Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Alexander Steen scored a goal and set up three others to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each collected two assists for the Blues. Mikael Backlund scored twice for the Flames.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves and Seth Jones picked up two points as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers are crossing their fingers hoping goaltender Roberto Luongo’s right-hand injury isn’t serious. His condition is under assessment. The Panthers also recently claimed goalie Antti Niemi off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Claiming Niemi is an insurance move by the Panthers in case Luongo’s sidelined longer than expected.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins center David Krejci is now listed as week-to-week with a back ailment.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings hope to get a boost to their roster when winger Andreas Athanasiou makes his season debut. He’s expected to be in the lineup tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Athanasiou recently ended a lengthy contract standoff with the Wings, inking a one-year, $1.387 million deal.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars coach Ken Hitchcock and goaltender Ben Bishop aren’t dwelling over the former’s decision to pull the latter from Tuesday’s 5-3 loss against the Colorado Avalanche. Bishop expressed his displeasure to reporters following the game. His comments raised some eyebrows around the league.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders demoted forward Joshua Ho-Sang to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t help but wonder if Ho-Sang fits into the Isles long-term plans. Though he’s only 21 and still has plenty of upside, he’s having difficulty sticking with the big club.
TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan is joining the NHL’s hockey operations department.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the notion the recently retired Doan might play for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler spoke out Saturday against US President Donald Trump’s comments against NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.
Latest on Blake Wheeler, Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler, an American citizen, took to Twitter on Saturday voicing his disappointment at U.S. President Donald Trump saying NFL players who kneel during the American national anthem should be fired.
“It’s the First Amendment to our Constitution. The First one!!'” tweeted Wheeler. “Regardless of how it makes you feel individually, these are literally the principles the US was founded on. Come on, Mr. President.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler is the first NHL player to publicly speak out on this issue, which was a hot topic on social media following’s Trump’s comments on Friday and Saturday. Some folks believe athletes should keep their personal views on politics and social issues to themselves and stick to sports. However, they have the same right to freedom of speech as the American President and can use the same medium as Trump to voice those opinions.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Erik Karlsson skated Saturday with his teammates during practice for the first time since undergoing foot surgery in June. There’s no timetable for Karlsson’s return but this could be seen as a positive sign he could rejoin the roster for their Oct. 5 season opener.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson left Saturday’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks with a lower-body injury. He’s to be reevaluated today. Meanwhile, Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said the club will retire Shane Doan’s No. 19 “at a time that’s right for him.” He said Doan thinks it’s too early to retire his number this season. The two sides will discuss the topic at the end of next summer.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad made some lifestyle and diet changes during the offseason in hopes of bouncing back from his injury-shortened 2016-17 campaign.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended from two preseason games for interference on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas.
NBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat is expected to be sidelined for a week with an upper-body injury.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will miss three-four weeks with a wrist injury.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the NHL will go dark on all NBC platforms during the network’s coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea from Feb. 7-26. According to Brooks, this is “nothing less than the league’s U.S. national television rights-holder giving a symbolic middle finger to Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors for withholding its players from one of NBC’s most important properties.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One wonders if this could become an issue between the league and the network when it’s time to discuss a possible extension of their current contract, which expires at the end of 2020-21.
Calgary Flames announce they won’t pursue a new arena deal with the city.
Flames not pursuing new arena deal plus latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CALGARY SUN: Flames president and CEO Ken King said Tuesday the team’s ownership will no longer pursue a new arena deal with the city of Calgary. The club will continue playing in the 34-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome but will no longer invest in the building. “We’ll just go on and run our business and do what we can to operate and try and figure out what the future will look like at some point later,” said King.
League commissioner Gary Bettman believes there would be long-term consequences, suggesting Calgarians make their voice heard on the subject in the upcoming municipal election. Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is seeking a third term and has clashed several times with King over a new arena.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames ownership looked north to Edmonton, saw the Oilers get a brand new, state of the art arena with the city picking up half the cost and want the same thing. The city of Calgary, however, was reportedly willing to front $200 million of a proposed $890 million arena project.
In my opinion, the timing of King’s announcement and Bettman’s talk of consequences are designed to to turn the arena issue into an election topic in hopes of either bringing about a change of municipal leadership or forcing the current one to bend on the issue.
NBC SPORTS: The city of Seattle was scheduled yesterday to hold a press conference announcing the unveiling of a new NHL-friendly $660 million arena. However, the presser was cancelled as Seattle mayor Ed Murray resigned over sexual abuse allegations. It’s unclear how Murray’s resignation affects these plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this proposal goes through you can bet Seattle will be linked to the Flames as a relocation option if there’s no resolution to that club’s arena issues.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators president Tom Anselmi predicts it could take four to five years for his club to move to a proposed downtown arena at LeBreton Flats.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are reducing their seating at Canadian Tire Centre this season because of lower than expected attendance last season. One has to wonder if that will affect the seating in their proposed new venue.
SPORTSNET: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he was willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Calgary Flames before last season’s trade deadline. Fleury, however, hoped to finish the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the club opted to keep him. By the time the playoffs were over, it was a foregone conclusion he was going to the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury said he’s fine with how things turned out.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, defenseman Kris Letang is cleared to join his teammates in training camp. He underwent neck surgery last April that sidelined him from the 2017 playoffs.
NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild are bringing free-agent forward Daniel Winnik to training camp on a tryout basis.
NBC SPORTS: New York Islanders forward Alan Quine will miss the next four-six weeks with an upper-body injury.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Former Coyotes star Shane Doan is among the 2017 inductees into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning partnered with the NHL and NHLPA to donate $2.7 million for Hurricane Irma relief.
CSN MIDATLANTIC: The International Ice Hockey Federation assured the NHL that it won’t allow players under NHL contract to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson might not return to action until November.
Updates on Erik Karlsson, the Sedins, Jack Eichel, Alex Galchenyuk & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Erik Karlsson could be out of the lineup until November. The blueliner is recovering from offseason surgery to repair tendons in his left foot and is adamant he won’t return until he’s at least close to full health.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s absence will be keenly felt on the Senators blueline and will also affect their offense. How they adjust could also affect their start and their hopes of rebuilding upon last season’s improvement.
Speaking of the Senators, goaltender Craig Anderson and general manager Pierre Dorion aren’t rushing into contract talks but neither side is concerned. Anderson, 36, is eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. Anderson said he’d like finish his career in Ottawa.
The Senators also signed forward Chris VandeVelde to a professional tryout offer.
SPORTSNET:Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak is focused upon the upcoming season, saying he’s had no contact extension talks. Like Anderson, he’s eligible for UFA status next July.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes it’s not a question of if the Leafs win the Stanley Cup, but when. Buoyed by rising stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, Simmons suggest the Leafs could become Cup contenders as early as 2018-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmons excitement is understandable. The Leafs’ impressive improvement last season, led by Matthews, Marner and Nylander, is giving their long-suffering fans hope for the future. Time will tell, however, if they’ll fulfill that promise.
THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: The Sedin Twins insist they have no desire to leave the Vancouver Canucks to pursue a Stanley Cup championship elsewhere. They both consider Vancouver their home and intend to retire as Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Sedins want to nip in the bud any suggestion they should accept a trade in the final season of their contract. That might not sit well with some Canucks fans who could call upon the twins to allow the club to move them for a return that hastens their rebuilding process. However, the twins should be commended for their loyalty to the only NHL franchise they’ve ever played for.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill remains hopeful of re-signing center Jack Eichel to a contract extension in the near future. “We’re trying to get a deal done now. I think both parties are very optimistic a deal can be put in place…Jack won’t let this be a distraction.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s entering the final season of his entry-level contract. His new deal could cost up to $10 million per season on a long-term deal.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens intend to start Alex Galchenyuk on the wing when the seasons opens. GM Marc Bergevin said the club will try recently-acquired Jonathan Drouin as a center.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenseman Damon Severson to a six-year, $25 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Severson’s new deal is worth just over $4.1 million per season. In actual salary, he’ll earn $2.5 million this season, $3 million next season, $4.68 million in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 and just over $5 million in 2021-22 and 2022-23.The 23-year-old is the Devils best puck-moving blueliner. Given their limited blueline depth, they had little choice but to ink Severson to a significant raise.
THE ATHLETIC: The agent for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson said his client won’t attend training camp without a contract. The 23-year-old had 17 goals last season, his first full campaign in the NHL. There’s talk Anderson could skate with a team in Switzerland while awaiting a new deal with the Jackets.
THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo reports restricted free agent forward Marcus Foligno is very close to re-signing with the Minnesota Wild.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Petteri Lindbohm to a one-year, two-way contract.
NBC SPORTS: The Chicago Blackhawks have invited forwards John Mitchell and Drew Miller and defenseman Mark Stuart on professional tryout contracts.
AZCENTRAL: Former Arizona Coyotes star Shane Doan was named Grand Marshal of the Fiesta Bowl Parade, slated for Dec. 30 in Central Phoenix.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doan began his NHL career with the old Winnipeg Jets in 1995-96 and moved with the club to Arizona the following season, where he spent the remainder of his professional tenure. He holds the franchise records for games played (1,540), (goals (402), assists (570) and points (972).
Doan’s performance noticeably declined last season, netting only 27 points in 74 games after tallying 28 points and 47 points in 72 games in 2015-16. In June, the Coyotes announced they would not be re-signing the 40-year-old free agent.
In his prime, Doan was a physical two-way winger who reached the 20-goal mark 13 times and 40 points 14 times. He was also very loyal to a Coyotes franchise that saw more bad times than good during his tenure, including several ownership changes, an arena debacle in Glendale and continuous uncertainty over its future in Arizona.
Over Doan’s long career, he appeared in just 55 playoff games. His most notable playoff run came in 2012, captaining the Coyotes to the Western Conference Finals.
Doan played for Canada in six World Championships, winning gold in 2003 and 2007. He also played for Canada’s gold-medal club in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and skated in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid downplays talk he’s the NHL’s top player.
Updates on Connor McDavid, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is attempting to downplay his displacing Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby atop The Hockey News’ annual ranking of the 50 best NHL players. “Everyone knows who the best player in the league is…and it’s not me,” said a modest McDavid.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some will point to McDavid winning the Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and the Art Ross Trophy as proof he’s now the NHL’s top player. Others will point to Crosby winning his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy leading the Penguins to their second straight Stanley Cup championship ( as well as winning the Richard Trophy as the top scorer in the regular season) as indicative of his ongoing dominance. McDavid can downplay that talk now, but he’s clearly Crosby’s successor.
Sean Burke, general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, contacted unrestricted free agents Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan about their potential availability. Whether the two veterans are interested remains to be seen. Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, said they’re currently not dealing with this issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla and Doan obviously hope to sign with NHL clubs for the upcoming season, which would make them ineligible to play in the 2018 Olympics. If they don’t get new NHL contracts, I can see them skating for Team Canada in South Korea.
OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators executive Daniel Alfredsson intends to take some time away from hockey to focus on his family. They’ll continue to live in Ottawa.
NBC SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou is mulling a one-year offer from a KHL team. Talks between the Wings and the 23-year-old restricted free agent have apparently stalled.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems like a negotiating ploy by the Athanasiou camp to reboot those contract talks. I think the Wings would’ve re-signed him by now but they’re currently handicapped by their lack of salary-cap space.
THE ATHLETIC: Defenseman James Wisniewski is skating in Columbus and hoping to sign with an NHL team. He split last season between the KHL and AHL. Failing that, he could skate with Team USA in the Pyeongchang Olympics.
TORONTO SUN: Unrestricted free agent winger Scottie Upshall could also consider playing in the Olympics if unable to land an NHL job.
NEW YORK POST: Former New Jersey Devils winger Bobby Farnham signed a professional tryout offer with the New York Rangers.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will hold auditions Thursday for anthem singers.