NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

Remembering the late Mike Bossy, Carey Price returns to action with the Canadiens, an independent report clears NHLPA of wrongdoing in Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COMMUNITY HONORS MIKE BOSSY

NHL.com: Hall-of-Fame scorer Mike Bossy passed away yesterday at age 65 of lung cancer. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the New York Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Bossy also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982 and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

New York Islanders hall-of-famer Mike Bossy (NHL.com).

Retiring in 1987, Bossy scored 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games, along with 85 goals and 160 points in 129 playoff games. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky as the only players to score 50 goals nine times but is the only one to do it in nine consecutive seasons.

Gretzky, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (who has eight 50-goal seasons) and former teammates Denis Potvin, Glenn “Chico” Resch and Bryan Trottier were among those in the NHL community paying tribute to Bossy as a player and a person.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bossy was the purest goal scorer I ever saw. Others may have tallied more career goals but only because a back injury cut short his career. His streak of nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are testament to his greatness.

Along with Potvin, Trottier, Billy Smith, Butch Goring and the late Clark Gillies, Bossy was instrumental in turning the Islanders into the last true Stanley Cup dynasty. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, former teammates, the Islanders organization and his broadcasting colleagues at TVA Sports.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carey Price returned to action for the first time since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final but he couldn’t prevent his Montreal Canadiens from being blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders. Price stopped 17 of 19 shots but Isles goaltender Ilya Sorokin stole the show with a 44-save performance. Zach Parise and Noah Dobson beat Price with Brock Nelson getting an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens honored Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence.

Price didn’t look too bad considering he’d been sidelined for nearly the entire season. He couldn’t be faulted for Parise’s 3-on-0 goal or Dobson’s screened wrister that beat him on the stick side. His teammates dominated much of the play through the first two periods. However, Sorokin was on top of his game in this contest, picking up his seventh shutout to tie a franchise single-season record.

The Florida Panthers picked up their ninth straight win by thumping the Winnipeg Jets 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau extended his points streak to 13 games with two goals and an assist. Claude Giroux collected three assists and Gustav Forsling scored twice as the Panthers (112 points) moved within two points of the first-overall Colorado Avalanche. Jets captain Blake Wheeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau now has 108 points and sits two behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in this season’s scoring race.

This loss could be the dagger in the heart of the Jets’ playoff hopes. They have 81 points with seven games remaining in their schedule, sitting eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the Stars holding a game in hand.

HEADLINES

TSN: An independent report into the NHLPA’s handling of the Kyle Beach investigation did not find any “individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure”. The Toronto law firm Cozen O’Connor was hired to investigate PA executive director Donald Fehr’s response to concerns raised by two player agents about former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s allegations he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Fehr denied any recollection he’s received a call from one of those agents. However, he didn’t deny the call may have happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was critical of the report’s findings. He pointed out Dr. Brian Shaw, a program administrator for the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, found Beach’s account to be a credible report of sexual assault. “After reading this passage, I don’t understand how anyone can claim there wasn’t any ‘systemic failure’ here,” writes Friedman.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche can clinch first place in the Western Conference with a win tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames get another chance to secure a playoff berth when they face the Arizona Coyotes. They sit atop the Pacific Division with 99 points.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat has been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after taking a shot off his left leg on Thursday against the Coyotes. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks when the schedule has ended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting five points out of a wild-card berth, the Canucks already face an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. Losing Horvat makes that pursuit more difficult.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brandon Carlo could be in the lineup after the defenseman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s game.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is being evaluated for a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with his teammates to Boston.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss this weekend’s games against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders due to an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach suffered a sprained right shoulder on Thursday. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract extension worth $900K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2020

The Penguins re-sign Tristan Jarry, the Flyers re-up Brian Elliott, the Coyotes intend to buy out Michael Grabner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday re-signed goaltender Tristan Jarry to a three-year, $10.5-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 million. Jarry, 25, was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable re-signing by the Penguins. Jarry is expected to take over as their full-time starting goaltender in 2020-21. The Penguins now have $78.8 million invested in 21 players.

This move has also ramped up speculation over Matt Murray’s future with the Penguins. It’s assumed the Penguins will trade him, but general manager Jim Rutherford indicated they’ll extend a qualifying offer this week and could take him to arbitration as a formality to retain his signing rights. However, Rutherford also admitted speaking with other clubs, though he hasn’t fully shut the door on re-signing Murray.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed goalie Brian Elliott to a one-year, $1.5-million contract. Elliott, 35, was due to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott took a $500K pay cut to stay with the Flyers. He’s been a reliable backup and mentor to young starting goalie Carter Hart.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes placed winger Michael Grabner on waivers Saturday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes will incur a cap hit of $833K for 2020-21, rising to $1.258 million in 2021-22.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens extended qualifying offers to Max Domi, Victor Mete, Charles Hudon, Noah Juulsen and Xavier Ouellet.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed prospect defenseman Lucas Johansen to a one-year, two-way contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2020

A look at this year’s top UFA goaltenders in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, and Washington’s Braden Holtby top Sean O’Leary’s ranking of this year’s top-10 NHL unrestricted free agent goaltenders.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (Photo via NHL Images).

O’Leary observes Lehner has better stats than teammate Marc-Andre Fleury, suggesting it’s possible Lehner could outperform Fleury and take over as the Golden Knights’ starting goalie in the playoff tournament. Nevertheless, he believes it will be difficult for the cap-strapped Golden Knights to re-sign Lehner with Fleury carrying two more years on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some media speculation suggested the Golden Knights pull a swerve by trading Fleury to free up sufficient cap space to sign Lehner. Fleury, however, has a 10-team no-trade list. His age (35) and $7 million annual average value could also make him difficult to move if Vegas wanted to go down that road.

I’ll be surprised if the Canucks part ways with Markstrom. He’s become a reliable starter in Vancouver and they want to keep him. I think the two sides can agree on around $6 million annually, but the term could be a sticking point. Markstrom is 30 and the Canucks could be leery of any deal beyond five years.

Some might be surprised to see Holtby slide to third despite being a former Vezina winner (2016) who backstopped the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2018. His struggles over the last two seasons account could hurt his value. 

Holtby will draw interest if he hits the open market, but he probably won’t get the type of big-money contract he otherwise would’ve had his numbers remained strong. Of course, that will change if he carries the Caps on another deep playoff run.

Chicago Corey Crawford and Dallas’ Anton Khudobin are fourth and fifth on O’Leary’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford and Khudobin could stay put. Crawford wants to remain in Chicago but he’ll have to accept less than his current $6 million AAV on a much shorter contract. The Stars, meanwhile, are believed interested in keeping their tandem of Khudobin and Ben Bishop intact. That could require a bump above Khudobin’s current $2.5 million annual salary.

The New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Calgary’s Cam Talbot, Edmonton’s Mike Smith, San Jose’s Aaron Dell, and Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Greiss would be a fine backup for any NHL club. Talbot’s bounce-back performance this season could have him looking for a starter’s job.

Smith is in the twilight of his career, but some Edmonton pundits think the Oilers should bring him back for one more season. Dell’s had a rough couple of years as a backup in San Jose. Elliott could be re-signed by the Flyers for another season to back up Carter Hart.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2020

Check out recent goaltending speculation involving the Penguins and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

AVALANCHE INTERESTED IN MURRAY?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford received calls about his goaltenders before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. While Rutherford had no intention of moving Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry at that time, the conversations were aimed at doing a deal at or before the 2020 NHL Draft.

Were the Colorado Avalanche interested in Matt Murray at the trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kingerski cited multiple sources claiming Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic had expressed interest, with his likely target being Murray. While the 25-year-old netminder struggled earlier in the season, his performance improved during the second half of the schedule. Kingerski pointed out Avalanche starter Philipp Grubauer had an 18-12-4 record and an “acceptable” .916 save percentage, prompting Sakic to seek a change between the pipes.

While the two sides talked, Kingerski said they weren’t close to a deal. He also indicated a lot could happen to change things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL schedule resumes in some form in July, the Penguins and the Avalanche will use that period to further evaluate their goaltending before deciding if changes are required. Murray to the Avalanche would mean shipping out Grubauer or the recently re-signed Pavel Francouz to make room.

If Murray carries the Penguins on another deep playoff run, Jarry could be the one hitting the trade block. Then again, Rutherford could free up salary elsewhere from his roster to re-sign Murray and Jarry. 

LATEST ON THE FLYERS’ BACKUP GOALTENDING

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: In a recent mailbag segment, Sam Carchidi was asked who might replace Brian Elliott if the Philadelphia Flyers backup departs via free agency at season’s end. He expects Elliott will re-sign, pointing out he’s been a good mentor to young starter Carter Hart. 

If Elliott does depart, Carchidi observed Corey Crawford, Thomas Greiss, and Cam Talbot are among the free-agent possibilities, but their salary demands will be key. Dallas’ Anton Khudobin would be a terrific backup, but probably too expensive. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott could be back on a one-year, bonus-laden deal. Crawford and Talbot likely still see themselves as starting goalies, so I doubt they’re a fit for the Flyers. Talbot also had a short, unmemorable stint with the Flyers last season and probably doesn’t want to repeat that experience. Greiss and Khudobin would be better options, but they’ll cost more than Elliott. 










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Philadelphia Flyers