NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2020

The NHL extends its self-isolation period, results of the NHLPA poll revealed and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The NHL extended its self-isolation period for players and staff to April 15 because of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situations.

Darren Dreger believes the league won’t be to return to NHL facilities until local authorities in each market lift the ban on social gatherings. Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports playing a 16-team playoff in four centralized, less-affected locations without fans is among the options under consideration by the league.

SPORTSNET: The city of Toronto yesterday announced a ban on city-led events until June 30. However, it subsequently stated that didn’t prohibit sporting events at private facilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That provides a glimmer of hope for those hoping the NHL returns to action sometime in June. However, that’s going to depend on how long this pandemic lasts. If there’s been little or no change, don’t expect a resumption of pro sports in June.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports over $450 million in signing bonus money was to be paid out to players on July 1, which is the traditional start of a new season. That date could be changed to September 1, deferring the bonus money payout. The Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars lead the league in signing bonuses.

Pierre LeBrun suggests the current adversity facing the NHL and NHLPA could have a silver lining if it brings about an improvement in talks toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun went into greater detail in his column in The Athletic, pointing out business will suffer for a few years following this pandemic. He believes the league and the PA cannot afford a CBA work stoppage in 2022. He feels the eventual discussions between the two sides over how to transition through the coronavirus pause could lead to long-term CBA stability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks the two sides will have “transition rules” negotiations on everything from the salary cap to escrow to critical dates like the start of free agency. Out of those could come the framework for working out a new CBA before its expiration in September 2022. As he points out, the league needs stability coming out of this pandemic. Another labor war between the two sides could set the league back for years.

CBA negotiations were already showing progress and a lack of rancor, with the two sides’ mutual agreement not to re-open the CBA last fall as a prime example. If the league and the PA can successfully transition out of this current situation, they should be able to avoid another labor dispute.

LeBrun also reported Seattle is interested in hosting the 2021 NHL Draft in conjunction with the expansion draft.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was voted the NHL’s best forward in the NHLPA’s player poll (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a great idea. Montreal was supposed to host this year’s draft, but they stage the 2022 draft.

NHLPA: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was voted the best forward in the NHLPA Player Poll, with Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman the best defenseman and Montreal’s Carey Price the best goaltender. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was voted the most complete player and the player they’d want on their team in a must-win game. Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand was named the best and worst trash talker.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said teammate Jay Bouwmeester is feeling better and remains in St. Louis during the league’s hiatus. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode during a Feb. 11 game against the Anaheim Ducks.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl said his family in Germany is doing well during this pandemic. His home country is the fifth hardest-hit, with 64,000 cases and 560 deaths. “It’s obviously concerning,” said Draisaitl. “My family is doing what they’re supposed to, they’re staying in. So far everyone is healthy. I hope that it stays that way back home. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he hasn’t started contract talks yet with his free agents. The notables include Brian Elliott, Justin Braun, Derek Grant, Oskar Lindblom, and Nolan Patrick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $69 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. Fletcher could be waiting to find out what next season’s cap numbers will be before opening contract discussions.

SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen and GM John Chayka are donating 20 percent of their salaries to COVID-19 relief efforts.

NJ.COM: Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made a six-figure coronavirus donation to RWJBarnabas Health’s Emergency Response Fund to aid the health care company’s response to COVID-19. The Devils also donated “7,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 hand sanitizer units and an assortment of sanitizing wipes and sprays, to RJWBarnabas.” The team also announced it would extend its support of part-time employees to May 15.

ESPN.COM: San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher defended the club’s decision to play three home games in early March following a recommendation by Santa Clara county against large gatherings. He claimed the club made Tthe best decision we could with the information we had at the time.”










These NHL Milestones Were Lost To COVID-19 Stoppage

These NHL Milestones Were Lost To COVID-19 Stoppage

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

Leon Draisaitl tallies four goals against the Predators, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl tallied four goals and Connor McDavid had four assists as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Nashville Predators 8-3. The Oilers broke a 3-3 tie with five unanswered third-period goals. With 78 points, the Oilers moved within two points of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. The Predators (72 points) cling to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Draisaitl (107 points) holds a big lead in the NHL scoring race. He also moved into fourth place (43 goals) in the goal-scoring race.

Leon Draisaitl had a five-point game in the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-3 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury or a significant scoring drought, Draisaitl has the Art Ross Trophy locked up for this season. He’s also put himself into the running for the Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, and should be a serious contender for the Hart Trophy as MVP. 

The Colorado Avalanche (87 points) edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to move within one point of the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues. Michael Hutchinson made 17 saves in his debut with the Avs. Colorado rookie defenseman Cale Makar missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. The Wings, meanwhile, played without winger Adam Erne, who could miss the remainder of the season with a broken hand.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 1.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson underwent shoulder surgery on Monday and will need four-to-six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was considerable interest in Anderson leading up to last Monday’s NHL trade deadline, but uncertainty over the status of his injury likely scared off potential suitors. His status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent status could make him a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks indicated defenseman Jacob Middleton is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. They’re also believed to have agreed to a four-year, $8-million contract extension with blueline Radim Simek, though this hasn’t been confirmed by general manager Doug Wilson.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino are close to returning to the lineup. Both are game-day decision’s for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And not a moment too soon for the struggling Penguins, who’ve dropped six straight games.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs blueliners Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci have returned to practice and could rejoin the lineup sometime next week.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey is expected to return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres after being sidelined for four games with an upper-body injuy. Winger Patrik Laine (left foot injury) could also return tonight.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg is returning to Sweden for family reasons. The club hopes to provide a further update shortly.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has no plans to make any changes to its emergency backup goalie rule.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2020

Game recaps, players and rookie of the month for February, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist as the Washington Capitals edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Ovechkin has 45 goals on the season, moving into a second-place tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews in the NHL goal-scoring race. The Capitals (86 points) opened a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Wild (71 points), who remain one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin led his club to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Flyers jumped to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers. They scored three goals in the first period, two on the power-play and one shorthanded. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 26 shots in his first start since Feb. 3. The Flyers (83 points) opened a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers (74 points) are four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-3. Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray each had two points for the Jackets (78 points), opening a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the final Eastern wild-card spot. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who dropped into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Cam Talbot made 38 saves as the Calgary Flames blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0. Flames captain Mark Giordano collected three assists while Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist. With 75 points, the Flames moved one point ahead of the Canucks into third place in the Pacific Division. The Panthers (73 points) have dropped seven-straight games and remain five points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

The Los Angeles Kings upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Calvin Petersen stopped 42 shots while Anze Kopitar scored two goals to snap the Golden Knights’ eight-game winning streak. With 80 points, the Golden Knights remain atop the Pacific Division. Earlier in the day, they revealed winger Mark Stone is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Cory Schneider turned in a 34-save shutout and Pavel Zacha scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak are the NHL’s three stars for February 2020. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes was the rookie of the month.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2020

Leon Draisaitl reaches 100 points, David Pastrnak gets closer to 50 goals, Steven Stamkos sidelined six-to-eight weeks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl became the first player this season to reach 100 points as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. Draisaitl led the way with two goals and an assist, giving him a league-leading 102 points. The Oilers (76 points) move into sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division, while the Jets (72 points) remain just outside the Western Conference wild-card picture.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl reached 100 points for the second straight season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury or a slump, Draisaitl is well on his way to winning the Art Ross Trophy and should be considered a serious contender for the Hart Memorial Trophy. He stepped up his game during captain Connor McDavid’s recent absence due to injury.

David Pastrnak tallied his 47th goal and Tuukka Rask turned in a 25-save shutout as the Boston Bruins down the New York Islanders 4-0. Charlie McAvoy had a three-point performance for the Bruins (94 points), who hold a seven-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and overall standings. Before the game, the Islanders honored Butch Goring by retiring his No. 91. Isles winger Cal Clutterbuck returned to action for the first time since suffering an injured wrist on Dec. 19.

After taking a 3-0 lead, the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the day, the Lightning learned captain Steven Stamkos will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks as he undergoes surgery on Monday to repair a core muscle injury. With 87 points, they sit second to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Flames, meanwhile, hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos could return in time for the opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ryan O’Reilly’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force the overtime and shootout frames. It was the Blues’ seventh straight win, giving them 88 points and a three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference. The Stars (81 points) slip four behind the second-place Avs in the Central Division.

The Avalanche picked up their eighth straight road win and sixth consecutive victory by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2. Pavel Francouz made 30 saves for the win. The Avs (85 points) sit three behind the first-place Blues in the Central Division, while the Predators (72 points) hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

Martin Jones made 30 saves as the San Jose Sharks blanked the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0. The Penguins (80 points) are third in the Metropolitan Division, but they’ve dropped six straight games.

Martin Marincin’s first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Auston Matthews tallied his 45th goal of the season for the Leafs (78 points), who’ve won three straight and hold a five-point lead over the fading Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Canucks (74 points) remain in third place in the Pacific Division.

The Panthers, meanwhile, suffered their sixth straight defeat by dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist in regulation and scored one of the Hawks’ two shootout goals. Mike Hoffman also had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (73 points), who sit five back of the Maple Leafs. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced Andrew Shaw (concussion) and Zack Smith (hand injury) are done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves the Panthers made at the trade deadline have done nothing thus far to improve their performance. If they don’t snap out of their funk soon, they can forget about reaching the playoffs, and general manager Dale Tallon could start worrying about his job security.

The Montreal Canadiens blew a 3-0 lead to the Carolina Hurricanes but won the game 4-3 on an overtime goal by Jeff Petry. With 75 points, the Hurricanes are one point behind the idle Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Clayton Keller tallied twice and collected an assist to lead the Arizona Coyotes to 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. The Coyotes (72 points) are sitting just outside the Western Conference wild-card spots. Sabres rookie Victor Olofsson left the game with an injured right leg.

Artem Anisimov scored two goals and the winner in a shootout as the Ottawa Senators nipped the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss.

Adrian Kempe scored in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was diagnosed with a concussion, but isn’t expected to be out of the lineup for long. Defenseman Ryan Murray will return to action today against the Canucks. He’s been sidelined by a back injury since Dec. 14.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

Avalanche lose Mikko Rantanen to injury, Canadiens’ Shea Weber close to returning to action, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning won a franchise-record 11th straight game with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nikita Kucherov tallied the winner in overtime as the Bolts (85 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for first overall in the league standings. It was a costly defeat for the Avs, as winger Mikko Rantanen suffered an upper-body injury (shoulder) that could sideline him for weeks. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed goaltender Philipp Grubauer remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen could miss weeks with a shoulder injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing sparking speculation over what moves the Avs will make to bolster their injury-depleted roster. I’ll have more details this morning in the Rumors section.

Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane tallied his first career NHL hat trick to down the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. With the win, the Flames (68 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Pacific Division. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Arizona Coyotes (68 points) hold the second Western Conference wild-card spot after edging the New York Islanders 2-1. Conor Garland tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Coyotes. Andy Greene collected an assist in his first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Islanders have dropped three straight games.

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 25 shots in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights (70 points) move into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division, but the Oilers hold two games in hand. The Capitals (79 points) cling to a one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the fifth straight game and remains stuck at 698 career goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and Aaron Ekblad collected two assists to give the Florida Panthers a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Panthers (68 points) move within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. Following the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon got emotional when asked if he thought that was his last home game with the Sharks. Dillon is a free agent this summer and considered a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans and pundits love to bandy about the names of possible trade candidates. We shouldn’t forget that these are human beings. While the players acknowledge getting traded is part of the business of hockey, it can still be difficult facing the prospect of leaving a team.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and former LA Kings winger Tyler Toffoli (now with the Vancouver Canucks) are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 16.

THE SCORE: Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined three weeks with a rib injury, while winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) is done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news explains why the Canucks acquired Toffoli from the Kings last night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber has returned to practice with his teammates and could play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Weber had suffered an ankle injury that supposedly had him sidelined for six weeks amid speculation it was career-threatening.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have suspended defenseman Zach Bogosian for failing to report to their AHL affiliate after he recently cleared waivers. The suspension removes Bogosian’s $5.14 million salary-cap hit from the Sabres’ books, providing them flexibility as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. The club could negotiate a mutual contract termination with Bogosian.