NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2017

Could NY Rangers winger Rick Nash one day return to the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Latest on Rick Nash, Drew Stafford, Jay McClement and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline wonders if New York Rangers winger Rick Nash might one day finish his NHL playing career with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash was drafted by the Jackets first overall in the 2002 NHL Draft and played nine seasons with them from 2002-03 to 2011-12. He was dealt to the Rangers in a multi-player trade in July 2012. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I suppose you can never say never. Portzline doubts it’ll happen next summer, when Nash is eligible for unrestricted free agency, as he’ll still be too expensive to sign. More likely, it could be toward the end of his career, when he’d be more affordable to acquire via trade or free agency.  

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed right wing Drew Stafford to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K..

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised the Devils signed Stafford, as they need experienced depth at forward. I did expect Stafford to get around $1.5 million on a one-year deal, so this is certainly a bargain for New Jersey. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed veteran center Jay McClement to a professional tryout offer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McClement earns a contract with the Penguins it’ll certainly help bolster their checking line depth, which suffered the twin departures of Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen via free agency. He’s best suited for the fourth-line spot, though Pens GM Jim Rutherford recently said he was comfortable with Carter Rowney filling that role. Rutherford’s also said he’d look to the trade market to fill his third-line center position Perhaps McClement goes into the third-line spot until the Pens GM finds a more suitable option via trade.

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL coach Bob Hartley signed a five-year contract with the Latvian national team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I find it odd that someone who was the NHL’s coach of the year just two years ago ends up coaching in Europe. Hard to imagine the NHL’s most valuable player skating for a European team just two years later because he couldn’t find an NHL club willing to hire him. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Gila River Arena is reducing its losses but what happens if the Arizona Coyotes leave?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Without an anchor tenant, I’m guessing those losses could increase. 


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 Rumor Mill – August 13, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2016

Arizona Coyotes face a decision this season on Martin Hanzal's future.

Arizona Coyotes face a decision this season on Martin Hanzal’s future.

 Possible coaching candidates to replace Patrick Roy in Colorado, plus an update on Martin Hanzal’s contract negotiations with the Arizona Coyotes.

SI.COM: Allan Muir reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he’ll meet with his staff today to begin the process of finding suitable candidates to replace Patrick Roy, who resigned as head coach on Thursday. Sakic’s indicated he’ll look outside the organization. While there’s talk of bringing back former Avs coach Bob Hartley, Muir claims the rumblings around the league suggests that’s unlikely.

The Avs could instead focus on assistant coaches on other clubs with out-clauses in their current contracts. Muir suggests Kevin Dineen (Chicago Blackhawks), Bob Boughner (San Jose Sharks), Paul MacLean (Anaheim Ducks and Todd Richards (Tampa Bay Lightning) could be possibilities. He also speculates Sakic could look at a younger coach such as Sheldon Keefe or Travis Green.

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei reports the Avs must first seek permission from rival clubs to speak with coaches still under contract. That includes Hartley, who was fired at the end of last season but still has a year remaining on his contract with the Calgary Flames. When contacted for comment, Hartley politely declined. Frei also mentioned Dineen as a possible target for the Avs, along with Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever the Avs hire must be able to work well with their young players and improve their overall defensive game. I expect Sakic prefers to have a new head coach in place before training camp opens next month. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports it’s unlikely the Coyotes will have center Martin Hanzal re-signed to a contract extension before the start of the upcoming season. Hanzal, 29, is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. He is “entering the final year of a five-year, $15.5 million deal that will pay him $3.5 million this season with a cap hit of $3.1 million.” 

Coyotes GM John Chayka had preliminary talks with the Hanzal camp earlier this summer, but a busy offseason pushed those talks to the back burner. Chayka said it might not be a bad thing to see how things play out this season. Morgan speculates the Coyotes could shop Hanzal if he’s still unsigned,but  they need his experience at center right now. He doesn’t think it makes sense for the Coyotes to trade Hanzal until they’ve secured a replacement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 6’6″ and 225 pounds, Hanzal is a big, rugged center with good playmaking and two-way skills. He also has a lengthy injury history, which could explain Chayka’s reluctance to ink him to a lucrative long-term deal right now.

If Hanzal has a healthy 2016-17, that could help the Coyotes GM decide if he’s worth retaining. It will also improve his value at the trade deadline and in next summer’s unrestricted free agent market.