Updates on Sean Couturier, Patrick Kane, Alex Galchenyuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall confirmed center Sean Couturier suffered a knee injury during a charity hockey tournament earlier this month in Quebec City. Couturier is expected to be sidelined for four weeks and will miss the bulk of the club’s preseason games in September. It’s the same knee he injured during the 2018 playoffs. Fortunately, he didn’t reinjure his MCL.
Philadelphia Flyers confirm center Sean Couturier is sidelined four weeks with a knee injury. (Photo via NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Couturier is expected to be back in time for the regular season, missing training camp and most preseason games could adversely affect his early-season play. It could also raise concerns over the strength of that knee over the course of 2018-19.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks Patrick Kane and Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza will headline a game benefiting the Special Olympics in the Chicago Hockey Charity Classic on Saturday. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole and Nashville Predators winger Ryan Hartman are also expected to participate.
NHL.COM: Alex Galchenyuk is excited about the Arizona Coyotes potential and looks forward to a fresh start. Galchenyuk was acquired in June from the Montreal Canadiens. He’s expected to be given the opportunity to prove himself at center, something he rarely got the chance to do in Montreal.
TSN: Forward Emerson Etem accepted a professional tryout offer with the Los Angeles Kings. A former first-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Etem spent last season split between the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners and the Swiss National League’s HC Lugano.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is probably Etem’s last chance to prove himself as an NHL player. The 26-year-old tallied 22 goals and 46 points in 173 NHL games with Anaheim, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes fans have chosen Petey Pablo’s North Carolina rap anthem “Raise Up” as the club’s new goal song.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like to think “Raise Up” got the “Face Off Hockey Show” bump after we encouraged our listeners to vote for this song. Anyway, congrats to Petey Pablo for this honor. “This one’s for North Carolina/C’mon and raise up!”
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his second straight shutout in a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Game recaps, stars and rookie of the month for December and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their eighth consecutive victory by downing the Nashville Predators 3-0. Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 28 shots for his second shutout in three games while Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault were the goal scorers. Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis was held scoreless in his season debut, returning to action after being sidelined by offseason knee surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 56 points, the Knights sit three points up on the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets for top spot in the Western Conference and four back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the overall standings.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves for his second straight shutout (and league-leading sixth of the season) backstopping the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nazem Kadri (whiplash-type injury) returned to action for the Leafs, who honored legendary goaltender Johnny Bower before the game. Bower passed away last week following a brief battle with pneumonia.
The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to nine games with a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (50 points), who moved two points ahead of the Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Washington Capitals edged the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4. It was Ovechkin’s 22nd career OT goal and his third this season. With 26 goals, he’s also the league leader in that category.
Four goals by Phil Kessel, Ryan Reaves, Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl within a four-minute stretch in the second period powered the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, snapping a three-game losing skid.
Carter Hutton made 24 saves while Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in a shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Two-goal performances by Matt Cullen and Eric Staal carried the Minnesota Wild to a 5-1 thumping of the Florida Panthers, ending the latter’s winning streak at five games. Wild winger Zach Parise went scoreless in his season debut.
Two third-period goals by Oliver Bjorkstrand lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his 200th career NHL victory.
Erik Johnson’s breakaway goal in the dying seconds of overtime gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Avs forward Mikko Rantanen had a three-point game while Blake Wheeler scored both Jets’ goals. Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien made his return to the lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury.
The Edmonton Oilers fading playoff hopes took a hit with a 5-0 blanking at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick kicked out 32 shots for the shutout while Dustin Brown scored twice. Oilers forward Patrick Maroon could face supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty for a hit to the head of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who left the game but later returned to action.
Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller turned in a 31-save shutout performance against his former club to backstop the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-0 win. Ryan Getzlaf scored and collected two helpers.
Timo Meier scored twice as the San Jose Sharks beat the listless Montreal Canadiens 4-1, handing the Habs their fifth straight defeat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens players held a players-only meeting following the game, but I don’t think that’s going to reverse their fortunes. Despite goaltender Carey Price’s heroics, they lack the overall talent to bolster their anemic offense or improve their lousy defense.
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov were the NHL’s three stars for December 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quite a bounce-back performance for Rask, who struggled earlier this season and at one point was briefly benched in favor of backup Anton Khudobin.
Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser was named NHL rookie of the month for December 2017. Boeser also took home that honor in November.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point, Boeser has to be considered the front-runner for the Calder Memorial Trophy. If he maintains his current offensive pace, he could become the first Canucks to win the award since Pavel Bure in 1992.
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan defended his team’s decision to accept an invitation to the White House.
Latest on the Penguins plus updates on P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Robby Fabbri & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan yesterday defended his team’s decision to visit the White House on Oct. 10 to commemorate their 2017 Stanley Cup championship.
Sullivan said the decision was not made to make a political statement. He also defended captain Sidney Crosby from criticism on this issue, calling it unfair that he should bear the brunt of responsibility for the team’s decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins made their intentions clear months ago but nobody voiced a word of opposition until President Trump’s critical comments against NFL players taking a knee during the anthem and his rescinding his invitation to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
On June 13, Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said the club would never turn down that invitation and would go as a team. A month later, co-owner Ron Burkle said he didn’t share many policy positions with President Trump, but felt the annual visit by a Stanley Cup champion was a tradition that should be honored regardless of the occupant of the White House.
In the team’s recent statement announcing the event, they said the visit was in no way supportive of the president’s views or policies.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said he would “never kneel” during the playing of the national anthem. He reportedly made the comments onstage during a fundraiser at a Nashville comedy club. Subban subsequently said he and his teammates believe people are allowed to voice their opinions, but as a team they’ve decided not to take a knee during the anthem.
“I realize that being a black hockey player, people are going to recognize that. That’s fine,” Subban said. “But I want to be recognized as one of the best players in the league and the best player in the league. And that’s what I work for every day.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re born purple, black, white or brown, you don’t control that. All you can control is what you do. That’s how you’re judged in this world, by what you do and your work ethic and your character. That’s how I’ve been judged. … I’d like to hope that people aren’t being judged by the color of their skin and their ethnic background.”
PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward are undecided about taking a knee during the national anthem, but both say they’re considering it. Should they do so, both players have the support of their respective teams.
SPORTSNET: The NHLPA issued a statement in support of players’ peaceful protests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athletes taking a knee have repeatedly said they are protesting police brutality against the black community in America. They’re not doing it to be disrespectful to the anthem or the flag.
TSN: Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson said doctors removed half of his ankle bone in his left foot during surgery in June to repair torn tendons in that foot. He started skating again last week. Karlsson hasn’t played any preseason game but is eyeing a return for the club’s season opener on Oct. 5.
STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri will miss the entire 2017-18 season after re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an unfortunate blow for Fabbri, who was hoping to get back on track after missing the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs last season. Here’s hoping this doesn’t finish his playing career. His absence will also put a serious dent into the Blues’ forward lines.
NBC SPORTS: Defenseman Jared Cowen was released from his professional tryout offer with the Colorado Avalanche. The Dallas Stars also released winger R.J. Umberger from his PTO. Meanwhile, former first-round picks Emerson Etem, Beau Bennett and Stefan Matteau were among several players placed on waivers yesterday.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres claimed forward Jordan Nolan off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. Nolan is the son of former Sabres coach Ted Nolan.
TSN: Michael Farber interviewed former NHL star Paul Kariya, who has largely dropped out of sight from the hockey community after concussions forced his retirement. Kariya, who will be inducted this fall into the Hockey Hall of Fame, explains what he’s been doing and the toll his injuries took upon his life.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The eye-opening moment of this interview was when Kariya said he had no memory of getting knocked out in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final or anything else that happened until two days after the series was over. Kariya returned to that game and scored a key goal that forced that series to a seventh and deciding game.
Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson & Ondrej Palat are among the notable players filing for salary arbitration.
List of NHL players filing for salary arbitration, some notable contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA.COM: 30 NHL players filed yesterday for salary arbitration. Hearings are set from July 20 to August 4. Two of them, Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk and New York Rangers forward Jesper Fast, re-signed with their respective clubs soon after filing.
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
Calvin de Haan
New York Rangers
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Golden Knights
The deadline for club-elected salary arbitration is 5 pm ET today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind the overwhelming majority of these cases are resolved before they go before an arbiter. In most instances, these filings are done merely to set a deadline for contract negotiations to be completed, rather than have them drag on throughout the summer. Players filing for arbitration are also ineligible to receive offer sheets.
The Edmonton Oilers signing Connor McDavid to an eight-year, $100-million contract extension dominated headlines yesterday. Here’s a look at some of the day’s other notable contract signings.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed Alex Galchenyuk to a three-year deal worth $4.9 million per season. The Habs also named former defenseman Francois Bouillon their player development coach.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers re-signed forward Jesper Fast to a three-year contract worth $1.85 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Affordable re-signings by both clubs. The Galchenyuk deal also indicates he’s no longer on the trade block following weeks of speculation over his future in Montreal.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed forward Zach Hyman to a four-year deal worth $2.25 million annually.
Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel scores the game winner against the Washington Capitals.
Notable highlights from last night’s games, injury updates, signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Phil Kessel scored the winner in a shootout to lift the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Marc-Andre Fleury made 39 saves for the win.
Brad Marchand scored twice and set up three others as the Boston Bruins netted five unanswered goals to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3.
Mark Scheifele scored in overtime and Patrik Laine tallied his first NHL goal as the Winnipeg Jets rallied to down the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4.
Brendan Gallagher scored twice to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, who also lost winger Evander Kane to a possible rib injury after he crashed into the end boards late in the second period.
Former Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov scored a goal and set up another to help the St. Louis Blues edge the Minnesota Wild 3-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Yakupov goes on to star with the Blues, it’ll provide further ammunition for those who are critical of how the Edmonton Oilers have handled their young players in recent years.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Prior to their season-opening game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Dallas Stars honored the five Dallas police offers murdered in an ambush in July. The Stars doubled up the Ducks 4-2.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed goaltender Jonathan Quick (lower-body injury) on injured reserve and recalled netminder Peter Budaj. Quick is listed as week-to-week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a significant early-season test for the Kings, who must rely on Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff to carry the goaltending duties for the foreseeable future.
TSN: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday announced general manager Tim Murray signed a multiyear contract extension.
Boston Bruins reach a franchise milestone, Marcus Johansson suspended, Rangers & Canucks make a trade and an expansion update are among the notable stories in your NHL morning coffee headlines. (more…)