NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 24, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 24, 2018

Game recaps, Erik Karlsson suspended, Ryan Hartman fined, plus an update on Rick Jeanneret, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes made Whalers Night a memorable one by overcoming a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-3. Sporting Whalers jerseys, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each scored twice and added two assists. Ryan Donato scored twice for the Bruins. Hurricanes center Jordan Staal missed the game with an undisclosed injury. 

Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brass Bonanza was blasting a lot last night in what was an entertaining game. 

Alex Galchenyuk scored twice and potted the only goal in a shootout as the Arizona Coyotes nipped the San Jose Sharks 4-3. The Sharks were playing without defenseman Erik Karlsson, who received a two-game suspension from the department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves to shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Winger Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Jackets, who’ve won four straight games.

Kaspari Kapanen scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. The Leafs overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits to force the extra frame. The game was the 1,000th of Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley‘s NHL career. 

Florida Panthers rookie center Jayce Hawryluk scored his first two NHL goals to help his club defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth kicked out 32 shots and four shootout attempts backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Nolan Patrick tallied the winning goal.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their third straight win as Tyler Toffoli’s overtime goal lifted them to a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Anders Lee scored the game-winner for the New York Islanders in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret was released from the hospital yesterday and is resting comfortably at home. Jeanneret fainted during Saturday’s Sabres-Anaheim Ducks game and was stretchered from the press box. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get well soon, Rick!

SPORTSNET: Nashville Predators forward Ryan Hartman was fined $1,000.00 by the department of player safety for spearing Boston Bruins forward Chris Wagner on Saturday. 

SPORTEXPRESSEN: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Since concussions forced his retirement three years ago, Franzen’s battled depression, memory loss, and severe anxiety. 

“Most of the time I think I am moving in the right direction, but when I have the down periods there is nothing positive. I almost give up then, and it is even worse because you think you have been better for a while,” Franzen said. “It’s embarrassing. I can speak to one person and the next day I’ve forgotten his or her name.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking story about a career cut short and another example of the lasting trauma of head injuries among professional athletes. As long as the NHL remains reluctant to adequately address this issue, more players could end up suffering Franzen’s fate. 


Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Ten years ago, the Detroit Red Wings were the NHL’s dominant team. They and their fans were basking in their 2008 Stanley Cup championship, marking their fourth title in 11 years. Despite the departures of long-time stars such as Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, the Wings remained atop the NHL mountaintop as a perennial Cup contender.

Those glory days have since passed. The following season, the Wings fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Stanley Cup Final rematch, beginning a lengthy decline that saw them bottom out by missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

As the Wings rebuild their roster, here’s a look at where the notable players from their last championship team are today.

Nicklas Lidstrom. One of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, the former Wings captain retired in 2012 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. He lives in Sweden with his family where he coaches his sons. He co-owns an assets company and also works in real estate.

Henrik Zetterberg. Winner of the 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy, Zetterberg is now the captain of the Red Wings. Hampered in recent years by back injuries, his status is unclear for the 2018-19 season.

Pavel Datsyuk. Considered among the best two-way players of all time, Datsyuk retired from the NHL in 2016. Returning to Russian, he joined the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg, captaining them to the Gagarin Cup championship in 2017. He signed a one-year contract extension in April. 

Chris Osgood. The often under-appreciated “Ozzie” backstopped the Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup. It was his third Cup title and his second as a starter. Osgood would play three more seasons with the Wings before retiring in 2011, becoming just the 10th goalie in NHL history to reach 400 wins. He’s gone on to work in the Red Wings organization, as well as providing analysis for Wings games on Fox Sports. He’s also part-owner of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.

Dominik Hasek. 2007-08 was the final NHL season for “The Dominator.”  He was Chris Osgood’s backup during the postseason, seeing action in four games. Hasek spent 2009-10 in the Czech Extraliga and 2010-11 in the KHL before retiring. Ranked among the greatest goaltenders of all time, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. Today, he’s an entrepreneur in the Czech Republic and also stays involved in hockey and charities.

Chris Chelios. One of the NHL’s great defensemen, Chelios returned with the Wings in 2008-09 and briefly saw action the following season with the Atlanta Thrashers before ending his 26-year NHL career. He spent several seasons with the Wings in the front office and coaching staff before joining the Chicago Blackhawks in July 2018 as a team ambassador. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brian Rafalski. The skilled puck-moving defenseman played three more seasons with the Red Wings before retiring at age 37 in 2011 to spend more time with his family. They currently reside in Florida where he works with a local hockey program.

Johan Franzen. Multiple concussion injuries cut short Franzen’s playing career. Though still under contract with the Red Wings through 2019-20, he hasn’t suited up since 2015. In May 2018, Franzen’s wife revealed her husband was going through “intensive treatment” for brain injury as he continues to deal with post-concussion syndrome.

Niklas Kronwall. Since Lidstrom’s retirement, Kronwall became the linchpin of the Red Wings’ defense corps. Now 37, his physical style of play has led to injuries that in recent years limited his effectiveness.

Tomas Holmstrom. A long-time physical presence in front of opposition nets, Holmstrom spent four more seasons with the Wings before retiring prior to the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. He lives with his family in Sweden and coaches youth hockey.

Jiri Hudler. After four more seasons with the Wings, including one he missed when he played in the KHL during a season-long contract dispute, Hudler spent his final five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, winning the Lady Byng Trophy in 2015. Last fall, he was involved in an incident aboard an international flight in which he reportedly used cocaine in the washroom and threatened a flight attendant.

Kris Draper. Following three more seasons with the Wings, Draper retired in 2011 and joined the Wings’ front-office staff. He is now a special assistant to general manager Ken Holland.

Mikael Samuelsson. After another season with the Wings, Samuelsson spent parts of four campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers before returning to Detroit for a last hurrah in 2013. Retiring in 2015, Samuelsson is a European Development Coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Valtteri Filppula. Departed the Wings as a free agent in 2013 to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2017, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He recently signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders.

Brad Stuart. Following four more seasons with the Wings, Stuart returned to the San Jose Sharks (where he began his NHL career) for two seasons and signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche. A back injury ended his playing career in 2016.

Dallas Drake. The 2007-08 season was Drake’s last, retiring after 15 NHL seasons. He lives with his family in Michigan and coaches youth hockey.

Darren Helm. The 31-year-old winger is entering his 12th season with the Red Wings.

Dan Cleary. Following seven more seasons with the Wings and one with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Cleary retired in 2017. He’s now the Red Wings’ co-director of player development.

Darren McCarty. After one more season with the Wings, McCarty retired in 2009. He published his autobiography in 2013  detailing his free-wheeling lifestyle and battles with addictions. He lives in Detroit where he works for a real-estate company and is also trying his hand at stand-up comedy.

Kirk Maltby. The long-time Red Wings checking-line forward played two more seasons before retiring in 2010. He soon joined the Wings as a pro scout and remains in that role today.

Andreas Lilja.  The Swedish defenseman spent two more seasons with the Wings. After spending three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers, Lilja spent two years playing in Sweden before retiring as a player. Next season, he’ll be an assistant coach for Kristianstad. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2018

Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final begins tonight. Check out the latest in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals begins tonight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at 8 pm ET. 

The experience and leadership of winger James Neal could be crucial for the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: To win Game 1, the Capitals will need a fast start, limit turnovers, make Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury uncomfortable in his crease and shut down Vegas’ top line.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights will lean on the experience and leadership of veterans such as James Neal in the Stanley Cup Final. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association have been asked to wear something red for Game 1 in honor of legendary sportswriter Red Fisher, who passed away earlier this season. Fisher covered the Montreal Canadiens for 57 years. 

NEW YORK POST: In his preview of the Stanley Cup Final, Larry Brooks says he isn’t attempting to minimize the Golden Knights’ achievement, after claiming the expansion draft was rigged, in part by “inflicting pain” on the clubs carrying a large number of players with no-movement clauses, and suggesting the current playoff bracket system helped Vegas reach the Final. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Funny how no one foresaw Vegas benefiting from a “rigged draft” last year. Most pundits and fans expected the Golden Knights to be a bad team in their inaugural campaign. Heck, some even lambasted Vegas GM George McPhee for passing up what they considered better players available in the expansion draft.

And how were teams carrying players with no-movement clauses supposedly “punished” by the expansion draft? Those teams agreed to give those players those contracts well before those expansion draft rules were drawn up. What part of “no-movement” did they not understand? They brought that pain upon themselves. The league couldn’t overturn the rules of the collective bargaining agreement just to make it possible for teams to dump untradeable players into the expansion draft. 

The Golden Knights’ path to the Final wasn’t easy. Yes, they swept the LA Kings in Round 1, but every game in that series was decided by one goal. A bounce here, a break there, and perhaps it would’ve had a different outcome. Round 2 against the San Jose Sharks was tied at two games apiece before Vegas took the next two games. And Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury flat-out stole the Western Conference Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

In other words, suggesting the Golden Knights benefited from a rigged draft or an easier playoff schedule IS attempting to minimize their achievements this season.  

KUKLA’S KORNER: cites a blog post from Cissy Franzen revealing her husband, former NHL player Johan Franzen, is undergoing extensive treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Franzen’s career was cut short by injuries in 2016. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Franzen and his family during this difficult period. 


Possible NHL Salary Cap Recapture Candidates

Possible NHL Salary Cap Recapture Candidates

If Henrik Zetterberg retires in two years, the Detroit Red Wings could face salary-cap recapture penalties.

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s recently expressed doubt that he would still be playing when his contract expires in 2020-21. If he officially retires before then, the Wings would be tagged with a salary-cap recapture penalty.

On Jan. 28, 2009, the Red Wings signed Zetterberg to a heavily front loaded 12-year contract in order to garner a lower annual salary-cap hit. Such contracts were a notable loophole in the NHL collective bargaining agreement of the time.

Under the current collective CBA, however, salary-cap recapture penalties were imposed against the teams who signed players to those lengthy, front loaded deals. The later a player retires, the more expensive the cap-recapture penalties. 

We’ve already seen the effects of salary-cap recapture. In 2015, the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of center Mike Richards, which was due to expire in 2020. They were tagged $1.32 million annually for the remaining tenure.

Zetterberg, who turns 37 in October, said he probably only has a couple of seasons left in him, meaning 2018-19 would be his last. Unless the Red Wings are able to place him on long-term injured reserve or find some other creative loophole in the CBA, they’ll be on the hook for $5.5 million annually in salary-cap recapture penalties for the remaining two years of his contract. 

The Wings won’t be able to avoid it by shipping Zetterberg to another NHL team. Because he’s now into the latter half of his contract, Detroit will incur the full recapture penalties.

Zetterberg is among a handful of notable active players still on contracts signed under the previous CBA that evade the eight-year maximum of the current agreement.

While with the Nashville Predators in 2012, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber signed a 14-year contract offer sheet in 2012 with the Philadelphia Flyers. The deal, which expires at the end of 2025-26, was matched by the Predators.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith inked a 13-year contract that began in 2010-11 and expires after 2022-23.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year deal began in 2008-09 and runs through 2020-21.

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed identical 13-year contracts with the Minnesota Wild in 2012. Their deals both expire at the end of 2024-25.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby re-signed a 12-year deal commencing 2013-14 that expires at the end of 2024-25.

Marian Hossa joined the Chicago Blackhawks on a 12-year contract beginning in 2009-10. The final season is 2020-21.

While with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo re-signed a 12-year deal commencing in 2010-11 and runing through 2021-22.

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen re-signed an 11-year deal beginning in 2009-10 that stretches through 2019-20.

While a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2010, Los Angeles Kings forward Carter signed an 11-year contract extension beginning in 2011-12 and running through 2021-22. In June 2011, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and in February 2012 was acquired by the Kings.

Soon after being traded in June 2012 from the Pittsburgh Penguins, center Jordan Staal signed a 10-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. It expires at the end of 2022-23.

In 2010, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom re-signed a 10-year contract with the Capitals that expires at the end of 2019-20.

Following the LA Kings first Stanley Cup championship in 2012, goaltender Jonathan Quick re-signed a 10-year extension commencing in 2013-14. It will expire following the 2022-23 campaign.

If these players retire before the expiration of their current contracts, the teams that signed them will be subject to salary-cap recapture penalties.

Most of those clubs, however, will likely avoid that fate. Carter (32 years old), Quick and Ovechkin (both 31), Backstrom (29) and Staal (28) seem unlikely to retire before their current deals expire within the next six years.

Franzen’s playing career was ended by concussions but he hasn’t officially retired. The Wings annually place him on long-term injury reserve to get salary-cap relief at the start of each season. Unless they trade Franzen’s contract, they’ll continue putting him on LTIR until it expires in 2020.

Hossa will miss the upcoming season due to a skin condition exacerbated by his equipment. The Blackhawks will place him on LTIR. If it persists and forces the end of his career, they’ll keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of his deal.

The contracts of Weber, Keith, Parise, Suter, Crosby and Luongo, however, could become problematic for the teams that signed them.

Weber, 32, will be 40 when his current deal expires. Assuming he retires within the final three years, the Predators could see cap-recapture penalties ranging from over $8 million annually to $24 million.

Luongo is now 38. As James Mirtle noted in 2014, his cap-recapture penalties could get really ugly for the Canucks if he retires within two years of his contract end date, ranging from over $4.2 million to $8.5 million. The Panthers will also be penalized, but at most they’ll get tagged with $1.4 million annually if he retires next year and $1.28 million if retirement is in 2019. In 2020, it would be only $73K and nothing in the final year of his deal. 

Parise (33) and Suter (32) still have eight seasons remaining on their respective deals. If one of them retires in 2020, the cap recapture is over $3.9 million for each of the remaining years. If one or both retire in 2021, it jumps to over $5 million annually. 

While both could continue playing beyond 2021, it’s not a certainty they’ll reach 2025, when their contracts expire. If they retire with two years left on their deals, the cap recapture penalties will be over $6 million annually.

Like Parise and Suter, Crosby’s contract also expires in 2025. As he just turned 30, his chances of completing his contract are better than his two counterparts in Minnesota. However, if he packed it in with three years left on his contract, the Penguins could be on the hook for over $5 million per season.

The 34-year-old Keith has six seasons remaining and will be pushing 40 when it expires in 2023. If he retires before the final season of his contract, the Blackhawks would be penalized $4 million

Given the conditioning of today’s NHL players, most on this list could keep playing throughout the remainder of their respective contracts. Some could join Franzen and Hossa on LTIR.

Still, some could face the possibility of an early retirement, perhaps becoming costly to their current team’s cap payroll.