NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2022

The Rangers move into first place in the overall standings, the three stars of the week are announced, the latest COVID protocols updates, the Flames new arena deal is dead and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers (48 points) moved into first place in the overall standings by dropping the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, Adam Fox collected two assists, Chris Kreider tallied his 20th goal of the season and Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with 33 saves. The Oilers (38 points) have only two wins in their last 12 games and are clinging to the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (NHL Images).

Last night’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Seattle Kraken was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns affecting the Senators. Thomas Chabot, Zach Sanford and Chris Tierney entered COVID protocol yesterday, bringing the total number of Senators players in protocol to eight.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski and Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart were among those who also entered COVID protocol yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The total number of players going on or coming off the protocol list changes daily. For example, 10 Dallas Stars players (including Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, Esa Lindell, Jason Robertson and Ryan Suter) were removed from the list yesterday.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth missed practice yesterday after submitting positive rapid COVID-19 tests. Both are asymptomatic and are awaiting the results of their PCR tests.

Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he doesn’t expect many more Canadian franchises will have games postponed due to attendance issues because the league is running out of time to make up games already postponed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the seven Canadian franchises had asked for their home games in January to be rescheduled for later in the season when attendance restrictions in their respective provinces are lifted when the Omicron COVID variant fades. Those clubs will see a significant reduction in their hockey-related revenue (HRR) under the current capacity limitations which will have an adverse effect upon the league’s overall revenue, in turn affecting the salary cap down the road.

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau are the league’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 2.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis recently started skating after being sidelined for weeks with a lower-body injury. However, there’s still no timetable for his return to action. Acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators, the 31-year-old Ellis appeared in just four games and hasn’t played since Nov. 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis’ absence is one reason why the Flyers are struggling to stay in the hunt for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot is nursing a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s Winter Classic. Winger Jordan Greenway entered COVID protocol.

CBC SPORTS: The City of Calgary’s deal with the owners of the Calgary Flames for a new downtown arena is officially terminated due to “unresolved issues.” It’s estimated the two sides had already spent between $20 million and $25 million on the $600 million project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This doesn’t mean the Flames will be relocating to another city. The club’s ownership group indicated it intends to remain in the Saddledome. However, they’ll be looking at investing millions in updating and upgrading the building.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars hired former Buffalo Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley as their new director of hockey strategy/scouting and development.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2021

Could the struggling Canucks trade J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser? Are the Wild interested in one of them? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANUCKS ARMY: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating tension is really high among the Vancouver Canucks organization. “Everybody’s looking around at everybody else and saying, ‘okay, we’re waiting for something to happen.’ Is it going to be an executive? Is it going to be a coach or is it going to be a player? Who’s it going to be,” he said.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Friedman also observed there are agents calling the Canucks trying to figure out who’s getting moved if anyone. He also said he’s heard from a couple of teams that saying they can tell the Canucks are trying to be careful to avoid making a move that could hurt them for decades.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Minnesota Wild have contacted the Canucks expressing interest in J.T. Miller. He speculates the Wild would likely dangle winger Kevin Fiala, who’s on an expiring contract and has managed just three goals this season despite 58 shots.

Fiala could regain his scoring touch with a change of scenery but Kuzma believes the Wild must sweeten the deal if they hope to land Miller. He suggested big winger Jordan Greenway but felt he’d be better suited to a fourth-line role rather than skating alongside Elias Pettersson. He’s also on an expiring contract worth $2.1 million this season, which could be difficult for the cap-strapped Canucks to absorb.

Kuzma thinks a logical ask by the Canucks in any trade would be a high draft pick. They shipped their 2022 second-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason. Kuzma wondered if Fiala and a second-rounder would be enough for Miller or would it take another pick to close the deal. He also suggested the Wild could be just fishing in hope of landing a player who can help them get out of a tough division and make noise in the playoffs.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports NHL executives will tell you Brock Boeser has been “out there” since the offseason but the trade talk has heated up in recent days. Simpson wondered if that knowledge might be contributing to the 24-year-old winger’s woeful production of late.

Simpson noted Canucks general manager Jim Benning didn’t rule out the possibility of trades during his media availability last week. It appears there’s interest in Boeser but it won’t be easy finding a trade partner with sufficient cap space and a glut of defensemen. He also cited a source saying Elias Pettersson wouldn’t be happy if Boeser was traded. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are a hot mess and show no sign of significant improvement. Team owner Francesco Aquilini met with Benning last week but apparently, no changes were in the offing as Aquilini intended to remain patient.

The takeaway from that suggests Benning and head coach Travis Green are safe for now. That could mean a shakeup trade could be coming if the Canucks’ fortunes don’t improve soon.

Fiala is a scoring winger but consistency has long been an issue with his production. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. His $5.1 million cap hit this season is comparable to Miller’s $5.25 million and would be a little more affordable than Boeser’s $5.875 million. Greenway is also an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.

If Miller or Boeser are available I would expect Benning will be getting some interest from clubs other than the Wild. Given his uneven trade record, however, Canucks fans will be understandably nervous about his ability to land a solid return for either guy.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2021

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Wild and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins could become sellers at the 2022 trade deadline if they don’t make the playoffs. He didn’t dismiss the possibility of a rebuild but felt they’re not at that point yet.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

Asked if Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin could become deadline trade chips if the Penguins were out of contention, Yohe replied he could envision them being available for the right price, especially Rust as he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He also mused about whether general manager Ron Hextall would attempt to peddle pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins need a course correction to snap out of their early-season struggles. He feels they need a right-side defenseman, a scoring winger for Jeff Carter and a spark plug player similar to former Penguins forwards like Patric Hornqvist or Brandon Tanev.

In the wake of the Penguins’ impending sale to the Fenway Group, Kingerski wondered what effect that could have upon the future of Malkin and Letang in Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see what changes there are (if any) once the Fenway Group takes over ownership of the Penguins. The longer Malkin and Letang go without new contracts, the more speculation about their trade status as the deadline approaches.

Management could be reluctant to move Malkin, Letang, Rust or any other pending free agents if the Penguins hold a playoff berth by deadline day. We’ll have to wait until the calendar flips to January 2022 to perhaps begin to get a clearer picture of their plans.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked about the future of winger Jordan Greenway. He could be moved before next season to make room for promising wingers like Matthew Boldy and Adam Beckman.

Greenway’s a pending restricted free agent in the midst of an underwhelming start to this season. Russo believes he’ll be moved at some point before next season and expects the Wild would seek futures in return.

Russo also said the Wild are trying to move center Victor Rask but haven’t found any takers yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Greenway, 24, is a 6’6”, 231-pound left winger who was showing some potential as a big playmaker over the last two years. However, he has just three assists in 12 games this season and facing criticism for not being more physically engaged and driving the offense. With a cap hit of $2.1 million, he could be an affordable option for clubs seeking size and offense at left wing.

OTTAWA SUN: Earlier this week, Ken Warren speculated over whether the Senators will pursue a trade for a center to replace the sidelined Colin White and Shane Pinto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been rumored to be in the market for a center for some time. GM Pierre Dorion could be shopping around but finding a suitable deal this early in the season won’t be easy.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

Jets GM Cheveldayoff won’t be disciplined by the league regarding the Blackhawks scandal, NHLPA director Fehr faces criticism related to the scandal, the Leafs sign Rielly to a contract extension, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL WON’T DISCIPLINE CHEVELDAYOFF, NHLPA DIRECTOR FEHR UNDER FIRE

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday it will not impose discipline on Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff regarding improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks organization regarding sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM during that time. The decision came following Cheveldayoff’s meeting on Friday with league commissioner Gary Bettman in New York. 

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Bettman released a statement pointing out Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior management in 2010 and thus couldn’t assign responsibility upon him for the club’s handling of the matter. The commissioner indicated Cheveldayoff’s degree of involvement was limited to one meeting and found he was “extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”

The statement went on to note Cheveldayoff’s role within the organization at the time left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions on the matter. “In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the club’s response”.

TSN: Cheveldayoff released a statement following the meeting through the Jets’ website. He expressed his support and empathy for Kyle Beach (the victim of Aldrich’s alleged assaults) and praised his courage. He also thanked the league for allowing him the opportunity to meet with Bettman and provide his side of the story.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff may have been cleared by the league but he still faces scrutiny from Winnipeg pundits and fans. Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe and the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Stinson believe the Jets GM owes Beach an apology, something that was absent from his statement. The Sun’s Scott Billeck and Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press believe Cheveldayoff owes an explanation to fans and media.

TSN: NHLPA director Donald Fehr is facing criticism after Kyle Beach revealed a lack of support from the association when he and his agent, Ross Gurney, informed them of the details of his alleged assault by Aldrich.

Gurney said he spoke to Fehr directly in 2011 about his concerns regarding Aldrich, who was working with USA Hockey at that time. “My purpose in calling the PA was to get a warning to USA Hockey,” he said. “That is what I was directed to do by Kyle”. He said Fehr told him he knew people at USA Hockey and the PA would look into the matter and offer support.

Beach was referred to Dr. Brian Shaw, a psychologist and program director within the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. He said Shaw told him the PA would handle it but never heard from them again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Fehr is facing waning support among PA staff and is under fire externally following the results from the independent investigation and Beach’s interview on Wednesday. Seravalli pointed out the player-led Executive Board has the authority to oust Fehr as PA director. He said it’s unclear if the 32 members will move to conduct an inquiry or pressure Fehr into resigning.

ESPN.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks sent a request to the Hockey Hall of Fame to have Aldrich’s name removed from the Stanley Cup. The Hall issued a statement saying HHOF chairman Lanny McDonald, league commissioner Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are on board with the request. Discussions are underway with the Stanley Cup trustees to make this happen.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers extended their season-opening win streak to eight games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Aleksander Barkov scored twice, including the game-winner. The Panthers had a 2-0 lead but the Wings rallied on goals by Sam Gagner and Pius Suter.

The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record with a season-opening seventh straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Tony DeAngelo had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson left the game after being crosschecked by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 739th career goal to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves for the shutout while John Carlson scored the game-winning goal. Ovechkin extended his points streak to eight games as his club remains unbeaten (5-0-3) in regulation. He’s now just two goals behind Brett Hull for fourth place on the all-time goal leader list.

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a 4-1 lead but went on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Evgenii Dadonov. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf collected an assist to tie Teemu Selanne as the franchise’s leading scorer with 988 points. The Ducks also placed winger Rickard Rakell on injured reserve with a shoulder injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

A 31-save shutout by Igor Shesterkin carried the New York Rangers over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each had three assists.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a three-game losing skid by dropping the Dallas Stars 4-1. Josh Norris tallied twice, Brady Tkachuk netted his first goal of the season and Filip Gustavsson kicked out 38 shots for the win.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Morgan Rielly to an eight-year, $60 million contract. The annual average value is $7.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news is the Leafs have their best defenseman under a new long-term deal at a cap hit lower than what he would’ve received on the open market next summer. Given the big contracts signed this summer by other notable blueliners, speculation suggested it would cost the Leafs around $8.5 million to keep him in the fold. Rielly left some money on the table to stay in Toronto.

The bad news is Cap Friendly shows the Leafs have over $53.63 million invested in just six players (Rielly, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Jake Muzzin) for 2022-23. With $75.3 million committed to 15 players next season, Leafs management faces another summer of salary-cap gymnastics to remain cap compliant.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes will be sidelined for five weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild placed forward Jordan Greenway on IR with a lower-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Steve Carlson, who played one of the Hanson Brothers in the movie “Slap Shot”, has been diagnosed with a form of cancer known as Stage IV metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him with living costs while he undergoes radiation therapy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Carlson. Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to this fundraiser.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2019

The Red Wings snap a 12-game winless skid, Joe Thornton reaches another milestone, Tim Thomas reveals concussion issues, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings picked up their first win in a month, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, and Filip Hronek each picked up three points as the Wings snapped a 12-game winless skid (0-10-2). Kyle Connor tallied both goals for the Jets.

Robby Fabbri scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings snapped a 12-game winless skid (Photo via NHL Images).

Steven Stamkos tallied two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Boston Bruins 3-2, leaving the latter winless in their last five games (0-4-1). Bolts winger Nikita Kucherov collected two assists.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice to lead his club over the Nashville Predators 4-3. Eichel now has points in his last 15 games. Sam Reinhart also picked up two assists.

Artemi Panarin tallied a hat trick to lead the New York Rangers over the San Jose Sharks 6-3, spoiling Bob Boughner’s debut as the Sharks’ interim coach. Mika Zibanejad also scored twice for the Rangers. San Jose is now winless in six games (0-5-1). Sharks center Joe Thornton picked up an assist in his 1,600th career game.

A three-goal third period, including two by Johnny Gaudreau, lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames have won seven straight games. Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had two-point performances for the Leafs.

Clayton Keller scored twice as the Arizona Coyotes rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Vinnie Hinostroza collected three assists for the Coyotes, who’ve won four of their last six contests. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Calvin de Haan (shoulder) on injured reserve.

Vancouver Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom kicked out 43 shot in a 1-0 shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes. Elias Pettersson potted the winner in overtime. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed goaltender Thatcher Demko was sidelined with a concussion. Vancouver winger Micheal Ferland is seeing a specialist to deal with concussion-like symptoms.

Goaltender Thomas Greiss made 32 saves as the New York Islanders held off the Florida Panthers 3-1. Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle each had two points. The Panthers scratched struggling defenseman Mike Matheson from this contest.

Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry made 17 saves to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0. Bryan Rust tallied the winner in overtime. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game due to illness.

The St. Louis Blues halted a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist returned to action after being sidelined for six games and collected a goal and an assist.

Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” as his club held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5. Eric Staal and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Wild. Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom each collected a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who’ve dropped six of their last eight games.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped an 11-game road winless skid by edging the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 36 saves for the win.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL goaltender Tim Thomas revealed he’s been dealing with brain damage related to his playing career that’s derailed his life. Doctors told Thomas that two-thirds of his brain were getting less than 5% blood flow and the other third was averaging about 50%.

Thomas revealed the news during a press conference before his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He revealed it was a concussion suffered in Dec. 2013 that changed his life and lead to his retirement. He’s better now but still isn’t close to normal, admitting he’s had difficulty communicating with people and watching hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was heartbreaking watching an emotional Thomas reveal this to the world. I wish him well in his ongoing efforts to cope with this condition.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens forward Matthew Peca is expected to miss the next six weeks with a knee injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens mascot Youppi was voted in the Mascot Hall of Fame. Youppi got his start with the Montreal Expos and joined the Canadiens after the Expos moved to Washington.