NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2021

Connor McDavid widens his lead in the NHL scoring race, Mikko Rantanen enjoys a four-point performance and Robby Fabbri tallies a hat trick. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers have the same number of points (40) as the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Scotia North Division but the latter hold three games in hand. McDavid (58 points) extended his points streak to eight games and leads the NHL scoring race by nine points over teammate Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is on pace for 98 points in 56 games this season.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen scored twice and added two assists in a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and two assists as Colorado peppered Wild goaltender Cam Talbot with 55 shots. Avs defensemen Cale Makar and Bo Byram returned from upper-body injuries that had sidelined each from multiple games. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Avalanche (38 points) moves one point up on the Wild into second place in the Honda West Division.

A hat trick by Robby Fabbri enabled the Detroit Red Wings to hold off the Dallas Stars 3-2. It was a costly victory for the Wings as goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game in the second period with an apparent injury to his right leg. An update is expected on his condition today.

The New Jersey Devils held off the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 thanks to goaltender Scott Wedgewood’s 40-save performance. Devils forward Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist. Wedgewood got the call after starter Mackenzie Blackwood suffered an upper-body injury during warmups. No update was provided for his status. Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed forwards Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger (undisclosed) on injured reserve. The Pens sit in third place in the MassMutual East Division with 37 points.

A new head coach didn’t change the Buffalo Sabres fortunes as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Boston Bruins in their first game with Don Granato behind the bench. The Sabres fall to 0-11-2 in their last 13 games. David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who sit one point behind the Penguins in the East Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers (33 points) moved to within three points of the Bruins by edging the New York Islanders 4-3. The Flyers blew a 3-0 lead but got the win on Oskar Lindblom’s second goal of the game late in the third period. Travis Konecny had three assists for the Flyers while Isles defenseman Nick Leddy had three helpers. Before the game, the Flyers announced defenseman Robert Hagg would be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a shoulder injury. The Islanders (42 points) remain in second place in the East.

An overtime goal by Seth Jones lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. It was Jones’ second goal of the game. Carolina center Sebastian Aho countered with two goals. The Hurricanes remain in third place in the Discover Central Division with 42 points while the Jackets (31 points) climbed to within two points of the fourth-overall Chicago Blackhawks.

Speaking of the Blackhawks, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for his 10th straight victory while Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. The Lightning (44 points) opened a two-point lead over the Hurricanes and Florida Panthers for first place in the Central Division. Chicago center Dylan Strome scored in his first game since being sidelined a month ago by a concussion. The Blackhawks have dropped three straight.

The Nashville Predators got two goals from Calle Jarnkrok and a 40-save effort from Juuse Saros to edge the Panthers 2-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who remain in second place in the Central.

Anaheim Ducks rookies Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras each scored their first NHL goals in a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Drysdale finished the game with two points while Adam Henrique tallied the game-winner. Clayton Keller and Conor Garland replied for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drysdale and Zegras offer what could be a promising look at the Ducks’ future depending on what moves management makes to rebuild the roster.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen admits he’s been battling a nagging lower-body injury for the past six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news won’t silence Andersen’s critics but it explains his struggles since returning to action from the same injury that sidelined him for two weeks in the second half of February.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2020

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup champions, Victor Hedman wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, plus the latest on the Flyers, Blackhawks, Golden Knights and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the Stanley Cup champions after blanking the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, winning the series four games to two. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 22-save shutout while Brayden Point and Blake Coleman were the goal scorers. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Lightning for a well-deserved championship run under quarantine conditions in Toronto and Edmonton. The Bolts just get better as the playoffs progressed, using their deep roster and solid defensive play to defeat their opponents They never suffered consecutive losses during this postseason. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov finished with 34 points to lead all playoff scorers while linemate Brayden Point was the goal-scoring leader with 14 goals.

Give the Stars credit for getting this far. They gave everything they had against a strong Lightning club in this series but seemed to run out of gas in Game 6.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Interim Stars coach Rick Bowness deflected questions during the post-game press conference over whether he’ll return as Dallas’ bench boss. However, he said he still has the passion to coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars owner Tom Gaglardi and general manager Jim Nill said Bowness earned the right to return as their full-time coach next season. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t. Bowness did a fine job guiding the Stars to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

SPORTSNET: For the ninth straight week, the NHL reported no positive COVID-19 tests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone involved in the NHL return-to-play plan deserves a big round of applause. Their collective goal was to stage a safe environment for a playoff tournament to crown a Stanley Cup champion. Mission accomplished.

TSN: NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr doesn’t expect to see all of next season played under playoff quarantine conditions. However, he suggested the possibility of a hybrid bubble to start next season.

Frank Seravalli reports the league and the PA will meet soon to begin discussions. One concept could be starting the season in four-to-six bubbles in various locations, preferably cities where fans can be allowed into the arenas. At least one bubble would be in Canada, given the current restrictions at the Canada-US border.

Seravalli said the plan could see teams start the season in hybrid bubbles and gradually progress toward teams hosting games in their home arenas and cities with limited capacity before hopefully ramping up to full capacity in time for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA won’t rush into anything. As they did with the return-to-play plan, they’ll take their time to evaluate all their options as they formulate a workable schedule for next season. They’ll also likely evaluate how the NFL and US college football handles their games with fans in the stands. As with the playoff tournament, player safety will be the priority.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Robert Hagg to a two-year, $3.2 million contract extension. Hagg, 25, was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. The Flyers also hired recently-retired forward Chris Stewart as a player development coach.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks traded forward Dylan Sikura to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Brandon Pirri.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Updates on the Oilers, Penguins, and Flyers in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell explored what could be in store for Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland over the next seven months. If Holland decides to add a forward via free agency, Mitchell listed Derick Brassard and Thomas Vanek among the affordable remaining UFA options. 

Could Derick Brassard be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers? (Photo via NHL Images)

Holland will have to figure out what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi, who’s threatened to stay in Europe if he’s not traded before the start of the season. Mitchell notes Holland has a history of extreme patience in such matters, as he outwaited Jiri Hudler nearly a decade ago during his tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings. 

If the Oilers become sellers at next year’s trade deadline, Mitchell speculated Holland could gauge the trade value of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larson, who are slated to become UFAs in 2021. If Holland becomes a buyer, perhaps he’ll pursue a forward like Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s had a busy, largely productive offseason, including shipping Milan Lucic to Calgary for James Neal. It’ll be interesting to see what else he could have in store over the coming season. Of course, much will depend upon the Oilers’ on-ice performance. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins notes the Oilers could still use some help at center. He reports they have some interest in UFA Derick Brassard but his camp is “far in excess ($4m) of what the Oilers are willing to pay.” He’s also heard the Montreal Canadiens could have some interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brassard’s not getting $4 million from the Oilers or anyone else this summer. 

PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported of mutual interest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Marcus Pettersson regarding a long-term contract. General manager Jim Rutherford said a deal will be completed soon but acknowledged he’ll have to do something to free up sufficient salary-cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins sit just over $157K above the $81.5-million salary cap. PIttsburgh fans would love to see defenseman Jack Johnson traded but that seems unlikely. Forwards Nick Bjugstad ($4.1-million annual average value) and Bryan Rust ($3.5 million AAV) frequently surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill. 

FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently observed the Philadelphia Flyers will have eight NHL-caliber defensemen on their blueline once restricted free agent Ivan Provorov is re-signed. They could end up moving one of them before the start of the season, leaving Samuel Morin or Robert Hagg expendable. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2019

Game recaps, Ducks re-sign Jakob Silfverberg, Flyers Radko Gudas receives a two-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for my reaction to the Minnesota Wild trading Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. 

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead his club to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kane’s point streak now sits at 19 games, the second-longest by an American-born player in NHL history. He also owns the record for the longest streak by an American player (26 games). Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou each scored twice for the Wings, who overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

With the win, the Blackhawks are tied with the Colorado Avalanche in points (61), but the Avs hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot because they hold a game in hand. 

Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has extended his points streak to 19 games (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of the Avalanche, they vaulted into the final wild-card spot by crushing the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Carl Soderberg and Tyson Jost each had a goal and two assists while Nathan MacKinnon tallied his 30th of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Nashville Predators for first in the Central Divison but they’ve won only four of their last 10 games. Last night’s humiliation could push general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff into swinging a big trade before Monday’s deadline. 

The Calgary Flames blew a 2-0 lead but third-period goals 29 seconds apart by Austin Czarnik and Johnny Gaudreau lifted them to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. The Flames sit atop the Western Conference with 81 points. 

Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and David Backes gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, extending their winning streak to seven games. With 80 points, the Bruins hold a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller was a healthy scratch but coach Gerard Gallant said the move was related to Miller’s poor play in his previous game and tied to any potential trade. 

HEADLINES

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have reached an agreement with winger Jakob Silfverberg on a five-year contract extension. The deal cannot be officially announced until after Monday’s NHL trade deadline due to salary-cap “tagging” rules. The deal is expected to be worth an annual average value of $5.25 million, a considerable raise over his current $3.75 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Elliott Teaford, the Ducks are currently sitting over $1 million above the $79 million salary cap. GM Bob Murray must either shed salary by the deadline or wait until March 1 to formally announce the deal, as that’s when teams get a 10 percent “tagging bump”. The “tagging rule” means a team cannot spend more on next season’s payroll than they’re spending on their current one.

As for Silfverberg, he’s a good two-way winger and a streaky scorer, who reached the 40-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. The raise seems a tad high but evidently, Murray values his skills and experience. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have placed forward Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers. Initial reports had Dmitrij Jaskin’s hitting the waiver wire but management soon changed that to Smith-Pelly. It’s assumed the switch was made because a possible trade could be in the works. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Capitals tipped their hand with his move, speculating they could be working on a possible deal to acquire winger Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings. We’ll find out for certain later today. 

**UPDATE** The Capitals acquired Hagelin from the Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in 2019 and a conditional 2020 draft pick. Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, cleared waivers today, making room for Hagelin, who’ll provide speed and experience to the Capitals’ fourth line. 

NBC PHILADELPHIA: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for a high-sticking infraction to the head of Tampa Bay Lighting winger Nikita Kucherov on Tuesday. Flyers blueliner Robert Hagg also received a $3,091 fine for interference on Lightning center Cedric Paquette. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league agreed with Gudas’ contention that the slash wasn’t excessively forceful or violent. To critics of the department of player safety, it’s another example of the league’s unwillingness to crack down forcefully on repeat offenders. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill shot down rumors Sabres coach Phil Housley might be fired because of the club’s recent collapse in the standings. Botterill said there won’t be a coaching change. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Jordan Oesterle to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $1.4 million. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks claimed forward Micheal Haley off waivers from the Florida Panthers. 

CBS SPORTS: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year, two-way contract extension. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former NHL winger Scott Hartnell has become a studio analyst for the NHL Network. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2018

Game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Elias Pettersson had five points (one goal, four assists) and Brock Boeser tallied a hat trick to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-1 beatdown of the hapless St. Louis Blues. Following the game, Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko apologized to his team’s fans for their poor performance this season.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson had a five-point performance in a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Calder Memorial Trophy is Pettersson’s to lose this season. “The Alien” dominates the rookie scoring leaders in goals, assists and points. Barring injury or a second-half collapse, Pettersson will become the second player in Canucks history (Pavel Bure being the first) to win the Calder.

As for the Blues, an apology from their best scorer won’t make up for their terrible performance this season. Inconsistent goaltending, sloppy defense, and a lack of speed has them buried near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Little wonder there are trade rumors swirling around Tarasenko, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and goaltender Jake Allen. If they don’t turn things around soon, the Blues will be sellers by the February trade deadline. 

Mark Scheifele collected three assists and Josh Morrissey had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg was ejected from the game following his second-period hit from behind on Jets winger Kyle Connor, who left the game briefly following the hit.

Carey Price made 37 saves and Tomas Tatar tallied the game-winner as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Patrick Kane netted both Blackhawks goals. The Hawks sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with just nine wins in 31 games. Since firing Joel Quenneville as head coach last month, they’ve won just three times. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price stole this one for the Canadiens, who blew a 2-0 lead and would’ve lost this contest if not for their goaltender’s heroics. Price’s performance has noticeably improved since defenseman Shea Weber’s recent return to the lineup. 

Shootout goals by Daniel Sprong and Ryan Getzlaf gave the Anaheim Ducks a 6-5 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ondrej Kase had three points for the Ducks, who lost goaltender Ryan Miller to a lower-body injury after he was hurt in a goalmouth collision.

Connor McDavid scored the only goal and goalie Mikko Koskinen kicked out 24 shots as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Calgary Flames 1-0.

The Boston Bruins squeaked past the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on an overtime goal by Torey Krug. Senators goaltender Mike McKenna made 42 saves in a losing cause. Senators defensemen Dylan DeMelo and Christian Jaros missed the game with injuries.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their eighth win in 10 games by doubling up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 22 shots.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Bad news for the Coyotes as starting goalie Antti Raanta is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury and could miss the remainder of the season. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for a late hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Saturday. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goaltender Scott Darling due to an injury to Curtis McElhinney.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders have recalled winger Josh Ho-Sang. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

Mark Stone and the Senators are far apart approaching arbitration, Coyotes to retire Shane Doan’s number, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Ottawa Senators must avoid going to arbitration with forward Mark Stone at all cost. The two sides are $4 million apart as Stone’s hearing approaches on Friday, with Stone seeking a one-year, $9-million contract and the Senators countering with $5 million.

If Stone gets an arbiter-awarded contract, he’ll join Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene for eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency. Warren believes the Senators must re-sign Stone as they cannot afford to risk losing their top forward in a year’s time.

With arbitration approaching, Mark Stone and the Ottawa Senators remain far apart. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Warren points out, Karlsson already has one skate out the door. If Stone’s future is uncertain, what incentive will Duchene have in re-signing with the Senators? 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will retire former captain Shane Doan’s No. 19 on Feb. 24, 2019 versus the Winnipeg Jets. Doan began his NHL career with the original Jets and moved with the club when it relocated to Arizona in 1996. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Robert Hagg to a two-year contract worth $2.3 million. 

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports a source says the Colorado Avalanche will avoid arbitration with defenseman Patrik Nemeth and announce an agreement on a new contract. Nemeth’s hearing is slated for Saturday. 

CHAMPIONAT.COM: Former NHL winger Jannik Hansen will reportedly sign a one-year contract with CSKA Moscow. 

TORONTO SUN: Dominic Moore’s annual Smashfest table tennis tournament involving current and former NHL players has raised over $700K for research into rare cancers and concussions. For the fourth straight year, Anaheim Ducks winger Patrick Eaves was the tournament champion