sports announced former NHL coach Mike Babcock will be joining the network as an in-studio analyst. He’ll replace Mike Milbury, who was let go after 14 years. Milbury was suspended by the network last summer following a series of offensive remarks he made toward women, injured players, and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2020

Lightning edge Islanders to take 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final, Bruce Cassidy wins the Jack Adams Award, GM of the Year finalists announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored with 8.8 seconds remaining in regulation as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Islanders winger Matt Martin opened the scoring in the first period but Victor Hedman tied it before the period was over.

This was a close-checking, physical contest. Lightning winger Alex Killorn was ejected early in the first period for boarding Isles center Brock Nelson, who left the game under concussion protocol but returned to action. Martin and Luke Schenn received fighting majors early in the second period. Martin and Pat Maroon received roughing minors later in the period.

It was a costly victory for the Lightning as first-line center Brayden Point left the game in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury. Head coach Jon Cooper said an update on Point’s condition could be revealed on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a heartbreaking loss for the Islanders. They rebounded well from their 8-2 blowout loss in Game 1 and did a good job for the most part shutting down the Lightning’s offense until Kucherov struck in the dying seconds. They outshot the Bolts 13-4 in the first period and 28-21 overall.

However, the Isles couldn’t get more than one puck past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and failed to capitalize on four power-play opportunities. They now find themselves in a deep hole against a very talented club approaching Game 3 on Friday night.

Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins is the 2020 winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. He guided the Bruins to this season’s best record as they were the only club to reach 100 points, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for their efforts.

Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders, and Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars are this year’s finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is still targeting an 82-games schedule for 2020-21. However, he admitted the projected start date of Dec. 1 appears less likely. They’re also hoping to have fans in the stands when they reopen but can’t guarantee that’ll be the case. Daly also doesn’t think it would be a problem if the league staged games next summer, pointing to how well ice conditions held up in the bubble cities of Edmonton and Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a miracle, next season won’t open on Dec.1. Or Jan. 1. And I have my doubts it’ll start on Feb. 1. My guess is we’ll see a shortened schedule between 50-60 games starting in mid-February at the earliest, with the playoffs running into late-July.

THE SCORE: NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire is no longer in the running for the Arizona Coyotes’ vacant general manager position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several folks on Twitter yesterday observed McGuire almost always seems to be in the running for a GM job and always seems to be the first one eliminated from the competition.

Meanwhile, Arizona Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan reports former Coyotes captain Shane Doan isn’t under consideration for the job. He cites several sources suggesting the club believes Doan, who works for the NHL, had a hand in the sanctions the league handed the Coyotes for violating fitness testing rules for draft-eligible players. However, there’s no indication Doan was involved in the league’s decision.

THE ATHLETIC: Dan Hinote is expected to join the Nashville Predators as an assistant coach.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2019

Game recaps, Red Wings trade Gustav Nyquist to the Sharks, Mats Zuccarello injured in his first game with the Stars, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals edged the New York Rangers 6-5 in a wild and physical contest. Nicklas Backstrom tallied twice for the Capitals while Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei also netted two goals. Following the game, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist cut short his interview after becoming emotional responding to a question about the trade of Mats Zuccarello, his friend and long-time teammate, to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, NHL hockey is a business and yes, players know getting trading is always a possibility. Nevertheless, they’re still human like the rest of us and it can be difficult to part ways with a good friend. 

Speaking of Zuccarello, he was having a strong debut with the Stars (one goal, one assist) during their 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks but suffered an arm injury that likely requires surgery after blocking a shot and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zuccarello could return to the Stars before the end of the season, but his absence still leaves them in need of scoring depth if they’re to avoid slipping out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Stars captain Jamie Benn also left the game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be re-evaluated today. 

The Detroit Red Wings trade forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images)

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski tallied a natural hat trick to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Following the game, the Red Wings traded winger Gustav Nyquist to the Sharks for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional third in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings also retained $1.425 million of Nyquist’s $4.7-million salary-cap hit. A versatile forward who can skate at center or on the wing, he’s tallied 49 points in 62 games and is on pace to exceed 60 points this season. He could slot in as a second- or third-line winger, providing even more bite to an already potent Sharks offense.

An overtime goal by Ryan Donato enabled the Minnesota Wild to beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Donato now has four points in three games with the Wild since being traded to Minnesota from Boston. The Wild (66 points) have now won three straight and still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk scored a goal but brother Matthew Tkachuk’s Calgary Flames won their first-ever face-to-face matchup 2-1 on a late goal by Austin Czarnik. The Flames (85 points) opened a three-point lead over the Sharks for top spot in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. Following the game, the Senators shipped minor-league defenseman Patrick Sieloff to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for left wing Brian Gibbons.

The Arizona Coyotes (63 points) moved to within three points of a playoff spot by downing the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Before the game, the Coyotes honored former long-time captain Shane Doan by retiring his No. 19 jersey. Doan began his career with the original Jets and moved with that club when it relocated to Arizona.

TSN: The Boston Bruins signed forward Lee Stempniak to a one-year contract and placed him on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2018

Latest on Henrik Zetterberg, Jason Garrison, Shane Doan and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Concern over the future of Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg continues to rise after he said he wouldn’t take part in training camp or the start of the regular season. A history of back pain threatens to end his playing career. “I will need more answers from doctors before I say I have played my last game,” Zetterberg said. “In my mind, I am hoping it can get solved.”

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss training camp and the start of the 2018-19 season. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Zetterberg, symptoms arise whenever he does something “uncontrolled”. In other words, it appears any sudden and unexpected body motion is a problem. He said the next procedure he’d face would be spinal fusion and that’s something he’d rather not have until he’s much older. By the sound of things, he’s played his final professional hockey game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have signed free-agent defenseman Jason Garrison to a professional tryout offer. He’s a veteran of 539 NHL games over ten years but spent most of last season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With top-pairing blueliner Andrej Sekera sidelined indefinitely with a torn Achilles’ tendon and carrying limited cap space, the Oilers are looking at whatever affordable short-term options they can find to fill the void for now. They recently signed rearguard Jakub Jerabek to a one-year, $1-million contract. In his heyday, Garrison was a skilled puck-moving d-man who tallied over 30 points in a season three times. This could be his last shot at continuing his NHL career. 

Free-agent defenseman Brandon Davidson is joining the Chicago Blackhawks on a tryout offer. If they like what they see from Davidson they intend to sign him to a one-year, one-way contract. 

TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan will serve as a pallbearer at Senator John McCain’s memorial service on Thursday. McCain succumbed to brain cancer last Saturday. 

LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens are close to re-signing restricted free agent center Michael McCarron to a short-term contract. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

Mark Stone and the Senators are far apart approaching arbitration, Coyotes to retire Shane Doan’s number, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Ottawa Senators must avoid going to arbitration with forward Mark Stone at all cost. The two sides are $4 million apart as Stone’s hearing approaches on Friday, with Stone seeking a one-year, $9-million contract and the Senators countering with $5 million.

If Stone gets an arbiter-awarded contract, he’ll join Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene for eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency. Warren believes the Senators must re-sign Stone as they cannot afford to risk losing their top forward in a year’s time.

With arbitration approaching, Mark Stone and the Ottawa Senators remain far apart. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Warren points out, Karlsson already has one skate out the door. If Stone’s future is uncertain, what incentive will Duchene have in re-signing with the Senators? 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will retire former captain Shane Doan’s No. 19 on Feb. 24, 2019 versus the Winnipeg Jets. Doan began his NHL career with the original Jets and moved with the club when it relocated to Arizona in 1996. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Robert Hagg to a two-year contract worth $2.3 million. 

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports a source says the Colorado Avalanche will avoid arbitration with defenseman Patrik Nemeth and announce an agreement on a new contract. Nemeth’s hearing is slated for Saturday. 

CHAMPIONAT.COM: Former NHL winger Jannik Hansen will reportedly sign a one-year contract with CSKA Moscow. 

TORONTO SUN: Dominic Moore’s annual Smashfest table tennis tournament involving current and former NHL players has raised over $700K for research into rare cancers and concussions. For the fourth straight year, Anaheim Ducks winger Patrick Eaves was the tournament champion

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2018

Second-round playoff opening dates confirmed, Messier Leadership Award nominees revealed, Francois Beauchemin to retire. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The dates for the opening games of the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs have been revealed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their series in Washington at 7 pm ET on Thursday, April 26, while Game 1 of the San Jose Sharks-Vegas Golden Knights series begins at 10 pm ET in Las Vegas.

Game 1 of the Nashville Predators- Winnipeg Jets series opens at 8 pm ET on Friday, April 27 in Nashville. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning await tonight’s winner of Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. If the Bruins win, the opening game will take place at 3 pm ET on Saturday, April 28 in Tampa Bay. If the Leafs advance, they’ll face the Lightning in Tampa Bay at 8 pm ET on Saturday. 

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler are this year’s nominees for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. 

TSN: Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov is cleared to play in Game 7 tonight against the Bruins, but it remains to be seen he’ll be dressed for that contest. Komarov hasn’t played since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 2. 

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is listed as day-to-day heading into his club’s upcoming series with the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

  PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin (lower-body injury) and Patric Hornqvist (upper-body) are listed as day-to-day heading into their series with the Capitals. 

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski played through an undisclosed injury suffered during a game against the Bruins on Oct. 30. Werenski wouldn’t say if the injury requires surgery. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen admitted he suffered a concussion following a hit from Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov in Game 4 of their opening-round series. He missed Game 5 of that series and will continue working out and rehabbing in New Jersey until fully recovered.

CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek suffered an undisclosed minor injury during his club’s opening-round series against the Winnipeg Jets. He’s not expected to undergo surgery. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Former Coyotes captain Shane Doan is auctioning a signed jersey in an effort to support the families affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link if you want to bid for Doan’s jersey. As of 6 am ET today, the largest bid was $2,000.00. The auction concludes Friday. 

98.5 FM SPORTS MONTREAL: After 14 seasons, long-time NHL defenseman Francois Beauchemin has announced his retirement. Beauchemin tallied 76 goals and 212 assists for 288 points in 903 regular-season games, adding 10 goals and 39 points in 101 playoff contests. He spent the bulk of his career with the Anaheim Ducks, winning a Stanley Cup with them in 2007. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Beauchemin and his family in his future endeavors.