NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2022

The Blue Jackets honor Rick Nash, a record-setting game for the Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz, milestone nights for the Kraken’s Mark Giordano and the Leafs Wayne Simmonds, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets honored former captain Rick Nash by retiring his No. 61 in a ceremony before their game with the Boston Bruins. The first overall pick of the 2002 NHL Draft, Nash spent nine seasons with the Jackets (2002-03 to 2011-12) and remains the franchise leader with 289 goals, 258 assists and 547 points. He was a co-winner of the Richard Trophy in 2004.

Columbus Blue Jackets retire Rick Nash’s No. 61 (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Nash. One wonders what heights he would’ve reached or how much better the Jackets would’ve been had management done a better job building around him during his tenure in Columbus.

The Jackets rallied on a game-tying goal by Jakub Voracek to force overtime and a shootout but fell 5-4 to the Bruins on David Pastrnak’s winning goal. The win kept the Bruins (72 points) three ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Speaking of the Capitals, three unanswered goals (two of them by Conor Sheary) lifted them to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Alex Ovechkin also scored to reach 764 career goals, putting him two behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time list. He finished the game with three points as the Capitals hold the second Eastern wild-card berth. Kraken captain Mark Giordano reached a milestone by skating in his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken forwards Jared McCann and Jaden Schwartz were activated off injured reserve for this game.

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz set a club record with a seven-point performance (two goals, five assists) to lead his club over the Ottawa Senators 8-5. It was a wild game that saw the Coyotes blow a 4-0 lead to fall behind 5-4 before rallying back for the win. Clayton Keller and Shayne Gostisbehere each had four points for the Coyotes. Thomas Chabot collected three assists and Parker Kelly tallied twice for the Senators.

Johnny Gaudreau scored in overtime and also had two assists as his Calgary Flames burned the league-leading Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Flames forwards Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk also each collected three points. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog netted his 30th goal of the season. The Avs pulled goaltender Darcy Kuemper after he gave up three goals on 15 shots. The Flames (73 points) hold a six-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings atop the Pacific Division. The Avs (85 points) hold a four-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings.

Nashville Predators winger Michael McCarron had two goals and two assists, Roman Josi set up four goals and Juuse Saros had a 20-save shutout in an 8-0 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Forwards Matt Duchene and Matt Luff also scored two goals as the Predators (66 points) hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the March 21 trade deadline just two weeks away, this loss may have put the final nail in the Sharks’ playoff hopes. Management could become sellers, generating increased speculation over the future of Tomas Hertl, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Florida Panthers (79 points) moved within two points of the Eastern Conference-leading Hurricanes by dropping the Detroit Red Wings 6-2. Anton Lundell scored two goals and Aleksander Barkov collected three assists for the Panthers.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead with 39 goals but his club suffered a 6-4 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Leafs captain John Tavares snapped a 14-game goalless streak. J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat were among six Canucks to finish the night with two points. With 62 points, the Canucks are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Toronto forward Wayne Simmonds skated in his 1,000th career regular-season NHL game. The Leafs sit third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki had a goal and two assists and Sam Montembeault kicked out 28 shots as their club upset the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Cole Caufield and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who’ve won seven of their last eight games and are 7-4-0 under interim coach Martin St. Louis. The Oilers remain one point behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card berth.

The New York Islanders got a 27-save performance by goaltender Ilya Sorokin to hold off the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Islanders center Brock Nelson scored what proved to be the game-winner. The Blues (70 points) hold a three-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for second place in the Central Division.

Two unanswered third-period goals by Derick Brassard and Cam Atkinson gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Atkinson finished the game with two goals and an assist. Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome tallied twice.

HEADLINES

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek told his club’s season-ticket holders he’s working toward signing pending UFA defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell to contract extensions. However, he added he would look to trade them if he cannot get them under contract before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek mentioned having ongoing talks with the Lindholm camp. He didn’t mention the other two by name.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed center Travis Boyd to a two-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $1.75 million.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a two-year extension worth an annual average value of $850K.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL superstar Jaromir Jagr will donate the proceeds from Kladno’s final Czech Extraliga regular-season game toward Ukrainian families in the Czech Republic following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Owner of the Kladno Knights, Jagr had the game moved to a bigger arena in Prague that holds over 17,000 seats.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2021

Elias Pettersson wants to play for a winner, Sam Reinhart re-signs with the Panthers and the Jets avoid arbitration with Neal Pionk. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE PROVINCE: In an interview with a Swedish hockey publication, Elias Pettersson said he wants to stay in Vancouver but also wants to play for a winning team that has a chance to go deep in the playoffs every year.

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

I feel like we’ve got a chance to do that next year,” said Pettersson. “If we have that chance when my next deal expires…I don’t know. I just want a chance to play where there’s a chance of winning.”

A restricted free agent, Pettersson’s contract negotiations with the Canucks are ongoing. The two sides are reportedly still not close to a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson’s remarks raised concerns on social media among Canucks fans concerned over the club’s direction under general manager Jim Benning. It’s even sparked some fear he’ll get an offer sheet from a rival club. That appears unlikely given the Canucks have sufficient cap space to match any offer plus the high rate of compensation they would receive if they opted not to match.

It’s believed Pettersson and the Canucks are currently discussing a long-term deal. Nevertheless, it’s fair to speculate whether the Canucks would have difficulty convincing Pettersson to re-sign before his next deal expires if the club is still spinning its wheels.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Sam Reinhart. It’s a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $6.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A decent raise for Reinhart, who was recently acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. He earned $5.2 million last season on a one-year deal. Playing in a no-tax state like Florida likely contributed to his acceptance of that annual cap hit.

Reinhart, 25, is expected to skate at right wing on the Panthers’ top line alongside center Aleksander Barkov. He could provide a significant boost to their offensive depth as they look to take the next step toward Stanley Cup contention this season.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Neal Pionk, reaching an agreement with the 26-year-old defenseman on a four-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $5.875 million. He earned $3.15 million annually on his previous deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pionk has become an invaluable top-four blueliner for the Jets since being acquired from the New York Rangers two years ago. He’ll either play alongside Josh Morrisey on the first pairing or with recently acquired Brenden Dillon on the second pairing.

The Jets still have an upcoming arbitration hearing with forward Andrew Copp. He earned $2.28 million annually on his previous contract. Cap Friendly indicates the club is already over $2.1 million above the salary cap, though they’ll get some relief by placing Bryan Little ($5.29 million) on long-term injury reserve this season.

NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist could attempt an NHL comeback once he receives full medical clearance. The 39-year-old unrestricted free agent goaltender missed all of last season recovering from heart surgery.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr appears poised for another season with his hometown club of Kladno in the Czech Republic. The 49-year-old helped his hometown team become champion of the second division in 2020-21 and return to the Extraliga for this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2021

The latest on Nikita Kucherov and Philipp Grubauer, Pierre McGuire accepts a front-office role with the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov trolled critics of his club for spending over the salary cap this season. He posted a photo to his Instagram account wearing an “$18 million over the cap” t-shirt while lounging on a boat with the Stanley Cup and the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans and pundits suggest the Lightning cheated by employing a loophole allowing them to use long-term injury reserve to spend over the cap. However, The Hockey News pointed out the Lightning proposed a vote following the 2015 Stanley Cup to end that loophole. During that year, the Blackhawks used it to spend over the cap by $5 million to bolster their roster for the playoffs. No other team joined their cause. 

THE DENVER POST: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s first choice is to remain with the Colorado Avalanche. The Vezina Trophy finalist is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28 but he hopes to sign a new contract before then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The writer of that piece wondered if it would be a good thing for the Avs to bring back Grubauer, pointing to his struggles during their second-round series meltdown against the Vegas Golden Knights. If there are no better options via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets (and there aren’t), they’re better off sticking with him.

OTTAWA SUN: Pierre McGuire is joining the Senators as their Senior Vice-President of Player Development. McGuire worked as an assistant coach for the Senators in 1995-96 and was a scout and assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-1992) and a coach and assistant general manager with the Hartford Whalers from 1992 to 1994. He’s been an NHL broadcaster since 1997.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire is more familiar to NHL fans for his often excitable in-game analysis for NBC Sports since 2006. He has a deep knowledge of players that few can match, but he hasn’t held an NHL front-office job in over a quarter-century.

It’s an interesting move by the Senators. We’ll have to wait and see what effect his hiring has upon the club’s ongoing rebuild.

NHL.COM: U.S. National Team Development Plan defenseman Luke Hughes could become the third member of his family to be a first-round pick in the NHL Draft. He’s the younger brother of New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (first-overall, 2019) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (seventh overall, 2018). NHL’s Central Scouting ranks him fourth overall among North American skaters. It would be the first time an American family would have three sons chosen in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance Luke could join one of his brothers. The Devils have the fourth-overall pick while the Canucks have the ninth-overall selection.

THE ATHLETIC: On the 20th anniversary of the Washington Capitals acquiring Jaromir Jagr (July 11, 2001), Tarik El-Bashir looks back on the trade and its effect upon the Capitals during Jagr’s tenure in Washington.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2021

Coyotes end Golden Knights’ 10-game win streak, Canadiens rally to down the Jets, the Seattle Kraken officially join the league, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A 25-save shutout by Adin Hill gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-0 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights to end the latter’s 10-game win streak. John Hayden, Michael Bunting and Christian Fischer were the goalscorers for the Coyotes (49 points), who sit three points behind the fourth-place St. Louis Blues in the Honda West Division. The Golden Knights remain in first place with 72 points.

Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche moved within four points of Vegas by blanking the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Philipp Grubauer picked up the shutout with 21 saves in his first game back from the COVID-19 protocol list while Mikko Rantanen collected three points. The Avs (68 points) opened a two-point lead over the third-place Minnesota Wild.

A four-goal rally by the Montreal Canadiens carried them to a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Nick Suzuki led the way with two goals and an assist as the Canadiens (53 points) moved within four points of third-place Winnipeg in the Scotia North Division and opened a six-point lead over the fifth-place Calgary Flames. The Jets have dropped six straight games.

Anze Kopitar scored with 56 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick kicked out 33 shots.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken officially joined the NHL yesterday following the final payment of its $650 million expansion fee. The Kraken can now make player transactions and participate in league meetings and voting. Their first season will be 2021-22. An expansion draft to fill out its roster takes place on July 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the NHL, Seattle Kraken. Looking forward to what will hopefully become an entertaining rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks.

CBS SPORTS: New York Rangers center Brett Howden is done for the season after suffering a fractured foot during Thursday’s loss to the New York Islanders.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets prospect Yegor Chinakhov may sign his entry-level NHL contract after helping KHL club Avangard Omsk win the Gagarin Cup earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets selection of Chinakhov in last year’s draft (21st overall) left many pundits scrambling to find out who he was as he wasn’t listed among last year’s top prospects by NHL scouts. The 20-year-old forward reportedly had a solid rookie KHL performance this season.

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL star and future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr isn’t ready to hang up his skates yet. The 49-year-old winger intends to return with hometown club Kladno Knights next season after helping them earn promotion to the Czech Extraliga. It will be his 34th professional season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr’s last NHL season was 2017-18 when he played 22 games with the Calgary Flames before heading to Kladno to finish that season. He’s been there ever since.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2020

The latest on Colton Parayko, Dylan Strome, Erik Gudbranson, and Jaromir Jagr plus speculation on when the 2020-21 season might begin in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo believes Colton Parayko is ready to still up and fill his spot on the St. Louis Blues. Pietrangelo, who signed a seven-year deal with the Golden Knights last month, believes his former teammate has what it takes to become the leader of the Blues’ defense corps. The Blues haven’t indicated yet what Parayko’s role will be but the 27-year-old blueliner said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parayko will have some big skates to fill. How well he adjusts to replacing Pietrangelo on the Blues’ top defense pairing will determine how the Blues perform in their own zone next season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the Blackhawks still plan to re-sign restricted free agent center Dylan Strome. One reason for the holdup could be due to Strome’s now-former agent, Mark Guy, left the hockey industry this week.

OTTAWA SUN: Ottawa native Erik Gudbranson is happy to be playing in his hometown after being recently acquired by the Senators. He and his wife are expecting their first child in March and are pleased to be close to family. Gudbranson is also looking forward to playing for what he considers a “really good, up-and-coming hockey team” in Ottawa.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL great and future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr doesn’t want the pandemic to get in the way of his hockey planers. The 48-year-old winger hopes to continue playing for one more season in the Czech Republic with Kladno, the club which he is also the majority owner.

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston yesterday shared their thoughts on when they felt the 2020-21 NHL season might begin.

Return-to-play talks between the NHL and NHLPA cooled recently over the league’s requests for an increase in escrow and salary deferral rates. Nevertheless, Friedman believes the two sides will eventually work things out. He feels it would be disastrous for the owners and players if the NHL doesn’t play this season while other sports leagues (such as the NBA) are carrying on with their respective schedules.

Johnston said the players and coaches are preparing as though training camp could start on Dec. 15 but they want some clarity over when the season might begin. He feels the owners and players must start discussions soon.

Friedman postulates training camp could be shorter than we’re used to, suggesting it could be 10 days instead of 14 without exhibition games since the league can’t make money off them without fans. The players are already in good shape and ramping up in anticipation of camp. He also thinks there won’t be as many players invited to camp compared to previous years. If some players returning to Canadian teams miss the start of training camp because they have to quarantine for 14 days the teams may just have to live with it.

Johnston thinks it could take up to four weeks from the time an agreement is reached to when they drop the puck on the season. Friedman’s “educated guess” is the players are brought in right after Christmas and the puck drops between Jan 6 – 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A return-to-play on New Year’s Day or early January is possible if the NHL and NHLPA are willing to be flexible with the training-camp period. For now, discussions between the two sides have stalled for over a week. That could soon change coming out of the American Thanksgiving long weekend and the calendar flipping to December.

Many pundits maintain there’s a mutual desire among the NHL leadership and the players to stage a shortened season as soon as possible, with Jan. 1 often mentioned as the target date. The longer this stalemate between the two sides over escrow and salary deferral rates drags on, the less likely we’ll see a puck drop in early January.