More legal trouble for Evander Kane, Kevin Hayes pays tribute to his late brother Jimmy, more Canadian teams require proof of vaccination to attend games, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane faces more legal troubles. Daniel Kaplan reports a federal bankruptcy judge has approved for discovery in a lawsuit filed against Kane alleging he reneged on a promise to pay at least $2 million for an abortion.
San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaplan also pointed out Kane filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, endured a very public, messy, ongoing divorce from his wife and learned several of his teammates want him traded. He’s also the subject of an ongoing investigation by the league regarding allegations made by his estranged wife that he bet on NHL games.
SPORTSNET: Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes made a heartfelt tribute on Instagram to his brother Jimmy, who died suddenly on Monday. He said he lost his best friend, crediting his older brother with paving the way for his NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Hayes family. Tributes poured in following Jimmy’s passing from around the hockey world.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are the latest teams to require fans to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend their games this season. The Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs announced similar rules earlier this month. The Edmonton Oilers are expected to follow suit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Senators are also expected to implement similar rules and I daresay the Montreal Canadiens will do the same.
THE PROVINCE: Daniel Sedin is enjoying the active role he and brother Henrik have taken in management decisions this offseason with the Vancouver Canucks. The twins were hired as senior advisors to general manager Jim Benning earlier this year.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens announced France Margaret Belanger has been named president (sports and entertainment) of Groupe CH. She becomes the first woman to serve on the Canadiens executive committee in its 104-year history. She also serves, alongside team owner Geoff Molson, as an alternate governor for the team.
MLIVE.COM: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula is returning to Europe after 16 NHL seasons. He signed a one-year contract with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss Hockey League.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers announced Gord Murphy and Mike Kelly will serve as assistant coaches under head coach Gerard Gallant. Murphy is being promoted from the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack. Steve Smith joins the Wolfpack as an assistant.
Alex Ovechkin moves past Mark Messier among the all-time goal scorers, Andrei Vasilevskiy gets a milestone victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin continued his march toward 700 career goals, scoring twice in a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. With 695 goals, Ovechkin moved past Mark Messier into sole possession of eighth overall among the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorers. Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot had a goal and an assist. With 75 points, the Capitals maintain a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for top spot in the Eastern Conference and the overall standings.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin moved into eighth place on the NHL’s all-time goal-scorers list (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has passed five Hall-of-Fame goal scorers (Messier, Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Teemu Selanne, and Luc Robitaille) this season. He’s 13 goals behind Mike Gartner (708), who sits seventh on the list.
Three-point performances by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Crosby tallied the winner in overtime after the Flyers overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra period.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves for his 150th career win in a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirellia each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf picked up two assists.
Tuukka Rask returned from injury with a 37-save performance as the Boston Bruins edged the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a close-checking, fight-filled contest. Jake DeBrusk snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal in the third period. The Bruins (72 points) hold a five-point lead over the Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl scored twice to extend his points streak to 10 games in 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected two assists. With the win, the Oilers (60 points) moved into second place in the Pacific Division.
A power-play goal by Alex Tuch late in the third period allowed the Vegas Golden Knights to edge the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Jonathan Marchessault and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (59 points), who hold a one-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen also each had a goal and an assist.
Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers doubled up the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin each collected two points. Wings forward Robby Fabbri had a goal and an assist. The Rangers (52 points) are nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
THE SCORE: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving dismissed talk suggesting defenseman Mark Giordano deliberately attempted to injure Oilers captain Connor McDavid on Wednesday. Giordano and McDavid collided in the neutral zone in the second period, appearing to clip the Oilers star with his hip. McDavid was incensed, but he and Oilers coach Dave Tippett downplayed the incident.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula will play in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Rangers.
THE BUFFALO NEWS/SPORTSNET: With the Buffalo Sabres poised to miss the playoffs for the ninth straight year, their fans are growing increasingly upset over the club’s lack of progress.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ ongoing mediocrity is bad enough, but there’s now a growing perception among their fans that their support of the franchise is being taken for granted by ownership. The club has sunk to 24th overall in attendance, there are calls for a protest rally among Sabres fans, while some are taking to the airwaves and social media to vent their anger and frustration over the club’s ongoing lack of direction, the state of the arena, and the treatment of Sabres alumni. It’ll be interesting to see how team owners Terry and Kim Pegula handle this situation.
New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.
Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract.
Artemi Panarin signs a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).
The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.
Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.
Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.
Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal.
Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million.
Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract.
Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal.
Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract.
Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract.
Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal.
St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract.
New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract.
Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season.
Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.
Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.
Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract.
Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar, goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K. The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Game recaps, Connor McDavid tops NHLPA poll, Wings re-sign Jimmy Howard, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 54 saves and Victor Hedman scored in overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. Nikita Kucherov scored two goals while Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists. The Lightning played without defenseman Dan Girardi, who’s sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny left the game in the second period after injuring his left leg. Despite the loss, the Capitals (94 points) hold a three-point lead over the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 35th goal of the season and his 200th career point in a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)
Auston Matthews tallied his 35th goal of the season and his 200th career NHL point as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. John Tavares also had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (93 points), who sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck picked up his first shutout of the season by blanking the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Hellebuyck made 29 saves while Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers were the goal scorers. Jets defenseman Joe Morrow returned to action for the first time since being sidelined in mid-February by a lower-body injury. With 92 points, the Jets hold a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division.
Despite a four-goal third period by the Ottawa Senators, the Vancouver Canucks went on to defeat them by a scored of 7-4. Alexander Edler collected three assists, Loui Eriksson had a four-point performance and Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson each scored twice for the Canucks. Dylan DeMelo had three helpers for the Senators.
NHLPA: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was voted the NHL’s best forward in this season’s NHLPA player poll. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman was voted the best defenseman and the Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price was the best goaltender.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a one-year contract extension worth $4 million. The deal comes with a $1.1-million bonus if the Wings reach the playoffs next season but doesn’t include a no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, this is a fair deal for both sides. Another solid season by Howard could earn him another contract with the Wings after next season. The deal also gives the Wings time to find a suitable replacement for Howard in the near future.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Jacob de la Rose is doing well but will undergo further examination following a cardiac episode on Tuesday.
The New York Islanders announced center Valtteri Filppula will be sidelined four weeks with an upper-body injury. Jordan Eberle is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Flames sign James Neal, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan McDonagh’s new contract, plus a roundup of other free agent signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPECTOR NOTE: Following this link for yesterday’s list of notable free-agent signings and this link for my analysis of the more noteworthy signings.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Calgary Flames have signed winger James Neal to a five-year deal worth an annual average value of roughly $5.75-million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal’s tallied 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons and played a leadership role in the Vegas Golden Knights’ record-breaking inaugural campaign. His experience, physical style and leadership could make him a solid addition for the Flames. However, his production decreased over the past two seasons with Nashville and Vegas respectively. His physical style has also taken a toll, as he’s played over 71 games just one in the past five seasons. With Neal turning 31 in September, this new contract could become more costly over the final two years for the Flames.
Detroit Red Wings management unsure if Henrik Zetterberg will be healthy enough to play next season (Photo via NHL Images)
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t certain if captain Henrik Zetterberg will be able to play next season. Holland said the last time he spoke to Zetterberg, the 37-year-old center said he’s planning on playing. However, his health will determine if he returns to action.
Zetterberg has a history of back injuries and underwent major surgery in 2014. Holland said he’ll remain in touch with his captain throughout the summer.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year extension worth $47 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh will be 30 when his new contract kicks in next summer. He’s a solid all-around defenseman but that deal could become a millstone for the Lightning over the latter years of the deal. McDonagh’s style of play takes a toll upon his body, one that could hamper his effectiveness as he ages. He also seemed to struggle at times against swifter opponents during the 2018 playoffs.
THE ATHLETIC: Defenseman Jack Johnson found himself in hot water with Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over his comment that he was happy to join a team with a winning culture during his press conference yesterday to announce his signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tortorella blasted the former Jackets defenseman, calling those remarks a slap in the face after all the organization had done to support him. Johnson said his misspoke, never intended any insult and called Jackets president John Davidson to apologize.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal worth $4 million per season and inked former Ottawa Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, $700,000 deal.
A look at the Islanders “Plan B” if they fail to resign John Tavares, the free-agent goalie search plus updates on Milan Lucic, Artemi Panarin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS
NEWSDAY: As free-agent center John Tavares takes some time to consider his future, Andrew Gross looks at possible moves by the New York Islanders should Tavares move on. They could promote NHL rookie-of-the-year Mathew Barzal to the first-line center position, perhaps pursue center Paul Stastny via free agency or attempt to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres.
They also need a starting goaltender and help on the blueline. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson has requested a trade while free-agent options include Cam Ward and Carter Hutton.
TSN: Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reports the Islanders are among the team to “kick tires” on Anderson, whose age (37) and contract creates a limited market for his services. Moving Anderson would create a big hole in net for the Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Islanders are obviously hoping Tavares will stay I don’t doubt GM Lou Lamoriello has contingency plans should he sign elsewhere. Wouldn’t surprise me if Lamoriello quickly gets into the bidding for O’Reilly. He has the cap space to take on the center’s $7.5-million cap hit and the depth in young assets to tempt the Sabres. As for Anderson, unless the Senators move quickly to find a suitable replacement I don’t think he’ll be traded this summer.
Milan Lucic’s agent denies the Edmonton Oilers have a trade in place for his client (Photo via NHL Images)
UPDATES ON LUCIC AND PANARIN
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the agent for Oilers winger Milan Lucic yesterday denied a report claiming the club had a trade in place for his client. “Milan didn’t ask for a trade and Peter (GM Chiarelli) 100 per cent, has not come to us about moving Milan. If he wants to get out from under the contract, he has to talk to us,” said Gerry Johannson. He added Lucic is “coming back to play for the Edmonton Oilers.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic was frequently mentioned earlier this month as a possible trade candidate but that speculation faded over the past couple of weeks. If there was any attempt by the Oilers to move Lucic it appears it’s come to naught.
TVA SPORTS: L.A. Lariviere reports the agent for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin confirmed his client will be talking with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen next month in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dan Milstein said it’s merely a courtesy call by Kekalainen and not a formal meeting, something the Jackets GM also did last August.
Panarin is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Jackets wish to open contract extension talks but he’s not interested in doing so at this time. Milstein also said rumors his client wants out of Columbus are unfounded, as are reports his girlfriend wants to revive her modeling career in a more cosmopolitan city. “He is not in a hurry to sign a new agreement. He wants to take his time and know the intentions of the organization,” said Milstein.
Milstein also said another client, New York Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov has received a qualifying offer but has yet to decide if he’ll accept it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports the Jackets have received trade offers for Panarin but none of them will bring the club immediate help to offset the winger’s absence. Much could depend upon Kekalainen’s roster moves this summer, which includes re-signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
SEVERAL FREE-AGENT GOALIES DRAWING INTEREST
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports long-time Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been contacted by five teams interested in his services. His agent, Rick Curran, said the Chicago Blackhawks were among three clubs that have had extensive interviews with his client. There’s speculation Ward could ink a one-year, $3-million deal with the Blackhawks on July 1.
BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter reports the Bruins can forget about wooing Carter Hutton, as he’s only interested in signing where he has a chance to be a starting goalie. The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly zeroed in on Hutton.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings are leaning toward signing Jonathan Bernier as their new backup on perhaps a three-year deal. They’re also interested in bringing back former Wings Valtteri Filppula and Thomas Vanek and have had productive discussions with free agent defenseman Mike Green, who could re-sign a two-year deal by Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly met with former Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner earlier this week but Khan reports he’s no longer a possibility. Not sure if they felt Bernier was a better option or if another club (perhaps the Islanders?) have pitched him a better proposal.
THE LATEST PENGUINS, BRUINS, RANGERS, CANADIENS AND FLAMES UPDATES
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In the wake of the Penguins’ recent moves (including shipping Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to Buffalo for a conditional 2019 draft pick), Jason Mackey believes they’re not done making moves. He reports they’ve met with free-agent winger Michael Grabner, though the Penguins already have considerable depth at right wing.
If they wish to pursue someone like Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner, they’ll have to move winger Carl Hagelin to clear cap space and perhaps goaltender Tristan Jarry as a key piece of a trade that another, such as the Hurricanes, might want.
Mackey suggests pursuing more affordable free-agent options such as Tobias Rieder, Antoine Roussel or Patrick Maroon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are considered by some as the favorite to land Skinner. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $8.1 million in cap space but his $5.725 million cap hit will eat up most of it. The Hurricanes will have to take a salaried player back or pick up part of that cap hit.
BOSTON HERALD: As the Bruins also await John Tavare’s decision, Steve Conroy reports they’ve “kicked tires” on free-agent wingers James van Reimsdyk and Michael Grabner.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are interested in Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves, who due to become a UFA on July 1. They apparently want to bring more grit and toughness to their lineup.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger report the Montreal Canadiens have interest in Tobias Rieder and former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet. Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes pending UFA center Derek Ryan was expected to meet with the Calgary Flames yesterday.