NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

The Panthers retire Roberto Luongo’s number, David Pastrnak moves closer to 50 goals, updates on the playoff race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: On the night the Florida Panthers retired Roberto Luongo’s No. 1, they also gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad each had two points for the Panthers (76 points), who moved within three of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Panthers as they struggle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Leafs have done the Panthers a favor with their sputtering play of late, but the Panthers must start capitalizing if they hope to overtake the Leafs and clinch a postseason berth.

Vincent Trocheck’s first goal since joining the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The goal came with some controversy as Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov clanged the puck off the crossbar with what appeared to be a high stick, enabling Trocheck to bury the rebound. However, the NHL situation room upheld the goal, claiming Svechnikov’s stick was below his shoulders when he made contact with the puck. The Islanders (79 points) cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Hurricanes (77 points) sit two points behind the Isles and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Oilers (82 points), who moved into a first-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (82 points) hold the edge over Vegas based on goals scored and ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to action for the first time since Feb. 16. Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The New York Rangers failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling 6-4 to the New Jersey Devils. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice for the Devils as Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. It was Shesterkin’s first game since suffering a rib injury in a car accident on Feb. 23. The Rangers (76 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 48th goal in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Shorthanded goals by Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev just over a minute apart powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 48th goal of the season. The Bruins four-game winning streak came to an end, but they remain atop the overall standings with 98 points. The Lightning (91 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division.

Nic Dowd scored two goals and collected an assist as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Capitals (89 points) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division, but hold the edge due to ROW and goals scored. The Penguins (84 points) remain in third in the Metro.

The red-hot Flyers, meanwhile, picked up their ninth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Claude Giroux netted two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves.

Jusse Saros turned in a 37-save shutout and Ryan Ellis scored the only goal as the Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0. With 76 points, the Predators hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference over the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) based on goals scored (211) and holding a game in hand. The Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 upset of the Minnesota Wild, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. The Wild (75 points) sit one point behind the Predators and Jets.

The Ottawa Senators edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Chris Tierney. The Senators have won four of their last five games.


THE SCORE: The NHL is recommending teams close its dressing rooms to reporters to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Only a couple of teams have done so, but it could become more widespread in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players probably won’t mind getting a break from having to provide the same stock answers to the same question from reporters. Nevertheless, the league appears serious in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into NHL dressing rooms. Its effects are already being felt through the hockey world, as the IIHF has canceled the 2020 Women’s World Championships.

SPORTSNET: The Rangers have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager Jeff Gorton and assistant GM Chris Drury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to recover in time for training camp in September.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injuries) could be sidelined for weeks. He’s already missed five games after crashing heavily into the boards in a Feb. 25 game against the Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi suffered a splenic injury in a recent game with the Habs’ AHL affiliate. He returned to Montreal for evaluation yesterday and there’s no timetable for his recovery.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2019

Leafs defeat Bruins, Capitals down the Hurricanes, and the Flames blanked the Avalanche in Stanley Cup playoff action. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Mitch Marner scored the game-tying and game-winning goals (the latter on a penalty shot) as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. It’s the first time the Leafs won the opening game of a playoff series since 2003. John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. 

Mitch Marner’s two goals powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-1 series-opening win over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Definitely a better start to this series for the Leafs compared to a year ago when the Bruins blew them out 5-1. The Leafs had the better of the play for most of this contest, especially after Marner put them up 2-1 on the penalty shot. 

The Washington Capitals jumped to a 3-0 lead and held off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Nicklas Backstrom scored twice, John Carlson collected three assists and Alex Ovechkin tallied what proved to be the winning goal. Rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored both goals for the Hurricanes, who were making their first postseason appearance in 10 years. 

Speaking of the Capitals, they re-signed center Nic Dowd to a three-year, $2.25-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals’ special teams made the difference in this contest. They went two-for-four with the man advantage and killed off three Carolina power plays. Credit the plucky Hurricanes for not giving up after falling behind 3-0, they made a game of it in the third period before Lars Eller put it out of reach. 

Mike Smith turned in a 26-save shutout and Matthew Tkachuk scored twice as the Calgary Flames blanked the Colorado Avalanche 4-0. It was Smith’s first playoff game since 2012. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith showed the form in this game that powered the Arizona Coyotes to the Western Conference Final seven years ago. If he can stay healthy and maintain that high level of performance, it’ll erase much of the doubt about Calgary’s goaltending. The Flames also made the Avalanche pay on the power play, going two-for-five with the man advantage. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had some dental work done yesterday after taking a puck in the mouth during his club’s Game 1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets left wing Brandon Tanev (injured hand) could return to the lineup tonight for Game 2 against the St. Louis Blues. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2018

Flames sign James Neal, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan McDonagh’s new contract, plus a roundup of other free agent signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR NOTE: Following this link for yesterday’s list of notable free-agent signings and this link for my analysis of the more noteworthy signings. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Calgary Flames have signed winger James Neal to a five-year deal worth an annual average value of roughly $5.75-million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal’s tallied 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons and played a leadership role in the Vegas Golden Knights’ record-breaking inaugural campaign. His experience, physical style and leadership could make him a solid addition for the Flames. However, his production decreased over the past two seasons with Nashville and Vegas respectively. His physical style has also taken a toll, as he’s played over 71 games just one in the past five seasons. With Neal turning 31 in September, this new contract could become more costly over the final two years for the Flames.   

Detroit Red Wings management unsure if Henrik Zetterberg will be healthy enough to play next season (Photo via NHL Images)

  MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t certain if captain Henrik Zetterberg will be able to play next season. Holland said the last time he spoke to Zetterberg, the 37-year-old center said he’s planning on playing. However, his health will determine if he returns to action.

Zetterberg has a history of back injuries and underwent major surgery in 2014. Holland said he’ll remain in touch with his captain throughout the summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year extension worth $47 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh will be 30 when his new contract kicks in next summer. He’s a solid all-around defenseman but that deal could become a millstone for the Lightning over the latter years of the deal. McDonagh’s style of play takes a toll upon his body, one that could hamper his effectiveness as he ages. He also seemed to struggle at times against swifter opponents during the 2018 playoffs. 

THE ATHLETIC: Defenseman Jack Johnson found himself in hot water with Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over his comment that he was happy to join a team with a winning culture during his press conference yesterday to announce his signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tortorella blasted the former Jackets defenseman, calling those remarks a slap in the face after all the organization had done to support him. Johnson said his misspoke, never intended any insult and called Jackets president John Davidson to apologize.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal worth $4 million per season and inked former Ottawa Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, $700,000 deal.

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders signed center Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $2.75 million.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Sven Baertschi to a three-year deal with an AAV of $3.367M.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Matt Cullen is returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the 41-year-old center inked a one-year worth $650K

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks inked defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $800K contract.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed winger Scott Wilson to a two-year, $2.1-million contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The Washington Capitals signed center Nic Dowd to a one-year, $650K deal.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers added goaltender Michael Hutchinson as he agreed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $1.3 million.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils inked defenseman Eric Gryba to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, one-way contract worth $650K


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2017

Game recaps, possible expansion to Seattle, Hurricanes to be sold and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Matt Hunwick’s overtime goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has a history of concussions, seemed to have dodged a bullet following an accidental hit to the head by Isles winger Jordan Eberle. He looked a little shaken up immediately following the hit but remained in the game. Earlier in the day, the Pens learned defenseman Justin Schultz will be sidelined “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schultz’s injury likely puts the Ian Cole trade speculation on the back burner. As for Crosby, it doesn’t appear as though he suffered any lingering ill effects from that head shot, but you can bet he’ll be closely monitored by the club’s medical staff over the next 24 hours. 

Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov each collected a goal and two assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Vincent Trocheck scored twice and Jonathan Huberdeau added three assists to give the Florida Panthers a 6-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

David Backes tallied his first two goals of the season as the Boston Bruins thumped the Arizona Coyotes 6-1 to pick up their seventh win in their last nine games.

Sean Monahan scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Calgary Flames ended a three-game losing skid by nipping the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Flames were playing without left wing Matthew Tkachuk, who was serving a one-game suspension for spearing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin.

Jake Allen made 29 saves as the St. Louis Blues shut out the Dallas Stars 3-0. The Blues pressed former SLU goalie Tyler Stewart into service as an emergency backup after Carter Hutton was sidelined during the morning skate and call-up Ville Husso was unable to join the club before the start of the game.

Claude Giroux and Shayne Gotisbehere each had a goal and an assist to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to their third straight victory by beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. It was the Canucks’ first game this season without first-line center Bo Horvat, who’s sidelined for six weeks with a fractured foot. They subsequently shipped defensive prospect Jordan Subban (younger brother of Nashville’s P.K. and Vegas’ Malcolm) to the Los Angeles Kings for center Nic Dowd.

Speaking of the Kings, they edged the struggling Ottawa Senators 4-3 on an overtime goal by Drew Doughty. It was the Kings seventh straight victory while the Sens have just one win in their last 10 games.

Brent Burn’s overtime goal lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sharks center Joe Thornton had a goal and two assists while Hurricanes winger Sebastian Aho countered with two goals.

NBC SPORTS: On the heels of the city of Seattle’s recent announcement of major renovations to KeyArena, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday announced the league would allow an ownership group to submit a bid to put an expansion franchise in that city. Like the Vegas Golden Knights, the prospective Seattle ownership will be allowed to stage a season-ticket drive to determine if an NHL franchise is a viable option. The expansion fee would be a whopping $650 million. Bettman suggested the earliest a Seattle franchise could launch would be 2020-21. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s wanted to put a franchise in the American Pacific Northwest for some time. A successful expansion bid by Seattle would enlarge the league to 32 teams, as well as balance out the current disparity between the conferences by adding a 16th to the Western Conference. For now, there’s no guarantee there will be an expansion club in Seattle but this is a significant step toward that goal. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could soon have a new majority owner. Dallas businessman Tom Dundon signed a purchase agreement to buy a controlling interest in the team from Peter Karmanos Jr. League commissioner Gary Bettman said the Hurricanes would remain in their current location. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A formal vote by the league board of governors must be held to approve the sale. For those of you entertaining thoughts of the Hurricanes relocating to Texas despite Bettman’s comment, the club’s current arena lease agreement runs through 2024. And no, it can’t be broken by the new owner. 

NJ.COM:  New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy became the first active NHL player to pledge his brain for donation to CTE research.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks placed forward Tanner Kero on waivers yesterday.