NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2021

Marc-Andre Fleury reaches a career wins milestone, J.T. Miller expresses concern about the Canucks returning to action on Friday, Jack Eichel done for the season, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 485th career victory as he backstopped the Vegas Golden Knights over the Los Angeles Kings 6-2. Fleury moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time NHL wins list. Max Pacioretty and Tomas Nosek each had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights, who remain in second place in the Honda West Division with 60 points.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Devan Dubnyk made 31 saves in his debut with the Colorado Avalanche as they held off the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Colorado winger Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist while Blues winger Mike Hoffman tallied twice. The Avalanche sit atop the West Division with 64 points while the Blues (44 points) remain in fourth place. They played without goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is expected to be sidelined for two weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent acquisition of Dubnyk proved timely for the Avs. With Grubauer on the shelf and regular backup Pavel Francouz out of the season, they would’ve been in big trouble without an experienced netminder to fill the void. Dubnyk’s no longer in his playing prime but should provide some short-term stability between the pipes.

The Arizona Coyotes missed an opportunity to overtake the Blues by dropping a 5-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild. The Coyotes have lost five straight and remain one point back of the Blues. Mats Zuccarello scored two goals for the Wild as they sit in third place with 53 points.

A 27-save performance by Anthony Stolarz carried the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have lost four of their last five and sit four points back of the Blues.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive in the Scotia North Division by beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves as the Flames (41 points) picked up their third straight win to sit just four points behind the Canadiens, who’ve dropped four of their last five contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames’ postseason hopes seemed all but dashed a week ago. They were mired in a lengthy losing skid while the Canadiens were playing .500 hockey and seem assured of clinching a playoff spot. The odds still favor the inconsistent Habs as they hold three games in hand over the Flames with several key games coming up between those two teams.

Laurent Brossoit stopped 27 shots as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. With 55 points, the Jets opened a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the North Division.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller spoke out yesterday against his club’s scheduled return to action on Friday after he and his teammates were sidelined for nearly three weeks by a recent COVID-19 outbreak. He believes the Canucks haven’t had sufficient time to recover and return to play, especially with eight players still on the COVID-19 protocol list. He feels he and his teammates would be at greater risk of injury, adding they’re also concerned over the health of their family members who also contracted the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Province’s Patrick Johnston reported the Canucks players met with the NHLPA. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the PA, NHL and Canucks medical met to determine if the club is healthy enough to play on Friday. A decision is expected later today.

None of the Canucks want to opt-out of completing the season, but they have justifiable concerns about their health and safety right now. It could take at least another week for enough of them to be healthy enough to safely return to action.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of COVID-19, Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson was placed on the NHL’s protocol list as a precautionary measure after the AHL postponed three Toronto Marlies games. Robertson recently played with the Marlies before skating in the Leafs’ last two games.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel will not return this season because of a herniated disk in his neck. He’s expected to be recovered and healthy for 2021-22. The Sabres also announced Jason Karmanos has been hired as associate general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s been sidelined since March 7 so I don’t think anyone’s surprised by this announcement. It’s just another blow in a seemingly unending series of them this season for the sad-sack Sabres.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars announced goaltender Ben Bishop (knee surgery) and winger Alexander Radulov (core muscle injury) will miss the remainder of the season. The Stars also signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $750K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop underwent surgery last fall. He was on track to return in two weeks’ time but his condition reportedly worsened and they decided to shut him down for the season. Tyler Seguin is still expected to return soon from offseason hip surgery.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Conor Sheary signed a two-year, $3 million contract extension yesterday. The annual average value is $1.5 million.

SPORTSNET: The plans to construct a new arena for the Calgary Flames have been put on hold over budget concerns. The parties involved in the construction are pausing to review and resolve the issues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2021

The NHL announces sponsors for its realigned divisions, plus updates on David Pastrnak, Dougie Hamilton, Alexander Kerfoot and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league has partnered with four sponsors for its realigned divisions for the upcoming 2020-21 season. They will be known as the Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division, and the MassMutual NHL East Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or, as I and most hockey fans will refer to them, the North, West, Central and East Divisions.

This news will surely raise hackles among hockey purists already upset over ad logos appearing this season on the players’ helmets. But, as The Athletic’s Scott Burnside indicates, this move is necessary to offset some of the lost revenue this season from the absence of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This could be simply a one-time thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the practice of division sponsors continues when things (hopefully) return to normal next season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy yesterday said David Pastrnak was making progress in his recovery from offseason hip surgery. The original prognosis for the winger was mid-February but Cassidy suggested it could be a little earlier than that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A late January or early February return for Pastrnak seems possible. The sooner the high-scoring winger returns to the Bruins first line, the better their chances of maintaining their status as a Stanley Cup contender this season.

NHL.COM: Dougie Hamilton wants to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes and hopes the two sides can work out a new contract. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hamilton said he’ll leave the negotiations to his agent and focus on the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has indicated a willingness to sign Hamilton to a contract extension. The blueliner’s asking price and the Hurricanes’ inclination to meet it will determine if he has a future in Carolina.

Hamilton was considered a serious contender for the Norris Trophy last season until sidelined by a broken leg last January. Another Norris-worth performance could price him out of the Hurricanes’ comfort zone.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot was banged up in training camp yesterday and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Winger Alex Tuch took a maintenance day yesterday as a precautionary measure after experiencing soreness following the first day of on-ice drills on Monday.

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders have reportedly signed free-agent winger Matt Martin to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.5 million. He’ll be 36 when this contract expires.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal ensures Martin could retire as an Islander, though he could be selected by Seattle in this summer’s expansion draft if left unprotected. The checking-line winger is considered one of the Isles’ glue guys, the type of hard-working player who brings the team together.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Joel Hanley missed practice yesterday. He’s been declared “unfit to practice” and listed as day-to-day.

THE SCORE: Former Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill was hired by the Seattle Kraken as an assistant general manager to GM Ron Francis. Former Chicago Blackhawks executive Norm McIver was hired as the Kraken’s director of player personnel.

NHLPA: Colin Wilson officially announced his retirement yesterday following 11 NHL seasons with the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. He scored 113 goals and 286 points in 632 regular-season games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Wilson and his family in their future endeavors.

Congratulations to Team USA for their 2-0 victory over Team Canada to win the gold medal at the 2021 World Junior Championships. It’s the fourth straight time in as many meetings that Team USA has defeated Canada in the gold-medal game.

Florida Panthers’ goalie prospect Spencer Knight made 34 saves for the shutout. Anaheim Ducks prospect center Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist while Los Angeles Kings prospect center Alex Turcotte also tallied for the Americans. Zegras led the tournament with 18 points and was named tournament MVP.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russia may be Canada’s oldest hockey rival but the United States is the biggest rival and has been for some time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2019

Bill Peters resigns as Flames head coach, game recaps, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Bill Peters resigned yesterday as head coach of the Flames. The club had been investigating allegations of racism and abuse against Peters by former players earlier in his coaching career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think anyone’s surprised over Peters’ departure in the wake of the allegations against him. If he hadn’t resigned, he likely would’ve been fired by the Flames. Perhaps his downfall will eradicate such behavior, leading to an overdue change in hockey culture that aligns with today’s changing society. Time will tell. Hockey, and especially the NHL, tends to be conservative and resistant to change.

NHL.COM: David Krejci’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Bruins have won six straight games, extended their points streak to 10 games, and are unbeaten in regulation at home (10-0-4). Bruins winger Brad Marchand wasn’t pleased about a concussion spotter pulling from the first half of the third period after running into a raised elbow by Rangers blueliner Jacob Trouba late in the second period. “Maybe next time he’ll pull his head out of his butt and watch the game. I skated into his elbow, but [I was] fine,” said Marchand, who later tweeted an apology for his remarks.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a four-point performance in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored and set up three others in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Teammate J.T. Compher had a three-point night. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored to extend his points streak to 10 games, but teammate Duncan Keith was sidelined with a groin injury.

A four-goal third period powered the Minnesota Wild to a 7-2 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Luke Kunin, Ryan Hartman, Eric Staal, and Jason Zucker were the scorers in the final frame. The Wild have overcome their poor start to this season, moving to .500 on the season (26 points in 26 games) and within three points of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice and set up another to lead up club over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4. John Tavares tallied twice for the Leafs, who dropped their first game under new coach Sheldon Keefe after winning three straight.

Dmity Orlov’s overtime goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps overcame a 3-1 deficit on goals by Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin to force the extra period. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected three assists. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos returned to the lineup from a lower-body injury, but defenseman Braydon Coburn left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Vegas Golden Knights edged the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Alex Tuch, who also scored in regulation. Goaltender Malcolm Subban made 35 saves for the win. The Golden Knights were playing without starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, whose father passed away Wednesday in Quebec.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Fleury and his family.

Gustav Nyquist’s hat trick carried the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. Nick Foligno also scored twice for the Jackets, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.

Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1. O’Reilly and David Perron each collected two points on the night. Earlier in the day, the Stars placed Joel Hanley on waivers.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 24 shots to shut out the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine each collected two assists. Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov left the game with an upper-body injury.

Erik Karlsson picked up two assists and Martin Jones made 33 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Sharks forward Noah Gregor tallied his first career NHL goal.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their third straight win by crushing the Detroit Red Wings 6-1. Jakub Voracek had three assists for the Flyers. The Wings have dropped eight straight contests. Wing blueliner Mike Green returned to the lineup from an upper-body injury while goaltender Jimmy Howard was placed on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside 31 shots to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin revealed he suffered a torn tendon in his left wrist during a Nov. 15 game against the Washington Capitals. He underwent surgery on Nov. 18 and is currently sidelined for eight weeks.










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 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2018

Game recaps, three stars of the week, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Ducks forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique each had a goal and an assist while teammate Daniel Sprong picked up an assist against his former club.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 1-0 shutout of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo via NHL Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 28 shots to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0. Nick Foligno scored the only goal. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty left the game with an apparent knee injury and didn’t return. A further update on his condition is expected today. Jackets winger Artemi Panarin missed the game with an undisclosed ailment.

Boston Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak had a 22-save shutout performance in a 4-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens. David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy each collected two assists while rookie Colby Cave tallied his first career NHL goal. Following the game, the Canadiens recalled defenseman Victor Mete and reassigned blueliner Noah Juulsen to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

The Ottawa Senators blew a 3-0 lead but Thomas Chabot tallied in overtime to edge the Nashville Predators 4-3. Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each had three points in a losing effort for the Predators, while former Senator Kyle Turris scrapped with Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan.

New York Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 30 shots to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Isles forwards Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle each had a goal and an assist. Avs winger and NHL scoring leader Mikko Rantanen had his personal points streak end at 14 games.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, and Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 16. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (concussion) was placed on injured reserve. He’ll miss at least the next four games. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils netminder Cory Schneider was placed on IR with an abdominal strain. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba will be sidelined at least a week with an upper-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers have called up goalie Carter Hart and he could get his first start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. 

CBS SPORTS: The Dallas Stars placed defenseman Joel Hanley on waivers.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres returned blueliner Matt Tennyson to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.