NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6. 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6. 2022

The Avalanche reaches the 50-win milestone and clinches a playoff berth, Jonathan Huberdeau hits another Panthers milestone, Ryan Getzlaf to retire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche became the first team to cross the 50-win milestone as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4, becoming the second club to clinch a playoff berth. Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, Devon Toews collected three assists and Darcy Kuemper made 41 saves for the Avalanche, who hold a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers atop the overall standings with 106 points. Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 92 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowen Byram returned to the Avalanche lineup for the first time since Jan. 10 after suffering from concussion symptoms. Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin missed the game due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected three assists as the Florida Panthers overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 in overtime. Huberdeau netted the winning goal and became the first player in Panthers’ history to reach 100 points in a season. Aleksander Barkov had four points, Sam Reinhart tallied twice and Spencer Knight got the win replacing Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the hook after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Mitch Marner scored two goals and added two assists for the Leafs, who remain in second place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 102 points, Huberdeau moved into second place in the NHL scoring race, one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored in overtime to nip the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith stopped 31 shots and collected the assist on McDavid’s goal. With 87 points, the Oilers are four points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division and sit one point up on the third-place Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers center Leon Draisaitl missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He did participate in Tuesday’s optional skate.

The Dallas Stars regained the final Western Conference playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Radek Faksa potted the game-winner by snapping a 2-2 tie in the second period with a short-handed goal. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Islanders. The Stars have 83 points, one ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars winger Denis Gurianov was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen picked up his first career NHL hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Philip Tomasino each collected three points for the Predators, who hold a one-point lead over the Stars for the first Western wild-card spot. Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 40th goal of the season, putting him two behind Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal for the franchise record of 42. The Wild (91 points) hold a three-point lead over the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

The New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Chris Kreider tallied his 47th goal of the season as the Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Devils announced center Jack Hughes will miss the remainder of the season with a low-grade MCL sprain in his left knee. The 20-year-old center enjoyed a breakout performance in his third NHL season, sitting second among Devils scorers with 26 goals and 56 points in 49 games. Those numbers would’ve been much higher had he not missed 20 games earlier this season to a dislocated shoulder and COVID-19. Perhaps the Devils would’ve stayed in the playoff chase had Hughes enjoyed a healthier season.

Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 upset over the Carolina Hurricanes. Craig Anderson kicked out 32 shots as the Sabres picked up their sixth victory in their last 10 contests. The Hurricanes (98 points) hold a two-point lead over the Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Detroit Red Wings shocked the Boston Bruins 5-3. Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 47 shots and collected an assist on Sam Gagner’s insurance goal. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings while Boston forwards Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall each collected two points. The Bruins are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 93 points but the latter moved ahead into third place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Carson Meyer picked up his first two career NHL points with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Elvis Merzlikins got the win with a 47-save performance.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists while Austin Watson tallied twice to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens.

HEADLINES

TSN: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf yesterday announced he will retire at the end of this season. He has spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and to become one of the dominant teams in the Western Conference by finishing first in the Pacific Division for five straight seasons from 2012-13 to 2016-17. The Ducks captain also holds the club’s single-season assist record (66) and is the franchise leader with 1,150 career games, 731 assists and 1,013 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf will also be remembered as one of this generation’s greatest playmakers, becoming a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2013-14. He and Corey Perry were for many years the driving forces behind the Ducks’ offense. The 36-year-old center put up respectable numbers this season with 28 assists and 31 points in 49 games.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marian Hossa will sign a one-day contract with the Blackhawks on Thursday to officially retire as a member of their club. He hasn’t played since 2017 after being sidelined by a progressive skin condition. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser has been sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. . His condition is still being evaluated.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Kurtis MacDermid to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $987,500.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa are among the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inducted on Monday, COVID-19 derails the Senators schedule, Alex Ovechkin tops the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa were among the six inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 on Monday. Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson were the other notable former NHL players to be inducted. Canadian women’s hockey star Kim St. Pierre was also inducted into the players’ category while Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was inducted into the builders’ category.

Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa and Kevin Lowe are among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the HHoF Class of 2020. Their induction ceremony was delayed a year due to COVID-19. The pandemic also meant there would be no inductees for 2021 as the decision was made to allow last year’s class to enjoy the same ceremony as those of previous classes.

OTTAWA SUN: The NHL has postponed the Senators’ three games this week due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has sidelined 10 players and assistant coach Jack Capuano. The expectation is the Senators will return to action next Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is the first major North American sports league to postpone games this season. This recent outbreak among the Senators reached the point where the club depleted their AHL affiliate calling up replacements. The San Jose Sharks endured a recent outbreak that sidelined seven players and head coach Bob Boughner but it didn’t reach the point where they could no longer call up replacements from the minors.

Everyone on the Senators and Sharks was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Breakthrough infections, however, can still occur, especially among athletes in close contact with each other despite protocols to limit the spread. The NHL’s protocols had been loosened for this season as COVID restrictions eased throughout North America.

The Senators will make up those postponed games at later dates. Whether this leads to any tightening of the NHL’s COVID protocols remains to be seen.

Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 14, 2021.

GAME RECAPS

Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Victor Hedman collected two assists to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Lightning has won six of their last 10 games while the Islanders (5-5-2) sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an uneven start for the Isles. They were projected to be a Stanley Cup contender after reaching the Eastern Conference Final in 2020 and the semifinal last season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. Yegor Chinakhov tied the game for the Jackets with his first career NHL goal and Zach Werenski tallied the game-winner. Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond each had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Two days after returning from injury, Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is once again sidelined by a lingering lower-body injury. His status is listed as week-to-week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward J.T. Compher will be sidelined for approximately a month with an upper-body injury.

WASHINGTON POST’s Samantha Pell reports Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won’t face supplemental discipline for throwing Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary into the boards during Sunday’s game.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights forward William Carrier entered COVID protocol while defenseman Alec Martinez remains sidelined after suffering a facial laceration requiring 50 stitches in last Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Christian Fischer and Dmitrij Jaskin were placed on injured reserve while Johan Larsson entered COVID protocol.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Kyle Clifford on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2020

Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa head the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees, plus the latest return-to-play news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa are the former NHL stars topping the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 inductees. Former NHL defensemen Doug Wilson and Kevin Lowe, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland, and former Canadian women’s goaltender Kim St. Pierre were the other inductees.

Former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla is among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the HHoF Class of 2020.

It wasn’t surprising that Iginla and St. Pierre were inducted. With 625 goals, Iginla was one of the top goal scorers in NHL history, winning the Richard Trophy twice and the Art Ross in 2002. St. Pierre was perhaps the greatest goalie in women’s hockey history.

Hossa was also a first-ballot inductee. He tallied 525 goals and 1,134 points, won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, and developed into a strong two-way forward.

Holland got in as a builder for his work with the Detroit Red Wings, building on a solid foundation to turn that club into a league powerhouse and Stanley Cup champion.

Wilson’s induction was long overdue. He was one of the best defensemen of the 1980s, winning the Norris Trophy in 1982. He was also a first-team all-star in 1982 and a two-time second-team all-star while netting 827 points in 1,024 games.

Lowe had a fine NHL career, winning six Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should have received the nod over more deserving former stars like Alexander Mogilny, Rod Brind’Amour, and Daniel Alfredsson.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston feels the NHL faces a formidable challenge maintaining momentum toward resuming the season as more players return to their respective teams this week. More players mean more COVID-19 testing, which could result in more positive test results. Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan sees training camps open on July 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are returning to their NHL cities by Friday to allow sufficient time to test and self-isolate those who test positive for 14 days. That would allow suitable recovery time before training camp.

The next month will determine if the 24-team playoff tournament begins in August as planned. A significant spike in positive tests could jeopardize the tournament.

THE SCORE: Older NHL coaches are putting their trust in the league’s restart plan despite being in a higher risk category for COVID-19. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports 12 active members on NHL coaching staffs will be 60-or-older by the end of June. The league won’t impose age restrictions on the coaching staff, leaving it up to the individuals to determine if they wish to participate or not.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports a snag in local health protocols for positive COVID-19 tests could threaten Vancouver’s chances to become one of the two host cities for Phase 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Thomas Drance reports the disagreement is in the details. Pierre LeBrun said the Canucks continue to work on this issue with the league, but he and Drance agree it could prove insurmountable.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning reopened its training facility Wednesday after five players and staff tested positive las Friday. Those individuals are now in quarantine.

Former Sportsnet pundit John Shannon reports the NHL Players Association wants the July 1 bonus payments to the players to proceed as scheduled. Shannon said he’s heard the league prefer deferring those payments to the end of the tournament. More than $300 million are owed in bonus payments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shannon indicates the bonus payments are among the issues currently being discussed by both sides. They tentatively agreed to extend expiring contracts to Oct. 31.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: As coronavirus cases rise in Nevada, the Vegas Golden Knights are selling t-shirts encouraging fans to wear masks in public.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The slogan on the shirts is “Don’t Take A Chance”. Maybe it should read, “Don’t Take A Chance On Spoiling Our Hopes of Hosting The Playoff Tournament.”

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Construction of the Calgary Flames’ new arena will begin in August 20201.

NEWSDAY: Despite the owner of Nassau Coliseum shutting down the arena as he seeks a buyer, a county executive suggests the New York Islanders could still use the building next season until their new arena in Belmont Park is ready.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2020

The latest on the Leafs, Jets, and Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE MAPLE LEAFS PURSUE MORE LTIR CONTRACTS?

TSN: Frank Seravalli expects the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire more players on long-term injury reserve. Under the NHL CBA, a player under a contract whose career is cut short by injury but doesn’t retire can be placed on LTIR. That allows a team sitting at the cap maximum to exceed it by an amount equal to the player’s annual average value.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs try to acquire a potential LTIR player like Chicago’s Brent Seabrook? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Leafs previously acquired the contracts of all-but-retired players like Nathan Horton and David Clarkson to give themselves more salary-cap wiggle room. With both players coming off the books at the end of this season, Seravalli believes Leafs management will be on the hunt for more LTIR contracts.

His suggested targets include Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, Ottawa’s Marian Gaborik, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, Arizona’s Marian Hossa, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook. Others could include Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doubts the Leafs are eager to go the LTIR route again. “They knew they were starting last year without Travis Dermott and Zach Hyman. It wasn’t an easy dance for them — or Vegas — last season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I anticipate this loophole could be closed in the next collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, there’s nothing within the CBA preventing the Leafs (or anyone else) from doing this again. Several LTIR contracts (including those of Gaborik and Hossa) were traded in recent years to cap-strapped clubs seeking some payroll flexibility. Bear in mind it remains to be seen if Kesler, Seabrook, Ferland, and Shaw become permanent LTIR players. They haven’t ruled out returning to play next season. 

Friedman raises a good point about the difficulty the Leafs faced to pull this off this season. It could become more complicated if their roster starts next season healthier than they were at the start of 2019-20.  

BACKUP GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE JETS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Ken Wiebe examined some backup goaltending targets for the Winnipeg Jets if they don’t re-sign pending free agent Laurent Brossoit. Trade targets could include St. Louis’ Jake Allen and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, while the UFA market includes the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss and San Jose’s Aaron Dell. New Jersey’s Cory Schneider could be a long-shot option if the Devils buy out the final two years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues could move Allen in a cost-cutting deal to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo, but they won’t just give him away. Their asking price could be a good, young, affordable NHLer.

Dubnyk has a modified no-trade clause containing 19 preferred trade destinations. There’s no certainty the Jets would be on it.

In addition to Greiss and Dell, Cam Talbot and Anton Khudobin are also potentially available. All but Dell, however, could cost over $3 million annually each.

LATEST DEVILS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if the New Jersey Devils might go after a big-name free agent like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo. While acknowledging the possibility, he considers the odds slim, suggesting it might not make sense to pay Pietrangelo huge money for a couple of seasons before the Devils are ready to become playoff contenders. He advocates pursuing a younger top-pairing blueliner in a trade. 

Asked if the Devils could shop one of their three first-round picks in this year’s draft, Masisak thinks it’s too early to tell. “I don’t think they would consider trading the Arizona pick or the Vancouver pick until we know if it’s being transferred in 2020 or is an unprotected 2021 choice,” he said. “The value of those picks changes depending on that information.”