NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, Capitals fined as four players violate the league’s COVID-19 rules, plus updates on Mika Zibanejad, Patrik Laine, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s third period snapped a 1-1 tie as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Auston Matthews had tied the game earlier in the period before Draisaitl tallied the winning goal. Leafs center Joe Thornton is expected to miss some time after leaving the game early in the third period with an apparent wrist injury.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was hyped as a showdown between Matthews and Oilers star Connor McDavid but it turned out to be a disappointingly dull contest that failed to live up to its billing. Oilers fans will be happy with the win following back-to-back losses to the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs fans will be unhappy over their club’s disorganized performance.

Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick wasn’t enough to defeat his former team as they fell 6-5 to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each had two goals and an assist, with Horvat also scoring the winner in the shootout frame. It was a costly win for the Canucks as defenseman Alexander Edler left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The return of J.T. Miller (three assists) to the lineup also played a crucial role in the Canucks’ victory. The Canadiens were their own worst enemies as their undisciplined play resulted in three power-play goals on six attempts for the Canucks. There was no post-game update on Edler’s status.

The Vegas Golden Knights rolled to their fourth straight victory by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Alex Pietrangelo tallied his first goal with the Golden Knights while teammate Shea Theodore tallied twice and winger Alex Tuch scored and collected two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo has wasted little time adjusting to the Golden Knights after signing with them last October as a free agent. His addition to the lineup is a contributing factor to their strong start to this season.

Tomas Hertl scored the only goal in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks edged the St. Louis Blues 2-1. The Blues’ Brayden Schenn and the Sharks’ Marcus Sorensen tallied the only goals in regulation. Blues defenseman Marco Scandella missed the game with an upper-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on a third-period goal by Joel Eriksson Ek. Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves in his first game of the season while Ryan Miller kicked out 29 shots.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL fined the Capitals $100K for a violation of its health and safety protocols by four players. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov recently gathered together in one hotel room without wearing proper facial coverings, which is prohibited by the league’s COVID-19 protocols for this season. Players must each have their own rooms on road trips and are not permitted to gather in each other’s rooms.

The four players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 absence list but it doesn’t mean they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. Players can be added to the list as a precaution from possible exposure. It’s unknown if they’ll miss Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals and Ovechkin released statements acknowledging the incident, with the club expressing disappointment in the players’ actions and Ovechkin saying he regretted what happened and will learn from the incident.

Some observers questioned why the league is cracking down on players gathering in hotel rooms when they’re in close contact in the dressing room and on the ice during practice and games. The difference is the players stand a greater chance of catching COVID-19 away from the arenas, which are under strict health and safety controls to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

The NHL is doing everything it can to stage a 56-game schedule in the midst of a pandemic. Its’ COVID-19 protocols follow federal guidelines in Canada and the United States. They don’t want the possibility of repeated protocol violations potentially putting the season at risk if they fail to adequately prevent or minimize community spread.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ next two games against the Florida Panthers have been postponed after five of their players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey was placed on the league’s COVID-19 list.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad is expected to return to the lineup for Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zibanejad left Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils with an undisclosed ailment.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine (upper-body injury) remains doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (arm) should be ready to play tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. He skated in practice with his teammates yesterday.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed defenseman Julius Honka on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s games, the stars of the week, plus updates on Patrik Laine, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mitch Marner scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. John Tavares also scored for the Leafs. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 35 shots. The Jets were also playing without winger Patrik Laine, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Leafs learned winger Nick Robertson will be out at least four weeks with a knee injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the Leafs’ most complete game of this young season after inconsistent defensive play dogged them in their previous contests.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their first win of the season by thumping the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar each scored twice while Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall each collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-earned victory by the Sabres, who blew the game wide open with a three-goal second period. Their dominating performance seemed to catch the Flyers off-guard.

Jake Allen made 25 saves in his Montreal Canadiens debut while rookie Alexander Romanov scored his first NHL goal in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Habs held Oilers stars Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goalless for the second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s steady performance is a reminder of why the Canadiens acquired him as Carey Price’s backup last summer. Expect to see Allen spelling off Price in more back-to-back games throughout this season.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had two points to lead the Calgary Flames over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves to pick up his second straight win over his former club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks dominated the first period, outshooting the Flames 16-4 but the latter turned the tables and changed the course of the game by outshooting the Canucks 20-3.

The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their first win of the season by hanging on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves, while third-period goals by Alexandre Texier and Pierre-Luc Dubois secured the win. Bobby Ryan scored both goals for the Wings, who played without Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne due to COVID-19 protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois only played one shift in the final seven minutes of the second period but head coach John Tortorella denied benching the center. Dubois has requested a trade so his lack of playing time in the middle frame was bound to raise some eyebrows.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 27-save shutout to blank the Boston Bruins 1-0. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the only goal as the Isles managed just 17 shots against Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game with what appeared to be an injured right shoulder. No update was provided on his status following the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are the league’s lowest-scoring club thus far with just three goals. They’re definitely feeling the absence of sidelined sniper David Pastrnak. They’re also missing the blue-line production of departed defenseman Torey Krug while winger Jake DeBrusk is off to a disappointing start.

Justin Faulk scored two goals, Mike Hoffman collected his first of the season and Jordan Kyrou tallied the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Logan Couture scored twice and collected an assist while Brent Burns had a goal and two assists.

The Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist. Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson also had a goal and an assist.

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson’s 34-save performance backstopped his club to their first win of the season in a 1-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild. Nicolas Deslauriers netted the game’s only goal.

The Vegas Golden Knights rallied past the Arizona Coyotes with four straight goals on route to a 4-2 victory. Reilly Smith scored twice in the third period, including a shorthanded goal. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes learned captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov, Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 17, 2021.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Winger Kasperi Kapanen has finally joined the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. A delay in processing his work visa and a mandatory seven-day quarantine period resulted in Kapanen missing training camp and the Penguins’ opening games of the season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Blake Coleman was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Michael Stone to a one-year, two-way contract. He’d attended Flames training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils claimed goaltender Aaron Dell off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2020

Updates on Phillip Danault and Kasperi Kapanen plus the latest notable contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TVA SPORTS: Louis-Andre Lariviere reported Phillip Danault’s agent indicated his client wants to engage in contract talks with the Montreal Canadiens before training camp. “It would be Phillip’s preference to negotiate a contract at this point with the Canadiens,” said Don Meehan. “We are making efforts in this regard.” Danault is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The strong postseason performances of young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi raised questions about Danault’s place in the Canadiens lineup next season and his long-term future in Montreal. The longer he goes without a contract, the more we’ll hear his name come up in trade rumors next season.

THE SCORE: cited Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford telling SiriusXM NHL Radio Network he believes Kasperi Kapanen could fit in well on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. Kapanen was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in August. Rutherford is hopeful Kapanen’s speed and ability to track down pucks will make him a good fit on Crosby’s right wing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will have a lethal complete first line if Kapanen plays as well as Rutherford hopes alongside Crosby and Guentzel.

NESN.COM: The Boston Bruins avoided salary arbitration with Matt Grzelcyk, signing the defenseman to a four-year, $14.75 million contract. The annual average value is $3.687 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grzelcyk gets a big pay raise over the $1.4 million annually of his previous contract. He’ll be taking on more responsibilities on Boston’s blue line following Torey Krug’s departure via free agency. Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $6.6 million in salary-cap space with restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk to re-sign.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they signed defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci’s stock has tumbled as he’s now on his third team after being traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Maple Leafs in 2019. He earned $4.5 million on a one-year contract last season. A right-handed shot, he’ll likely skate on Pittsburgh’s third pairing. The Pens have $80.18 million invested in 23 players for 2020-21.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed Jake Neighbours to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old winger was the Blues’ first-round pick (26th overall) in this year’s NHL draft.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2020

Patrick Marleau reaches a notable milestone, bad blood between Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian, the “Last Men In” for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored the winning goal in his 1,700th career NHL game as his club defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2. Marleau is just the fifth player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Gordie Howe is the all-time leader with 1,767 games. Before the game, Stars center and former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski received a lengthy standing ovation from the San Jose fans in his first game against his old club. Pavelski spent 13 seasons with the Sharks before signing with the Stars last summer as a free agent.

San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored in his 1.700th career NHL game (Photo via NHL Images).

The Calgary Flames rolled to their fifth straight win by nipping the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Elias Lindholm scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s first-period highlight-reel goal was overshadowed by teammate Zack Kassian raining punches on Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in the second period after Tkachuk nailed Kassian with a big hit behind the Flames’ net. The two had choice words for each other during their post-game interviews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another shot fired in the ongoing Battle of Alberta. The two clubs face off in back-to-back games on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. Circle your calendars, folks, this series should be a dandy.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their 10th straight win by blanking the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 23-save shutout while Pat Maroon tallied the only goal. Maroon subsequently left the game with an apparent right-shoulder injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Lightning (58 points) have surged past the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the Atlantic Division.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their eighth straight home victory by downing the New York Rangers 5-2. David Perron extended his goal streak to four games while Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Zach Sanford, and Ivan Barbashev each collected two points.

Four third-period goals by J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen, and Loui Eriksson lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Boeser tallied two goals on the afternoon, while Sabres captain Jack Eichel collected two assists to extend his points streak to six games.

Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime as the Boston Bruins edged the New York Islanders 3-2. Isles center Mathew Barzal had two points in a losing cause. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Caroina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer kicked out 42 shots to blank the Los Angeles Kings 2-0. Nino Niederreiter and Teuvo Teravainen were the goal scorers. The Hurricanes have won three straight.

Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Emil Bemstrom, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg were the goal scorers. The Jackets have won 15 of their last 17 games.

Nico Hischier scored twice as the New Jersey Devils upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. Louis Domingue picked up the win with 33 saves as Mackenzie Blackwood missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Dominik Kubalik scored twice and Robin Lehner made 35 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. The Ducks have lost six of their last seven contests.

Ilya Kovalchuk’s first goal as a Montreal Canadien was the game-winner in a 2-1 overtime squeaker over the Ottawa Senators. It was the Habs first win in nine games while the Senators have dropped seven in a row. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 41 saves.

IN OTHER NEWS…

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes were voted by NHL fans as the Last Men In for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25.

TORONTO SUN: Toronto Marlies assistant coach Rob Davison was released from the hospital yesterday following a grand mal seizure before Friday’s AHL game against the Texas Stars. He’s returning to Toronto and will be away from the club indefinitely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Davison in his recovery. I have a family member who suffered similar seizures, so I know how scary it must have been for the Marlies players and staff to witness what he went through.

NEW YORK POST: Former NBC NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick apologized for joking about wanting to have a sexual threesome with colleague Kathryn Tappen on a podcast in late December.

OTTAWA SUN: On Friday, the Senators named Jim Little as their new CEO. He’s a former executive with Shaw Communications.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2019

The latest on the Bruins and Blues ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Backes was also scratched from Game 6. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will go with the same lineup from that game. 

Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be difficult for a veteran like Backes to watch this game, the biggest of his career, from the press box. Nevertheless, Cassidy’s got to go with the lineup that was successful in Game 6.

If the Bruins win tonight, Backes is assured of getting his name on the Stanley Cup. He played in 15 playoff games, including four in the Final. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (upper-body injury) skated in a non-contact jersey in practice yesterday. It’s unlikely he’ll be in the lineup for Game 7. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube won’t say if forward Robert Thomas will return to the lineup for Game 7. He missed four games of the Final with a wrist injury before returning to the lineup for Game 6.

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Bozak missed practice yesterday but Berube said they’ll be in the lineup tonight. 

NBC SPORTS:  Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was upset at Boston’s TD Garden staff yesterday for not having the ice ready in time for the club’s practice. “Do your ****ing jobs!”, he yelled at one point. To which one of the staff replied, “Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?” Armstrong later apologized to the crew. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the pressure of this series is taking an emotional toll on everyone involved. 

TSN: Pending unrestricted free agent center Kevin Hayes visited the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday and met with general manager Chuck Fletcher. Hayes was acquired last week from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Fletcher hopes to re-sign him before the UFA market opens on July 1. 

CBS SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, two-way contract. He spent all of this season with the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Keith Gretzky will remain with the Oilers as their assistant general manager in charge of their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Gretzky was interim GM after the Oilers fired Peter Chiarelli in January. Ken Holland took over that job last month.

SPORTSDAY: Former LA Kings coach John Stevens is joining the Dallas Stars’ coaching staff. 

NHL.COM: The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee released a statement revealing recommendations for several potential rule changes. Among them are changes to video review and coach’s challenge and for players to leave the ice if their helmet comes off during play. The recommendations require the approval of the NHLPA’s executive board and the NHL board of governors. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2019

The latest on Zdeno Chara, Vladimir Tarasenko, Adam McQuaid, Jason Pominville, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he’s not feeling any limitation playing with a facial injury. While it hasn’t been confirmed by the club, Chara is believed to have suffered a fractured jaw in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. He played over 16 minutes in Game 5 and is expected to be in the lineup for Game 6 tonight in St. Louis. 

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claims he’s feeling no limitations playing with a facial injury (Photo via NHL Images).

Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (concussion) and forward Chris Wagner (injured right arm) skated in non-contact jerseys during practice yesterday. Grzelcyk hasn’t been cleared to return but Wagner could be ready if the series goes to Game 7. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko’s wife gave birth to a son on Friday. Tarasenko said he’ll be ready to play in Game 6 tonight. The Blues lead the series three games to two and can win the Stanley Cup with a victory on Sunday. 

With Ivan Barbashev serving a one-game suspension, Blues forward Robert Thomas could return to the lineup tonight. Thomas last skated in Game 1 when he was on the receiving end of a big hit from Boston’s Torey Krug. 

SPORTSNET: has a collection of the most controversial calls of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should be used as “Exhibit A” when the league launches its review of its officiating this summer. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Adam McQuaid is still dealing with concussion issues. His agent, Rick Curran, confirmed he’s been struggling with the symptoms since receiving a hit during a game in late-March. He played only 14 regular-season games with the Jackets after being acquired from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. McQuaid is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McQuaid has a long injury history, including several head/concussion injuries since October 2011. The wear-and-tear of his 10 NHL seasons is taking a toll on the 32-year-old blueliner. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Congratulations to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers defeated the Chicago Wolves in five games to win their first-ever Calder Cup.