NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2023

The Sabres move into a wild-card berth, Brad Marchand gets another fine, Erik Cernak gets a suspension, Penguins GM Ron Hextall responds to his critics, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres moved into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Craig Anderson made 53 saves, Jeff Skinner scored twice to reach 600 career points and Tage Thompson collected three assists as the Sabres improved to 30-23-4 (64 points) to sit ahead of the Detroit Red Wings (28-21-8). Anthony Duclair had an assist in his season debut with the Panthers, who also have 64 points but drop to 29-26-6.

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for the Eastern Conference wild-card berths is heating up. Five points separate the New York Islanders (67 points) and the Washington Capitals (62 points) with the Sabres, Red Wings, Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins (63 points) in between. The Capitals and Penguins, however, are fading while the Sabres, Wings and Panthers are surging.

Earlier in the day, the NHL and NHL Players Association released a joint statement indicating that Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight was taking a personal leave of absence to receive care from the Players’ Assistance Program. Best wishes to Knight as he undergoes treatment.

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta stopped 32 shots to shut out the Ottawa Senators 4-0. Brent Burns, Seth Jarvis, Martin Necas and Brady Skjei scored for the 39-10-8 Hurricanes (86 points) as they sit seven points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins in the overall standings. The Senators slipped to 27-26-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta’s record is 9-0-1 at home while the Hurricanes are 14-1-1 in the last 16 contests.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for his sixth straight multi-point game in a 5-1 romp over the Winnipeg Jets. Mikko Rantanen and J.T. Compher also each had a goal and an assist as the 32-19-5 Avalanche (69 points) sit one point behind the Seattle Kraken while opening a three-point lead over the Calgary Flames in the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Mason Appleton scored for the Jets (35-23-1), who’ve dropped four of their last five but remain one point behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 71 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only reason the Jets are still close behind the Stars is that the latter has won just two of their last 10 games. The news got worse for the Jets as they announced before this game that rookie Cole Perfetti will be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.

An overtime goal by William Nylander lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Minnesota Wild 2-1. David Kampf also scored for the Leafs and Ilya Samsonov kicked out 24 shots as they improved to 36-15-8 to hold a four-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division with 80 points. Brandon Duhaime replied for the Wild (32-21-6) as they sit in third place in the Central with 70 points, just one back of the second-place Jets.

The Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in the second period as they held off the New York Islanders by a score of 3-2. Phillip Danault, Arthur Kaliyev and Gabriel Vilardi scored for the 33-19-8 Kings. They hold a two-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division with 74 points and sit one point back of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights. Noah Dobson and Adam Pelech replied for the Islanders (30-25-7) as they hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 67 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick picked up his 370th career win to surpass Tom Barrasso for the third-most wins by an American-born NHL goaltender. John Vanbiesbrouck is second with 374 and Ryan Miller holds first place with 391.

Montreal Canadiens winger Jesse Ylonen had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Chris Tierney also scored in his first game with Montreal after being claimed off waivers on Thursday. The Canadiens (25-29-4) have won five of their last seven games while the Flyers (23-27-10) have dropped six of their last seven contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Joel Farabee dismissed rumors yesterday claiming his representatives have expressed their displeasure over how their client’s season is going under head coach John Tortorella.

I think for me right now, I’m 100 percent committed to being a Flyer,” said Farabee. Tortorella, meanwhile, was more blunt, telling reporters that if Farabee’s agent is leaking information he should “just shut up,” adding he “doesn’t give a damn” what he thinks.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak received a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins general manager Ron Hextall downplayed calls from some fans calling for his firing as his club slides in the standings. He said it won’t change how he conducts business, adding that he won’t spend big assets like a first-round pick to add a rental player before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall didn’t say he wouldn’t trade a first-round pick for a player under contract beyond this season. That’s what he’s likely shopping for if he’s looking for help in the trade market.

Speaking of the Penguins, they place winger Kasperi Kapanen on waivers.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas took offense over head coach Craig Berube accusing his core players of not caring about the team during their loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. “I’ve been a part of this team for a long time,” said Thomas. “What he said couldn’t be further from the truth. I know everyone in that room cares.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube doubled down with his comments on Friday, saying he hoped his comments sparked a response from his players. Meanwhile, general manager Doug Armstrong sought to diffuse the situation by saying the club needs to come to grips with the current situation, puts its past behind them and turn the page.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2023

Could Patrick Kane end up with the Rangers? Are the Penguins interested in Jakob Chychrun or peddling Jeff Petry? What’s the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov and Brock Boeser? What about the Senators, Flyers and Capitals? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports the hockey world is still waiting for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane to decide whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. Johnston believes the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars could be keeping tabs on the 34-year-old Kane.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers’ decision to sit Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn for “roster management reasons” prompted speculation they were getting closer to acquiring Kane. It would require a three-team trade to pull this off with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent of Kane’s $10.5 million salary-cap hit and the Rangers and another club splitting the remainder.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Walker also believes the Rangers would have to waive another player even if Kravtsov and Leschyshyn went to the Blackhawks. Another option would be waiving Kravtsov and Leschyshyn on Saturday and then waiting until March 3 to acquire Kane as the Rangers will have accrued sufficient cap space by that time to squeeze in the remainder of his cap hit in a three-team deal.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source claiming the Rangers and Blackhawks are hammering out the framework of a deal that would send Kane to New York. Kravtsov and Zachary Jones are named as part of the return to Chicago with a third team involved to spread Kane’s cap hit around.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said there are “plenty of contenders” interested in his client.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane to New York won’t be easy to pull off but it’s not impossible. I don’t rule it out if Rangers general manager Chris Drury doesn’t have to give up a first-round pick, a top prospect or a young roster player like Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko. Drury could end up with considerable leverage if the Rangers are Kane’s only preferred destination. In that case, the Blackhawks will have to accept whatever the Blueshirts are willing to offer as it’s expected that they’re going to honor Kane’s wishes.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources are claiming that Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wants GM Ron Hextall to trade for Jakob Chychrun. However, Hextall is unwilling to do this because the Arizona Coyotes want him to include the Penguins’ 2025 and 2026 first-round picks as part of the return for the 24-year-old defenseman.

Rossi also noted the Penguins would have difficulty fitting Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual average value within their limited salary-cap payroll for this season. It would require the Coyotes retaining half of his cap hit or the Penguins sending a salaried player to Arizona. Hextall has informed the other NHL general managers that Kasperi Kapanen is available.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent rumor flying around claiming the Penguins might be willing to part with defenseman Jeff Petry, who carries an AAV of $6.25 million through 2024-25. LeBrun indicated they’re not expected to make the 35-year-old blueliner available at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall’s in a difficult position here. His club is sinking in the standings and could fall completely out of playoff contention without a big move to improve the roster. Chychrun could help but the Penguins GM would be sacrificing two major pieces that will be necessary to rebuild the roster once Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang reach the end of their careers.

As for Petry, his cap hit, age, 15-team no-trade clause and the decline in his production would make him a tough sell with so many teams carrying little or no cap space this season.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators are in the market for a defenseman as well as a center leading up to the trade deadline. However, they’re not among the suitors for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They’ve been linked to him for some time but Senators management considers the Coyotes’ asking price to be too high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has reported the same thing for weeks now. The Senators were interested in Chychrun but not at the cost of two first-rounders and a high-end prospect.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports that multiple team and league sources confirmed that the Columbus Blue Jackets believed they had a deal in place that would’ve shipped defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to the Boston Bruins. Instead, the Bruins acquired blueliner Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals.

The Jackets have held Gavrikov out of the lineup for over a week now for “trade-related reasons”. It’s unclear if he’ll return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Portzline indicates the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a left-side blueliner.

Portzline also noted there is speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Coyotes seek at least a first-round pick as part of the return but there’s no way the Blue Jackets are parting with their 2023 first-rounder as it could become the first-overall selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Gavrikov will still get traded but the Blue Jackets might not get the type of return similar to what they had lined up with the Bruins. Still, they could use the following week to see if they can stoke a bidding war between the interested clubs.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Brock Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, has been working with Vancouver Canucks management trying to find a trade for the 25-year-old winger. However, his $6.65 million salary cap hit through 2024-25 is a major obstacle. Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said he still values Boeser and doesn’t want to force anything.

Hankinson said Boeser would fit in well with the Minnesota Wild. However, the Canucks would have to retain a significant portion of the Minnesota native’s cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were believed unwilling to retain any portion of Boeser’s salary. However, MacIntyre noted that Allvin didn’t rule it out in a recent interview, saying it depended on the deal and what’s included.

Boeser to Minnesota is possible if the Canucks are willing to retain half of his cap hit. That would also mean the Wild having to give up a significant asset in return. Allvin could seek a top prospect like Jesper Wallstedt, Marco Rossi, Liam Ohgren or Brock Faber.


TSN: Chris Johnston believes Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk could be a “Plan B” option for teams that lose out in the bidding for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. Those could include the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets or Vegas Golden Knights. He also thinks teams that aren’t in on Meier, like the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, could be keeping tabs on van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk isn’t a 70-plus point performer like Meier but he’s an experienced, big-bodied winger with playoff experience who has reached or exceeded 20 goals seven times in his career, including 24 last season. He’s on an expiring contract with a $7 million cap hit but the Flyers will likely retain half of it for the right offer.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Joel Farabee’s camp has expressed their displeasure to Flyers management over how this season has unfolded under head coach John Tortorella.

Farabee has struggled this season in part because of neck surgery last summer throwing off his offseason training program. He’s managed just nine goals and 17 assists in 59 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli listed Farabee at No. 20 on his updated trade targets list. He’s in the first year of a six-year, $30 million contract so I don’t see him getting moved at the deadline. Still, it’ll be worthwhile to keep an eye on this situation.

Farabee isn’t the only player who’s had some difficulty with Tortorella. Kevin Hayes has surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill after he was scratched from a couple of games earlier in the season.


THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir looked at who else could be on the trade block for the Washington Capitals after they dealt Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Anthony Mantha, Lars Eller, Conor Sheary and Marcus Johansson are among those who could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Mantha are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Mantha has another year remaining on his contract. With a dozen players eligible for UFA status this summer, it’s probably a safe bet that Capitals management will be listening to offers for them.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

Recaps of Friday’s games, the Flames sign MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year contract extension, the Blackhawks and Canucks make a trade and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators kicked off their regular season by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at the NHL Global Series in Prague, Czechia. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the win while Eeli Tolvanen scored what proved to be the game-winner early in the second period. Prague native Tomas Hertl tallied for the Sharks. The two clubs face each other again today.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

In preseason action, the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Buffalo Sabres 7-1. Sidney Crosby scored twice and added an assist, Evgeni Malkin had three assists, Jake Guentzel a goal and two assists and Bryan Rust tallied twice for the Penguins.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist.

The Winnipeg Jets got a three-point performance from Kyle Connor and two goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 35 shots.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice as his club doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko faced just seven shots to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not a typo. The Coyotes only mustered seven shots on Demko.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension yesterday. Weegar, 28, is in the final season of a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar was acquired by the Flames from the Florida Panthers in the trade that also sent Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary in July. The $6.25 million AAV on his new contract is a significant raise for the late-blooming defenseman, who tallied a career-high 44 points last season. The deal also comes with full no-trade protection for the first four seasons.

Weegar’s contract leaves the Flames with $80.3 million invested in 18 players for 2023-24. There’s no question they’re in “go-for-it” mode for the foreseeable future. Time will tell if they get good value for their expensive investments in Weegar, Huberdeau and free-agent addition Nazem Kadri.

THE PROVINCE/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Vancouver Canucks trade forward Jason Dickerson and a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Riley Stillman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks needed to add a defenseman as well as free up salary-cap space. Swapping Dickinson and his $2.65 million cap hit through 2023-24 for Stillman and his $1.35 AAV through ’23-’24 addressed both needs. The rebuilding Blackhawks, meanwhile, were able to add a second-round pick to give them six selections in the first three rounds of the 2024 draft.

TSN: Speaking of the Canucks, blueliner Tyler Myers is out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are also missing rearguard Travis Dermott, who is recuperating from a concussion.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Some good news for the Flyers as winger Joel Farabee has been cleared for contact and could play in the club’s season-opener. He underwent disk replacement surgery in June.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings defenseman Robert Hagg has been cleared to return to play. He’s been sidelined by a concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook, Edmonton Oilers center Mattias Janmark and Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin are among the players to hit the waiver wire on Friday. Teams have until noon ET today to claim them.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues released Tyler Pitlick from his professional tryout offer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey New Brunswick joins three other regional hockey organizations in withholding a portion of their player registration fees from Hockey Canada. Meanwhile, Nike joined a growing list of sponsors withholding support over a lack of confidence in the national governing body’s leadership stemming from its mishandling of sexual assault allegations levied against players from the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

NHL.COM: Former goaltender Dave Dryden passed away on Tuesday at age 81. The older brother of Hall-of-Fame netminder Ken Dryden, Dave played in 203 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, as well as 242 games in the WHA from 1961-62 to 1979-80.

Dryden left his mark on the game by pioneering the first cage combination goalie mask. He continued working on improving and refining equipment following his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Dryden’s family, friends and former teammates. Today’s goaltenders owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts to improve their equipment.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2022

Catching up on the latest regarding Jonathan Drouin, Joel Farabee, Marian Hossa and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jonathan Drouin hopes to be healthy and productive in his upcoming contract year. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s been sidelined by wrist injuries and a mental health break over the past three seasons.

Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin (NHL Images).

Drouin has embraced playing in Montreal and would like to stay beyond this season. However, he also knows that his status as a pending UFA next summer could lead to him changing teams by the trade deadline if the rebuilding Canadiens are out of playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin’s put up good numbers when healthy, including two 53-point performances earlier in his NHL career. A strong, injury-free performance should bolster his stock if the Canadiens peddle him at the trade deadline. It would also improve his value in next summer’s free-agent market.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee continues to make strides in his recovery from neck surgery in June. Teammate Scott Laughton said the 22-year-old looked good in a recent informal intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday.

Farabee is expected to miss the start of the Flyers season. General manager Chuck Fletcher said it’s too early to tell if his recent progression means he’ll be in the lineup for their season-opening on Oct. 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers won’t rush Farabee into the lineup. Still, his recent progress bodes well for a return to action sooner than expected.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Former Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa is releasing his memoir “Marian Hossa: My Journey from Trencin to the Hall of Fame” on Nov. 8. The book was co-written with The Athletic’s Scott Powers.

Hossa will look back on his early years in Slovakia, his journey into hockey and his rise to NHL stardom. He played 19 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings before winning three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.

SPORTSNET: Forward Evgeny Svechnikov has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks, according to his agent.

Svechnikov, 25, will earn $750K at the NHL level. He had 19 points in 79 games last season with the Winnipeg Jets. He is the older brother of Carolina Hurricanes star Andrei Svechnikov.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will compete with athletes from Vanderbilt University in a charity home-run derby and friendly softball game on Sept. 19 at Hawkins Field. The proceeds will benefit the Vandy United Fund, the Predators Foundation and several other local charities.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

The Lightning stay alive with a Game 5 win in the Stanley Cup Final, Barry Trotz is in no hurry to return to coaching, the Blackhawks will name Luke Richardson as their new coach, Chris Kreider and Joel Farabee undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat’s third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win with a 35-save performance, Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored while Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev each collected two assists for the Lightning.

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar replied for the Avalanche, whose lead in the series has been cut to three games to two. Nichushkin tied a franchise record with his fourth goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

The series returns to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third time in this postseason, the Lightning battled back with a hard-fought victory when facing elimination. Once again, Vasilevskiy was stellar in a must-win game. And once again, it was Palat with a clutch goal, giving him a team-leading three game-winners in this postseason and 12 playoff winners for his career, ranking third in that category among active players.

The breaks went the Lightning’s way in this contest. After the Avalanche got lucky in Game 5 with a missed too-many-men call during Nazem Kadri’s game-winner in overtime, they were tagged this time with 2:43 remaining in regulation, all but snuffing out an opportunity to pull their goalie and push for the equalizing goal. The Bolts also benefited when a tripping call on Makar led to Kucherov’s 4-on-3 power-play goal in the second period.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz turned down the opportunity to coach the Jets, basing his decision on spending more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicated Trotz was impressed by the Jets’ approach in both their patience as he considered their offer and willingness to accommodate his needs if he accepted the job.

Sources told the Sun that Trotz was reluctant to face the grind of another NHL season after 23 straight years of coaching. The Islanders also owe him another season of salary ($4 million), allowing him time to step back, spend more time with his family and ponder his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson as their new head coach next week. Richardson has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His expected timeline of recovery is two-to-four weeks.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee could miss the start of the 2022-23 season after undergoing disc-replacement surgery in his cervical area on Friday. He’s expected to make a full recovery in three-to-four months.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks have hired former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as a senior advisor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon’s NHL career has now come full circle. He began his playing career with the Canucks in 1970-71.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Tom Kostopoulos as director of player development. He replaces Scott Young, who was named the Canucks director of player personnel on Friday.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cody Glass to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $874K at the NHL level.

TSN: Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Novak is taking time away from hockey to deal with an oncological disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Novak in his treatments. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

The Maple Leafs and Rangers clinch playoff berths, Auston Matthews, Chris Kreider and Alex Ovechkin each approach significant scoring milestones, the Avalanche tie a franchise record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth by holding off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matthews reached 58 goals on the season, becoming the ninth player in league history to score 50 goals in a 50-game period. The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry returned to action after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. However, Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is two goals away from becoming the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer since the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos reached that mark in 2011-12. Meanwhile, Allen’s injury is not expected to hasten the timeline for Carey Price’s return to the Canadiens’ net. Earlier in the day, the club announced winger Jonathan Drouin underwent season-ending wrist surgery on Friday.

The New York Rangers also clinched a postseason berth with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Chris Kreider tallied two goals to reach 49 on the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists. With 100 points, the Rangers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider sits third in the goal-scoring race and is poised to become the third player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season. He’s also five away from tying Jaromir Jagr for the single-season franchise record of 54 goals.

Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Washington Capitals over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Alex Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season while Tom Wilson and John Carlson each collected two points for the Capitals, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 88 points. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, sits just four points ahead of the Capitals for third place in the Metro Division. Penguins winger Jason Zucker returned to the lineup after missing three games with a core-muscle injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is tied with Gordie Howe for the second-most goals scored in a season by a player 36-or-old. He’s four behind record-holder Teemu Selanne. The Capitals captain also needs six more goals to tie Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons (nine) in a career.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored the tying goal and the only goal in the shootout in a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Darcy Kuemper turned in a 49-save performance as Colorado tied a franchise single-season record with 52 wins. The Avalanche sits two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for first in the overall standings with 110 points. With 90 points, the Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Panthers, they picked up their seventh straight victory by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored to extend his points streak to 11 games while Spencer Knight got the win by stopping 24 shots. The Predators hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 86 points.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin collected assists on each of his club’s goals on route to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. With 97 points, the Flames are seven points up on the Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

The St. Louis Blues took over sole possession of second place in the Central Division with 94 points as they thumped the New York Islanders 6-1. Justin Faulk scored two goals and collected an assist as his club extended its points streak to eight games. Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas each had a goal and an assist. The Islanders were playing without Casey Cizikas, who served a one-game suspension for boarding Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brendan Smith on Friday.

New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars. The loss leaves the Stars two points behind the Predators and clinging to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 84 points.

Max Pacioretty scored in his return to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup as they crushed the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Pacioretty had missed 12 games with an undisclosed ailment. Brayden McNabb had a goal and two assists while Robin Lehner turned aside 29 shots. The Golden Knights are tied with the Stars but the latter has two games in hand.

The Vancouver Canucks remain alive in the chase for the final Western wild-card berth by doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Thatcher Demko stopped 35 shots while Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who are four points behind the Stars and Golden Knights.

A hat trick by Jack Roslovic, including the winner in overtime, powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their eighth defeat in their last nine contests. Jakub Vrana tallied twice for the Wings.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored two goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee missed this game as he’s suffering from the flu.