NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

98 percent of NHL players expected to be vaccinated for the coming season, Sidney Crosby hopes Alex Ovechkin breaks Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Carey Price, P.K. Subban and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates 98 percent of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the 2021-22 season opens on Oct. 12. That will leave between 10 and 15 players unvaccinated among 700 players on 32 teams.

The NHL and NHL Players Association didn’t impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions (including restrictions at the Canada – US border requiring lengthy quarantine) contributed to the high number of vaccinations. Teams can also suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of its protocols.

Fully vaccinated players will have any positive COVID-19 tests treated as hockey injuries and continue to be paid. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted during road trips. Regular COVID testing will remain in place for vaccinated players. Coaches and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Daly confirmed that teams who suspend players without pay under the terms of the league’s COVID protocols will receive salary-cap relief from that player’s daily salary-cap hit.

Unvaccinated players can be ruled exempt from suspension if they have legitimate medical reasons for avoiding vaccination or if it conflicts with “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Johnston also reported at least one Caucks remains unvaccinated but the team declined to comment citing medical privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL isn’t fooling around with its protocols this season after a number of game postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of last season led to a series of scheduling changes. It took a physical toll on the players as they endured multiple games within a much more compressed period of time.

Unvaccinated players will have a more difficult time navigating through those strict protocols this season. Those restrictions could encourage the remainder who lack medical exemption to get vaccinated. The risk of suspension without pay for a positive test is too great over the course of the season.

SPORTSNET: Daly indicated the salary cap for the 2022-23 season is expected to increase by $1 million to $82.5 million.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has the support of a long-time rival in his quest to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he told Ovechkin he hopes he does it. “It would be awesome. He’s in range, “ said Crosby. “He can score anywhere from insider the blue line.”

Crosby added one caveat. “I just hope that all his goals that he gets are against the other teams as he’s trying to add toward it.” Gretzky has 894 goals while Ovechkin sits at 730 to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s legacy is secure as this generation’s greatest goal scorer and one of the all-time greats. Most of Gretzky’s records are out of reach of today’s players, so the opportunity for the Capitals superstar to break the goal record would be a phenomenal achievement.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane remains confident that the league will clear him of allegations by his estranged wife that he gambled on NHL games. In an interview with ESPN’s Linda Cohn, the San Jose Sharks winger called the allegations “incredibly false”, claiming he’s never bet on any NHL games or intentionally altered the way he plays.

The NHL opened an investigation into the allegations in July. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he anticipates it will wrap up soon and to have a full report by the start of training camp.

Kane admitted he has a gambling addiction which led to his filing for bankruptcy in July. He also downplayed reports claiming some of his Sharks teammates don’t want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz believes it’s what’s Kane didn’t say during the interview that’s newsworthy. “This was a missed opportunity for him to signal to his teammates/organization that he’s ready to come back, change his ways, and be a solid teammate. Instead, nothing’s changed.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price took to the ice yesterday in full equipment with a member of the team’s training staff. It’s believed the first time he’s skated since undergoing knee surgery in July. He spent 10 minutes on the ice doing stretching and skating drills.

TORONTO STAR: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is an executive producer on an upcoming docuseries entitled, “Black Life: A Canadian History.”

THE ATHLETIC: Andrew Ladd is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NHL again. He was traded this summer to the Arizona Coyotes by the New York Islanders. He played just 30 NHL games over the past three seasons with the Islanders.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will face off in the 2022 Heritage Classic on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

THE SCORE: Two suspects were arrested in the robbery of a St. Louis Blues prospect and a woman on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. The name of the prospect has not been released.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2016

Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his club's 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the 2016 Heritage Classic.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his club’s 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the 2016 Heritage Classic.

Game recaps, injury updates, latest on Jacques Demers and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cam Talbot made 31 saves to backstop the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field. Zack Kassian tallied a goal and set up another for the Oilers.

John Tavares enjoyed a three-point night (two goals, one assist) to lead the New York Islanders to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Zach Parise tallied his 300th career goal in a losing cause for the Wild. 

Ryan Getzlaf collected three assists to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

Dan Girardi potted the game winner and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as the New York Rangers edged the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The Coyotes also learned starting goalie Mike Smith (lower body) avoided serious injury, but is listed as week-to-week

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Anaheim Ducks placed defenseman Simon Despres (concussion) on long-term injured reserve Saturday. The move gives the Ducks financial flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despres’ annual cap hit is $3.75 million. This move allows the Ducks to go over the $73 million cap ceiling in order to re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Hampus Lindholm. I’ll have more on this in the Rumors section.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators placed winger Phil Varone on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM:  The NHL’s new concussion evaluation system is drawing positive early reviews from some players and coaches. 

TSN:  Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers was released from hospital yesterday. It was initially reported he suffered a stroke, but his wife said he had an infection.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2016

Teemu Selanne scores one of his two penalty-shot goals to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-5 win over the Edmonton OIlers at the 2016 Heritage Classic alumni game.

Teemu Selanne scores one of his two penalty-shot goals to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-5 win over the Edmonton OIlers at the 2016 Heritage Classic alumni game.

Jets defeat Oilers in Heritage Classic alumni game, latest injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Teemu Selanne scored twice and set up three others to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-5 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Saturday’s Heritage Classic alumni game before over 31, 000 fans at Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field. Oilers great Mark Messier scored twice, while Wayne Gretzky admitted this was probably the last alumni game he’ll be skating in. “I stink. I’m really bad,” he laughingly said in the post-game press conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I usually enjoy these outdoor NHL alumni games. While the skills of the now-retired players have obviously declined, some of them still show flashes of the brilliance that made them NHL legends. Selanne and Messier were prime examples in this game, and it was great seeing those two playing for the teams where they began their illustrious NHL careers. As for Gretzky, it’s obvious the 55-year-old has had little time to play any sort of competitive hockey at this stage in his life. In a recent interview, The Great One said he’d only been on skates twice in the last two years. 

In notable NHL action last night:

David Perron’s four-point night (three goals, one assist) carried the St. Louis Blues to a 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Taylor Hall’s overtime goal lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Devils unveiled a statue honoring long-time goaltending star Martin Brodeur.  

New York Rangers rookie Jimmy Vesey scored twice to help his team down the Washington Capitals 4-2. Capitals forward Daniel Winnik clarified that he didn’t lose a piece of his ear as originally reported while blocking a shot in a recent game, though it admitted it was “pretty chewed up.”

Jakub Voracek scored twice to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Despite icing a lineup depleted by a bout of food poisoning, the Nashville Predators defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. 

Gustav Nyquist scored twice and Jimmy Howard made 30 saves to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Wings were playing without forward Justin Abdelkader (lower-body injury). 

Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves backstopping the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-0 shutout over the Dallas Stars. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to have difficulties playing with a lead, as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied for a 6-5 shootout victory. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will likely miss up to a month to an upper-body injury, believed to be his right arm. 

The Los Angeles Kings handed the Vancouver Canucks their first loss of the season with a 4-3 shootout win. 

Shane Harper tallied his first two career NHL goals to help the Florida Panthers down the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The LA Kings lost another goaltender to injury, as Jeff Zatkoff was sidelined in practice with a lower-body injury. The Kings called up Jack Campbell as his replacement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I’ll have more on the Kings goaltending later this morning in the Rumor Roundup. 

TSN:  The first quarter escrow clawback rate for NHL players this season has been set at 15.5 percent. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders players are openly questioning the quality of the ice at Barclays Center this season. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck called the ice surface “unplayable”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s also generating more speculation the Isles ownership are looking for a site in New York to construct a new arena.

CBC NEWS: Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Demers was hospitalized last night after suffering his second stroke this year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Demers makes a swift and full recovery. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2016

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski named captain of Team USA in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski named captain of Team USA in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

 World Cup of Hockey updates, Predators name Mike Fisher captain & more in your NHL morning headlines.

USA HOCKEY: Team USA named San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski its captain in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament. Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane were named the alternates. 

THE TENNESSEAN:  The Nashville Predators will name center Mike Fisher their new team captain today. He replaces Shea Weber, who was dealt in late-June to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a sensible choice. The 36-year-old Fisher is among the Predators’ longest-servicing active players. He was the alternate captain for the past four years and is well respected by his teammates.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER:  Goaltender MIchael Leighton returns to the Carolina Hurricanes on a one-year, two-way contract. He spent parts of three seasons with the Canes from 2007 to 2009. 

VANCOUVER SUN:  The Canucks hired former player Manny Malhotra as a development coach. 

TORONTO STAR: Former NHL enforcer George Parros has joined the league’s department of player safety.  

NBC SPORTS:  The NHL announced the anthem protocol for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. For Team North America, comprised of 23-and-younger players from Canada and the United States, the anthems of both nations will be played before their games. No anthem will be played before Team Europe’s games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Damn! I was hoping Team Europe’s anthem would be “The Final Countdown“. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Tickets are on sale for the Heritage Classic between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.  

PHILLY.COM:  Former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman and two-time NHL All-Star Bob Dailey passed away Wednesday at age 63 following a long bout with cancer. He played nine NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and the Flyers before injuries cut short his career in 1982. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 6’5 and 220 lbs, Dailey was one of the biggest defensemen in the NHL at that time. He was also talented, netting 325 points in 561 regular-season games and 46 points in 63 playoff games. If not for the injuries that hampered his career, he could’ve been among the dominant blueliners of his era. My condolences to his family and friends.