NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

The Lightning take a 3-1 series lead over the Bruins, the Islanders and Golden Knights go up 2-1 in their respective series, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Boston Bruins 3-1 to take a 3-1 lead in their second-round series. Nikita Kucherov collected two assists for the Bolts.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat has four goals in his last three games against the Boston Bruins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take of this game by following this link. If both teams keep playing the way they have over the past three games, this series could be over on Monday evening.

Three unanswered goals by Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, and Anders Lee gave the New York Islanders a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Semyon Varlamov returned to the net after giving up three goals on 10 shots in Game 2, stopping 26 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong first period by the Flyers was snuffed out by the Isles’ solid defense and opportunistic scoring over the next two periods. In what’s become a running theme in this postseason, the Flyers’ leading scorers weren’t much of a factor. Their playoff bubble will burst if this trend continues.

Robin Lehner picked up his second shutout in three games by kicking out 31 shots to blank the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Alex Tuch and Zach Whitecloud scored in the first period and Mark Stone tallied in the third. The Golden Knights lead the series 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The game was pretty much over in the first period when Vancouver failed to cash in on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Defensive mistakes by the Canucks led to all three Vegas goals, the most egregious being Alex Tuch blazing through the defense to open the scoring.



THE DENVER POST: The recent two-day protest pause in the schedule could help the Colorado Avalanche, allowing banged-up players like Nikita Zadorov, Joonas Donskoi, and Matt Calvert a chance to heal and return to the lineup.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be the one to watch as the Florida Panthers narrow their list of contenders for their general manager position.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk has interviewed for the GM position.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Panthers job.

SPORTSNET: Kevin Weekes, Mike Futa and Bill Armstrong are also being considered by the Panthers, as well as the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for the Panthers and Coyotes. Both clubs desperately need quality management.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Joel Kellman to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $750K. The first season is a two-way deal.

One Hundred Years Ago, Three Future NHLers Led Canada To Olympic Glory

One Hundred Years Ago, Three Future NHLers Led Canada To Olympic Glory

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019

The latest on Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock yesterday indicated he expects centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews to average around 19 minutes of ice time per game this season. Babcock received criticism for not playing Matthews more during their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs.

Auston Matthews could see a slight increase in his ice time with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Juggling the ice time of two superstar centers is a problem every NHL coach wants to have. In Toronto, of course, every decision by Babcock is questioned by millions of armchair coaches. Because it’s the dog days of the off-season when there’s little real hockey news to report, Matthews’ ice time for the coming season is headline news.

Dylan Larkin believes he’s ready to take on the captaincy of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings played without a captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg was placed on long-term injured reserve.

“A letter is a letter, but being a captain of a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings would mean a lot to me. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I still get to play for the Detroit Red Wings and I get to play in the NHL and I’m going to try to play my best.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Larkin would make a fine captain for the Wings. The final decision rests with Wings general manager Steve Yzerman.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains optimistic defenseman Zach Werenski will be re-signed before training camp opens next month. Werenski, 21, is among several notable restricted free agents around the league who remain unsigned. Kekalainen believes the agents for Werenski and the others are playing a waiting game to see who signs first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early August and neither side is in a rush to get these deals done. Once the calendar flips to September and the start of training camps approach, I anticipate a flurry of signings.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov wants to play a final season in the NHL and reach a milestone 1,000 games, preferably with the Habs. Two years ago, the 40-year-old blueliner signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan after failing to reach an agreement with the Canadiens. He spent his entire NHL career in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need depth on the left side of their blueline. I don’t know if Markov would be a fit at this stage of his career. Perhaps the Habs bring him to camp on a professional tryout offer if they don’t bring in another rearguard via trade or free agency.

THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said Don Waddell remains the club’s general manager. Speculation over Waddell’s future was raised earlier this week when he was reportedly interviewed by the Minnesota Wild for their vacant GM position. Waddell lacks a formal contract with the Hurricanes but Dundon insists he remains employed by the club.


Where Are They Now? Calder Trophy Winners Edition

Where Are They Now? Calder Trophy Winners Edition

Since 1933, the Calder Memorial Trophy has been annually awarded to the NHL’s top rookie player as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Over the years, a number of players honored to receive this award have gone on to stellar NHL careers. Many have their names enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Among today’s active NHL players, such notables as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews have taken home this trophy.

For many of the former winners, the Calder Trophy became the only major NHL award they would receive. Most still had fine playing careers but would fall short of Hall of Fame recognition.

Here’s a look at at several former Calder Winners since 1998, including the year they won the award and what they’re doing today.

Andrew Raycroft, goaltender (2003-04). Though Raycroft appeared in 21 games over three previous seasons with the Boston Bruins, it was his 57-game performance in ’03-’04 that was considered his actual rookie campaign. He sported a record of 29 wins, 18 losses and 9 overtime defeats, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

His rookie season was also Raycroft’s best as an NHL goalie. His performance declined as he bounced from the Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. He subsequently spent two seasons in Europe before retiring in 2014. Today, he’s a volunteer goaltending coach with the University of Connecticut men’s hockey team and has appeared as a studio hockey analyst for NESN.

Barrett Jackman, defenseman (2002-03). A solid defensive blueliner, Jackman narrowly beat out Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg and Columbus’ Rick Nash for the Calder.

Jackman spent all but one of his 14 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, finishing his career with the Nashville Predators in 2015-16. In 2017, he returned to the Blues as a development coach.

Former Calder Trophy winner Dany Heatley (Photo via NHL.com)

Dany Heatley, left wing (2001-02). A 26-goal, 67-point performance with the Atlanta Thrashers earned Heatley the Calder. His career was nearly derailed following a car crash in Sept. 2003 that killed teammate Dan Snyder. He pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and received three years probation as part of his plea deal.

Dealt to Ottawa in 2005, Heatley enjoyed his best NHL seasons with the Senators, including two straight 50-goal performances in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2009, his performance began to decline. Following three seasons with the Minnesota Wild and a brief stop with the Anaheim Ducks, he finished his pro career in Germany in 2015-16.

Heatley’s been out of the spotlight since then. In 2017, a Calgary court awarded him $6.5-million in damages after companies run by his former agent defrauded him of over $11 million in bad real estate investments.

Evgeni Nabokov, goaltender (2000-01). In his first full NHL season with the Sharks, Nabokov sported a record of 32 wins, 21 losses and 7 overtime defeats, with a 2.19 GAA, .915 SP and six shutouts.

Nabokov spent 10 seasons with the Sharks, establishing himself among the league’s best goalies. With the Sharks unable to re-sign him for salary-cap reasons, he spent the 2010-11 season in the KHL. He returned to the NHL in 2011-12, going on to play three seasons with the New York Islanders and one with the Tampa Bay Lightning before retiring in 2015.

Nabokov returned to the Sharks in the fall of 2015 as their goaltending development coach and special assignments scout. It’s a role he continues to fill today.

Scott Gomez, center/winger (1999-2000). The native of Anchorage, Alaska had a memorable NHL debut season, winning the Calder Trophy thanks to his 70-point performance. He was also part of the Devils’ Stanley Cup championship run in 2000.

Gomez enjoyed his best seasons during his initial seven-year tenure with the Devils, helping them win another Cup in 2003 and posting a career-high 84-points in 2005-06. He went on to spend two seasons with the New York Rangers and three with the Montreal Canadiens but never again enjoyed the level of success as he did earlier in his career.

From 2012-13 to 2015-16, Gomez played for the Sharks, Florida Panthers, Blues and Senators, including a one-season return with the Devils in 2014-15. Retiring in 2016, Gomez was hired as an assistant coach in 2017 by the New York Islanders, a role he still holds despite the recent changes among the club’s coaching staff.

Chris Drury, center (1998-99) A 20-goal, 44-point performance with the Colorado Avalanche garnered Drury rookie of the year honours. Following four seasons with the Avs (including a Stanley Cup championship in 2001), he was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2002. The following year, he was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres.

Drury’s three seasons with the Sabres were his best, co-captaining them to two straight seasons with 110-or-more points (2005-06 and 2006-07), including two Eastern Conference Finals appearances. He went on to sign with the New York Rangers in 2007 and had two solid performances in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Injuries, however, began to take their toll. In 2011, Drury accepted a contract buyout and announced his retirement.

In 2015, Drury joined the Rangers front office. Since 2016. he’s been an assistant general manager and was also named GM of their AHL affiliate in Hartford in 2017.

Sergei Samsonov, winger (1997-98). Teammate Joe Thornton was the Bruins’ highly touted rookie that season but it was Samsonov who took home rookie of the year honors with 22 goals and 47 points. From 1997-98 to 2005-06, the skilled left winger enjoyed his best seasons with the Bruins. Those years included back-to-back seasons with 70-or-more points in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

With the Bruins rebuilding in 2005-06, Samsonov was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers, tallying 15 points in 24 playoff games helping them reach the ’06 Stanley Cup Final. Over the next five seasons, he played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers before retiring in 2011.

In 2014, Samsonov rejoined to the Hurricanes in their scouting department. He’s now their director of forwards development.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2017

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko celebrates his game-winning goal against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of their second-round series.

Game recaps, Blackhawks trade Darling to Hurricanes, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, including the game winner, to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators, tying their best-of-seven second-round series at a game apiece.

Predators center Vernon Fiddler could face supplemental discipline after earning a five-minute major and game misconduct for a knee-on-knee hit on Blues defenseman Colton Parayko. While shaken up, Parayko returned to the game. 

Cam Talbot made 39 saves as the Edmonton Oilers hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven second-round series. Andrej Sekera and Patrick Maroon scored for the Oilers, while Jakob Silfverberg replied for the Ducks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers definitely owe this win to Talbot, especially when the Ducks peppered him with 16 shots in the third period. The Ducks were the better team but Talbot stole this one. 

ESPN.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) will be a game-day decision to return to the lineup for Game 2 tonight against the Washington Capitals. He’s been sidelined since March 10. 

TSN.CA: Ian Mendes examines why the Ottawa Senators failed to sell out the opening game of their second-round series with the New York Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Mendes observes, there’s several reasons behind the “Sens malaise” among Ottawa supporters. If this happened to a team in the American Sun Belt there would be calls to move them to a “real” hockey market. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes acquired goaltender Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round pick (formerly belonging to the Senators) in 2017. Darling is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks couldn’t afford to re-sign Darling, so they dealt him for a draft pick rather than lose him for nothing to free agency. This was a shrewd move by Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis, as he now has exclusive negotiating rights with the 28-year-old goalie until July 1.

The Hurricanes need improvement in goal and Darling has the potential to become an NHL starter. Perhaps his best chance could be with the rebuilding Canes and their solid young defense corps.

It could cost the Hurricanes over $4 million annually on a five-year deal to sign Darling. If successful, Francis will have to trade or buy out Cam Ward or Eddie Lack. Both are signed through next season

NEW YORK POST: The New York Rangers reportedly denied the Buffalo Sabres’ request to speak with assistant GM (and former Sabres captain) Chris Drury. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2016

Corey Perry will replace Jeff Carter on Team Canada in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Corey Perry will replace Jeff Carter on Team Canada in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

 World Cup of Hockey roster updates and more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry will replace Los Angeles Kings winger Jeff Carter on Team Canada for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. Carter is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE:  Boston Bruins center David Krejci, who’s recovering from offseason hip surgery, has decided not to participate in the World Cup of Hockey. He was to play for the Czech Republic. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames center Sean Monahan has decided to skip the World Cup of Hockey due to a lower-back strain. Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck will take his place on Team North America.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen suffered what appears to be a shoulder injury playing for Denmark in an Olympic qualifying game on Friday against Slovenia. He will be returning to Toronto for an assessment by Leafs doctors. Andersen was slated to play for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Carter, Krejci and Monahan aren’t expected to miss the training camps of their respective NHL teams in three weeks time. A wise decision by the trio, as they don’t want to risk aggravating their injuries and potentially miss the start of the NHL season. Andersen’s status remains uncertain. 

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC:  Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone (knee surgery) has been skating for a few weeks now. His target date to return to action is October 15. 

TWINCITIES.COM:  The Minnesota Wild will bring veteran winger Ryan Carter to training camp on a professional tryout basis.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:  The Rangers have promoted Chris Drury to assistant general manager. He played a key role in the Rangers’ landing top college prospect Jimmy Vesey. 

NBC SPORTS: Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad signed a one-year contract with the Zurich Lions. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once a touted blueline prospect, Rundblad struggled as an NHL defenseman. In 113 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, he tallied four goals and 25 points. In July, the Blackhawks terminated the remaining year of his contract. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:  Las Vegas’ NHL expansion franchise hired Kelly Kisio as a pro scout. The former NHL veteran spent the past 18 seasons with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen in a variety of roles. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have reportedly parted ways with team doctor Vincent Lacroix. The move is apparently administrative and not linked to his treatment of goaltender Carey Price’s knee injury last season.