NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2022

A hat-trick performance for the Capitals Evgeny Kuznetsov, Islanders coach Barry Trotz reaches a milestone, the Stars re-sign Joe Pavelski, Marc Staal set to join his brothers in an elite club, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A hat-trick performance by Evgeny Kuznetsov set the stage for Lars Eller’s overtime goal as the Washington Capitals downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist but remains tied with Jaromir Jagr for third on the all-time goal list with 766. Defenseman Quinn Hughes had three points and Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks (65 points), who sit two points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 74 points, one back of the Boston Bruins.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz picked up his 900th career victory as his club rolled to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Trotz sits third on the all-time list, 69 wins behind second-place Joel Quenneville. Josh Bailey scored two goals while Semyon Varlamov picked up his first win since Jan. 18 with 27 saves. Kyle Connor netted his 36th goal of the season for the Jets (62 points), who remain five points out of a Western wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 40-save effort from Tristan Jarry and three unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist while Sidney Crosby collected an assist to extend his points streak to eight games. With 79 points, the Penguins move two points ahead of the New York Rangers into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Golden Knights cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

Zach Werenski’s tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Yegor Chinakhov’s shootout winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets as Jakub Voracek and Patrik Laine left the game with apparent leg injuries. With 72 points, the Wild are one back of the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild forward Marcus Foligno could face supplemental discipline for kneeing Voracek. The Jackets winger returned to the bench for overtime and the shootout but didn’t see a shift.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars yesterday signed forward Joe Pavelski to a one-year, $5.5 million contract extension with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelski is taking a pay cut to stay in Dallas, completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $7 million. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and frequently surfaced in the rumor mill as a trade candidate.

However, Pavelski indicated he and his family love living in Dallas and he remains committed to helping the Stars become a winner. The 37-year-old is their leading scorer with 59 points skating alongside Roope Hintz and rising star Jason Robertson. He’s a big reason why the Stars are jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal is set to play in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’ll join Eric and Jordan as the first three brothers in league history to reach the thousand-game milestone.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Red Wings, forward Robby Fabbri is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during Thursday’s loss to the Wild.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brock McGinn is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: Kraken forward Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The floundering Flyers are on pace for the worst average attendance in 49 years. Their average announced home attendance is 16, 505 in an arena that seats over 19,000 fans. With the team in last place in the Metropolitan Division and a roster ravaged by injuries, fans have been tuning out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article points out the number of actual fans at recent Flyers games is actually much lower than the announced paid attendance.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

COVID-19 outbreak forces postponement of three Flames games, the three stars of the week are revealed plus updates on Blake Wheeler, Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Three Flames games (including last night’s scheduled match against the Chicago Blackhawks) were postponed after six players (Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka) and one member of the training staff tested positive for COVID-19. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the players were doing well and asymptomatic but expressed concern for them and their families.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are the third team since mid-November to have games postponed because of COVID-19, joining the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. Future outbreaks among other clubs resulting in postponements could adversely affect the schedule. That could jeopardize NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out without suffering financial penalties.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Winter Olympics, several NHL stars have joined Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo expressing concern over the possibility of spending a lengthy period quarantined in Beijing should they test positive for COVID-19 during the Olympics.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs captain and potential Team Canada candidate John Tavares said he felt more uneasy about potentially going to Beijing than he did several weeks or months ago. Teammate Auston Matthews, who is already selected for Team USA, shared those concerns. Meanwhile, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said it would be an honor to be selected for Canada’s squad but he’d like more clarity about the COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states those who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for three to five weeks. There’s no word yet as to whether that will also apply to Olympic athletes from other countries. Clarification is expected in the coming weeks and could be a determining factor for some NHL stars selected to participate in the Winter Games.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt with some other NHL teams.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis entered COVID protocol yesterday. Defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are expected to rejoin the roster today after being sidelined since Nov. 28 by the coronavirus.

SPORTSNET: Christian Jaros joined New Jersey Devils teammates Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves in COVID protocol. Forward Yegor Sherangovich has not entered protocol but was withheld from practice yesterday for precautionary reasons.

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tyler Bertuzzi is rejoining the Red Wings after emerging from a 10-day COVID quarantine. The only unvaccinated player in the league, Bertuzzi isn’t reconsidering his position, saying he now has “natural immunity” from the coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control says unvaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it. Food for thought.

Speaking of the Red Wings, they signed Robby Fabbri to a three-year, $12 million contract extension. The annual average value is $4 million. The 25-year-old forward was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 12.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler will be sidelined for weeks with an apparent right-leg injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has returned to injured reserve after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. He returned to the lineup last Tuesday after missing eight games with a knee injury.

The Panthers also claimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Johansson likely means promising Spencer Knight could be heading to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Sergei Bobrovsky’s solid performance has limited Knight to just nine starts this season. There’s no fear of losing him to another club because he’s exempt from waivers.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman is listed as day-to-day but hasn’t been ruled out from tonight’s game against his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed goaltender Anton Khudobin on waivers yesterday. If he clears it’s expected he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin struggled this season and was a healthy scratch in several recent games as the club stuck with the tandem of Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Teams were reportedly interested in trading for him but wanted to see him play more games first. Sending him to the minors will allow him to get some games in while also clearing room for the Stars to recall another player if needed.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed David Perron, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on injured reserve, activated Tyler Bozak and Justin Faulk from COVID protocol, and recalled forward Alexei Toropchenko from their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

The Los Angeles Kings recently placed defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) on injured reserve










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2021

Connor McDavid widens his lead in the NHL scoring race, Mikko Rantanen enjoys a four-point performance and Robby Fabbri tallies a hat trick. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers have the same number of points (40) as the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Scotia North Division but the latter hold three games in hand. McDavid (58 points) extended his points streak to eight games and leads the NHL scoring race by nine points over teammate Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is on pace for 98 points in 56 games this season.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen scored twice and added two assists in a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and two assists as Colorado peppered Wild goaltender Cam Talbot with 55 shots. Avs defensemen Cale Makar and Bo Byram returned from upper-body injuries that had sidelined each from multiple games. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Avalanche (38 points) moves one point up on the Wild into second place in the Honda West Division.

A hat trick by Robby Fabbri enabled the Detroit Red Wings to hold off the Dallas Stars 3-2. It was a costly victory for the Wings as goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game in the second period with an apparent injury to his right leg. An update is expected on his condition today.

The New Jersey Devils held off the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 thanks to goaltender Scott Wedgewood’s 40-save performance. Devils forward Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist. Wedgewood got the call after starter Mackenzie Blackwood suffered an upper-body injury during warmups. No update was provided for his status. Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed forwards Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger (undisclosed) on injured reserve. The Pens sit in third place in the MassMutual East Division with 37 points.

A new head coach didn’t change the Buffalo Sabres fortunes as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Boston Bruins in their first game with Don Granato behind the bench. The Sabres fall to 0-11-2 in their last 13 games. David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who sit one point behind the Penguins in the East Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers (33 points) moved to within three points of the Bruins by edging the New York Islanders 4-3. The Flyers blew a 3-0 lead but got the win on Oskar Lindblom’s second goal of the game late in the third period. Travis Konecny had three assists for the Flyers while Isles defenseman Nick Leddy had three helpers. Before the game, the Flyers announced defenseman Robert Hagg would be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a shoulder injury. The Islanders (42 points) remain in second place in the East.

An overtime goal by Seth Jones lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. It was Jones’ second goal of the game. Carolina center Sebastian Aho countered with two goals. The Hurricanes remain in third place in the Discover Central Division with 42 points while the Jackets (31 points) climbed to within two points of the fourth-overall Chicago Blackhawks.

Speaking of the Blackhawks, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for his 10th straight victory while Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. The Lightning (44 points) opened a two-point lead over the Hurricanes and Florida Panthers for first place in the Central Division. Chicago center Dylan Strome scored in his first game since being sidelined a month ago by a concussion. The Blackhawks have dropped three straight.

The Nashville Predators got two goals from Calle Jarnkrok and a 40-save effort from Juuse Saros to edge the Panthers 2-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who remain in second place in the Central.

Anaheim Ducks rookies Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras each scored their first NHL goals in a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Drysdale finished the game with two points while Adam Henrique tallied the game-winner. Clayton Keller and Conor Garland replied for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drysdale and Zegras offer what could be a promising look at the Ducks’ future depending on what moves management makes to rebuild the roster.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen admits he’s been battling a nagging lower-body injury for the past six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news won’t silence Andersen’s critics but it explains his struggles since returning to action from the same injury that sidelined him for two weeks in the second half of February.










Red Wings Will Be Better, But Still Far From Good

Red Wings Will Be Better, But Still Far From Good

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2020

Islanders blank the Flyers, Stars take 2-0 series lead over the Avalanche, the mental challenge of life inside the playoff bubble, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Semyon Varlamov made history with 29 saves as the New York Islanders blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Varlamov became the first goalie in franchise history to record consecutive playoff shutouts. Defenseman Andy Greene’s first-period goal proved to be the game-winner. It was also his first postseason goal in 10 years, with the last also coming against the Flyers.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders did a fine job neutralizing the Flyers with strong defensive play, solid goaltending, and an aggressive forecheck. Many of the Flyers’ leading scorers are struggling to find the back of the net in this postseason. Their playoff bubble will burst if they don’t address this soon.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2, taking a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. The Stars tallied four goals in the second period, including two on the power-play. Joe Pavelski netted his team-leading seventh goal while Alexander Radulov had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs’ inability to score with a 5-on-3 when the game was tied was the turning point. Esa Lindell’s controversial goal late in the second period gave the Stars a 4-2 lead that the Avs couldn’t overcome. Colorado also came into this game without goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Erik Johnson. Both are sidelined indefinitely following injuries suffered in Game 1.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The NHL’s received no positive COVID-19 tests for the fourth straight week inside their Edmonton and Toronto bubbles.

ASSOCIATED PRESS (via Chicago Sun-Times): Bubble fatigue is becoming a mental challenge for teams participating in the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Close confines, daily COVID testing, restricted access, monotony, and separation from families are weighing heavily on everyone.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly indicated the league is “actively trying to minimize” the length of the playoffs because of “the dynamics and constraints of ‘bubble life’”. He added the league “will continue to pursue all ‘move up’ opportunities aggressively as we go forward.” The league is still checking with health officials to determine if families can join the players within the bubbles before or during the Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the most part, everyone involved is doing their best to cope with this situation. Nevertheless, it’s apparent the league will try to keep the postseason moving briskly to complete the schedule as quickly as possible.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is a game-day decision for tonight’s second game of his club’s second-round series with the Boston Bruins. McDonagh left the third period of Game 1 with an undisclosed injury.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins might have to turn to rookie backup goalie Dan Vladar for Game 3 against the Lightning tomorrow night. Jaroslav Halak is expected to start Game 2.

THE SCORE: Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk suffered a concussion against the Dallas Stars in their first-round series. Defenseman Rasmus Andersson suffered a broken foot and forward Sam Bennett had a torn triceps muscle.

STLTODAY.COM: Long-time Blues forward Alexander Steen indicated he intends to return for his 16th NHL season, which would also be his 13th with the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steen is frequently mentioned as a cost-cutting candidate as the Blues attempt to free up salary-cap space to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo and blueliner Vince Dunn. Steen, however, carries a full no-trade clause into next season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings yesterday re-signed forward Robby Fabbri to a two-year, $5.9-million contract extension.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

Recent speculation on the Oilers, Flames, and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers might bring back Taylor Hall if they can shed some salary. He felt there’s zero chance of the 28-year-old winger returning to Edmonton, pointing out the Oilers already carry several players with expensive contracts. “I think it’s a dream Oilers fans should wake up from. Hall’s not coming back,” wrote Spector.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with “Cousin Mark”. Hall returning to the Oilers is a pipe dream. Stop pining about what could’ve been and look forward.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s future remains an off-season question for the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Asked out the most likely scenario for Jesse Puljujarvi, Spector said the Oilers prefer he returns and plays for them. If he doesn’t, they could let him spend another season in Finland (where he’ll make less money), or trade him at the draft for perhaps two second-round picks, or a second and a prospect (the Oilers lack a second-rounder in this year’s draft). Spector thinks Puljujarvi should return to the Oilers on a one-year deal and prove he can still play.

(STILL NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Oilers handle this situation. Puljujarvi’s done well in Finland (53 points in 56 games), but that’s not much of an indicator whether he can be an effective NHL player.

Asked if Sam Gagner might sign with the Oilers as an unrestricted free agent, Spector believes he will. He’d be an affordable signing, his home is in Edmonton, and Oilers general manager Ken Holland could see Gagner as a future member of the front office.

(THE OTHER ) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. He’s not getting that much ever again, but he could be a decent fourth-line pickup for the Oilers (or somebody else) on a one-year, $900K contract.

FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently opened up the mailbag to address questions from Calgary Flames fans. Asked if the Flames might shake up their core, Francis doesn’t believe they will. Acknowledging the production of stars like Johnny Gaudreau is down this season, he feels the early end to this season ensures Gaudreau will return next season. He thinks players like Gaudreau and Monahan shouldn’t be shopped until they’ve had a shot at redemption.

(THE BETTER-LOOKING) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put any stock into the trade rumors involving Gaudreau and Sean Monahan this season. Yes, their production was down this season, but they’re only a year removed from their respective career-high point totals. They’re still in the mid-twenties and very much in their playing prime. Unless they asked to be moved, they’re not going anywhere.

Francis thinks the Flames will kick tires on Taylor Hall if he tests the UFA market but believes they’ll use their cap space to plug holes in their defense corps than overspending on Hall. He also doesn’t see both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic returning next season but Brodie could stay.

Francis also sees the Flames attempting to re-sign UFA goalie Cam Talbot or taking a stab at Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Vegas’ Robin Lehner. He doesn’t think they’ll try to buy out Milan Lucic’s contract, pointing out he fills an effective physical role, as well as his popularity with his teammates and among Calgary fans.

Asked if interim coach Geoff Ward will remain as their bench boss after this season, Francis believes he will, citing GM Brad Treliving saying he’s seen enough to make his decision. Following a shaky start, the Flames turned things around under Ward, who has a year remaining on his contract.

RED WINGS

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently weighed in with his thoughts on what Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will do with his 12 restricted free agents.

Tyler Bertuzzi will likely get a long-term deal. Anthony Mantha’s situation could be more complicated. He could sign a one-year deal to post up big numbers before his UFA eligibility in two years, or the Wings could ink him to a four- or five-year deal believing he’ll keep progressing.

Kulfan believes Robby Fabbri has shown enough this season to be part of the Wings’ short-term future. He expects Adam Erne to be re-signed but feels he must take a bigger step forward.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings cut ties with Madison Bowey and Brendan Perlini.