NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2021

Connor McDavid’s march to 100 points continues, Auston Matthews nets his 40th goal of the season, the league fines the Rangers $250,000, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is within four points of reaching 100 on the season after collecting three assists in a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Leon Draisaitl also scored twice for the Oilers, who pulled goalie Mikko Koskinen from the net after the Canucks scored four goals on their first four shots. Brock Boeser, Nils Hoglander, Travis Hamonic and Jayce Hawryluk each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid has four games remaining in the season to reach 100 points. The Oilers sit in second place in the Scotia North Division with 66 points, eight behind the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs and seven up on the third-place Winnipeg Jets.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Leafs, Auston Matthews tallied his 40th goal in his 49th game of the season in a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens center Phillip Danault left the game with an upper-body injury. The fourth-place Canadiens missed an opportunity to secure the final playoff berth in the division. With 57 points, they hold a 10-game lead over the Calgary Flames and need just one point to clinch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews might’ve had a shot at 50 goals if not for a nagging wrist injury that cost him four games. This is the third time in his five NHL seasons he’s reached the 40-goal plateau.

A four-goal performance by Jeff Carter carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-4 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Frederick Gaudreau and Jared McCann each collected three points as the Penguins moved into sole possession of first place in the MassMutual East Division with 75 points, two ahead of the second-place Capitals. The Caps, however, hold two games in hand.

Patrice Bergeron tallied the game-winner as the Boston Bruins blanked the New York Rangers 4-0. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman turned aside 15 shots for the shutout while Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had two assists as the Bruins (71 points) moved within two points of the Capitals.

A 32-save performance by Mackenzie Blackwood gave the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Michael MacLeod snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period. The slumping Isles have dropped six of their last eight games and sit three points back of the third-place Bruins.

The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on an overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat. Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia kicked out 36 shots for the win. The Hurricanes extended their points streak to 13 games and sit atop the overall standings with 80 points, holding a five-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division.

HEADLINES

The NHL fined the New York Rangers $250,000.00 for issuing a public statement on Tuesday condemning George Parros, the director of the league’s department of player safety. The comments came after Parros fined Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson for roughing Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich while Rangers winger Artemi Panarin suffered a season-ending injury after tussling with Wilson.

It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety,” said league commissioner Gary Bettman.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers CEO James Dolan appeared unperturbed by the fine. He said his club said what it felt it needed to say and the league did what it felt it needed to do. “Hopefully, we’ll both move on. I don’t think it’s worth enflaming anymore.”

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Rangers statement galvanized support for Parros from other teams and general managers in feedback delivered to NHL headquarters. The league has no intention of replacing Parros.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dolan has no love lost for Bettman dating back to the commissioner shutting down the Rangers’ attempt in 2007 to establish its own website outside of the NHL.com umbrella, even threatening to strip control of the Rangers from the Dolans. He knew he would get a slap on the wrist for his public comments.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Dolan’s hamhanded attempt to get Parros replaced failed. Bettman enjoys the support of most of the team owners. Their general managers toe the company line. The NHL brain trust thinks its player safety department is doing a good job, a view that seems to be shared around the league, and it really doesn’t care about criticism from the fans and media.

THE SCORE: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich received a one-game suspension for high-sticking Capitals winger Anthony Mantha during Wednesday’s fight-filled rematch between the two clubs.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen was fined $2,000 for embellishment during a game against the San Jose Sharks on April 30.

CBS SPORTS: Blackhawks center Kirby Dach won’t play in the club’s final three games of the season. He aggravated scar tissue in his surgically repaired wrist on Monday.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: ESPN has approached Wayne Gretzky about a broadcasting role. They’re also looking at Ray Ferraro, Kevin Weekes and John Davidson.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2020

More NHL players speak out against racial injustice, the latest on the league’s return-to-play format, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GROWING LIST OF PLAYERS, TEAMS SPEAK OUT AGAINST RACIAL INJUSTICE

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner joined many in the sports world yesterday taking part in Blackout Tuesday on social media yesterday to bring attention to racial injustice.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (Photo via NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba released a statement yesterday supporting the anti-racism movement across North America. “I’ve been sad, angry, and disturbed by the senseless unjust we have all witnessed this past week. I have been scared for the families in my community. I know I do not want to feel this way ever again; the feeling of helplessness. The feeling too many have to face each day. I am here for you. To lean on, to listen, to embrace, to have a voice and to be a leader in our community!”

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler vows to become more involved in speaking out against racism. We have to be as involved in this as black athletes. It can’t just be their fight,” he said. “And I want to be real clear, here. I look in the mirror about this before I look out at everyone else. I wish that it didn’t take me this long to get behind it in a meaningful way. But I guess what you can do is try to be better going forward.”

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos expressed compassion and support for peaceful protesters and didn’t approve of the looting and riots since George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police last week. But, as many of YOU have opened my eyes to, I see that these actions may be coming from real pain and suffering,” Stamkos wrote. “I can at least try to comprehend that.”

Teammate Patrick Maroon expressed his respect for law enforcement but also anger toward the injustice of George Floyd. Maroon added he felt he needs to set a better example. I’m sorry and I promise to do better for you,” he finished.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi sent out a message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters in Washington through Brandi’s Instagram account. Holtby’s teammate John Carlson did the same via his Instagram account.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals issued a joint statement yesterday speaking out against racial injustice. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington took to his Instagram account vowing to stand in solidarity with those fighting for change, equality and justice,” encouraging his followers to “ask questions, listen, learn and pass your knowledge on to your friends.”

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings and Tigers also released a joint statement in support of “equality, justice, and respect for all.”

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins also released a statement on Tuesday. Black lives matter,” the statement issued Tuesday begins. “Bigotry, ignorance and senseless violence in any and all forms is wrong.”

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula issued a statement standing with those peacefully protesting to eradicate racism and inequality and against those motivated by hatred and violence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s heartening to see more NHL teams and players taking a stand against racism, bigotry, injustice, and intolerance. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the words but their actions will speak much louder. Time will tell if their words result in action that leads to positive change within the sport and in society in general.

THE SCORE: Madison Square Garden Company chairman and New York Rangers owner James Dolan released a statement yesterday defending the organization’s decision not to release a public statement following the death of George Floyd. “As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, however, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters. What’s important is how we operate. Our companies are committed to upholding our values, which include creating a respectful workplace for all, and that will never change. What we say to each other matters. How we treat each other matters. And that’s what will get us through this difficult time.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dolan’s been criticized for his position. The NBA’s New York Knicks, also owned by Dolan, are reportedly furious that the team hasn’t released a statement. He’s since sent out a second e-mail to his employees condemning racism, but that’s unlikely to go down well with those upset over his previous comments. 

LATEST NHL RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun reports we could learn as early as today if the first two rounds of the NHL’s 16-team playoffs will be best-of-five or best-of-seven. The league proposed best-of-five for expediency while the NHLPA has leaned toward best-of-seven. The play-in qualifying round will be best-of-five.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The pros and cons of the 10 cities under consideration to become the two hubs for the NHL’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said it would be great to have NHL games played in Canada, but ensuring everyone’s safety remains the priority as discussions continue about its return. Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver are among 10 cities under consideration to become one of the two NHL hubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There won’t be any NHL hockey this summer unless the Canadian government eases restrictions on non-essential border travel or deems NHL employees as essential workers.

NATIONAL POST: A recent survey indicates 47 percent of Canadians felt it’s not important that Canadian arenas host the NHL’s return-to-play tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The survey also suggested the fact fans won’t be in attendance for those games factored into the result. 

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov will donate “2,500 disposable masks and 25 containers of hand sanitizer (5.25 gallons each) to the Boys & Girls Clubs serving Wake County on Wednesday.”

SPORTSNET: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) announced its intention to play a full 68-game schedule for 2020-21 with a certain percentage of fans in attendance, depending on the local social distancing rule in each province.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2020

Rangers owner James Dolan tests positive for COVID-19, a second Avalanche player tests positive, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan has tested positive for COVID-19. Dolan, 64, oversees the NHL’s New York Rangers and the NBA’s New York Knicks. He’s in self-isolation, experiencing little-to-now symptoms, and continues to supervise business operations.

New York Rangers owner James Dolan.

THE DENVER POST: A second Colorado Avalanche player has tested positive for the coronavirus. The players remain in self-isolation. “No other player or member or franchise staff member has shown symptoms at this time, the team said.” This is the fourth known positive COVID-19 test among NHL players, two with the Avs and two with the Ottawa Senators.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: All four cases have a connection to the San Jose Sharks. The Senators played the Sharks in San Jose on March 7 and the Avalanche faced them on March 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To date, no Sharks players have tested positive for COVID-19. When the two Senators tested positive, there was some suggestion linking their illness to Los Angeles’ Staples Center as well as the SAP Center, as the club was in the midst of a road trip through California at the time.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators announced Peter Hogberg, father of goaltender Marcus Hogberg, has passed away. Reports in the Swedish media indicate he was battling cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Hogberg and his family.

TSN: Bauer Hockey is making their designs and supplier info of their full-face visors public to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPORTSNET: Goalie equipment manufacturer Brian’s Custom Sports will produce medical supplies to fight the spread against COVID-19. Part of their effort includes producing 18,000 medical gowns.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2018

Thornton and Hertl re-signing with Sharks among latest notable signings. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks yesterday re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year, $5-million contract and forward Tomas Hertl to a four-year deal.

The Beard is back, as Joe Thornton signs a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Thornton’s deal doesn’t contain any bonuses. It’s a straightforward $5 million. His salary is a significant drop from last season’s $8 million ($6.75 million base plus bonuses) but unsurprising given his age (39), recent knee surgeries and his willingness to stay in San Jose.

Cap Friendly indicates Hertl’s new deal is worth an annual average value of $5.625 million, a big raise over his previous salary of $3 million annually. It’s a shorter term than perhaps he would’ve preferred, but given his injury history, it’s understandable why the Sharks were reluctant to invest in a lengthier deal.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Joe Starkey scolds Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford for suggesting the reason the Columbus Blue Jackets, former team of new Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson, scratched the blueliner was for reasons other than on-ice performance.

Rutherford’s remarks, and those of Johnson expressing his happiness over joining a team with a winning culture, prompted angry rebuttals from Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella and GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Johnson claimed he meant no offense by his comments and apologized to the Jackets organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starkey also chided Tortorella for not being the bigger man in this situation and ignoring those remarks. If anything, this back-and-forth will only stoke the ongoing rivalry between the two clubs. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers owner James Dolan denied reports claiming he’s looking to sell the club and his other sports franchises.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was granted a dismissal of his misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction, potentially paving the way for his return to the NHL. He can now request a reinstatement hearing with league commissioner Gary Bettman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if Bettman grants Voynov’s reinstatement, the blueliner could have a difficult time landing with a new NHL club. While some general managers could be interested in his on-ice skills, the baggage from his domestic assault conviction could be a potential public-relations nightmare. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The head district attorney handling a criminal charge of domestic assault leveled at Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has recused herself because of her upcoming wedding to Gerry Helper, the team’s senior vice president and senior adviser.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday signed UFA winger Carter Rowney to a three-year deal worth $3.4 million.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forward J.T. Brown to a two-year, $1.375-million deal. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, $865K contract.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders signed forward Tom Kuhnhackl to a one-year, $650K deal.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Zac Rinaldo to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level.