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.










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.