NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2023
Recaps of Monday’s games, the three stars of the week are revealed, and the latest on Frederik Andersen, Nicklas Backstrom, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jack Hughes and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks extended their points streak to eight games by dumping the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Quinn Hughes had a goal and three assists, Brock Boeser scored twice and Thatcher Demko kicked out 40 shots for the Canucks (9-2-1) as they sit second overall in the Western Conference with 19 points. Mattias Ekholm and Leon Draisaitl replied for the 2-8-1 Oilers, who sit second-last in the conference with five points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is not where most observers expected to see these two teams in the standings when this season began. The Canucks are off to their best start in years while the Oilers are enduring one of their worst.
Edmonton’s struggles, however, are garnering more attention than the Canucks’ early-season success. The Oilers’ growing frustration was apparent as Draisaitl received a 10-minute misconduct in the third period while head coach Jay Woodcroft was ejected later in the period for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Oilers’ difficulties are also generating speculation about possible changes. I’ll have more in today’s Rumors update.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman stopped 35 shots while rookies John Beecher and Mason Lohrei netted their first NHL goals in a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Brad Marchand tallied the game-winner as his Eastern Conference-leading Bruins (21 points) held on to improve their record to 10-1-1. Wyatt Johnston and Joe Pavelski scored for the 7-3-1 Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars forwards Matt Duchene and Radek Faksa missed this game as they’re still recovering from upper-body injuries. Both are considered day-to-day.
An overtime goal by Calle Jarnkrok lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5. Jarnkrok and Auston Matthews each scored twice, Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists and Matthew Knies had three points for the 6-4-2 Leafs, who overcame a 4-1 deficit after Joseph Woll replaced Ilya Samsonov in goal. Nikita Kucherov had two goals and two assists and Victor Hedman collected three points for the Lightning as they dropped to 5-3-4.
The Florida Panthers nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on an overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe. Sam Reinhart had two assists and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the 6-4-1 Panthers. The Blue Jackets (4-5-3) overcame a 3-0 deficit as Spencer Martin made 34 saves after Elvis Merzlikins got the hook for giving up three goals on 11 shots.
NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cam Talbot and Anaheim Ducks forward Mason McTavish are the three stars for the week ending Nov. 5.
CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen is out indefinitely after a medical exam discovered a blood clotting issue that requires treatment. The club issued a statement indicating there is no timetable for his return but they are confident he’ll make a full recovery.
The Hurricanes also signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a professional tryout offer and recalled netminder Pyotr Kochetkov from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Andersen completely recovers and resumes his playing career.
TSN: Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said it’s unlikely Nicklas Backstrom will play again this season. The 35-year-old center stepped away from the team last week citing ongoing issues with his surgically-repaired left hip. Backstrom is expected to go on long-term injury reserve soon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I hope I’m wrong but I believe Backstrom’s playing career is over. No NHL player has successfully returned to form following a hip resurfacing procedure.
TSN: Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is on track to return to action later this month. Vasilevskiy underwent lower back surgery in late September and is expected back soon after American Thanksgiving on Nov. 23.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have made do thus far with backup Jonas Johansson filling in for Vasilevskiy. Nevertheless, they’ll be looking forward to his return between the pipes as they attempt to stage another run for the Stanley Cup this season.
DAILY FACEOFF: It’s been confirmed that New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes injured his right shoulder when he exited Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is listed as week-to-week with some observers indicating he could be sidelined for three-to-four weeks. His condition is unrelated to the upper-body injury that he suffered during the playoffs.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (upper body) is questionable for Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers. Winger Robby Fabbri is expected to return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for the past 10 games.
CBS SPORTS: New York Islanders center Bo Horvat is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter has accepted that he’ll be in and out of the lineup this season. He was a healthy scratch on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks for the first time in his NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 38-year-old Carter has had a long, productive NHL career but his performance has been in decline over the past two years. He indicated that he’s not going to be a “grumpy old guy” about his situation and will continue to support his teammates when he’s not playing.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier held a meeting with his players to address the club’s woeful 0-10-1 start to this season. Grier acknowledged he expected growing pains for his rebuilding roster but found their effort in their last two games (in which they gave up 10 goals in each contest) to be “unacceptable”.
Grier told the press that everyone on the team (including himself) had to be accountable for this situation. He refused to lay all the blame on the shoulders of head coach David Quinn. The Sharks GM indicated he’d been evaluating the club’s performance in the coming weeks, adding that changes could be coming if things didn’t improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s little that Quinn can do with the gutted roster he was given for this season. Trading away Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier last season took away two talented core players plus they’ve been missing the skills and experience of sidelined captain Logan Couture.