NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enjoy multi-point performances against the Rangers, Carey Price will soon return to the Canadiens, Brady Tkachuk named captain of the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid’s game-tying goal set the stage for Leon Draisaitl’s overtime winner as the Edmonton Oilers overcame 4-1 and 5-4 deficits to defeat the New York Rangers 6-5. McDavid, Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each finished the night with a goal and two assists while Jesse Puljujarvi tallied twice and Darnell Nurse collected three assists for the Oilers. Mika Zibanejad scored two goals for the Rangers. Before the game, the Oilers honored former defenseman Kevin Lowe by retiring his No. 4 jersey.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s highlight-reel goal was another example of why he’s the best hockey player in the world right now. He stickhandled through four Rangers inside the New York blueline at high speed before tucking the puck past a sprawling Alexandar Georgiev. Draisaitl (23 points) and McDavid (22) are currently the NHL’s leading scorers.

Unanswered goals by Matt Duchene and Philip Tomasino lifted the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 26 saves while teammate Mikael Granlund picked up two assists. Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks.

The Winnipeg Jets downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Andrew Copp collected three assists while Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. The Jets (6-2-2) are off to their best start since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011 while the sad-sack Blackhawks fall to 1-9-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s gotta give for the Blackhawks soon. It could be a trade or a coaching change but this is a team badly in need of a shakeup. Another month of this and they can kiss their already fading playoff chances goodbye. Then again, whatever they do will probably already be too late to reverse their fortunes this season.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 28 saves to backstop his club over the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who honored team captain Ryan Getzlaf before the game for becoming the highest-scoring player in team history. The Coyotes have yet to win a game this season, sitting 0-10-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game highlighted two rebuilding clubs going in different directions. The Ducks (5-4-3) are off to a better than expected start while the Coyotes are feeling the effects of management’s offseason teardown moves that depleted the club’s depth, especially in goal. The Ducks still aren’t guaranteed to reach the playoffs but they’re showing early signs of becoming more competitive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are going to endure a very long and difficult season.

The Los Angeles Kings nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Iafallo. Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for the Kings while Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha replied for the Devils.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will rejoin the club on Monday following a 30-day stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. However, there’s no timetable for when he’ll return to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price was recovering from offseason knee surgery prior to entering the program. It will likely take some time, perhaps several weeks, before he’s ready for game action. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that Price feels well enough mentally to make this first step toward resuming his career.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Brady Tkachuk as their new captain on Friday. The Senators also placed winger Auston Watson in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators haven’t had a team captain since trading Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks in 2018. It’s an unsurprising choice as it had been speculated Tkachuk or Thomas Chabot would be named captain at some point this season. He leads by example on the ice and has become the face of the franchise.

Brady’s brother, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a strained oblique.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough setback for Laine, who was off to a good start with 10 points in nine games before the injury. He had just 21 points in 45 games with the Jackets last season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals forward Anthony Mantha is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to plague Mantha, who’s been sidelined in recent years with an injured lung, a broken hand, a fractured finger and a groin injury.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola in COVID protocol and announced center Brayden Schenn will be sidelined for two games with an upper-body injury. Ryan O’Reilly has come out of COVID protocol.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The NHL department of player safety handed down a two-game suspension to Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner on Thursday.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks reassigned winger William Eklund to his Swedish Hockey League club, Djurgardens IF, to save a year of the 19-year-old rookie’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a difficult decision by the Sharks. Eklund collected four assists in nine games and show considerable potential. The youngster is disappointed by the move but I expect he’ll be back full-time with the Sharks next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2021

Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews, Mark Giordano, Jack Campbell and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Jonathan Toews looked like his old self in his first NHL game since being sidelined with chronic immune response syndrome 407 days ago. Despite a 4-3 preseason shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks captain logged 22:48 of ice time, collected an assist, three shots on goal, two takeaways and won 15 of 21 faceoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising start for Toews. The Blackhawks need their captain healthy if they hope to contend for a playoff spot this season.

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames captain Mark Giordano returned to Calgary for his first game since being selected by the Seattle Kraken in July’s expansion draft. He received a warm welcome from Flames fans, scoring a goal in a 4-3 preseason shootout win by the Kraken.

THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell believes there can be no excuses for the club this season. He and his teammates intend to use last spring’s disappointing postseason as motivation to win in the 2022 playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs will face tremendous pressure this season following three straight first-round playoff exits.. Their last Stanley Cup title was in 1967 and they haven’t won a postseason series since 2004. Some teams can use previous playoff disappointment to grow and change into a championship team. Whether the Leafs can channel that this season remains to be seen.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Promising prospect William Eklund has a legitimate shot at cracking the San Jose Sharks roster this season. The seventh overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, Eklund leads the Sharks with three points in two preseason games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still very early in preseason play and Eklund hasn’t yet tasted regular-season NHL action. Nevertheless, the 18-year-old winger could have an opportunity to at least start the season with the Sharks.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson reportedly offered a contract extension to general manager Marc Bergevin in July, but they haven’t reached an agreement yet. Both sides continue to talk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Canadiens don’t want uncertainty over Bergevin’s contract status hanging over the club this season. The Canadiens GM garnered leverage with his club’s surprising march to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, but that could evaporate if they struggle this season.

THE DENVER POST: Former NHL forward and current Colorado Avalanche color analyst Peter McNab has been diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment. The 69-year-old McNab will continue his role with Altitude Sports.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to McNab for a speedy and full recovery.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Tanner Laczynski will require surgery on his left hip and could be sidelined for the season.

 

 










NHL Morning Headlines and Rumors – August 16, 2021

NHL Morning Headlines and Rumors – August 16, 2021

Updated salary arbitration schedule including the latest on Kevin Fiala, the Sharks sign William Eklund, plus the latest speculation on the Flames and Oilers in today’s NHL morning headlines and rumors.

CAP FRIENDLY: Only five of 20 cases remain in this summer’s NHL arbitration schedule.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala’s hearing is slated for Aug. 17, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros’ is set for Aug. 18 and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Dennis Gilbert’s is Aug. 21. Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Travis Sanheim and Calgary Flames rearguard Nikita Zadorov are scheduled for Aug. 26.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports Fiala seeks $6.25 million while the Wild are countering with $4 million. THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo tweeted Fiala chose a one-year contract. If the arbiter awards him that, he’ll be a restricted free agent again next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All cases thus far have been settled without going before an arbiter. The remainder could go the same route.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with Adam Erne, reaching an agreement on a two-year, $4.2 million contract.

PUCKPEDIA.COM: The San Jose Sharks signed William Eklund to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 18-year-old forward was the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the other 2021 picks signed to entry-level contracts, those deals will slide forward to next season if they play outside the NHL this season. Eklund could get a taste of action with the Sharks if he performs well in training camp. They could also play him in nine NHL games without burning the first year of his contract.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked if other moves could be in store for the Calgary Flames. She feels they still have some obvious holes on the defense, especially on the right side. They could consider going the trade or free-agent route or look within their system to address that issue.

Asked if the Flames could make a big move, Salvian believes they’re not done and there’s plenty of time remaining in the offseason. They’ve been linked to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and St. Louis’s Vladimir Tarasenko. She also wondered if they might shop Sean Monahan or perhaps attempt to pry Christian Dvorak away from the Arizona Coyotes.

NHL.COM: Tim Campbell believes the Flames need a reliable backup goaltender for Jacob Markstrom. They must also negotiate a contract extension for winger Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames general manager Brad Treliving acknowledged changes had to be made following his club’s disappointing performance over the past two seasons. So far, he’s lost Mark Giordano in the expansion draft, acquired defenseman Nikita Zadorov, winger Tyler Pitlick and goalie Dan Vladar, and signed Blake Coleman to a six-year deal.

I don’t see the Flames winning the Eichel sweepstakes. Treliving shot down speculation of a Tarasenko-for-Matthew Tkachuk swap. Monahan’s 10-team no-trade clause is a stumbling block in any attempt to move him. Meanwhile, the Coyotes seem reluctant to move Dvorak unless a club is willing to overpay for his services.

Treliving could be keen to make another significant move and he still could pull it off. However, he could be finding suitable deals difficult to come by.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins speculates the Oilers could use a professional tryout offer route as training camp approaches to add an experienced No. 4 defenseman with a right-hand shot. He suggested Michael Stone or Sami Vatanen as possible options.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2021

The Canadiens avoid being swept from the Stanley Cup Final, Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks dies in a fireworks accident, Wild re-sign Nick Bjugstad and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination from the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 on Monday night.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Josh Anderson opened the scoring in the first period and tallied the game-winner in overtime. Alexander Romanov scored his first of the playoffs for the Canadiens while Carey Price made 32 saves for the win. Barclay Goodrow and Pat Maroon replied for the Lightning.

The series returns to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Wednesday night with the Lightning holding a 3-1 lead.

TSN: The Canadiens made some lineup changes for Game 4. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was replaced by Jake Evans as their third-line center while Romanov and Brett Kulak replaced Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill on their third defense pairing. Anderson moved to the Canadiens’ second line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

Lightning winger Alex Killorn missed his third straight game of this series. He remains day-to-day with a leg injury suffered in Game 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning controlled most of the play in this game. Head coach Jon Cooper lamented several near misses for his club, including several shots clanging off the goalposts.

That doesn’t detract from what was a big win by the Canadiens. Price and his penalty killers were outstanding as they shut down five Lightning power-play opportunities, including a double-minor on Habs captain Shea Weber that stretched from late in the third period into the early minutes of overtime. Price was particularly strong during the opening minutes of the game, shutting down the Lightning as they pushed to open the scoring.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died on July 4 at age 24. It was initially reported that he suffered an apparent head injury during a fall, but an initial autopsy revealed he suffered a percussive injury from a fireworks explosion that led to major damage to his heart and lungs.

The incident took place at the Novi, Michigan home of former Detroit Red Wings goalie Manny Legace. Kivlenieks’ death is being investigated as accidental and no charges are under consideration at this time.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets fans gathered at a popular bar near NationWide Arena to mourn Kivlenieks’ passing. It included an 80-second moment of silence in honor of the netminder, who wore No. 80 with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Kivlenieks’ family, friends, teammates and the Jackets organization and fans. This was a tragic ending to a young life and career that held so much promise.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Nick Bjugstad to a one-year, $900K contract. The 28-year-old center was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. He excelled in a depth role with the Wild this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bjugstad’s taking a big pay cut to stay in Minnesota. Cap Friendly indicates he was coming off a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.1 million. That reflects how much his role has changed since signing that deal with the Florida Panthers in 2014.

The signing puts only a slight dent into the Wild’s projected salary-cap space for next season. They have over $15.9 million remaining with restricted free agent stars Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala to re-sign.

NHL.COM: Swedish prospect forward William Eklund received the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence. The award, presented by NHL Central Scouting, goes to the candidate who best displays a commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism. Previous winners include Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eklund overcame an emergency appendectomy and a positive COVID-19 test to become this year’s top European skater as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. He’s projected to go in the top five of this year’s NHL Draft.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The AHL’s Providence Bruins will be seeking a new head coach as Jay Leach has joined the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2021

The Blackhawks are working on a trade for Duncan Keith plus the latest on the Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLACKHAWKS ATTEMPTING TO TRADE KEITH

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported last evening the Chicago Blackhawks are working on a potential trade for Duncan Keith. The move could send the 37-year-old defenseman to “either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada.”

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cited Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times reporting Keith’s family lives in Penticton, British Columbia during the off-season and his son stayed there this season. He wants to be closer to his family as his career winds down. Wegman suggested the teams that fit the criteria are the Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and perhaps the San Jose Sharks.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cites a source saying the Canucks aren’t believed to be interested in acquiring Keith citing their limited cap space. They seem inclined toward re-signing Alexander Edler. Cap space could also rule out the Flames as a destination. Another source suggested the Jets would be too far east.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (NHL Images).

Keith has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.538 million but he’s owed just $3.6 million in actual salary over those remaining seasons.

Johnston believes the Oilers have cap space to work with, as do the expansion Kraken. Both are relatively short flights from Penticton.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples examines if Keith would make sense for the Oilers. Given his high cap hit, it would be a steep price to pay for a defenseman on his last NHL legs unless the Oiler can move out an iffy contract like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen in the deal. He doubts the Blackhawks would pick up half of Keith’s annual cap hit. Staples also points out Keith’s stats indicate he’s producing at a low third-pairing level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken could be the best destination. They have plenty of cap space, Keith could provide leadership and experience to the expansion roster, and he’s still a recognizable name. Whether the Kraken or any of those other clubs are interested remains to be seen.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are said to be seeking the equivalent of four first-round picks in exchange for captain Jack Eichel. However, TSN’s Darren Dreger believes that the high asking price is depressing the 24-year-old center’s value in the trade market.

The Blackhawks are reportedly among the suitors for Eichel. However, Dreger cited a source saying their interest isn’t believed to be that high as they already have three high-priced forwards in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. He believes they’re more interested in adding a high-end defenseman like Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Dreger noted the Anaheim Ducks have also been connected to Eichel. Because they’re in the midst of a rebuild, they’re believed to be balking at the Sabres’ asking price. He also doubted their interest is as high as has been speculated. Dreger feels the New York Rangers remain well-positioned to make the best offer, despite the Sabres’ misgivings about sending Eichel there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks and Ducks could be performing due diligence to determine the Sabres’ asking price. Maybe they’ll be more interested if Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams drops his price to a more reasonable level.

I don’t blame Adams for setting a high ask as he wants the best possible return. He’ll see what interested parties counter with and try to find something in-between that works for both clubs.

The Blackhawks could free up additional cap dollars if they can find a taker for Duncan Keith. They’ll likely use those savings to put toward landing a star defenseman as Dreger observed.

I originally believed the Los Angeles Kings would be the best destination. They appear more interested in less expensive top-six forwards.

We don’t know how serious the Rangers’ reported interest in Eichel could be. Adams probably prefers moving him as far away from Buffalo as possible. However, he could have little choice but to move him to an eastern club if he can’t find better offers from western teams.