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. 


NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2018

James van Riemsdyk could be an expensive re-signing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Updates on James van Riemsdyk, Evander Kane, Rick Nash, Brock Nelson and more in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: NHL insider Darren Dreger appeared on Leafs Lunch yesterday discussing what it might cost the Toronto Maple Leafs to re-sign left wing James van Riemsdyk, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Noting colleague Bob McKenzie suggested it could take a five-year deal in the range of $6 million annually as the starting point in negotiations, Dreger believes JVR would take $6 million annually to stay with the Leafs on a six-year deal. He doesn’t think there’s been any serious contract talks between the two sides thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of van Riemsdyk’s UFA status, there’s some fan speculation suggesting the Leafs should shop him at the trade deadline for a top-four defenseman. While anything’s possible, I don’t believe they’ll go that route because they don’t want to sacrifice the offense van Riemsdyk gives them. They’ll stick with him for the remainder of the season and try to hammer out an agreement on a new contract before July 1. 


TSN: During Tuesday’s insider segment, Pierre LeBrun reported the Buffalo Sabres’ asking price (if they have their way) for pending UFA left wing Evander Kane “will be a first-round pick, plus a prospect, plus potentially a conditional pick in case he signs with that new team.” While there’s no firm timeline as to when the Sabres could move Kane, LeBrun suspects it’ll be near the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Sabres will wait until the days leading up to the deadline to move Kane in hopes of maximizing his trade value. Teams could be leery of parting with a first-round pick but a club looking at making a run for the Cup this season could go for it. Perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning could consider making a pitch? 

Darren Dreger reports most believe right wing Jaromir Jagr’s time with the Calgary Flames is drawing to a close, but he’s still being treated for an injury and he wants to be healthy before determining his playing future. The Flames could try to trade him but Dreger said it doesn’t appear as though there’s much of a market for Jagr’s services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I hate to say it but I think Jagr’s NHL playing days are over. I’ll be very surprised if he gets traded. 

Regarding the Chicago Blackhawks making Brent Seabrook a healthy scratch from Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators, LeBrun said this wasn’t about setting up a trade or that Seabrook’s days as a key member of the Blackhawks are coming to an end. He feels it was done to send a message to Seabrook and his teammates regarding their performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Blackhawks wanted to trade Seabrook, his hefty contract ($6.875 million annual average value through 2023-24 plus a no-movement clause) makes him almost impossible to move. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s a belief the Rangers could attempt to add a piece or two to offset the loss of Chris Kreider to potentially season-ending rib surgery. However, he calls upon management not to be deluded by their 22-15-15 record, citing the team’s lack of focus and intensity, defensive-zone deficiencies and the fact they’re being kept afloat by the goaltending tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Ondrej Pavelec.

Brooks believes they should be listening to offers on pending free agent winger Rick Nash. While the decline in Nash’s production hurts his trade value, Brooks suggests “it only takes two teams believing that No. 61 can be a missing link to a title in order to generate a bidding war.” While landing a first-round pick would be ideal, he suggests entertaining offers “including a second-rounder, plus.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash’s offensive decline screams “buyer beware”. Sure, the Rangers could listen to offers but I doubt they’ll get many serious ones. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson is “starting to creep out there” in the rumor mill. With defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Calvin de Haan sidelined, the Isles need blueline help. Friedman believes there will be interest in Nelson. He also wonders if the Isles might take a look at Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nelson, 26, reached 20 goals and 40 points in each of the last three seasons but he’s currently on pace for only 17 goals and 27 points. Still, I think he could be enticing for clubs with blueline depth seeking a second-line forward with good size who can play center or wing. As for Lehner, I don’t think the Sabres want to part with him. 

Friedman said there’s no shortage of people who believe Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson “will be better on a better, more structured team.” The Canucks, however, are trying to drive up his price.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat, Mike Heika was asked which big-name player on the Dallas Stars was most likely to be traded. While he doubts any of them will be moved this season, he suggests center Jason Spezza as a candidate.

While Spezza’s minutes have been reduced this season, Heika notes he has some control over a possible trade. He thinks the veteran center wants to stay in Dallas and help the Stars win. Unless the Stars fall apart down the stretch, Heika doesn’t believe they’ll become sellers at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza surfaced briefly in the rumor mill earlier this season. However, his age (34), declining production and contract ($7.5 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 with a modified no-trade clause) should ensure he finishes this season in Dallas. If the Stars become active in the trade market leading up to the deadline, it’ll be as buyers. 


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 7, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 7, 2018

Could the New York Islanders attempt to re-sign John Tavares by the trade deadline.

The latest on John Tavares, Jaromir Jagr, James Neal, Max Pacioretty and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s talk the New York Islanders are getting more nervous about the future of captain John Tavares, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July. It’s believes the Tavares camp isn’t interested in having contract talks during the season, “which doesn’t help if the Isles are listening to trade offers.” As long as the Islanders remain in playoff contention, Garrioch doubts Tavares is going anywhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with that assessment, but some believe otherwise, as you see further down in this compilation. 

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is shopping around for a forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Sharks could be in the market for a scoring winger. However, the play of young forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc could affect those plans. 

Garrioch reports there’s plenty of interest in Ottawa Senators forwards Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau while a few teams have expressed interest in defenseman Cody Ceci. However, he claims center Derick Brassard won’t be moved. The St. Louis Blues reportedly have interest in Hoffman and had a scout watching the Sens’ game against San Jose on Friday. Veteran blueliner Johnny Oduya could also be moved to a playoff contender by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

The Calgary Flames could release winger Jaromir Jagr, who’s been hampered by injuries and seeing a limited role with the club. There’s talks he could join the Czech National Team for the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics “but everybody is being tight-lipped.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (see below) has more info on Jagr’s status. 

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson is popping up in trade rumors. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July and could interest playoff contenders seeking blueline depth. “The Leafs, looking for a defenceman, got a first-hand look at Gudbranson on Saturday night, when the Canucks visited Air Canada Centre.”  Garrioch also said the Canucks are listening to offers for blueliner Ben Hutton.

Garrioch said it’s believed the Montreal Canadiens seek “a top forward and a No. 1 pick” for left wing Max Pacioretty. The Habs captain has only nine goals and 13 assists thus far this season, making it unlikely anyone will meet that asking price.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Calgary Flames and Jaromir Jagr are working out a way for the two sides to part company. Jagr, 4, signed a one-year, bonus-laden deal with the Flames but he’s been hampered by injuries and seeing reduced playing time. Jagr’s agent has been given permission to speak other clubs about a trade but so far there’s nothing in the works. Chris Johnston said sources said Jagr wants to maintain his NHL career and isn’t looking to join the Czech national team for the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr’s done a good job holding off Father Time, but it appears he’s finally caught up with the future Hall of Famer. I’ll be surprised if another club pursues him. Looks like his NHL playing career is winding down.  

Nick Kypreos reports there’s a buzz around the struggling Edmonton Oilers that there’s a feeling changes could be coming where it could cost somebody their job, though nothing’s imminent thus far. Kypreos said many people in the organization feel the shoe could drop between now and next Saturday. The Oilers suffered their seventh fourth-goal loss of the season by falling to the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If a change is made it could be a significant trade but I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’ll likely be a management shakeup or a coaching change. Whatever it is, I don’t believe it’ll be enough to save their playoff hopes for this season. 

Kypreos also reports contract talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and winger James Neal could start soon. Neal, who turns 31 in September, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Kypreos doubts Golden Knights general manager George McPhee wants to sign Neal to a seven- or eight-year deal but feels a four- or five-year deal might be possible, though the annual average value would be $6.5 million. Neal’s current cap hit is $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal’s leadership and veteran skills have factored the Golden Knights’ impressive NHL debut season. While a four- or five-year term is reasonable, $6.5 million annually for a player who might not have many more 20-goal seasons ahead of him would be a big gamble on McPhee’s part. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the myriad of on-ice issues plaguing the now-struggling New York Islanders “places a high alert on the John Tavares matter.” If the club doesn’t already have a deal in place with their pending UFA captain that they’re waiting to announce at a later date, Brooks believes they should set the Feb. 26 trade deadline as also the deadline for getting Tavares under contract. “This is a player who simply cannot be permitted to walk for free when a bounty could be expected in return for his rental rights.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: About a month ago, I was dismissive of the notion of the Islanders moving Tavares at the trade deadline. As long as they remain in the playoff chase, I don’t believe they’ll move him. But their recent decline, due largely to woeful goaltending and a porous defense, is very troubling and threatens their postseason hopes. It could also jeopardize their efforts to re-sign their captain. The more the Isles struggle in the coming weeks, the more Tavares will surface in the trade rumor mill. 

Brooks also reports the New York Rangers will not use the trade deadline as a deadline for getting pending UFA winger Michael Grabner under contract. Rangers management has spoken with Grabner’s agent Jerry Buckley but there’s been no contract negotiations. Buckley points out there’s time between the end of the playoffs and the July 1 start of free agency to discuss a new deal. Brooks speculates it could take a four-year, $14-million offer by the Rangers to keep Grabner in New York. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grabner’s currently early $1.65 million per season on his current contract. A pay raise to $3.5 million annually for four years would be quite a pay bump, but not unreasonable for a 30-year-old winger set to exceed 20 goals for the second straight season. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2017

Game recaps, injury and waiver updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and set up three others to lead the Washington Capitals to a 6-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (one goal, two assists) ended a 21-game goalless drought while teammate Tom Wilson scored twice, handing the Blackhawks their fifth consecutive loss. 

Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers collected their second straight win by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Flyers captain Claude Giroux picked up two assists. Meanwhile, Philadelphia defenseman Brandon Manning (right hand, wrist injury) will miss three-to-four weeks while goalie Michal Neuvirth will be sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury. 

Ryan Miller made 29 saves for his 40th career shutout and teammate Adam Henrique scored twice as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Ottawa Senators 3-0. The Sens have only one victory in their last 10 games.

William Nylander’s shootout goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory over the slumping Calgary Flames. Frederik Andersen made a season-high 47 saves for the Leafs, handing the Flames their third straight defeat. The Flames were playing without Jaromir Jagr (day-to-day) 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo will be sidelined for several weeks with a suspected groin injury. He could be out for up to eight weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers need backup James Reimer to be at his best if they harbor any hope of climbing back into the playoff race during Luongo’s absence. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin could return to action tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s been sidelined since Oct. 8. 

THE PROVINCE: Retired Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Dorsett said he was perhaps one hit away from suffering a catastrophic spinal injury. He underwent neck fusion surgery earlier this year and recently brought his playing career to an end after experiencing two neck bulges above and below the fusion. “If they got worse, they could have started pushing into my spinal cord,” he said. “It could have been bad. It could have been catastrophic.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorsett said he has to avoid contact and must continue rehab but he’s looking forward to living a healthy life. If he still wants a career in hockey, I’m sure there are options available in coaching, scouting or management. Here’s hoping he finds something to his liking. 

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed center Greg McKegg on waivers. 

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers signed goaltender Marek Mazanec to a one-year, two-way contract after he cleared waivers yesterday and assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Hartford. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes opened this season hoping to get offense from their defensemen. However, only three blueliners – Noah Hanifin, Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin – have goals this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this trend continues, Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis could be pressured into parting with one of his notable blueliners for a scoring forward. 

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL pest Sean Avery was slapped with a restraining order over a dispute with his mother-in-law. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2017

Game recaps, examinations of why scoring is up this season and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Radek Faksa tallied a natural hat trick and Ben Bishop turned in a 34-save shutout performance as the Dallas Stars blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0. It’s the first time the expansion Golden Knights have been held scoreless in a game. 

John Tavares and Anders Lee each collected a goal and an assists to give the New York Islanders a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Isles are the only team unbeaten at home in regulation (8-0-2) this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improved ice conditions at Barclays Center this season is contributing to the Isles strong home record. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy got his second shutout of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a two-game losing skid with a 2-0 blanking of the Buffalo Sabres. Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi scored for the Bolts as Vasilevskiy turned aside 34 shots. 

Denis Malgin’s goal late in the third period lifted the Florida Panthers to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists while Rangers forwards Chris Kreider, David Desharnais and Pavel Buchnevich had three-point performances. 

Logan Couture picked up two assists as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, handing the Flyers their ninth consecutive defeat. Sharks forward Jonas Donskoi left the game in the second period with a “mid- to lower-body injury” and didn’t return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers fans were calling upon general manager Ron Hextall to fire head coach Dave Hakstol but he doesn’t appear ready to make that move yet. Hextall feels the club is playing better than its record and praised the players for not pointing fingers of blame at each other. Still, the longer this slide continues the louder the calls for a coaching change from the Flyers faithful. 

Pekka Rinne made 37 saves backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Earlier in the day, the NHL department of player safety fined Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane $5.000.00 for slashing Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie during the Hawks 7-3 win over the Ducks on Monday. Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba received a similar fine for unsportsmanlike conduct during his club’s 7-2 loss to Winnipeg. 

Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed sidelined forward Andy Andreoff on injured reserve

Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist while Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the Jackets’ seventh victory in their last eight games. 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes sent defenseman Jakob Chychrun to their AHL affiliate for conditioning as he works his way back to action from offseason knee surgery. 

Frederik Andersen made 17 saves in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames. Andersen has now won seven of his last nine starts. Flames winger Jaromir Jagr missed the game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He could be sidelined two-to-four weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury and yesterday’s reports claiming the Pens are shopping defenseman Ian Cole has prompted some speculation they could be in the market for an established backup goalie. I’ll have more on this later this morning in the rumors section. 

BOSTON HERALD: Injuries continue to pile up for the battered Bruins as forwards David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk will miss tonight’s game against the Lightning. 

ESPN.COM: The crackdown on slashing and offensive zone draws are among several factors listed by Greg Wyshynski for why scoring is up this season in the NHL. 

THE ATHLETIC: Justin Bourne notes several teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, are beating the shot-blocking layers by employing their defensemen to set up redirect shots on goal. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2017

Game recaps, latest on Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Drouin, Robby Fabbri & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COMNick Shore’s overtime goal completed the comeback for the Los Angeles Kings as they rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. It was a rough contest marked with big hits and scrums.

Ducks forward Ondrej Kase left the game with an upper-body injury following a first-period hit by Kurtis MacDermid, who received a game misconduct. Goaltender John Gibson was forced from the game in the third period after his mask was knocked off by a shot.  Earlier in the day, the Ducks announced captain Ryan Getzlaf will be sidelined for two months following surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have been walloped by injuries and illness this season. Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves remain sidelined, while Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen only recently returned to the lineup. 

Charlie Lindgren picked up his second straight NHL victory with a 29-save performance as the Montreal Canadiens hung on for a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs have won three straight while the Golden Knights dropped five of their last six games. Habs center Jonathan Drouin left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Habs gaining some momentum since late-October they can ill afford to lose the creative Drouin for any length of time. 

Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and two assists to power the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Earlier in the day, Blues forward Robby Fabbri underwent another operation on his left knee. They’re hopeful of having him back in the lineup for next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two injuries to the same knee within a year could affect Fabbri’s performance when he return to the lineup. 

Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin also had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the hapless Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz also scored, returning to action for the first time since Oct. 24. 

Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist in his 900th career NHL game to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Jaromir Jagr made his return to the Flames lineup after missing six games with a groin injury. 

Pekka Rinne made 35 saves while Viktor Arvidsson and Miikka Salomaki each had two points as the Nashville Predators downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, spoiling the return of Cam Atkinson from injured reserve.

Connor McDavid scored in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers edged the New York Islanders 2-1. Former Oilers Jordan Eberle scored for the Isles. 

Evander Kane scored twice to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. 

Third-period goals by Derek Ryan and Justin Williams gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter their fifth consecutive defeat. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks will host the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium for the 2019 NHL Winter Classic.