NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2019

Brothers Jack and Quinn Hughes face off for the first time, Tyson Jost tallies his first career hat trick, Jason Zucker apologizes to Bruce Boudreau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jack Hughes emerged the victor in the first meeting against his brother Quinn, scoring the only goal as his New Jersey Devils blanked the Vancouver Canucks 1-0. Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for the shutout.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (left) and New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (Photo via NHL.com).

Three unanswered second-period goals carried the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Carey Price made 32 saves while Canadiens captain Shea Weber had a goal and an assist. Habs defenseman Cale Fleury missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The Arizona Coyotes extended their points streak to five games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Conor Garland and Alex Goligoski had two points each for the Coyotes. In a pre-game ceremony, the Coyotes honored winger Phil Kessel recently playing in his 1,000th career NHL game with a silver stick.

Morgan Rielly scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Leafs 2-0 and 3-2 leads before Rielly’s OT heroics. David Pastrnak netted a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tyson Jost tallied his first NHL hat trick while Pavel Francouz kicked out 44 shots as the Colorado Avalanche downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. Colin Wilson collected three assists for the Avs, extending their points streak to eight games.

The Dallas Stars snapped a five-game losing skid by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Corey Perry had a goal and two assists while Ben Bishop made 38 stops.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Paul Stastny, William Karlsson, and Mark Stone were the goal scorers. The Penguins skated without defenseman Brian Dumoulin and center Jared McCann.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth straight win as they nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brock Nelson. Teammate Anthony Beauvillier collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Isles placed winger Jordan Eberle (lower body) on injured reserve.

After blowing a 2-0 lead, the Florida Panthers downed the Nashville Predators 3-2 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. It was a costly win for the Panthers as center Aleksander Barkov left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis collected two assists.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. It was Quick’s first win of the season and snapped the Kings’ three-game losing streak. Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane missed the game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Zemgus Girgensons’ third-period goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks to end the latter’s three-game win streak. Sabres center Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist while Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson had two assists.

THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker apologized for publicly calling out head coach Bruce Boudreau earlier in the week. “There was no reason for me to use his name in that quote in any way,” Zucker said. He explained that the players were mostly responsible for the club’s poor start to the season.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Wild, Joel Eriksson Ek will be sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Letestu (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the remainder of the month.










NHL Injury Outlook Week 3

NHL Injury Outlook Week 3

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2019

The Oilers set a season-opening record, the Hurricanes winning streak ends, the Wild keep struggling, the Senators upset the Lightning, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record with their fifth straight come-from-behind season-opening victory by beating the New York Rangers 4-1. Leon Draisaitl scored twice and set up another while Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko tallied his first NHL goal. The Oilers sit atop the league’s overall standings. Earlier in the day, the Oilers placed center Colby Cave on waivers.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored twice in a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A surprising strong start by the Oilers. I’m interested to see how they do against tougher opposition.

Vladislav Namestnikov tallied twice and added an assist as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Senators center Artem Anisimov left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts are blowing hot and cold. They crushed the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 the game before, split a season-opening home-and-home against the Florida Panthers, and dropped an overtime decision to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Los Angeles Kings recovered from blowing a 4-1 lead to down the Nashville Predators 7-4. Alex Iafallo scored the winner with 59 seconds remaining in the game while empty-netters by Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty sealed the deal. In other news, the Kings intend to cover up singer Taylor Swift’s “most soldout performances” banner at the Staples Center during their home games. The banner has been an eyesore for Kings fans, as their club hasn’t won playoff series since it was raised in 2015.

Mark Scheifele’s overtime goal completed a three-goal rally for the Winnipeg Jets as they edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets depleted defense remains a cause for concern but their offensive punch has powered them to four wins in their first six games.

Tuukka Rask’s 31-save shutout backstopped the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils, handing the latter their fifth-straight loss. Brad Marchand had the game-winner and set up another.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are struggling despite the presence of a healthy Taylor Hall and the offseason additions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and Jack Hughes. Their lousy special teams haven’t helped. They’ve yet to tally a power-play goal while their penalty-killing percentage (50.0) is the league’s worst.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-2 deficit to upset the St. Louis Blues 6-3. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and two assists while Jonathan Drouin collected two points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin is silencing his critics with his early-season play. He’s tied with Gallagher (six points) for the Habs scoring lead with a five-game points streak.

Ilya Mikheyev had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Frederik Andersen kicked out 25 shots for the victory. In other Red Wings news, senior vice-president and alternate governor Jimmy Devellano will undergo surgery on Monday to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Devellano on a speedy recovery. As for the Leafs, they can thank their secondary scoring for this victory. John Tavares collected an assist while Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander were held scoreless.

New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots and Brock Nelson tallied the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter their third straight loss. Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist. Islanders winger Jordan Eberle left the game with a leg injury.

The Carolina Hurricane’ five-game win streak came to end as they fell 3-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pierre-Luc Dubois netted the game-winner in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes activated defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from injured reserve.

Tom Wilson and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1. The Capitals successfully killed off six penalties to end a three-game losing streak. The Stars have dropped five of their last six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How long before Stars president Jim Lites publicly dumps on Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin again? Asking for a friend.

The Minnesota Wild are off to their worst start in franchise history, suffering their fourth straight loss in a 7-4 drubbing by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rookie Sam Lafferty had a goal and two assists for the Penguins while Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist, and Adam Johnson each had a goal and an assist.

Andre Burakovsky scored in overtime as the Colorado Avalanche nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz scored for the Coyotes as they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Coyotes winger Phil Kessel played his 1,000th NHL game.

Shootout goals by Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves for the win.

Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and William Carrier each had a goal and an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Calgary Flames 6-2. Golden Knights center Cody Eakin made his season debut after suffering a lower-body injury in preseason play. They also called up Oscar Dansk to replace sidelined backup Malcolm Subban.

TSN: Former NHL defenseman and coach Ted Green died on Tuesday at age 79. He spent nearly 11 seasons with the Boston Bruins from 1960-61 to 1971-72, winning the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. He also overcame a gruesome head injury after becoming involved in a stick-swinging incident with Wayne Maki in 1969.

Green finished his playing career with seven seasons in the World Hockey Association. He went on to win five Stanley Cups as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Green’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2019

The NHL buyout period begins today, Islanders re-sign Jordan Eberle, a list of Bruins injuries and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

The NHL buyout period begins today and runs to 5 PM ET on June 30. 

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders re-signed right wing Jordan Eberle to a five-year, $27.5-million contract extension. Eberle, 29, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

The New York Islanders re-signed winger Jordan Eberle (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eberle took a cut in pay from his expiring six-year, $36-million deal to stay with the Islanders. This was a surprise most observers didn’t expect him to be re-signed. At the very least, he was considered a lower priority than captain Anders Lee and Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner.

Eberle may have accepted a pay cut but that contract term seems too long. It’ll be a worthwhile signing If he performs over the next five years at the same level he did down the stretch and in the postseason. Otherwise, it could become a salary-cap headache in the coming years. 

Newsday’s Mark Herrman believes Eberle’s decision to stay was “a sign of faith in general manager Lou Lamoriello, coach Barry Trotz and the future at Belmont Park.”  The winger and his family enjoy living and playing on Long Island. The future construction of a new arena at Belmont Park provides stability for the Islanders. That could become a factor in the Isles’ efforts to retain and attract quality talent. 

NHL.COM: A lengthy list of Boston Bruins players were nursing injuries during the Stanley Cup Final. Captain Zdeno Chara’s jaw was fractured in several places requiring plates, screws, and wires to repair. He’s looking at five-to-six weeks of recovery.

Brad Marchand played through groin, abdominal and wrist injuries. Patrice Bergeron played through a groin injury. David Pastrnak took a blow to his surgically repaired thumb.

Noel Acciari suffered a fractured sternum in the second round. Defenseman John Moore played 10 games despite fracturing his humerus on March 25. Blueliner Kevan Miller suffered a twice-fractured kneecap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I remain amazed over how professional hockey players continue playing despite serious injuries that would sideline athletes in other sports. 

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals are still trying to re-sign pending UFA winger Carl Hagelin. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way contract worth $925K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSNET: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed blueline Cameron Gaunce to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Gustav Olofsson to a one-year, two-way contract. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former Canadiens rearguard Michael Bournival announced his retirement after suffering multiple concussions during his playing career. “I’d rather stop there before it’s too late,” he said in an interview with TVA Nouvelles. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have hired recently-retired winger Tanner Glass to work in their player personnel department. He spent this season playing in France and announced his retirement as an active player earlier this week.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced they’ve hired Mike Bales as their new goaltending coach and Don Granato as an assistant coach. Steve Smith will remain as an assistant but Davis Payne, Chris Hajt and Tom Ward were let go. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2019

Looking ahead for the Blue Jackets, plus the latest on the Islanders and Wild in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLUE JACKETS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters believe the Columbus Blue Jackets should make a push to re-sign Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Failing that, they’ll have to find suitable replacements this summer. Panarin and Bobrovsky are expected to test this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Rumors link Panarin to the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. There’s a sliver of hope that Bobrovsky could have a change of heart and re-sign with the Jackets. 

Has Artemi Panarin played his final game with the Columbus Blue Jackets? (Photo via NHL Images)

Forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel are also slated to become UFAs this summer. Both were acquired from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline. Duchene fit in well with the Jackets but Dzingel saw diminished ice time during the playoffs. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline said Panarin, Bobrovsky, Duchene, Dzingel, and Adam McQuaid are all expected to depart via free agency this summer. President of hockey operations John Davidson could depart to take on a similar role with the New York Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Panarin, Dzingel, and McQuaid won’t be back. Bobrovsky could stay if the Jackets are willing to open the vault. However, he could get some tempting offers from rival clubs looking for an established starting goaltender. I also think Duchene would be willing to return for the right price, perhaps over $8 million per season on a long-term deal.

Cap Friendly indicates the Jackets have over $52.3 million invested in 16 players. Assuming an $83 million cap and provided ownership is willing to spend, they’ll have over $30 million to re-sign some of those UFA or find replacements via trade or free agency. The Jackets won’t be able to draw upon their draft picks as trade bait. They have just two picks in this year’s draft and five in next year’s. 

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the New York Islanders will face decisions with pending UFAs Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and Robin Lehner. General manager Lou Lamoriello expressed interest in re-signing all of them. Cyrgalis believes Lamoriello would love to bring in a high-impact forward such as Columbus’s Artemi Panarin. Adding more offensive skill might allow head coach Barry Trotz to loosen the reins on his tight-checking defensive system.

Cygalis notes Lee is interested in returning. Over the weekend, however, Cyrgalis suggested Mark Stone’s new eight-year, $76-million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights could be used as a starting point. He also feels Eberle is the most likely to depart while Lehner and Nelson are toss-ups. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lee’s representative could use Stone’s contract as a comparable but I doubt he’ll get that much from the Isles or anyone else. He earned $3.75-million per season on his current contract. Lee turns 29 in July and I expect Lamoriello will offer up something between $6 – $6.5 million per season on a five-year deal.

I also expect Lamoriello will do all he can to keep Lehner in the fold. As a Vezina finalist, he will be expensive to retain. His reps could seek something in the neighborhood of $7 million per season. I agree that Nelson’s a toss-up and Eberle is probably a goner.

UPDATES ON THE WILD

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently listed Jared Spurgeon, Jason Zucker and Jonas Brodin among his list of Minnesota Wild player who could be on the move this summer.

Spurgeon is a year away from UFA eligibility. If it appears a contract extension is impossible to reach this summer, Russo suggested the defenseman’s trade value could be high at this year’s draft. He pointed out the Toronto Maple Leafs need a right-shot blueliner. 

Zucker is coming off a down year and was nearly shipped to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline. With GM Paul Fenton committed to a roster rebuild, the winger could be a prime trade candidate. Russo wouldn’t be surprised if Fenton explored Brodin’s trade value. However, moving him out could be a risk because veteran blueliner Ryan Suter isn’t getting any younger. 

During a recent mailbag segment, Russo was asked which impact players the Wild should pursue this summer. He suggested Columbus center Matt Duchene and Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner. He also thinks one of the Islanders UFA forwards (Eberle, Nelson or Lee) would be a good fit. 

Russo wondered if Fenton looks into Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen or revisits his interest in William Nylander. If Spurgeon is traded, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers might be a good replacement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Fenton will be among this summer’s busiest general managers. He already shook things up during the regular season, swapping Nino Niederreiter for Viktor Rask, Charlie Coyle for Ryan Donato, and Mikael Granlund for Kevin Fiala. Zucker could be next.

If Fenton decides to move Spurgeon I can see the Leafs expressing interest, though finding sufficient cap space to re-sign him will be difficult. If Spurgeon is re-signed, maybe he’ll look at shopping Brodin.

The Wild have over $62.4 million invested in 14 players, with all their core players under contract. Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek are restricted free agents and should be affordable re-signings. If Fenton ships out Zucker and either Spurgeon or Brodin, he’ll want affordable young NHL-ready players in return. If he goes shopping for UFA help, I expect he’ll look for twenty-something talent. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2019

A look at the Islanders’ potential offseason plans, the latest Oilers GM speculation, and an update on Ryan Miller in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE ISLANDERS?

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello faces “a massive amount of questions” this summer. They have “a gaggle of free agents” plus “a handful of attractive trade pieces”. He feels they must add some “high-end skills” to supplement their defensive style.

Robin Lehner is among four notable New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agents this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

Cygalis’ colleague Larry Brooks expects changes are coming. Goaltender Robin Lehner, captain Anders Lee, center Brock Nelson, and winger Jordan Eberle are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Brooks believes Eberle is “essentially out the door”.

The Islanders could have up to $34 million in salary cap room this summer but Lamoriello might not spend all of it. Brooks wonders if the Isles GM will get into a bidding war with the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. He also pondered the possibility of Lamoriello attempting to sign Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitch Marner to an offer sheet.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters expect Lee to be re-signed and recommend retaining Nelson. The contract term for Eberle could become a sticking point for Lamoriello. Lehner will command a big raise but Kaplan and Peters wonder if the Isles GM will instead attempt to sign Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.

They also wonder if Lamoriello will pursue a high-end forward like Panarin or Matt Duchene.

Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss has a year remaining on his contract. He could be traded if promising Ilya Sorokin cracks the roster next season. Center Valtteri Filppula could return on another one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have over $47 million invested in 16 players. They’ll have plenty of cap room to re-sign their key free agents and bring in a high-end player or two. Lamoriello has a reputation for frugalness but he’s also willing to pay big raises to deserving players.

As long as the Lehner camp doesn’t seek Carey Price money, I expect he’ll return with the Islanders. I can see Lamoriello offering big bucks to Lehner on a two-year deal with the promise of more money to come on his next deal if he maintains his Vezina-worthy form. The netminder could feel a sense of loyalty to the Isles for taking a chance on him and perhaps agree to such a deal. We’ll see.

Lee seems keen to stay with the Islanders and Lamoriello probably doesn’t want to lose another captain two years in a row. Dollars shouldn’t be an issue but I recall reading somewhere that Lamoriello won’t want to go beyond five years for Lee.

Eberle has probably played his final game with the Islanders while Nelson’s status appears hazy. He’s coming off a career regular season and played well in the opening round sweep of the Penguins. However, he didn’t have a good series against the Hurricanes. Time will tell if that affects his contract negotiations with Lamoriello.

I expect Lamoriello will attempt to land a skilled player or two via free agency or trades. He’s got the cap space to make a competitive bid via free agency. He’ll also have to sell his prospective UFA targets on why the Isles are worth joining. The club’s improvement this season and the presence of well-respected head coach Barry Trotz should help.

Speaking of trades, I expect winger Joshua Ho-Sang will be shopped this summer. He’s struggled to crack the Isles roster under two different GMs and head coaches. He won’t fetch much on his own but could be bundled into a package offer.

As for an offer sheet, you can’t rule anything out with Lamoriello. However, he’s never gone that route before and could remain unwilling to go down that path.

OILERS STILL WOOING HOLLAND FOR GM JOB?

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reported sources claim the Edmonton Oilers are going all-in trying to woo Detroit Red Wings senior VP Ken Holland into becoming their new general manager. The two sides have reportedly conducted extensive negotiations, with Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson offering Holland complete autonomy to hire and fire at will.

The two sides could reach an agreement over the weekend with an official announcement of the hiring to be made next week. If Holland doesn’t accept the job, Mark Hunter, Sean Burke, and Oilers interim GM Keith Gretzky would remain in the running. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, Holland would take over full control of the Oilers’ hockey operations department. That would rule out the possibility of any meddling from the so-called “Old Boys Network” of former Oilers among the front-office staff. Indeed, it could mean some of those people would be replaced by Holland. It’s a tempting offer for the former Wings GM, who’s been shunted aside in Detroit since Steve Yzerman took over that job.

If Holland accepts he’ll bring a stellar resume with him. The Red Wings were among the league’s dominant teams for most of his 22-year tenure as general manager. During that period, they appeared in four Stanley Cup Finals and won three championships. He also has a solid reputation at the draft table, selecting such notables as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Dylan Larkin. Critics, however, point to his tendency to overpay in the free-agent market and the Wings decline during his final years as GM.

It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.