NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 17, 2022

The NHL and NHLPA release their COVID protocol for 2022-23, Wayne Gretzky has been hit with a $10 million lawsuit, Jets center Mark Scheifele clarifies his end-of-season comments and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA released their COVID-19 protocol for 2022-23. There’s little change from last season’s protocol.

Testing will only happen for asymptomatic players and those crossing the Canada-US border. Those who test positive must isolate for five days if asymptomatic and 10 days if experiencing symptoms. Unvaccinated players remain unable to cross the border.

The NHL can postpone, reschedule or cancel games and events due to a COVD-19 outbreak if it poses a health risk to players and others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and Edmonton Oilers forward Josh Archibald were the only two unvaccinated NHL players by the end of last season. Archibald, now with the Pittsburgh Penguins, received a medical exemption in May. The travel restriction for the coming season would only apply to Bertuzzi unless he gets vaccinated or receives a medical exemption.

NEW YORK POST: cites TMZ reporting Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretzky has been hit with a $10 million lawsuit accusing him of lying about losing 35 pounds after using a weight-loss gum for two months.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele downplayed speculation about his future based on his end-of-season comments in May. He pointed out that he prefaced those remarks by professing his love of playing in Winnipeg and his desire to remain with the Jets. Scheifele claims his comment about thinking about his career and what was best for him after the club missed the playoffs was misconstrued by the media.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

I was confident I was coming back until I saw all the media headlines and then all of a sudden it’s I’m getting traded and who knows where I’m going and all that stuff,” said Scheifele.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff played down Scheifele’s comments last spring. He said the exit interview between the two went well, dismissing Scheifele’s remarks as an emotional reaction to missing the playoffs.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl are progressing well recovering from injuries suffered during the 2022 playoffs. Both are currently working out and Woodcroft expects they’ll be ready for training camp next summer.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed Jack Johnson to a one-year contract worth $950K. The 35-year-old defenseman played for the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche last season, appearing in 74 regular-season games and 13 playoff contests.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former NHL forward Cedric Paquette has signed a one-year contract with KHL club Dinamo Minsk in Belarus.

CAP FRIENDLY: indicates Derek Stepan has signed a professional tryout offer with the Carolina Hurricanes.

SALTWIRE: One of the two arenas at Summerside’s Credit Union Place was named in honor of New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Gallant for this well-deserved honor by his hometown. Gallant is among the best-known hockey men from Prince Edward Island. He started his playing career in Summerside’s minor hockey program and went on to play 11 seasons in the NHL from 1984-85 to 1994-95.

Since 2014-15, Gallant has become one of the league’s top coaches. He won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2017-18 and guided the Vegas Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. He took over behind the Rangers’ bench last season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

The Avalanche crush the Lightning to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Nicklas Backstrom undergoes hip surgery, the Oilers are on the verge of re-signing head coach Jay Woodcroft, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche holds a 2-0 series lead in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final after drubbing the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 on Saturday. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar each scored two goals, Mikko Rantanen collected three assists while Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves for the shutout. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 starting on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the most lopsided Stanley Cup Final games I’ve seen. The Avalanche dominated the defending champion Lightning from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Their speed made the difference throughout this contest, leaving the Bolts chasing the game and struggling to keep up.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin (NHL Images).

Three years after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, Nichushkin had a career-best performance this season and is enjoying a solid postseason. In this series, he’s taken his game to a higher level, tallying two points in each of the first two games. Eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 13, Nichushkin is on his way to a lucrative new contract.

Following the game, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos called his club’s performance “unacceptable”. Head coach Jon Cooper said the Avalanche were playing at an elite level while his club was not. Andrei Vasilevskiy was in net for all seven goals-against but Stamkos and Cooper laid the blame on the poor defensive play in front of him.

Stamkos and Cooper said all the right things about the need for the Lightning “man up” and not give up. They’re capable of surmounting a 2-0 series deficit as the New York Rangers discovered in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rallying back this time will be far more challenging for the Lightning. They’re up against the most formidable opponent they’ve faced over the course of their championship reign.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. He faces a lengthy recovery process with no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom will likely miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season and could be sidelined for much longer. His absence leaves a big hole in the second-line center position.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have $8.9 million in salary cap space with Backstrom carrying an annual average value of $9.2 million. Management could place him on long-term injury reserve to exceed the $82.5 million salary cap in order to find a suitable short-term replacement or to address other roster needs. Should he return to action during the season, however, they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes and Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now reporting the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of removing the interim tag from head coach Jay Woodcroft’s job title. They’re expected to reach an agreement on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me unsurprised. Woodcroft did a fine job after replacing Dave Tippett behind the bench. Taking over a struggling Oilers’ team that was in danger of falling out of playoff contention, he coached them to a 26-9-3 record in their remaining 38 games and guided them to the Western Conference Finals.

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson has earned his degree in general studies at the University of Michigan. He’s fulfilled a promise to himself and Red Berenson, who coached Johnson at Michigan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a special season for Johnson. In addition to earning his degree and appearing in his first Stanley Cup Final, he also became the 21st American-born defenseman to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have dismissed Chris Brumwell, who was their vice-president of communications and community partnerships for the past nine seasons.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill is retiring on July 1 after 29 years with the organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, stars and rookie of the month for February, Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson’s plans, the latest on Filip Forsberg and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first club to reach 40 wins this season by downing the New York Islanders 5-3. Devon Toews had a goal and two assists as the Avalanche hold a five-point lead over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 84 points. Avs defenseman Jack Johnson also reached a notable milestone by playing his 1,000th NHL game.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on an overtime goal by Lucas Raymond. Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the win over his former team. The Hurricanes (79 points) hold a three-point lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

The Lightning, meanwhile, overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the win. The Lightning (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom kicked out 32 shots to backstop his club to 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had two-point performances. The Flames have won 12 of their last 13 games and hold a five-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division with 70 points. The Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 65 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals by Reilly Smith to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Robin Lehner made 16 saves in his first game since being sidelined for a month with an upper-body injury. It was Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer’s 500th career NHL victory. Sharks goaltender James Reimer left the game with a lower-body injury. With 64 points, the Golden Knights are third in the Pacific Division. The Sharks, however, are nine points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 54 points.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen picked up his first shutout since 2019 with a 39-save performance in a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored his 37th goal of the season to tie Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead. With 63 points, the Oilers hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith returned to action after suffering a concussion on Feb.9. However, the club also revealed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered last week.

Trevor Zegras scored with 22 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Anaheim Ducks over the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists as the Ducks (61 points) remain two points behind the Oilers. The Bruins still hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets kept their playoff hopes alive with an 8-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had three points for the Jets. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson tallied a hat trick. With 57 points, the Jets are six behind the Oilers.

Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the win. Devils center Jack Hughes scored to extend his points streak to eight games.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine were the NHL’s three stars for February 2022. Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman was named the rookie of the month for February 2022.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: New Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s looking more at a rebuild than a retool of his roster. “There are some things that we really need to fix that are going to take time,” he said, adding he’s not going to put a timeline on how long it’ll take to complete the rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to provide fodder for speculation over his trade deadline plans and where certain veterans such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fit into the club’s long-term plans. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators GM David Poile maintains his intent is to re-sign Filip Forsberg before the March 21 trade deadline. He added he’s not trying to trade the pending free-agent winger. Poile also indicated a deal isn’t done yet but they’re working on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg became fodder for trade speculation following a report last week claiming Poile was shopping the winger. He quickly denied it but there’s conjecture he’s conducting “due diligence” in case he decides a contract extension won’t be reached by the trade deadline.

TSN: CCM Hockey announced it will stop using Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and other Russian NHL stars in any of its global marketing. The move comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

Game recaps include hat tricks by Connor McDavid and Sam Bennett, a record-setting night for Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied his 10th career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. Three of those hat tricks have come against the Flames. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists while Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and two assists. The Oilers also welcomed back Zack Kassian from concussion protocol. The Flames set a dubious NHL record by losing 12 straight season-opening games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Sam Bennett powered the Florida Panthers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair also tallied for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the win.

Mike Sullivan became the all-time wins leader among Pittsburgh Penguins head coaches with 253 as his club rolled over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got the hook in the first period after giving up four goals on 10 shots. Drew O’Connor and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Penguins activated Zach Aston-Reese from COVID protocol and placed winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on injured reserve.

Steven Stamkos’ overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring in the second period with his 733rd career goal while Mikhail Sergachev tied it in the third. The Lightning’s win was overshadowed by the departure of first-line winger Nikita Kucherov midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand joined Mats Sundin and Chris Kelly as the third player in NHL history to record a team’s season-opening goal on a penalty shot in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. He also scored the insurance goal late in the third period. Stars goalie Braden Holtby made 37 saves in a losing effort.

Chris Kreider scored in his third straight game as the New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Alexis Lafreniere picked up the game-winner by snapping a 1-1 tie in the third period. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens have dropped three straight and scored just three goals with Jonathan Drouin accounting for two of them.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron scored twice as his club held off a late rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-3 victory. The Avalanche came back from 4-1 to within a goal before Ryan O’Reilly put the game out of reach. Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson missed this contest as he was placed in COVID protocol. Before the game, the Avs honored former general manager Pierre Lacroix, who passed away in December from a COVID-related illness at age 72.

The San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit with a shorthanded goal and two power-play markers to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Tomas Hertl and rookie Jasper Weatherby led the way for the Sharks as they each had a goal and an assist.

A 40-save effort by Thomas Greiss carried the Detroit Red Wings over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1. Greiss made 23 saves in the third period. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner scored for the Wings.

Frederik Andersen kicked out 38 shots as the Carolina Hurricanes held off the Nashville Predators 3-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the win.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a 20-save performance from Jack Campbell to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Kerfoot led the way with a goal and an assist. With Petr Mrazek sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury, the Leafs had to sign University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop to a one-day contract as an emergency backup for Campbell due to salary-cap constraints. They’ll be able to call up Michael Hutchinson on Monday.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves as the Minnesota Wild held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild got second-period goals from Frederick Gaudreau, Victor Rask and Ryan Hartman. Anze Kopitar got the Kings within one in the third period.

An overtime goal by Patrik Laine gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Branden Tanev opened the scoring for the Kraken but Eric Robinson’s goal midway through the third period set the stage for Laine’s game-winner. The Kraken played without Vince Dunn as the defenseman was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their second-straight win by downing the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Arttu Ruotsalainen. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring for the Coyotes in the first period while Cody Eakin replied in the second for the Sabres. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower body) on injured reserve and claimed blueliner Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights got some bad news as first-line left winger Max Pacioretty could be sidelined up to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Linemate Mark Stone remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks placed center Derek Grant and defenseman Greg Pateryn on waivers.

NHL.COM: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Leo Boivin passed away Saturday at age 89. He spent 19 seasons (1952-1970) in the NHL, starting his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traded to the Bruins early in 1954-55, he spent nearly 12 seasons in Boston and served as their captain from 1963 to 1966. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars, collecting 322 points in 1,150 games. A three-time All-Star, Boivin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

The Rangers sign Mika Zibanejad to a lucrative contract extension, Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise officially sign with the Islanders, a large number of players hit the waiver wire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Mika Zibanejad signed an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million. The annual average value is $8.5 million. This deal will keep Zibanejad with the Rangers until he’s 36. By keeping his AAV under $9 million, it provided the Blueshirts with some cap flexibility to re-sign key players such as Adam Fox in the near future.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post’s Larry Brooks indicated Zibanejad’s new deal is a little longer than Rangers’ management preferred. However, it was necessary to reach that $8.5 million cap hit as he likely would’ve received up to $10 million annually on the open market. As per Cap Friendly, they now have over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko and Alexandar Georgiev among the notables slated for new contracts next summer.

Zibanejad thrived since being traded to the Rangers in 2016, including a career-best 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games in 2019-20. He had a slow start last season following a bout of COVID-19 but finished strong with 50 points in 56 contests.

This signing should also take the Rangers out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill. Brooks believes the only way it happens is if the Sabres retain 40-50 percent of Eichel’s $10 million AAV which isn’t going to happen.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders officially announced the signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise. They’re both on one-year, one-way contracts with an annual average value of $1.5 million. They’ll receive a base salary of $750K plus $750K in bonuses.

Frank Seravalli reported Erik Gustafsson has returned to the Chicago Blackhawks. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal believed to be worth $800K.

Forty-three players hit the waiver wire yesterday. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are the two notable names on that list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic was absent from the Canucks training camp and preseason for reasons related to the NHL’s vaccination protocols. Unvaccinated players face restrictions that could prevent them from participating in road games, which could also result in them being suspended without pay.

There was talk of the Canucks attempting to trade Hamonic. He’s on a two-year, $6 million contract with an eight-team no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they traded defenseman Olli Juolevi to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Noah Juulsen and forward Juho Lammiko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a trade of young players who failed to pan out with their previous teams. Injuries also hampered the development of Juolevi and Juulsen. The latter is now on his third team in two seasons.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee accused player agent Allan Walsh of attempting to sabotage efforts to trade Marc-Andre Fleury by telling other clubs his client was considering retirement.

McPhee praised Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon’s handling of the situation. While acknowledging Fleury learned of his trade to the Chicago Blackhawks on social media, McPhee said they spoke with the goalie’s camp leading up to the deal. They stopped communicating with them when Walsh started telling other clubs Fleury planned to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to hear Walsh’s side of the story. The agent generated some controversy during the 2020 playoffs by posting an image on Twitter of Fleury with a photoshopped sword running through his back and head coach Pete DeBoer’s name on the blade. The suggestion was DeBoer stabbed his client in the back by giving Robin Lehner more playing time in the postseason. That image was removed at Fleury’s request.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood returned to practice yesterday after clearing all COVID-19 protocols. He’d received an inconclusive COVID test on Thursday. He said he “still has some things to do” before deciding one way or the other on getting vaccinated, “but I’m probably going to be getting the shot in the next couple of weeks.” He’s the only unvaccinated member of the Devils.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $800K contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette indicated captain Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He doesn’t consider it serious, suggesting the 36-year-old winger could be in the lineup for their season opener on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson is expected to be sidelined roughly four weeks with an injured ankle.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman was fined $1,812.50 for spearing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly during Saturday’s preseason game.

Former NHL forward Frans Nielsen signed with DEL club Eisbaren Berlin. The 37-year-old center tallied 473 points in 925 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2021

Robin Lehner accuses several teams of medical malpractice plus the latest on Nicklas Backstrom, Jonathan Drouin, Jack Johnson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

ESPN.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner alleged several NHL teams regularly gave players drugs such as benzodiazepines and Ambien without prescriptions. He said the Golden Knights weren’t among those clubs but implied he’d been on teams that had done so.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner can expect a call by NHL HQ if he hasn’t already been contacted. He’ll be in hot water if he can’t substantiate his allegation. If he can, however, it could prompt an investigation by the league.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said his injured hip is improving but there’s no timetable for his return. The ailment doesn’t require surgery and he’s been rehabbing it at an offsite location. His status remains week-to-week, leaving him questionable to start the season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jonathan Drouin is the 2020-21 recipient of the Jean Beliveau Trophy, awarded annually to the Canadiens player who best exemplifies leadership qualifies in the community. Drouin’s been involved in numerous charities, including those helping children and sick people.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin receiving this honor takes on greater significance when one remembers he took a leave of absence from the Canadiens last season to deal with anxiety. Despite that, he still maintained his charitable work.

The Canadiens announced defenseman Sami Niku is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion in Friday’s preseason game against the Ottawa Senators.

TSN: The Canadiens also claimed goaltender Samuel Montembeault off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is seen as an insurance move by the Canadiens with starter Carey Price still recuperating from offseason knee injury. His status for the start of the season remains uncertain.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Sources claim the Colorado Avalanche are expected to sign defenseman Jack Johnson, who’s in training camp on a professional tryout offer. With Devon Toews sidelined, he’s likely to fill a spot as the fifth or sixth blueliner to start the season.