NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2022

The Flames win their 10th straight, the Bruins surprise the Avalanche, the Canadiens upset the Leafs, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames are the hottest team in the league after picking up their 10th straight win by downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Elias Lindholm extended his goal streak to eight games with the game-winning goal with 47 seconds remaining in the game. Sean Monahan and Tyler Toffoli also scored for Calgary. The Flames also set a franchise record with a perfect 7-0-0 homestand. With 66 points, they hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Jets (52 points) remains seven points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

David Pastrnak scored twice and added an assist and Taylor Hall had three helpers to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 win over the league-leading Colorado Avalanche. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up the win with a 28-save performance as the Bruins (62 points) hold a 10-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. The Avs (76 points) remain one point ahead of the Florida Panthers in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Footage showed Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon appearing to slash linesman Michael Cormier on the leg after tangling with Bruins forward Tomas Nosek. Hockey operations investigated with the officials and determined there was “zero intent” by MacKinnon and no further action is required.

An overtime goal by Brett Pesce lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Frederik Andersen kicked out 38 shots for the win while Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (74 points), who hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Vancouver Canucks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each collected two assists while Thatcher Demko turned aside 25 shots. With 54 points, the Canucks are five points behind the Los Angeles Kings, who hold that final Western wild-card spot.

Montreal Canadiens forwards Josh Anderson and Cole Caufield each had three points to lead their club to a 5-2 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Anderson scored two goals and added an assist while Caufield had a goal and two assists. Sam Montembeault made 35 stops as the Canadiens have their first three-game win streak of the season. With 67 points, the Leafs sit in third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs’ defensive woes got worse as Jake Muzzin left the game in the second period after striking his head on the ice following a collision with Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman. He was sent to hospital for tests and didn’t travel with the club to Columbus following this game.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Flames center Elias Lindholm, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger are the league’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 20.

SPORTSNET: The Jets placed rookie forward Cole Perfetti (upper body) on injured reserve.

TSN: The Maple Leafs acquired goaltender Carter Hutton from the Arizona Coyotes for future considerations. GOPHNX.COM reports the Leafs will loan Hutton back to the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson but still have the insurance of an extra goalie in their system.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Leafs, they lost winger Ryan Dzingel off waivers to the San Jose Sharks yesterday. They had acquired Dzingel on Saturday in a trade with the Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks have mutually parted ways with Bobby Hull as a team ambassador.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2022

The Flames extend their points streak to nine games, the Avalanche widen their lead atop the overall standings, the Leafs and Coyotes make a trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames remain red hot as they picked up their ninth straight victory by downing the Seattle Kraken 2-1, spoiling Mark Giordano’s return to Calgary for the first time since being selected by the Kraken in last year’s expansion draft. Elias Lindholm extended his goal streak to seven games with the tie-breaking goal in the third period. Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk each finished the night with a goal and an assist as the Flames (64 points) hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division.

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Third-period goals by Alex Newhook and Mikko Rantanen lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. With 76 points, the Avs hold a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the top spot in the overall standings. Tage Thompson tallied all three goals for the Sabres.

The Edmonton Oilers got their fifth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to become the first player to reach the 70-point plateau this season. The Oilers (59 points) have moved within a point of the second-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division while the Jets (52 points) sit seven points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Woodcroft’s hiring has given what had been a slumping Oilers club a timely shot in the arm. The players are all buying into his system, especially those who played for Woodcroft when he was coaching their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. They’re not trying to rely solely on McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to carry the offense. Other players are getting more minutes plus the team has improved its defensive game.

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich scored twice while goaltender Ville Husso kicked out 34 shots in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Robert Thomas and David Perron each picked up two assists as the Blues moved ahead of the Minnesota Wild into second place in the Central Division with 64 points. William Nylander tallied two goals for the Leafs, who sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points.

David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifted the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman made 32 saves and defenseman Mike Reilly had two assists. Boston holds the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 60 points.

Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Adrian Kempe each had three points as the Los Angeles Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit to drop the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Kopitar had three assists while Doughty and Kempe each scored two goals and collected an assist. The Kings hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 59 points.

The Anaheim Ducks remain two points behind the Kings after snapping a four-game skid with a 7-4 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks. Adam Henrique and Nicolas Deslauriers tallied two goals each while rookie star Trevor Zegras picked up three assists. Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who remain seven points back of the Ducks.

HEADLINES

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded winger Nick Ritchie and a conditional pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and winger Ryan Dzingel. The conditional pick received by the Coyotes will be either the Leafs’ 2023 third-rounder or their 2025 second-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie signed a two-year deal ($2.5 million cap hit) with the Leafs this season but failed to play up to expectations and was eventually demoted to their AHL affiliate. This move brings in two affordable depth rentals for the Leafs in Dzingel ($1.1 million) and Lyubushkin ($1.35 million) who should contribute to their roster right away. Ritchie, meanwhile, will get an opportunity for more playing time with the rebuilding Coyotes.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable depth signing for the Penguins, who evidently liked what they’ve seen of Ruhwedel’s performance over the course of this season. He’s helped to improve the Penguins’ penalty kill.

MLIVE.COM: Gemel Smith is heading back to the Tampa Bay Lightning as they reclaimed him off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings had claimed Smith on Jan. 19. He saw action in three games for Detroit, skating with his younger brother Givani.

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have reportedly parted ways with assistant general manager Dave Nonis. The move is said to be part of the front-office restructuring under new GM Pat Verbeek. Nonis had a year remaining on his contract.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Emile Francis passed at age 95. Nicknamed “The Cat”, he played for the Rangers as a goaltender and later served as head coach and general manager. He also worked for the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. He holds the Rangers’ coaching records for games (654) and wins (342), as well as playoff games (75) and wins (34).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis built the Rangers into a powerhouse during the late-60s and early-70s, which saw them reach the semifinals four times and the 1972 Stanley Cup Final. Their rivalry with the Boston Bruins during that time was must-watch hockey. My condolences to his family, friends and the Rangers’ organization.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2021

Are the Golden Knights any closer to a deal with the Sabres for Jack Eichel? What could it cost the Flames to acquire him? Read on the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman spoke to Marek on Monday about the latest developments in trade talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and Buffalo Sabres regarding a possible deal for Jack Eichel.

Talks got “pretty hot” last week but then cooled. Friedman believes both sides know where they stand and what the issues are. If the Sabres aren’t going to retain any portion of Eichel’s salary, they’ll need to find a third team to help facilitate the deal. That might not be easy as you’d be asking that third team to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit for the next five years. He wondered what that’s worth to that club.

Friedman also said the talk of Eichel filing a grievance got pushed off last week. However, he’s not sure where that stands right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A deal involving a third team perhaps would’ve been done by now if Eichel only had a year or two left on his contract. Asking a club to pick up part of his $10 million annual cap hit for five years is another matter. That’s going to require more than just a first-round pick or a top prospect. It could cost a good young NHL player to be a sufficient sweetener.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

 THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington also noted the Sabres’ unwillingness to retain part of Eichel’s cap hit. Pointing out the growing number of Golden Knights players sidelined by injury (Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alex Tuch and William Karlsson), they could use long-term injury reserve to free up cap space for Eichel this season. However, they’ll have to become cap compliant when those players and Eichel return to the lineup later in the season.

Harrington speculates Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could be contemplating multiple deals. He pointed to NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes saying not to sleep on the Calgary Flames as a suitor. The Flames lack depth in prospects compared to the Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings but the Sabres’ strong start to this season could have Adams seeking more immediate help for his roster.

Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk is probably not in play. Harrington wonders if Elias Lindholm or Sean Monahan might be available. He also noted Flames VP of hockey operations Don Maloney was spotted at the Sabres’ recent games against the Ducks and Kings.

Harrington observes Adams isn’t under any pressure to move Eichel during the season until the center’s no-movement clause kicks in next July. Eichel could file a grievance but it’s not certain he’d win that with the Sabres’ position on his medical treatment supported by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time is on the Sabres side for now. That won’t be the case if we get to July and no deal has been found for Eichel. The 25-year-old center will then have more leverage over where he could be traded, though by that point he might not be too picky over where he goes.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked what assets she would give up if she were the Flames general manager. She considers Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane as untouchable. Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are likely “aged out” for the Sabres plus Gaudreau’s a pending UFA.

Salvian suggested Matthew Coronato, Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki and future first-round selections as potential tradeable assets for Eichel. Finding sufficient cap space for Eichel means shedding salary. She wondered if the Sabres would take Monahan as part of the return. Her proposed offer would be Monahan, Zary, Pelletier, a 2022 first-round pick and perhaps a prospect as a sweetener for accepting Monahan in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Complicating all this, of course, is how to shed sufficient salary to make this work. Cap Friendly shows the Flames just over $1 million in cap space for this season. Putting Monahan and his $6.375 million AAV in the deal certainly helps but they’ll need to include another salaried player or two or conduct a separate cost-cutting swap with another club. They could try packaging Monahan, Dube and Valimaki (combined $10.225 million) for Eichel but that risks depleting their roster depth.

Monahan, by the way, has a 10-team no-trade clause and might not be keen to join the Sabres. Lindholm ($4.85 million) lacks no-trade protection but the Flames would have to move even more salary in that scenario to make room for Eichel.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2021

Check out the recaps from a busy Saturday night in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: David Perron tallied a hat trick to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Torey Krug collected three assists for the Blues. Kings captain Anze Kopitar was held scoreless for the first time in five games.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were without defenseman Drew Doughty, who was sidelined by a knee injury following a collision with Dallas Stars blueline Janne Hakanpaa on Friday. Doughty avoided ligament damage but he’s not expected to return to the lineup anytime soon.

The Vancouver Canucks’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken spoiled the latter’s first home-opener in franchise history. Conor Garland snapped a 2-2 tie with the game-winner late in the third period. Canucks captain Bo Horvat tallied twice and Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win. Defensemen Vince Dunn and Mark Giordano tallied for the Kraken, who’ve won just once (1-4-1) in six games.

A four-goal second period carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-1 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Marcus Pettersson had a goal and two assists, forward Drew O’Connor tallied twice and goalie Tristan Jarry kicked out 28 shots. Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced defenseman Kris Letang was placed in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were without Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter. That didn’t unnoticed in restless Leafs Nation as their club put up a feeble effort against their depleted opponent.

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm’s game-winner completed his hat trick in his club’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals, who overcame a 3-0 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Alex Ovechkin’s game-tying goal was the 735th of his career, putting him within six of Brett Hull (741) for fourth place on the all-time list.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win of the season (1-5-0) by thumping the Detroit Red Wings 6-1. Mathieu Perreault had a hat trick, Jake Allen made 26 saves and Jonathan Drouin, Christian Dvorak, Ben Chiarot and Sami Niku each collected two points. Filip Hronek, the Wings’ top defenseman last season, was a healthy scratch from this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings were playing without leading scorer Tyler Bertuzzi, whose decision not to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prevents him from traveling to Canada for road games. They missed his production against Montreal and in their 3-0 shutout loss to Calgary on Thursday. Bertuzzi is now reportedly the only unvaccinated player in the league.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and added an assist as the Florida Panthers doubled up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. The Panthers are 5-0-0 to start this season and are jockeying with the Edmonton Oilers (5-0-0) for first place in the overall standings. Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The Minnesota Wild remains unbeaten (4-0-0) following a 4-3 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Hartman netted the game-winner for the Wild. Rickard Rakell scored twice for the Ducks.

A two-goal performance by Vincent Trocheck helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1. Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Staal each had two points for the Hurricanes, extending their record to 4-0-0.

The Colorado Avalanche snapped a three-game skid by nipping the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on shootout goals by Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists for the Avs.

A 26-save shutout performance by Ilya Sorokin backstopped the New York Islanders to a 3-0 blanking of the Arizona Coyotes. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist. The Coyotes are still seeking their first win of the season (0-4-1).

Paul Stastny scored twice and Nate Schmidt collected three assists as the Winnipeg Jets held off the Nashville Predators 6-4. Nick Cousins and Thomas Novak each had three points for the Predators, who drop to 1-4-0 to start the season. The Jets, meanwhile, move to 2-2-1.

Third-period goals by Chris Kreider, Ryan Lindgren and Barclay Goodrow rallied the New York Rangers over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Matt Murray left the game following Kreider’s goal after the Rangers’ winger accidentally collided with the Senators goaltender. Ottawa also played without center Shane Pinto, who will miss at least two weeks with a shoulder injury.

An overtime goal by Pavel Zacha lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Devils rookie goalie Nico Daws won his NHL debut with a 24-save performance. Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood is now reportedly vaccinated for COVID-19, allowing him to travel to Canada with his teammates for their first Canadian road trip in December.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Being fully vaccinated would also allow Blackwood to play for Team Canada in the 2022 Winter Olympics if he is chosen as one of their three goaltenders. He’s reportedly among their long list of six potential candidates.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson in COVID protocol on Saturday morning.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud is week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.