NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2018

Opening-night recaps, Capitals’ Tom Wilson gets a 20-game suspension, Jack Eichel named Sabres captain and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists while Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals celebrated their Stanley Cup banner-raising by crushing the Boston Bruins 7-0.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice as the Washington Capitals blanked the Boston Bruins 7-0 in their season opener. (Photo via NHL Images)

 Bruins winger Brad Marchand took exception to Capitals forward Lars Eller chirping the Boston bench after scoring the Capitals seventh goal, jumping Eller several minutes later. Marchand earned “a two-minute minor for instigating, five minutes for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct, while Eller got five for fighting”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s frustration was likely a reaction to his club’s poor performance. They were never in this game as the Capitals dominated from start to finish. 

The Capitals opened the season without winger Tom Wilson, who received a 20-game suspension for his hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during a recent preseason contest. It’s expected Wilson will appeal the punishment through the NHL Players Association.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one should be surprised by the severity of Wilson’s suspension. He’s a repeat offender, receiving three previous suspensions since September 2017 for questionable hits. Even if his appeal is successful, I expect he’ll be sitting for at least 10 games. 

Auston Matthews scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. John Tavares also got his first goal as a Leaf. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens shipped prospect forward Will Bitten to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Gustav Olofsson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What was surprising was how competitive the underdog Canadiens were in this contest, out-playing and out-shooting the Leafs. If they keep playing like that throughout the season, the Canadiens will exceed expectations. As for the Olofsson trade, some Habs fans wondered why their club didn’t claim him off waivers. By swinging this trade after he cleared waivers, they can send him directly to the minors. 

Erik Karlsson’s debut with the San Jose Sharks was one to forget as he and his teammates dropped a 5-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. Karlsson was held off the scoresheet and had a plus-minus of minus-2. Jakob Silfverberg collected three assists for the Ducks.

Rookie forward Elias Pettersson scored his first NHL goal and set up another to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the day, the Flames named Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund as their alternate captains.

The Edmonton Oilers edged Kolner Haie 4-3 in overtime during exhibition play in Cologne, Germany. Oilers forward and German native Leon Draisaitl received a warm welcome from the local fans.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres yesterday named 21-year-old center Jack Eichel as their new captain. He becomes the 19th captain in franchise history.

THE DENVER POST: It appears the Colorado Avalanche will place contract talks with winger Mikko Rantanen on hold until the end of this season. Rantanen is in the final season of his entry-level contract and will be in line for a big raise “if he matches or exceeds his 29-goal, 84-point season of 2017-18.”

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes named Derek Stepan and Niklas Hjalmarsson as alternate captains. 

CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (hip injury) will be sidelined until November. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said his club is making progress in bringing an outdoor game to Carter-Finley Stadium.