NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

The latest on Tuukka Rask, Mika Zibanejad, and Jack Eichel, plus the latest signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opened up about his decision to leave the 2020 playoff bubble in August to attend to a family emergency.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

He based the decision on a phone call from his family indicating his young daughter was ill and an ambulance was called. “So obviously at that point, my mind is spinning and I’m like, ‘I need to get out of here’”, said Rask, adding he had no regrets about returning home.

Rask also said his preference is to stay with the Bruins beyond this season. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July and was the subject of offseason trade rumors. The 33-year-old goalie appeared open to talking contract during the season. “If they don’t, we’ll just wait it out and see what happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask caught flak from some Bruins fans upset over his decision to leave the club but he had the full support of the club, including his teammates. In my opinion, he did the right thing by putting his family first as any decent parent would.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad missed his third straight day of practice but the club remains optimistic he’ll be ready in time for their season-opener against the New York Islanders on Jan. 14. Zibanejad, 27, has been sidelined for undisclosed reasons.

WGR550: Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson joined their Buffalo Sabres teammates on the ice yesterday after each was recently sidelined by upper-body injuries. Meanwhile, Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons’ season is over before it began, undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring injury. His recovery period is expected to last six months.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension yesterday. The annual average value is $5.4 million.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked forward Luke Kunin to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. The AAV is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on both signings here.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw admitted he considered retirement during his 14-month recovery from post-concussion symptoms. Shaw says he’s now fully recovered and excited about resuming his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw’s gritty style of play contributed to his injuries. It’ll be interesting to see if he changes his game.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes received approval from the City of Glendale allowing 25 percent capacity (3,450 fans) during their six home games in January.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are also allowed 25 percent capacity (around 5,000 fans) at the BB&T Center to start the upcoming season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are permitted to allow 23 percent capacity (3,900 to 4,000 fans) at the Amelie Arena to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Lightning reached an agreement with the Panthers to share their AHL affiliate (Syracuse Crunch) for the 2020-21 season. The Panthers affiliate (Charlotte Checkers) opted out of playing this season because of the pandemic.

 










Jackets Re-Sign Bjorkstrand, Predators Sign Kunin In Latest NHL Moves

Jackets Re-Sign Bjorkstrand, Predators Sign Kunin In Latest NHL Moves

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

The Jets are reportedly close to acquiring Paul Stastny, Justin Williams retires, the Canadiens re-sign Josh Anderson, the Devils buy out Cory Schneider, and much more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cites sources claiming the Jets are working on a trade that would bring Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg. Stastny was briefly part of the Jets in 2017-18, helping them reach the Western Conference Final before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent. It’s believed the Jets will take on his full $6.5 million salary-cap hit on the final year of his three-year contract, with the two clubs also swapping draft picks.

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Stastny to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth rounder and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom

Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could return to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Stastny could address the Jets’ need for a second-line center. That suggests sidelined center Bryan Little’s status for next season remains in doubt while putting to rest the trade speculation swirling about winger Patrik Laine.

It will also signal the Golden Knights are shedding salary to be busy in the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET today. The move could also be an indicator of the difficulty the Golden Knights are having trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a cost-cutting deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams announced his retirement yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Williams and his family in his future endeavors. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the latter run, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” by holding the record for most points (15) in Game 7 situations. In 1,264 games, Williams tallied 320 goals and 797 points. He also had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 playoff games.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Two days after acquiring winger Josh Anderson, the Canadiens re-signed him to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a hefty new contract for a 26-year-old winger who’s yet to suit up for the Canadiens,  has one good season (27 goals, 47 points in 2018-19) and missed most of last season to a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair.

General manager Marc Bergevin envisions the 6’3”, 222-pounder as a power forward. This will be seen as a worthwhile investment if Anderson has fully recovered from his surgery and plays up to expectation. Otherwise, it’ll provide additional fodder for Bergevin critics and turn up the pressure on Habs ownership to fire their GM.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Schneider, 34, lost the starter’s job to Mackenzie Blackwood. He has two years left on his contract worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider was among the NHL’s top goalies from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Injuries, however, hampered his performance in recent years. His buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Devils’ cap through 2023-24.

NJ.COM: The Devils also acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is a skilled defenseman plagued by injuries for most of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.6 million. If he stays healthy he could be a worthwhile addition to the Devils’ blueline. They still have over $25 million in salary-cap space and could use some of it in the upcoming free-agent market.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets also traded defenseman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers for minor-league forward Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, 26, has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $2.7 million.

THE SCORE: The Jackets also placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The 26-year-old has three years left on his contract worth $4.9 million AAV. For buyout purposes, however, he’ll be considered 25 as that’s what his age would’ve been during a normal regular season when the buyout period would be in June. That means his buyout will be calculated at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

NHL.COM: The Jackets also re-signed goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moves leave the Jackets with $14.2 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and perhaps leave enough for an addition or two via trade or free agency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long time Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is heading to the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford spent 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, 10 of those as their starting goalie. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015) but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. Expect the Blackhawks to seek his replacement via trade or free agency.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another short-term pickup by the Senators to take some pressure off their developing young defensemen. The Ducks, meanwhile, have $4.47 million in cap space and will get an additional $6.875 million in wiggle room should Ryan Kesler remain on long-term injury reserve.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltender Tuukka Rask said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but the Bruins. Rask’s name recently surfaced in trade rumors, prompting GM Don Sweeney to claim the goalie is a “big part of the roster going forward.” Rask is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

TSN: The Dallas Stars lifted the interim tag from head coach Rick Bowness, who is expected to sign a new contract with the club.

SPORTSNET: The Stars also released a lengthy list of their injured players following the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among the notables was Jamie Benn (shoulder surgery before the schedule was paused), Tyler Seguin (knee, torn labrum), Ben Bishop (knee surgery in May), Roope Hintz (fractured ankle) and Anton Khudobin (arm surgery).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin received criticism for his offensive struggles during the postseason. This is yet another reminder that an NHL player failing to play up to expectations in playoff action is usually nursing an injury that would sideline athletes in other sports.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year contract worth around $2 million per season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract with an AAV of $750K.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2019

Forty players filed for salary arbitration, the latest free-agent signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHLPA: St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba were among the 40 players selected salary arbitration by the 5 pm ET deadline yesterday.  Arbitrations hearings will be held in Toronto between July 20 to August 4.

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba was among 40 player filing for salary arbitration on Friday. (Photo via NHL Images)

Anaheim Ducks

Chase De Leo

Boston Bruins

Danton Heinen

Buffalo Sabres

Remi Elie

Jake McCabe

Evan Rodrigues

Linus Ullmark

Calgary Flames

Sam Bennett

Ryan Lomberg

David Rittich

Rinat Valiev 

Carolina Hurricanes

Anton Forsberg

Brock McGinn

Colorado Avalanche

J.T. Compher

Sheldon Dries

Ryan Graves

Dallas Stars

Jason Dickinson

Florida Panthers

MacKenzie Weegar

Los Angeles Kings

Alex Iafallo

Montreal Canadiens

Joel Armia

Charles Hudon

Artturi Lehkonen

Nashville Predators

Rocco Grimaldi

Colton Sissons

New Jersey Devils

Will Butcher

Connor Carrick

Mirco Mueller

New York Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich

Jacob Trouba

Philadelphia Flyers

Scott Laughton

Pittsburgh Penguins

Zach Aston-Reese

St. Louis Blues

Jordan Binnington

Joel Edmundson

Zach Sanford

Oskar Sundqvist

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cedric Paquette

Vegas Golden Knights

Malcolm Subban

Washington Capitals

Christian Djoos

Chandler Stephenson

Winnipeg Jets

Andrew Copp

Neal Pionk

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dates for each hearing will be released before July 20. As soon as it is, I’ll post it up. Paquette yesterday re-signed with the Lightning to a two-year, $3.3-million contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday re-signed head coach Mike Sullivan to a four-year contract extension. 

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Scott Harrington to a three-year, $4.9-million contract. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed defenseman Nikita Zadorov to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s for $3.2 million. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed winger Josh Leivo to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

WGR 550: Forward Zemgus Girgensons signed his one-year, $1.6-million qualifying offer with the Buffalo Sabres. Speaking of the Sabres, 2019 first-round pick Dylan Cozens underwent surgery on his left thumb and will require two-three months to recover. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed UFA forward Nick Cousins to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed winger Andreas Martinsen to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSNET: Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod has apologized for harsh comments aimed at Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk at a recent Rolling Stones concert. MacLeod said she was giving Melnyk some “feedback”. According to Melnyk, she said, “I am your minister and you’re a f—ing piece of s–t and you’re a f—ing loser,”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Friday’s most bizarre sports story. On the one hand, some Senators fans will probably applaud MacLeod for ripping into the cantankerous Melnyk. On the other hand, she’s among the most despised members of Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2018

Game recaps, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin react to Stars’ CEO criticism, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves to collect his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Pavel Zacha and Andy Greene were the goal scorers. 

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Malcolm Subban picked up his first win of the season with a 30-save performance to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights claimed forward Valentin Zykov off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. 

Speaking of the Oilers, they fell 7-4 to the San Jose Sharks. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson had a goal and three assists while teammates Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson each scored twice. Connor McDavid scored twice and Ty Rattie had three assists for the Oilers. 

The Minnesota Wild broke a five-game losing skid by holding off the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves and teammate Zach Parise collected two assists. Patrik Laine scored for the Jets, who also lost defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left ankle. An update on his condition could come later today. 

Jake DeBrusk’s game-tying goal in the third period set the stage for Sean Kuraly’s overtime winner as the Boston Bruins edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced forward Zemgus Girgensons is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

Mathew Barzal’s natural hat trick powered the New York Islanders to a 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

The New York Islanders welcomed back Toronto Maple Leafs center (and former Isles captain) John Tavares back by shutting out his new club 4-0. Robin Lehner kicked out 36 shots while Mathew Barzal tallied a natural hat trick in the second period.

With starting goaltender Frederik Andersen listed as day-to-day with a groin injury, the Leafs acquired Michael Hutchinson earlier in the day from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 and sent him to their AHL affiliate. The Isles, meanwhile, placed winger Jordan Eberle (upper body) on injured reserve and called up Michael Dal Colle. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A statement game by the Islanders, one that should soothe the sting of Tavares’ departure to Toronto via free agency in July. 

Tyler Lewington and Madison Bowey tallied their first-ever NHL goals to give the Washington Capital a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced defenseman Thomas Chabot (upper body) will be sidelined three weeks, Christian Jaros (broken finger) will miss four weeks, and forward Magnus Paajarvi is dealing with an upper-body issue. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hits just keep coming for the Senators, as those three join starting goalie Craig Anderson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Justin Falk on the sidelines. 

Two third-period goals by Adam Erne lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens to extend their points streak to 14 games. Andrew Shaw scored and Phillip Danault had three assists.

Earlier in the day, Danault was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for tripping Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Meanwhile, Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph returned to action after missing six games with a lower-body injury but J.T. Miller was placed on IR and is listed as week-to-week. 

Third-period goals by Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau enabled the Florida Panthers to squeak past the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their fifth straight win with four power-play goals to beat the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Matt Murray made 30 saves whiles teammates Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang each had three points. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a hand injury.  

The Nashville Predators suffered their sixth straight loss, falling 4-3 to the New York Rangers. Mika Zibandejad assisted on all the Rangers’ goals while teammate Jesper Fast scored twice. Kevin Fiala collected three points for the Predators. 

Alexander Radulov scored two goals to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 thumping of the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, Stars captain Jamie Benn and linemate Tyler Seguin responded to the harsh criticism leveled at them on Friday by Stars CEO Jim Lites. Both attempted to downplay the situation but admitted their surprise over Lites’ remarks, adding he never personally addressed his concerns to them. They also acknowledged they and their teammates had to play better.

 “I don’t play for him [Lites],” Benn told the media. “I play for every player in this room, the coaching staff. I come to the rink and, like I said, I am proud to be a Dallas Star and I am proud to go out every night and battle with these guys in games. I really put my teammates first.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Watching the interviews, you could tell Benn and Seguin were doing their best not to add fuel to the firestorm Lites created with his expletive-laden rant the day prior. I’ll have more on this later this morning in the Rumors section. 

An overtime goal by Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, giving the Hawks their fifth win in their last six games. Kane’s winner was also his second goal of the game. 

Nick Schmaltz’s scored in overtime as the Arizona Coyotes overcame a 4-2 deficit to down the Anaheim Ducks 5-4. Ondrej Kase scored twice for the Ducks and Nick Ritchie added three helpers. 

Alexander Edler’s game-winner in overtime gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. The Canucks have won eight of their last 11 contests. Edler and Brock Boeser each had a goal and an assist. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

Florida Panthers ship Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes for Jamie McGinn.

Panthers trade Demers to Coyotes plus updates on Joffrey Lupul, Nail Yakupov & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers traded defenseman Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for winger Jamie McGinn. The Panthers also retain over $562K of his $4.5 million annual salary-cap hit over the remaining four seasons of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demers was the subject of offseason trade speculation following reports he nixed a trade to the Vancouver Canucks for Erik Gudbranson. The Coyotes obviously weren’t on his eight-team no-trade list.

It’s a good move by the Coyotes, bolstering their veteran depth for the long term while addressing the short-term absence of promising Jakob Chychrun to a knee injury. McGinn, meanwhile, is expected to bring more gritty size and skill to the Panthers’ forward lines. A 22-goal scorer with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16, he hopes to rebound from a disappointing nine-goal effort last season with the Coyotes. 

Speaking of the Coyotes, they canceled their preseason opener because of poor ice conditions at the Gila River Arena.

TORONTO STAR: Sidelined Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul took to social media recently to suggest he didn’t fail his training camp physical. Responding to a comment on the subject on his Instagram account, Lupul said, ““Haha failed physical. They cheat, everyone lets them.” He later deleted the remark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will only stoke suspicions the Leafs are playing fast and loose with LTIR rules to free up cap space for other players. However, it appears to a murky issue, one the league apparently cannot prevent under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

BSN DENVER: Having signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche, winger Nail Yakupov knows this is his last chance at redemption in the NHL. The first-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov has so far failed to play up to expectations as a scoring forward.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons is looking forward to a fresh start under new head coach Phil Housley.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tyler Wong tallied a hat trick as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Vancouver Canucks 9-4, picking up their first preseason win in franchise history. 

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes has an in-depth report on the rise of hockey in China.