NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2020

The Lightning beat the Stars to tie the Stanley Cup Final at a game apiece, the latest NHL Award winners are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three first-period goals and held on to edge the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, tying the series at a game apiece. Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Kevin Shattenkirk tallied for the Lightning, while Joe Pavelski and Mattias Janmark replied for the Stars. Game 3 is Wednesday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars were sloppy and undisciplined in the first period, giving up two power-play goals and getting outshot 14-6. They rallied back with a better effort over the next two periods to make it interesting, but the Lightning got solid goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy for the win. The Stars also lost Blake Comeau to injury in the second period. An update on his condition could be released today.

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl wins the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award (NHL Images)

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is the winner of the 2020 Hart Memorial Trophy and the 2020 Ted Lindsay Award. Draisaitl was also this season’s winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is the 2020 winner of the Vezina Trophy. He’s the first Jet to win a major award since Teemu Selanne won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1993.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi took home the 2020 James Norris Memorial Trophy. He’s the first Predators blueliner to win the Norris.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the winner of the 2020 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. He’s the first Avs player to win that honor since teammate Nathan MacKinnon in 2013-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

The NHL also revealed its 2019-20 First and Second All-Star Teams.

2019-20 NHL First All-Star Team

G: Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

D: John Carlson, Washington Capitals

D: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

C: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

RW: David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

LW: Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

2019-20 NHL Second All-Star Team

G: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

D: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

D: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

C: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

RW: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

LW: Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

The 2019-20 All-Rookie Team was also revealed:

G: Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ

D: Quinn Hughes, VAN

D: Cale Makar, COL

F: Dominik Kubalik, CHI

F: Victor Olofsson, BUF

F: Nick Suzuki, MTL

CBC SPORTS: Former NHL right wing Bob Nevin passed away at age 82. In 1,182 career games, Nevin scored 307 goals and 726 points from 1958-59 through 1975-76 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and Los Angeles Kings. He won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1962 and 1963, and served as captain of the Rangers from 1965 to 1971.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Nevin’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2020

Recaps of the second day of exhibition games, an update on John Chayka’s departure from the Coyotes, the Blackhawks announce initiatives to honor Native American culture, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EXHIBITION GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The line of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat combined for 10 points as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Florida Panthers 5-0. Point led the way with two goals and two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the shutout with a 26-save performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky gave up five goals on 34 shots, but he was hung out to dry by his teammates. The Panthers must improve their defensive play before they face off against the New York Islanders in their qualifying round series.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied twice and set up another to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Capitals defenseman John Carlson left the game in the final 10 minutes as a precautionary measure after crashing awkwardly into the boards. An update on his condition is expected today. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek gave up three goals on 16 shots before being replaced by James Reimer.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 37 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jets captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist. Teammate Nikolaj Ehlers also scored, but left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury. No word yet as to his status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the long layoff had little effect on Hellebuyck’s performance. The Vezina Trophy finalist was on top of his game against the Canucks. Ehlers may have aggravated an ailment that nagged him throughout training camp.

Dominik Kubalik scored twice and added an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the St. Louis Blues 4-0. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 11 saves through two periods.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford looked sharp in this contest after missing most of the Blackhawks’ training camp when he tested positive for COVID-19. His performance against the Blues is a good sign as he and his teammates face the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round.

Colorado Avalanche forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Joonas Donskoi were the goal scorers as their club edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Wild center Eric Staal had a goal and an assist. The Avs killed off seven of eight penalties.

Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss combined for 26 saves as the New York Islanders held off the New York Rangers 2-1. Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews scored for the Isles. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal left the game in the second period for precautionary reasons and isn’t expected to miss their qualifying series against the Hurricanes.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: Howie Kussoy cites multiple reports claiming former Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka’s relationship with the club’s ownership was irrevocably damaged when he lied about having a job interview with the New Jersey Devils, who then were uninterested in hiring him. Chayka resigned from the Coyotes last weekend as the club was preparing to head to Edmonton for Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan.

An NHL team approached Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo about a month ago seeking permission to speak to Chayka, which Meruelo rejected. Chayka then reportedly lied to Meruelo about the Devils’ interest, only to subsequently request his contract be terminated so he could pursue an opportunity within the Devils ownership’s sports portfolio.

Meruelo felt betrayed but wanted to wait until the season ended to discuss this with Chayka, but the latter felt that was unreasonable. The situation quickly deteriorated, culminating in Chayka’s departure from the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has degenerated into a messy they-said/he said situation with each side blaming the other. If Chayka lied about the Devils interview, it could damage his reputation and his efforts to find employment elsewhere in the NHL.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks are taking steps designed to honor Native American culture. They’ve banned headdresses at their games and intend to incorporate Native American culture and education into their arena and the games there. The club has resisted calls to change its nickname and logo after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced they were moving on from their nickname.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed forward Anders Bjork to a three-year, $4.8-million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins now have over $65.1 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21. Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and team captain Zdeno Chara are among the notables still to be re-signed.

TSN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock has taken on a volunteer advisory role with the Vermont Catamounts coaching staff.

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens winger Dale Weise denied a report out of Switzerland claiming he signed a contract with Swiss club HC Lausanne.










2020 NHL Awards – Vezina, Lady Byng and Masterton Finalists

2020 NHL Awards – Vezina, Lady Byng and Masterton Finalists

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

Vezina Trophy finalists announced, Caleb Jones admits testing positive for COVID-19, plus updates on David Pastrnak, Marc-Andre Fleury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy are the finalist for the 2020 Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goaltender as voted by NHL general managers.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is among the finalists for the 2020 Vezina Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask (2014) and Vasilevskiy (2019) won the Vezina before, while this is Hellebuyck’s second time as a finalist. Rask has the better stats of the three, but Hellebucyk led the league in shutouts (6) while carrying the Jets and their depth-depleted defense into the 2020 playoffs. That could be the determining factor in his favor.

LATEST TRAINING CAMP HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak’s agent said his client is in quarantine after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The Bruins winger tested negative for the coronavirus. That explains why he was held out of practice Thursday.

Pastrnak and teammate Ondrej Kase were following travel quarantine protocols after recently returning from the Czech Republic to attend training camp. The reason for Kase’s absence remains unknown.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones admitted he tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago when he returned to Edmonton from his off-season home in Dallas. He had no symptoms and self-quarantined for two weeks. He’s fine now and skating in Oilers’ practices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones is the second player known to have had the virus but the first to voluntarily admit it. Last month, the Toronto Sun reported Maple Leafs center Austin Matthews tested positive for COVID-19 over a month ago. He acknowledged it earlier this week.

The NHL is preventing teams from revealing the health status of its players during the return-to-play plan. Absent players are being listed as “unfit to play” or “unfit to participate” with no explanation.

Speaking of the Oilers, they and the mayor of Edmonton issued statements yesterday insisting the storm damage caused to part of Rogers Place arena on Thursday won’t derail plans to host Western Conference teams in the upcoming playoff tournament.

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury participated in training camp on Friday with his Vegas Golden Knights teammates for the first time this week. The club claims Fleury missed the opening days for “maintenance”, while head coach Peter DeBoer said the goaltender’s absence was not related to COVID-19.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Defensemen Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy joined Corey Crawford on the list of Blackhawks players deemed “unfit to play”. Blueliner Calvin de Haan missed his third straight practice dealing with a family emergency.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Cedric Paquette was listed as “unable to practice” on Friday. He was banged-up during practice on Wednesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Noah Juulsen is battling for a spot on the Canadiens roster after being sidelined since Nov. 19, 2018, with migraines related to head trauma. The 23-year-old defenseman got in some games with the Habs’ AHL farm team in Laval before the schedule was interrupted in March and claims he’s felt great since then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a while, there was concern Juulsen’s promising career could be over before it began. If he’s healthy he could be a valuable addition to the Canadiens blueline.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson declined to confirm a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming interim coach Bob Boughner signed a contract extension to become their permanent head coach. Dreger also cited a report claiming former AHL coach Rocky Thompson would join the Sharks staff as an assistant coach. Wilson said there’s been no decision yet on the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Wilson doesn’t like it when a reporter spoils his big reveal.

THE DENVER POST: Some promising news to report on former NHLer Kyle Quincey’s young son Axl. The 1-year-old appears on the road to recovery following his second brain surgery on June 9 to remove a tumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Axl and his family. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

Potential revenue streams for playing in empty arenas, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Connor Hellebuyck and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL could make between $400 million and $500 million USD through various media deals and sponsorships if the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were staged in empty arenas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, folks, is why the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are examining every option to safely resume this season during the summer. Last month, the league reportedly informed the PA of potential losses up to $1.1 billion if the entire season was scrapped. If it’s at all possible to cut those losses in half, they’ll look into it.

ESPN.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the three Avs players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. The trio adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will face off against Wayne Gretzky in an NHL 20 game broadcast live on the Capitals’ Twitch channel on April 22, with the proceeds going toward COVID-19 relief benefits.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of virtual hockey, Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is among several NHL players to team up with professional esports gamers to hold a 14-day live streaming virtual hockey marathon called Hockey2Help to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts. Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad are among the participants.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is considered the front-runner to win the 2020 Vezina Trophy, but he’d rather have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it,” he said.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a four-year, $13.1-million contract extension. Scandella, 30, appeared in just 11 games with the Blues after being acquired in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Scandella’s small body of work with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong was impressed enough to pay the veteran blueliner $3.275 million annually over the next four seasons. The 30-year-old rearguard took a pay cut from his current $4 million AAV but he obviously felt it was worthwhile sticking with the defending Stanley Cup champion. Given the uncertainty over the effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and this summer’s free-agent market, it was probably a wise decision.

The problem, however, is the Blues now have over $78.5 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with captain Alex Pietrangelo slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Either Armstrong intends to let Pietrangelo depart, or he’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade and/or buyout to free up sufficient cap payroll to keep his captain in the fold.

TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has announced his retirement as a professional player. He spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Canadiens, tallying 119 goals and 453 assists for 572 points, as well as 32 points in 89 playoff contests. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Markov sits sixth among the Canadiens’ all-time leaders in games played. He’s also tied with Guy Lapointe for second in all-time points among Habs defensemen and sits second among their blueliners in all-time assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Markov in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2020

Remembering Henri Richard, the Jets move into a wild-card berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Henri Richard, who won a record-setting 11 Stanley Cups as a player during his 20-year career with the Montreal Canadiens, died yesterday at age 84 of Alzheimer’s disease. The younger brother of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Henri carved out his Hall-of-Fame career as a skilled two-way center. A 10-time All-Star, Richard captained the Canadiens from 1971-72 to 1974-75, won the Masterton Trophy in 1974, and was voted one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players in 2017. He also played a franchise-record 1,258 games with the Canadiens and finished third all-time among Habs scorers with 1,046 points.

Henri Richard was one of the Montreal Canadiens’ greatest players (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m old enough to recall seeing Richard play with the Canadiens whenever they appeared on Hockey Night in Canada in the early-70s. With his grey hair, the Pocket Rocket looked so old to my very young eyes back then, but he impressed me with his skating and puck-moving skills. Richard was the quintessential two-way center and one of the Canadiens’ all-time greats. Had the Selke Trophy existed during his playing career, he would’ve won it multiple times. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates.

GAME RECAPS

Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 29-save shutout as the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0 to move into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. The Golden Knights (82 points) remain two ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists in the Calgary Flames 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. With the win, the Flames (79 points) to within one point of the second-place Oilers in the Pacific. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who slip two points behind the Jets.

Zack McEwen tallied twice while J.T. Miller and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks trounced the Colorado Avalanche 6-3, snapping a four-game losing skid. With 76 points, the Canucks hold the first wild-card berth with two games in hand over the Jets.

Make it three straight losses for the Toronto Maple Leafs in California as they fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson made 26 saves for the Ducks before leaving midway through the third with an undisclosed injury. Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci returned to the lineup after being sidelined for a month. With 79 points, the Leafs still hold a playoff spot, sitting third in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it wasn’t for the inept Florida Panthers, the Leafs would be in real danger of falling out of a playoff spot. Maybe the knowledge that the stumbling Panthers probably can’t catch them explains the Leafs’ lifeless effort in California.

The New Jersey Devils upset the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider kicked out 31 shots. The Blues (90 points) hold a two-point lead over the Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference standings.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier turned aside 32 shots in a 2-1 upset of the Chicago Blackhawks. Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri scored for the Wings, while Patrick Kane replied for the Blackhawks (70 points), who failed to gain ground in the playoff race, sitting six points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov won’t face supplemental discipline for elbowing Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Thursday night.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Josh Archibald to a two-year extension worth $1.5 million annually.

THE SCORE: The NHL is urging its players to limit contact with fans due to the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good idea. Too bad the league doesn’t make a similar plea every year during flu season.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed a five-year affiliating agreement that starts next season with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.