NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2021

Bob Murray resigns as Ducks general manager, recaps of Wednesday’s games, plus updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Mangiapane, Leo Komarov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MURRAY RESIGNS AS DUCKS GM

SPORTSNET: Bob Murray resigned last night as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks and intends to enter a treatment program for alcohol abuse. This news comes a day after Murray, 66, was placed on administrative leave by the club amid an independent investigation into his workplace conduct.

Former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray (NHL.com).

Murray had been with the Ducks since 2005 and had been their general manager since 2008. He was the NHL GM of the Year in 2015.

The club hasn’t released details of the investigation but an anonymous source said it was prompted by complaints of verbal abuse by Murray toward team employees. Team owners Henry and Susan Samueli will pay for his treatment program.

Jeff Solomon, who recently joined the Ducks front office, replaces Murray on an interim basis. He will be in charge of finding a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Give credit to the Ducks organization for taking swift action when complaints about Murray were made via the league’s hotline to report abusive behavior. It’s indicative of the culture change underway in the NHL in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault scandal.

It appears Murray’s behavior was exacerbated by alcohol but that doesn’t excuse his alleged treatment of his subordinates. His NHL career is probably over but he’ll hopefully learn from this experience, get the proper treatment he needs for his alcohol abuse and becomes a better person going forward.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Campbell made 36 saves and William Nylander scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. It’s the first time a Leafs goalie has shut out the Flyers since Ed Belfour did it on Nov. 29, 2002. Toronto captain John Tavares was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The Nashville Predators are 6-1-1 in their last eight games after a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Predators goalie Juuse Saros kicked out 25 shots while teammate Tanner Jeannot had a goal and an assist. Stars forward Roope Hintz picked up his first goal of the season.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists as his club dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. The Wild have won four straight to improve their record to 9-3-0. Shayne Gostisbehere had a goal and an assist for the sad-sack Coyotes, who sit 1-11-1 on the season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are battling a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined six players and led to the second day of canceled practice as Canadian Tire Centre was closed to the public. The league is monitoring the situation and hopes to avoid rescheduling games if at all possible but maintains its top concern is the health of everyone in the dressing room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league might not have much choice but to reschedule some of the Senators games if the case numbers keep growing. The Sens are scheduled to face the Los Angeles Kings tonight at the CTC.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is expected to miss around three weeks with a lower-body injury. Injuries have depleted the Avs roster this season, contributing to their 4-5-1 start.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane was surprised to learn he’s on Team Canada’s 50-player long list of players who could make up their 25-man roster for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The list won’t be publicly revealed but Mangiapane confirmed he’s on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mangiapane is worthy of consideration. He’s steadily developed into a reliable top-six forward for the Flames and played a crucial role in Canada winning gold at the 2021 World Championships. He currently has eight goals and 10 points in 12 games this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Leo Komarov’s nine-season NHL career is coming to a close. The New York Islanders are expected to place him on unconditional waivers today to terminate his contract. He will then join KHL club SKA St. Petersburg. In 491 games, Komarov had 63 goals and 170 points but saw action in just one game this season with the Isles.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak is out indefinitely with an apparent injury to his left arm suffered during their overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel will miss approximately two weeks with a shoulder injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2021

Oilers Darnell Nurse and Islanders Adam Pelech sign lucrative long-term contracts, concern about season ticket sales and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed Darnell Nurse to an eight-year, $74 million contract extension. The 26-year-old defenseman’s annual cap hit is $9.25 million.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nurse’s new contract raise eyebrows around the league. He’s a very good defenseman but the overall consensus is the Oilers overpaid to keep him in Edmonton. He is also the fifth blueliner this summer to sign a long-term deal worth $9 million or more annually, joining Columbus’ Zach Werenski ($9.583 million), Chicago’s Seth Jones ($9.5 million), Colorado’s Cale Makar ($9 million) and New Jersey’s Dougie Hamilton ($9 million).

The Oilers had little choice. Nurse is their top defenseman and they couldn’t risk losing him next summer to free agency. That would leave them scrambling to find a replacement as they did following Adam Larsson’s surprise departure to Seattle last month. Often, the replacement is more affordable but of lesser skill.

This move ensures some stability on the Oilers’ blueline. Over time, however, it could have long-term salary-cap implications if Nurse’s performance declines over the second half of this deal.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders avoided salary arbitration with Adam Pelech by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to an eight-year, $46 million contract. The annual average value is $5.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The announcement of Nurse’s contract overshadowed the Pelech signing. Islanders fans should be delighted with this deal. Pelech is a solid stay-at-home blueliner who’s become a key part of his club’s defense corps. The term is a little long as it takes Pelech well past his prime years. However, the cap hit is quite reasonable and shouldn’t be a drag on the Isles’ payroll during the latter years of the contract.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken avoided arbitration with defenseman Vince Dunn by reaching an agreement on a two-year contract worth $4 million per season. They also signed free-agent forward Marcus Johansson to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn was among the players selected by the Kraken in last month’s expansion draft. He was coming off a one-year, $1.875 million deal with the St. Louis Blues. This is a “show-me” contract for the 24-year-old Dunn. He’s coming off his fourth-straight 20-point campaign but has struggled with consistency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed forward Brandon Hagel to a three-year contract worth $1.5 million annually.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks centers Isac Lundestrom and Sam Steel accepted their one-year, two-way contracts yesterday. Each will receive over $874K at the NHL level.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed defenseman Conor Timmins to a two-year, $1.75 million contract. They acquired the 22-year-old blueliner from the Colorado Avalanche as part of the return in the Darcy Kuemper trade earlier this week. They also hired Larry Pleau as a special advisor to general manager Bill Armstrong.

THE ATHLETIC: Some NHL executives are concerned over a dip in season-ticket sales for the 2021-22 seasons. Fans are opting more for partial season-ticket plans rather than full-season packages. That includes some fans who were used to opt for the full-season deals in the past.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the new broadcasting deals, gambling deals and the addition of a new franchise in Seattle, the NHL remains a gate-driven league. The worry about season-ticket sales comes amid concerns the cap could remain flattened over the next several years if league revenue doesn’t significantly increase.

As reported by Frank Seravalli yesterday and confirmed by The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro based on his multiple sources, the players owe the league approximately $1 billion because salaries exceeded revenue over the past two seasons. Until that’s paid back, the salary cap will only rise by $1 million per season only if revenue exceeds $4.8 million each season. That’s expected to happen for the coming season.

The amount owed by the players will be repaid through escrow rates agreed upon in last year’s CBA extension. If the debt isn’t fully repaid by 2025-26, the CBA will be extended for another season at a higher escrow rate until the owners’ share is made whole.

Perhaps those partial ticket sales are tied to fans’ concerns over another spike in COVID-19 resulting in another shortened season or restrictions on attendance. That could change in the long term if the league gets through 2021-22 without reductions to the schedule or limitations on the number of fans in the stands.

THE SCORE: Speaking of concerns over rising COVID numbers, The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted out the league has issued a memo to its 32 teams prohibiting the players from all corporate, charity and community-based interaction with fans.

The league and the NHLPA will continue observing vaccination rates and the spread of COVID variants during this offseason to determine whether similar measures will be required for training camp.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports a lawyer for a former Chicago Blackhawks player has asked the U.S. Center for SafeSport to investigate Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of two former Blackhawks players.










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?