NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

Three stars and top rookie of the month for December, Canadiens, Sabres, and Flames get busy in the trade market, milestones reached by Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COMNathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (one goal, three assists) led the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard collected four assists. Robert Thomas scored twice for the Blues.

Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point effort carried the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues 7-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. J.T. Miller had a four-point effort while teammates Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson each collected three points. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks while teammate Adam DeBrincat had three helpers.

The San Jose Sharks defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brent Burns. Joe Thornton picked up his 1,080th career NHL assist to move into seventh on the all-time assists leader list. Patric Hornqvist scored both Penguins goals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unbeaten in their last nine games (8-0-1) after downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. William Nylander scored two goals and set up another while teammate Frederik Andersen kicked out 45 shots. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury.

Sean Monahan’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collected three assists.

The Vegas Golden Knights scored four first-period goals and hung on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Golden Knights, who killed off a 6-on-3 Flyers power-play in the final 90 seconds of the third period. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault missed the game with a lower-body injury.

A four-goal second period carried the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evgenii Dadonov tallied twice and added an assist for the Panthers.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jackets’ point streak has reached 12 games (8-0-4). Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 30th goal of the season.

Jack Eichel’s penalty-shot goal in overtime completed a 3-2 comeback by the Buffalo Sabres over the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit on regulation goals by Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart. Sabres rookie winger Victor Olofsson left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save performance carried his club over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The Habs played without winger Brendan Gallagher, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion.

Nico Hischier tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their last five games. New Jersey center Jack Hughes missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) also missed this contest.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 following a three-goal third period. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves for the win.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goatender Tristan Jarry, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for December 2019. Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is rookie of the month for December.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the 12th, 13th, and 14th players in NHL history to play at least one game in four or more different decades.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and minor-leaguer Andrew Sturtz. They also acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With these moves, the Canadiens add some much-needed veteran experience to their blueline in Scandella while shedding a $1.5-million salary-cap hit for 2020-21 by moving out the frequently-scratched Reilly. Eligible for UFA status this summer, Scandella can be considered a rental to keep the Habs’ flickering playoff hopes alive. The Senators, meanwhile, needed defensive depth with Dylan DeMelo, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey sidelined by injuries.

The Sabres, meanwhile, flipped that draft pick they received from the Canadiens to the Calgary Flames for winger Michael Frolik.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed help up front. That they only had to part with a fourth-rounder speaks to the decline in Frolik’s stock. The Flames were reportedly close to moving Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild in a deal for winger Jason Zucker but it fell through at the last minutes. Frolik might not be the only move the Sabres have in store, while the Flames could also be active in the trade market leading up to this year’s deadline. I’ll have more later this morning in my daily Rumors update.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown returned to practice yesterday following a stint in hospital recovering from pneumonia.

USA TODAY: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula and his wife, Kristen, released a statement yesterday mourning the passing of their unborn daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Haulas.










NHL Gold & Mold: Hot Streaks in the Sunshine State

NHL Gold & Mold: Hot Streaks in the Sunshine State

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2019

Jonathan Huberdeau enjoys a four-point performance, John Tortorella loses it with the officials, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and set up two others as his club held on for a 6-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Panthers center Aleksander Barkov also scored two goals. Canadiens rookie Nick Suzuki collected three assists.

Jonathan Huberdeau’s four-point performance gave the Florida Panthers a 6-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 53 points in 38 games, Huberdeau’s on a 115-point pace. He’s the Panthers’ leading scorer and sits sixth among NHL scorers.

Patrick Kane’s shootout goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo was sidelined during the shootout with an injury. During a post-game press conference, Columbus head coach John Tortorella ripped the officials for an apparent clock error that cost his club the winning goal in the dying seconds of overtime. That drew the ire of NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, who spoke with Tortorella. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said the league is dealing with it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella’s outburst could cost him a fine or a suspension. He’ll likely learn his fate later today.

Jaden Schwartz scored twice as the St. Louis Blues downed the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. The Blues (58 points) have won eight straight and hold an eight-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference.

Tanner Pearson and Tyler Myers each scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks snuffed out the Calgary Flames 5-2. Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk had two assists. The Canucks have won five straight and sit in second place in the Pacific Division.

Jake DeBrusk scored two straight power-play goals as the Boston Bruins held off the sagging Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Bruins winger David Pastrnak netted his league-leading 29th goal of the season. Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Kevin Hayes. Jakub Voracek collected two assists. The Flyers have won five of their last six contests.

Third-period goals by Ryan Pulock, Matt Martin, and Tom Kuhnhackl lifted the New York Islanders to a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.  It was the Isles’ first regulation win in eight games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on a third-period goal by Brayden Point. The Wings have dropped all but two of their last 20 games (2-16-2).

A four-goal third period carried the Dallas Stars over the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Coyotes center Derek Stepan is in concussion protocol following a high hit from Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.

Jack Hughes netted his first career NHL overtime goal in a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen collected three assists.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

A milestone game for Nicklas Backstrom, another big night for Jonathan Huberdeau and Noel Acciari, plus updates on Jack Eichel, Jason Zucker, Darcy Kuemper, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached 900 points with two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. He and Alex Ovechkin were playing in their 900th game together. Ovechkin scored and set up another. Devils defenseman Andy Greene played in his 900th career NHL contest.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached his 900th career point in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

A five-goal second period powered the Florida Panthers over the Dallas Stars 7-4. For the second straight game, Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four points (one goal, three assists) while teammate Noel Acciari tallied his second straight hat trick. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars while teammate Joe Pavelski played his 1,000th career NHL game. Stars winger Alexander Radulov missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Mitch Marner and William Nylander each scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Rangers 6-3. Auston Matthews collected two assists for the Leafs.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Pettersson each picked up two assists for the Penguins. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless. Edmonton has won only three of their last 12 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers (42 points) have slipped to third place in the Pacific Division. They’re one point ahead of the Calgary Flames, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel returned to practice yesterday but is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. It’s uncertain if he’ll be in the lineup for today’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Center Johan Larsson (upper body) is expected to miss the next two games.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker will miss the next four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right fibula.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will turn to Antti Raanta with Adin Hill as his backup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson will miss at least the next two games with a lower-body injury. The club also placed defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body) on injured reserve.

The Ottawa Senators placed goaltender Anders Nilsson on injured reserve after he suffered a concussion. Veteran goalie Craig Anderson has returned from injury and is ready to go. The Senators also announced defenseman Ron Hainsey will miss a week to 10 days with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, the Kings place Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists and Noel Acciari tallied a hat trick as the Florida Panthers crushed the Ottawa Senators 6-1. The Panthers blew the game open with four unanswered second-period goals.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists in a 6-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

David Perron’s hat trick led the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-2, snapping the latter’s nine-game points streak. Blues forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Oskar Sundqvist each collected two assists.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their first win in five games by edging the Dallas Stars 2-1. Mikko Koskinen kicked out 34 shots while teammates Zack Kassian and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 39 saves backstopping his club over the New York Rangers 5-2. Predators captain Roman Josi collected three points. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored to extend his points streak to five games.

The Columbus Blue Jackets blanked the Washington Capitals 3-0. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 30 shots for the shutout while Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied twice for the Jackets.

HEADLINES

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty, Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair, and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending December 15.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday placed winger Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The contract termination won’t provide the Kings any salary-cap relief because it’s a 35-plus contract. It just means they’re no longer paying Kovalchuk’s actual salary.

Kovalchuk will become an unrestricted free agent. He could sign with another NHL club or return to the KHL.

The 36-year-old winger is no longer an offensive force. If he wants to stay in the NHL, he won’t get a lucrative offer like the three-year, $6.25-million per season contract he had with the Kings.

I’ll have more on Kovalchuk in the Rumors section.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Joel Farabee received a three-game suspension for interference on Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs Tyson Barrie and Trevor Moore could return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild sent goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to their AHL affiliate in Iowa and placed forward Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body) on injured reserve.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford issues an apology for his unacceptable language and actions toward several former players earlier in this coaching career. He will resume his normal coaching duties with the club on Jan. 2.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2019

Evgeni Malkin to the Panthers? What could the offseason hold for the Stars? What’s the latest on the Canucks? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PANTHERS INTERESTED IN MALKIN?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports sources within the Penguins organization and around the league said the Florida Panthers are interested in Evgeni Malkin. Penguins management wasn’t pleased with Malkin’s performance this season. They could seriously consider trading the 32-year-old center, who has a no-movement clause.

Are the Florida Panthers interested in Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Panthers could also be interested in Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Kingerski feels a Malkin-Panarin punch would go a long way toward making the Panthers competitive again and revive a struggling fan base. He believes the Penguins’ asking price is a high scoring forward (such as left wing Jonathan Huberdeau), a prospect, and a first-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Penguins are considering all their options short of trading Sidney Crosby and Matt Murray. If the Panthers are willing to part with Huberdeau, a top prospect, and a first-round pick, I daresay Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford will seriously consider it.  Such a deal depends on whether Malkin waives his no-movement clause. 

The Panthers had no trouble scoring goals this season, sitting ninth in goals for per game (3.22). It was keeping them out of their net that was the problem, as their 3.33 goals-against per game was the league’s fourth-highest. A Malkin-Panarin duo might add star power to the Florida lineup and help sell tickets. They won’t address the Panthers’ glaring need for a reliable starting goaltender and another top-four defenseman. If the Panthers do this deal, they might not have sufficient assets to address their defensive issues.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE DALLAS STARS?

ESPN.COM: Following the Dallas Stars elimination last night from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters speculated over the club’s offseason plans. They believe the Stars should attempt to re-sign winger Mats Zuccarello. He fit in well with his new teammates after coming to Dallas at the trade deadline.

Restricted free agent defenseman Julius Honka has fallen out of favor and it could be time to trade him or pass up qualifying his rights. The Stars lack salary-cap space and draft capital that could be used as trade bait, but they should attempt to add a scoring winger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Stars have over $60.7 million invested in 15 players. Zuccarello, who turns 32 in September, might be amenable toward a three-year contract for roughly the same annual average value ($4.5 million) as his current deal.

Lindell logged top-pairing minutes and netted a career-high 11 goals and 32 points this season. He’s got arbitration rights this summer and could be in line for a long-term deal worth over $5.5 million annually.

I expect they’ll shop Honka, who surfaced in trade speculation this season. Perhaps he’ll be packaged in a deal to add a scoring winger. The rise of Jason Dickenson and Roope Hintz this season could lead to RFA Brett Ritchie hitting the trade block. 

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Ryan Biech recently suggested the Vancouver Canucks leverage their salary-cap space this summer to acquire future assets from other clubs. He recommended targeting cap-strapped clubs like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets. 

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre recommended the Canucks clear out some clutter to improve their depth going forward. Buyout candidates could include forwards Tim Schaller and Ryan Spooner. He doesn’t see a trade market for Nikolay Goldobin or Markus Granlund.

Trading veteran Loui Eriksson ($6 million annually through 2020-21) is a long shot. If they retain part of Brandon Sutter’s $4.375-million cap hit, he could be a tradeable asset. However, it might be best to retain him in hope of a healthier season improving his trade value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have over $53 million invested in 20 players. RFA winger Brock Boeser and UFA defenseman Alex Edler are their only core players to be re-signed this summer. Assuming ownership is willing to spend to the projected $83 million salary cap for next season, there’s plenty of room to target teams looking to shed salary. It remains to be seen if GM Jim Benning intends to be that bold this summer.

Eriksson must agree to waive his no-trade clause and I daresay the Canucks will have to pick up part of his cap hit to move him. However, his age (33) and declining performance will make it difficult to drum up interest in the trade market. I concur with MacIntyre that they’ll need a healthier season from Sutter if they hope to move him.