NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2018

Lightning take Game 3 of Eastern Conference Final, plus the latest on Jacob Trouba, Jaromir Jagr and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs and collected two assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final. The Capitals still lead the series two games to one. The Bolts remain lethal on the power-play, with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov scoring with the man advantage. Game 4 goes Thursday night in Washington.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman collected 3 points in his club’s 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big win for the Lightning, as a loss would’ve put them down 3-0 in the series. The Bolts overcame early jitters to force the Capitals into making defensive mistakes. The Lightning aren’t out of the woods yet, as a Game 4 loss will put them on the brink of elimination. 


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt received media praise for his strong performance in his club’s victory over the Jets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jaromir Jagr has agreed to return next season with his hometown club Kladno in the Czech Republic. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, we can put to rest the notion of Jagr possibly returning to the NHL next season. While the 46-year-old future Hall of Famer keeps his pro career alive elsewhere, his NHL playing days have come to an end. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former NHL center David Desharnais will join the KHL’s Yaroslavl Lokomotiv next season. “In 524 career NHL games, the 31-year-old Desharnais posted 87-195-282 totals.”

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday announced the re-signing of defenseman Mark Barberio to a two-year, $2.9-million contract extension.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2018

Game recaps, Mike Matheson fined, Patrick Sharp to retire and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrik Berglund tallied a hat trick to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. With the win, the Blues (94 points) moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, setting the stage for their showdown tonight to decide who qualifies for the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov tallied his 100th point of the season in a 7-5 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for first overall in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 7-5. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist to reach 100 points for the first time in his career. Teammate Yanni Gourde set a franchise record for goals (25) and points (64) by a rookie. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos sat out the game with a lower-body injury but is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (100 points) secured home-ice advantage in the upcoming 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-0 shutout of the Ottawa Senators. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each collected two points while goaltender Casey DeSmith made 35 saves. The Penguins sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  For the first time in Crosby’s career, he played in every game during the regular season. 

Jakob Silfverberg scored a goal and set up two others as the Anaheim Ducks (99 points) downed the Dallas Stars 5-3 to take over third place in the Pacific Division.

If the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers end the season tied for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot, they’ll play a one-game play-in on Tuesday to determine which one qualifies for the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have 96 points with one game remaining while the Panthers have 92 points with two games left. The Flyers face the New York Rangers this afternoon. If they win that game or pick up a point in an overtime/shootout loss, they’ll clinch that playoff berth and the Panthers will be eliminated. 

Vancouver Canucks center Adam Gaudette is the winner of the 2018 Hobey Baker Award as the top player in NCAA Division 1 hockey.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has indicated his intent to retire at the end of this season. He spent 14 seasons in the NHL, 11 of those with the Blackhawks, helping them win three Stanley Cup titles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharp had a productive NHL career, tallying 20-or-more goals and 40-plus points eight times. Over the last two seasons, however, it was apparent that age and the wear-and-tear of his long career had taken a toll upon the 36-year-old winger. Best wishes to him in his future endeavors. 

SUN-SENTINEL: The NHL’s department of player safety has fined Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson $2,000.00 for diving.

NEW YORK TIMES: Jaromir Jagr isn’t ruling out a possible return to the NHL next season. Jagr began this season with the Calgary Flames but was released from his contract on Jan. 28 and returned to the Czech Republic to play for his hometown team Kladno. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr’s age (46) and his on-ice struggles with the Flames this season will scare off most clubs. An NHL return could depend on him swallowing his pride and accepting a professional tryout offer. 

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden once again calls upon NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to take action in the prevention of head injuries. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dryden is right that Bettman is the league’s central decision maker and could implement significant rule changes when it come to concussions and hits to the head. However, Bettman’s reluctance to do so could be tied to the lawsuit the NHL is currently embroiled in with former players who believe the league didn’t do enough to protect them from head injuries. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were saddened yesterday to learn of the death of 17-year-old Jonathan Pitre, the youngster who suffered from a rare, painful disease called epidermolysis bullosa. In 2014, the Senators signed Pitre to a contract making him a scout for a day. They also closely supported his fight against the disease. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Jonathan. My condolences to his family, friends and the Senators organization. 


Sometimes Great NHL Careers Simply…End

Sometimes Great NHL Careers Simply…End

Last week, the Calgary Flames parted ways with aging right wing Jaromir Jagr. The oft-injured 45-year-old passed through unconditional waivers and was loaned to HC Kladno (his hometown club) in the Czech Republic for the remainder of the regular season.

This move likely marks a disappointing end to Jagr’s 24-season NHL career. It’s not the finish his fans envisioned. Some pundits and bloggers feel Jagr deserved better.

But that’s the way most great NHL careers come to a close. Few get a long and emotional send-off like Wayne Gretzky or a storybook conclusion like Lanny McDonald. Most simply end with little or no fanfare.

A few years ago, Sportsnet’s Sean “Down Goes Brown” McIndoe (then writing for the late and dearly missed Grantland) listed “The Forgettable Final Years of 17 NHL Veterans.” The compilation includes such Hall of Famers as Darryl Sittler, Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Mats Sundin, Chris Chelios, Brian Leetch and Jarri Kurri. Were McIndoe to update that piece today, Jagr would likely join that listing.

Jagr’s amazing longevity and durability are worthy of admiration and appreciation. In the final half of his career, he played alongside and against players who idolized him as children. Over half of his Flames teammates weren’t even born when Jagr made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 1990. Heck, he was the last player standing from the classic “NHL 94” video game.

More than a little sentimentality was attached to the hopes of Jagr carrying on a little longer an an effective NHL player. After all, he was the last active link to the early 1990s, when the NHL product was more free-wheeling, colorful and full of regrettable hairstyle choices 

But time and the grind of nearly a quarter-century of professional hockey finally caught up with Jagr. Indeed, all that wear and tear was taking a toll last season with the Florida Panthers. After tallying 66 points in 79 games in 2015-16, he followed up with only 46 points in 82 games.

Before the Flames inked him last October to a one-year deal, some pundits and bloggers wondered if any NHL teams would take a chance on him. Given how this season panned out, it’s obvious now why so many of them didn’t.

It would’ve been a nice ending to Jagr’s career had he been able to do more than his aging body would allow. With 1,733 games-played, Jagr could’ve broken Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767. Maybe he would’ve moved up higher among the all-time top-10 playoff scorers

Sadly, that won’t happen now. While there’s a faint hope that he could return to the Flames if they reach the playoffs, they’ll likely go with younger players for the postseason.

It can be argued that Jagr made the mistake of hanging on too long. Despite the way his NHL career ended, he is still among the greatest players in NHL history. A certain first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, his accomplishments far overshadow his forgettable final year. 

Like those before him whose great careers came to a disappointing finish, Jagr’s last season will be overlooked by hockey fans. While his career didn’t get the Hollywood ending, his legacy as one of the NHL’s most dazzling stars remains secure.  


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2018

Three stars of the week, Jaromir Jagr clears waivers plus updates on Jonathan Quick, Brandon Dubinsky and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser, Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 28, 2018.

TSN: Calgary Flames winger Jaromir Jagr cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to his hometown team HC Kladno in the Czech Republic. The move appears to bring his NHL career to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans and pundits were disappointed that another NHL team didn’t pluck the 45-year-old Jagr off waivers. There’s a feeling that his Hall of Fame-worthy career deserved a better ending. But that’s the way life goes. Sure, we’d all love to see a great player ring down the curtain with a magical final season. In reality, almost all careers simply end, and sometimes in a disappointing manner. Don’t let that overshadow your memories of Jagr when he was at his best.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on injured reserve, but not for long (Photo via NHL Images).

 LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed goaltender Jonathan Quick (undisclosed injury) on injured reserve, but he isn’t expected to be sidelined for long.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:  Center Brandon Dubinsky is expected back in the Blue Jackets’ lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Dubinsky missed 18 games with a facial fracture. “He also hinted that the unspecified medical reasons he left the team last Tuesday in Las Vegas were related to more than the surgically repaired orbital bone of his left eye.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens come out of the All-Star weekend with three key players on the sidelines. Defenseman Shea Weber (foot injury) remains out with a foot injury with no timetable for his return. Center Phillip Danault is still suffering from a concussion while winger Andrew Shaw could miss four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you now to the Canadiens’ playoff hopes:


TSN: Calgary Flames winger Michael Frolik returns to the lineup today against the Vegas Golden Knights. Frolik miss 12 games with a jaw injury. 

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs’ blueline got some good news as defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (right foot injury) could return to action this week. 

ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE: Former NHL forward Brian Gionta will play for the AHL’s Rochester Americans on Friday as part of his tuneup for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders will play 60 games over the next three season in Nassau Coliseum. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The transition to life after hockey can be challenging for some former Oilers. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2018

Team Pacific wins All-Star tournament, Brock Boeser named MVP, Jaromir Jagr on waivers plus an update on Jacob Trouba and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell scored twice as the Pacific Division defeated the Atlantic Division 5-2 to win the 2018 NHL All-Star Game 3-on-3 tournament (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Rickard Rakell scored twice as Team Pacific downed Team Atlantic 5-2 to win the 3-on-3 tournament at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Brock Boeser was named All-Star MVP. The Atlantic Division reached the final thanks to a hat trick by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov in a 7-4 win over Team Metropolitan. 

TSN: New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle enjoyed his All-Star debut. The former Lightning forward received a warm welcome from the Tampa Bay fans.

Boyle was diagnosed earlier this season with chronic myeloid leukemia, which he’s been treating with medication. His two-year-old son Declan, meanwhile, is in a Boston hospital receiving treatment for “an arteriovenous malformation in his jaw.” Doctors have assured Boyle and his family that his son will be fine. Boyle’s wife Lauren encouraged him to take part in the All-Star tournament. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boyle’s story and Boeser’s All-Star debut were the notable narratives of this year’s All-Star weekend. Here’s hoping Boyle and his son continue to overcome their medical conditions. Boeser, meanwhile. proved he belonged among the NHL’s top talent. The youngster is the most exciting Canucks rookie since Pavel Bure made his debut in 1991-92.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames placed right wing Jaromir Jagr on waivers for the purpose of either terminating his contract or loaning him to HC Kladno, his hometown team in the Czech Republic. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Jagr’s impressive career, he’s been hampered by injuries this season. If unclaimed by noon ET today, his NHL career could finally be over. Time and the wear of tear of 23 NHL seasons (plus three more in the KHL) have finally caught up with the 45-year-old Jagr. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Flames, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no basis for a new arena deal with the city of Calgary anytime soon. Bettman and Flames ownership believe the city should contribute more to any future arena development, something the city strongly opposes. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba could be sidelined between six-to-eight weeks with a right-ankle injury. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel tallied his 700th career point in a 5-2 win over the NY Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

Game recaps, Phil Kessel reaches two scoring milestones, Andrew Cogliano’s ironman streak ends and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel reached two notable milestones as his club defeated the New York Rangers’ 5-2. Kessel picked up his 700th career point and reached the 20-goal plateau for the 10th consecutive season.

Penguins backup goaltender Tristan Jarry got his second straight start as Matt Murray tends to a personal matter. The Rangers, meanwhile, played without defenseman Ryan McDonagh (back spasms, day-to-day) and forward Kevin Hayes (leg contusion).

The Calgary Flames picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Dougie Hamilton scored twice for the Flames and goaltender Mike Smith made 38 saves.

Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho left the game following a borderline dangerous hit in the third period from Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, who was served with a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline. A further update on Aho’s condition is expected later today.  Before the game, the Flames announced winger Jaromir Jagr was placed on injured reserve

Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter scored in overtime to give his club a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. It was Sutter’s first game since being sidelined by a groin injury on Nov. 24. 

Petr Mrazek had a 27-save shutout performance as the Detroit Red Wings blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Wings rookie Tyler Bertuzzi tallied his first career NHL goal. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: A two-game suspension for interference brings Anaheim Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano’s 830-game ironman streak to an end. The punishment was a result of Cogliano’s hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Adrian Kempe during Saturday’s game. 

The Ducks also claimed forward J.T. Brown off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Phillip Danault left the hospital Sunday after taking a slapshot in the head by Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. No word as to how long he could be sidelined. 

CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected to return to action from an undisclosed injury following the club’s bye week. He suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers’ next game is Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.