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. 


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.