NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2017

Latest on the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman notes the New York Rangers began restocking their roster this summer and speculates the struggling club will continue that trend. Moving out pending unrestricted free agents such as Rick Nash and Michael Grabner would be the obvious, “simple play, very easy to do.”

He doesn’t see them shopping Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei or Mika Zibanejad, but thinks they could consider testing other options, such as gauging the value of Ryan McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller. Friedman doesn’t see them moving everybody and suggests it’s possible none of those four could move, but feels they will look. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much was made of several members of the Rangers’ front office scouting Monday’s Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators game in Ottawa. The speculation suggested they were scouting Habs forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw.

However, TSN’s Bob McKenzie cautions not to assume a deal is imminent between the two clubs.  “Last I heard, and again it’s always subject to change with one phone call, but it wasn’t front-burner, pot-boiling, ready to make a transaction as much as it was two teams that are on really hard times talking to each other about some possibilities.” McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also said that trip was more of a  ‘file away the game for perhaps something down the road’.

Friedman suggests the Edmonton Oilers could be affected by whatever decisions the Rangers make. He said general manager Peter Chiarelli “has a lot of balls in the air”, as Jussi Jokinen is reportedly available and at least one team has interest in defenseman Matt Benning.

However, the Oilers could be in the same position as the Montreal Canadiens, forced to look to within for improvement. Friedman also suggests 2016 first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi could be a valuable trade chip if (and that’s a big “if”) management determines he’s not a fit in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Jokinen or Benning fetching the type of return that immediately improves the Oilers. Packaging one of them with Puljujarvi might do the trick, but is it really worthwhile shipping out a promising young right winger who could address their long-term needs for a quick fix now? 

It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic. He’s had his ice time cut this season and was a healthy scratch three times. He’s a year away from UFA status. Given how difficult blueliners are to find via trade, other clubs will be watching. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 6’4″, 216-pound Petrovic is considered a physical shutdown blueliner. If he’s not a fit with the Panthers, he will attract some interest in the trade market. 

The Winnipeg Jets are getting calls about third-string goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Ottawa Senators third stringer Andrew Hammond could also pop up soon in the rumor mill. He’s has a .929 save percentage with the Sens farm team this season. 

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford wants to ease the workload of defenseman Kris Letang but a healthier roster should address that issue. Rutherford said he’s not feeling any pressure to make trades. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2017

San Jose Sharks’ Joel Ward opted not to take a knee during the anthem before last night’s preseason game.

Latest on Joel Ward, Wayne Simmonds, Tyler Toffoli and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward did not join the social protest sweeping the NFL by kneeling during the national anthem during last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Earlier in the day, he issued a statement via Twitter saying he believed the original meaning of the protest – bringing attention toward racial inequality and police brutality – had been lost.

Ward believes there are other ways to address the issue. “We need to be working on bridging the gap between people of all color, and between law enforcement and minorities. How can we be part of the solution and not part of the problem — or be another distraction from what the real issues are?”

CSNPHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds shared Ward’s opinion on the subject.

“All anyone wants to talk about right now is why they’re kneeling,” Simmonds said. “And if you’re disrespecting the Army or the national anthem or whatever it might be. People fail to see what the real issue is, or why Colin Kaepernick actually started this protest, and that he actually talked with an armed force member who was actually on CNN last night discussing all of these issues on a panel as to why he used the national anthem as a vehicle to get this out.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ward and Simmonds are right. Most folks are so obsessed with kneeling during the anthem that it’s overshadowed the original message about racial inequality, preventing a genuine discussion on how to address that issue. 

SPORTSNET: The NHL’s Board of Governors recently discussed the playing of national anthems before the start of games. The consensus opinion was the anthems have a place in the overall event of NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the playing of the American and Canadian anthems before NHL games will continue. Some folks feel the practice should be discontinued but it’s a longstanding tradition in the NHL and one I believe should continue. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: A healthy Tyler Toffoli could provide a significant boost to the Kings’ offense this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli missed 19 games last season to a knee injury and struggled through the final half of the schedule. The decline in his production contributed to the drop in the Kings’ offense in 2016-17. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle could be in the lineup for the club’s season opener on Oct. 7. Boyle was recently diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia and hasn’t played or practiced during preseason. He’s receiving treatment for the disease and is expected to make a full recovery.

NBC SPORTS: Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond and New York Rangers forward Matt Puempel were among the notables on waivers yesterday.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators donated a record-setting check for over $442,000 to a local children’s hospital.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders have submitted plan to construct a new arena at Belmont Park.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2017

Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk celebrates his overtime goal against the New Jersey Devils with teammate Max Pacioretty.

Game recaps, stars of the week, trade and waiver updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime goal completed the comeback for the Montreal Canadiens as they overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Alexander Radulov also scored and collected three assists and Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Habs.

Before the game, the Canadiens acquired defenseman Jordie Benn from the Dallas Stars in exchange for blueliner Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benn should provide some veteran experience and depth to the Canadiens’ blueline as they gear up for the stretch run. He’s signed through 2019 at an an affordable $1.1 million annually but will likely be exposed in the expansion draft. The little-used Pateryn will get an opportunity with the Stars to become a full-time NHL defenseman, though the 26-year-old will be jockeying with younger rearguards to crack the Dallas blueline. 

Three consecutive power-play goals by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced demoted goalie Andrew Hammond will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn right labrum. They also signed winger Chris DiDomenico to a two-year contract. The 28-year-old was playing in Switzerland, meaning he’ll have to pass through waivers before he can join the Sens.

Mikael Granlund’s overtime goal gave the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Ryan White, recently acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, scored a goal and set up another for the Wild, who were playing without wingers Zach Parise and Jason Pominville (mumps). 

Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg, Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 26. 

PHILLY.COM:  Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning received a two-game suspension for a late hit on Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel. 

DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed defenseman Nick Jensen to a two-year deal worth $1.625 million. 

NBC SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed Greg McKegg off waivers from the Florida Panthers. The Columbus Blue Jackets claimed Zac Dalpe from the Minnesota Wild. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes acquired forward Teemu Pulkkinen from the Minnesota Wild for future considerations. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2016

Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr salutes the fans after tying Mark Messier on the NHL’s all-time points list.

Game recaps, Jagr ties Messier for second on all-time points list & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr tied Mark Messier for second on the NHL’s all-time points list (1,887), collecting three assists to lead his club to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jagr reached this milestone in 94 fewer games than Messier. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Factor in that Jagr played three seasons in the KHL and also endured three NHL lockouts and a players’ strike that cost him another two seasons of combined playing time, his achievement is all the more noteworthy. 

Cam Atkinson scored twice and potted one of two shootout goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets won their 10th consecutive game by edging the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Jeff Carter also scored twice for the Kings. The Jackets are now only one point behind the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins with three games in hand. 

Devan Dubnyk picked up his league-leading fifth shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild got their eighth straight win by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 2-0. Earlier in the day, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said he would address new contracts for pending restricted free agent forward Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund in the offseason

It was a rough night for goaltenders in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning’s Ben Bishop (lower body) and the Red Wings Jimmy Howard (lower body) were both sidelined. 

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists while Sidney Crosby picked up his league-leading 22nd goal in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 7-2 romp over the New York Rangers. 

Jeff Petry scored a goal and set up two others as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano moved into fifth place on the NHL’s Ironman list, playing his 738th consecutive game. 

Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris had two-point nights as the Ottawa Senators edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa left the game with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Earlier in the day, the Senators listed goalie Andrew Hammond (twisted ankle) as day-to-day. 

James Neal potted two goals and Viktor Arvidsson collected three assists as the Nashville Predators thumped the New Jersey Devils 5-1. 

Anders Lee scored twice as the New York Islanders chased Tuukka Rask from the net on route to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. 

Joonas Donskoi scored twice to give the San Jose Sharks a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames. 

Jannik Hansen tallied two goals as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. 

ESPN.COM: The former nanny for the family of Pittsburgh Penguins winger Chris Kunitz received a five-year prison sentence “for setting fire to her rental residence and then filing fraudulent insurance claims for the contents.”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Budding superstars such as Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine could make Canadian NHL teams more attractive to potential free agents. 

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames coach Bob Hartley is looking forward to coaching Latvia’s National Team, but remains hopeful of one day returning to the NHL. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The combination of CPR and ECMO therapy helped save the life of Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham, who collapsed before an AHL game last month. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having received CPR training during my military career, I strongly recommend everyone take a course on this potentially life-saving procedure. In North America, training is available through the Red Cross, American Heart Association, St. John Ambulance and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2016

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones celebrates his overtime goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, injury updates & more on the eve of the holiday roster freeze in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Note: The NHL’s holiday roster freeze runs from Dec. 19 – 27. 

NHL.com: Seth Jones scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3, picking up their ninth straight victory and giving head coach John Tortorella his 500th career win as an NHL head coach. 

Kevin Hayes tallied the shootout winner as the New York Rangers nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Rangers goaltender Henirk Lundqvist collected his 389th career victory, tying him with Dominik Hasek for most wins by a European-born NHL goalie

Mark Stone scored and collected two assists while Zack Smith scored twice as the Ottawa Senators thumped the struggling New York Islanders 6-2. Senators goalie Andrew Hammond twisted his ankle in the first period and was replaced the rest of the way by Mike Condon. 

Scott Darling made 33 saves backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to their fifth consecutive victory, downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1. Since starter Corey Crawford was sidelined by an emergency appendectomy, the Hawks are 6-2-1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, that doesn’t mean the Blackhawks are better without Crawford and should trade him. 

Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice and Patrik Laine sniped his 18th goal to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 win over the floundering Colorado Avalanche. 

Jimmy Hayes scored the only goal and Tuukka Rask turned in an 18-save shutout performance as the Boston Bruins blanked the Los Angeles Kings 1-0. The Kings were playing without wingers Dustin Brown (upper-body injury) and Marian Gaborik (healthy scratch). 

MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green could be day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered in the final minute of the Wings 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. 

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr are expected to meet in person next week to discuss the league’s possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read about my take on this in my latest Soapbox piece

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2016

LA Kings center Jeff Carter celebrates one of his two goals against the Anaheim Ducks.

LA Kings center Jeff Carter (77) celebrates one of his two goals against the Anaheim Ducks.

Game recaps, injury updates, state of the Islanders & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:  Jeff Carter scored twice and collected his 600th career point to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Earlier in the day, the Ducks announced they called up defenseman Shea Theodore. 

Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov scored in a shootout to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, who also lost center Mika Zibanejad to a broken fibula earlier in the game. 

Alexander Wennberg’s late power-play goal lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Washington coach Barry Trotz hopes the league fines Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno for embellishment that led to a high-sticking penalty on Nicklas Backstrom, resulting in the Jackets’ game-winning goal. 

Victor Rask scored his eighth goal of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes picked up their fourth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. 

MIkael Backlund scored the game winner and Dougie Hamilton collected three assists as the Calgary Flames edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Wings also lost defenseman Alexey Marchenko to an upper-body injury

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes a series of bad moves by the New York Islanders not only threatens the future of general manager Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano, but also that of captain John Tavares, who’s eligible in 2018 for unrestricted free agency. Brooks considers the departures of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin last summer via free agency, the signing of Andrew Ladd and the club’s poor draft record in recent years among the reasons for their struggles this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Isles are a mess. Losing Okposo, Nielsen and Martin hurt team chemistry, Ladd’s been a huge bust thus far,  Tavares has third liners as his wingers while Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Anthony Beauvillier are struggling to score. Factor in the ongoing problems of playing at Barclays Center, and this season is shaping up to be another disaster for the Isles. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya on injured reserve and recalled Esa Lindell and Julius Honka.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond cleared waivers and was demoted to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes returned center Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL for the remainder of the season.