NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals for the ninth time, the Golden Knights keep their playoff hopes alive while ending those of the Jets, the date for the 2022 Draft Lottery is revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including his 50th goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Shea Theodore tallied the winner in overtime for the Golden Knights (89 points), who moved within two points of the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Ovechkin, meanwhile, reached an important scoring milestone, joining Hall-of-Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only NHL players to score 50 goals in nine seasons. His Capitals are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 97 points but the Penguins still hold third place in the Metropolitan Division on the basis of regulation plus overtime wins.

The Golden Knights’ win over the Capitals officially eliminated the Winnipeg Jets from playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer raised eyebrows by replacing starting goaltender Robin Lehner with Logan Thompson following the first period with the score tied at one after he gave up just one goal on 13 shots. DeBoer claimed the move was made to shift the momentum during the game.

Connor McDavid scored and collected two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Dallas Stars 5-2. The Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with 96 points while the Stars failed to widen their lead over the Golden Knights. McDavid regained first place in the NHL scoring race with 113 points, two ahead of Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves as his club held on for a 3-2 upset of his former club, the Colorado Avalanche. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers picked up an assist to extend his points streak to four games. With the loss, the Avalanche drop to second place in the overall standings behind the Florida Panthers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beniers only has four games of NHL experience but he’s not looking out of place with the Kraken. The second-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft appears to be on his way toward a bright future in Seattle.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat’s 40th goal of the season was also the game-winner as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. The Coyotes have dropped eight in a row.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on May 10 at 6:30 PM ET, setting the order for the 16 teams that failed to qualify for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Central Scouting’s final rankings will be released on May 5 while the annual Scouting Combine is set for May 29 to June 4 in Buffalo.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the San Jose Sharks’ termination of his contract will require a second day. The date has yet to be determined.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s status remains “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. His right foot appeared to be in a boot cast during their recent annual team photograph.

The Penguins also announced Amanda Kessel will be joining their executive management program. Kessel, an Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey, is the sister of former Penguin and current Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark is expected to return to the lineup this weekend. He’s been sidelined since last Thursday with an upper-body injury. The Bruins are still waiting on sidelined winger David Pastrnak and defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

MLIVE.COM: Longtime Detroit Red Wings Zamboni driver Al Sobotka was reportedly fired because another employee caught him urinating into a drain used for ice runoff at Little Caesars Arena. He’s filed a lawsuit claiming he was discriminated against due to his age and disability.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

The Avalanche clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, the Flames, Blues and Bruins secure playoff berths, Kirill Kaprizov sets a new Wild scoring record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche secured the top seed in the Western Conference with 116 points by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4. Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher each scored twice while rookie forward Ben Meyers scored in his first NHL game. Jordan Staal scored twice for Carolina but left the game with an undisclosed injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. Hurricanes goaltender Frederic Andersen left the game in the third period with an apparent injury to his left leg. The Hurricanes remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had two goals and two assists in a 9-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Elias Lindholm had a goal and three assists for the Flames, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 101 points. They clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day following the Edmonton Oilers’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Speaking of the Oilers, they blanked the Golden Knights 4-0 with Mike Smith kicking out 39 shots for his second shutout in as many games. Kris Russell, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the goal scorers as the Oilers sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. The Golden Knights (87 points) sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

After blowing leads of 4-1 and 5-3, the St. Louis Blues bested the Minnesota Wild 6-5 on an overtime goal by Brayden Schenn to clinch a playoff berth. Schenn and teammate Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and two assists as the Blues hold second place in the Central Division with 100 points. Minnesota center Ryan Hartman scored twice and collected an assist while teammate Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 43rd goal to set a single-season franchise record. The Wild are one point back of the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Nick Leddy left the game after taking a stick near one of his eyes. He’ll be undergoing further evaluation. Meanwhile, Wild forward Tyson Jost suffered a lower-body injury and will miss today’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Boston Bruins secured a playoff berth by holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 thanks to early first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Erik Haula and a 23-save effort by goaltender Jeremy Swayman. With 97 points, they hold the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Danton Heinen replied for the Penguins, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points. Earlier in the day, they announced goalie Tristan Jarry is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have already clinched a playoff berth so Jarry’s absence won’t hurt them in that regard. However, this could be a problem if he’s still sidelined when the playoffs open in early May.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Alexis Lafreniere put the game out of reach with two third-period goals. The Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes with 104 points but the former holds first in the Metro division with 42 regulation wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. It was only his fourth match since missing 31 games with a wrist injury. On Friday, the club revealed winger Tyler Motte will be sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Mark Giordano gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Giordano finished the game with a goal and two assists while Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs (104 points) as they tied a franchise record with their 49th win of the season. They hold a four-point lead over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators played without Colin White as the 25-year-old center was placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

The Lightning, meanwhile, got four-point performances from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman to down the Winnipeg Jets 7-4. Kyle Connor tallied his 43rd goal of the season for the Jets, who sit 10 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets aren’t eliminated yet from the postseason chase but they’re on the brink.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars (91 points) maintained their grip on that final Western wild-card position by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Tyler Seguin and Michael Raffl scored for the Stars while Jake Oettinger made 23 saves for the win.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored his 20th goal of the season as his club held off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Juuse Saros picked up the win by stopping 28 shots while Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist. The Predators are tied with the Stars but they hold the first wild-card spot with 35 regulation wins.

The Los Angeles Kings strengthened their hold on third place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dustin Brown and Phillip Danault scored first-period goals and Jonathan Quick made 21 stops as the Kings sit three points ahead of the Golden Knights with 90 points and are four back of the Oilers.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 47th goal in an 8-4 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov each had four-point performances as the Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 94 points. Canadiens center Nick Suzuki reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Ryan Poehling tallied twice.

The Seattle Kraken got a shootout goal from Ryan Donato to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored his first NHL goal in his second game while Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves for the win.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and an assist while teammate Kyle Okposo netted his 20th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

Remembering the late Mike Bossy, Carey Price returns to action with the Canadiens, an independent report clears NHLPA of wrongdoing in Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COMMUNITY HONORS MIKE BOSSY

NHL.com: Hall-of-Fame scorer Mike Bossy passed away yesterday at age 65 of lung cancer. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the New York Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Bossy also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982 and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

New York Islanders hall-of-famer Mike Bossy (NHL.com).

Retiring in 1987, Bossy scored 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games, along with 85 goals and 160 points in 129 playoff games. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky as the only players to score 50 goals nine times but is the only one to do it in nine consecutive seasons.

Gretzky, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (who has eight 50-goal seasons) and former teammates Denis Potvin, Glenn “Chico” Resch and Bryan Trottier were among those in the NHL community paying tribute to Bossy as a player and a person.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bossy was the purest goal scorer I ever saw. Others may have tallied more career goals but only because a back injury cut short his career. His streak of nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are testament to his greatness.

Along with Potvin, Trottier, Billy Smith, Butch Goring and the late Clark Gillies, Bossy was instrumental in turning the Islanders into the last true Stanley Cup dynasty. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, former teammates, the Islanders organization and his broadcasting colleagues at TVA Sports.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carey Price returned to action for the first time since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final but he couldn’t prevent his Montreal Canadiens from being blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders. Price stopped 17 of 19 shots but Isles goaltender Ilya Sorokin stole the show with a 44-save performance. Zach Parise and Noah Dobson beat Price with Brock Nelson getting an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens honored Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence.

Price didn’t look too bad considering he’d been sidelined for nearly the entire season. He couldn’t be faulted for Parise’s 3-on-0 goal or Dobson’s screened wrister that beat him on the stick side. His teammates dominated much of the play through the first two periods. However, Sorokin was on top of his game in this contest, picking up his seventh shutout to tie a franchise single-season record.

The Florida Panthers picked up their ninth straight win by thumping the Winnipeg Jets 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau extended his points streak to 13 games with two goals and an assist. Claude Giroux collected three assists and Gustav Forsling scored twice as the Panthers (112 points) moved within two points of the first-overall Colorado Avalanche. Jets captain Blake Wheeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau now has 108 points and sits two behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in this season’s scoring race.

This loss could be the dagger in the heart of the Jets’ playoff hopes. They have 81 points with seven games remaining in their schedule, sitting eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the Stars holding a game in hand.

HEADLINES

TSN: An independent report into the NHLPA’s handling of the Kyle Beach investigation did not find any “individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure”. The Toronto law firm Cozen O’Connor was hired to investigate PA executive director Donald Fehr’s response to concerns raised by two player agents about former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s allegations he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Fehr denied any recollection he’s received a call from one of those agents. However, he didn’t deny the call may have happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was critical of the report’s findings. He pointed out Dr. Brian Shaw, a program administrator for the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, found Beach’s account to be a credible report of sexual assault. “After reading this passage, I don’t understand how anyone can claim there wasn’t any ‘systemic failure’ here,” writes Friedman.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche can clinch first place in the Western Conference with a win tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames get another chance to secure a playoff berth when they face the Arizona Coyotes. They sit atop the Pacific Division with 99 points.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat has been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after taking a shot off his left leg on Thursday against the Coyotes. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks when the schedule has ended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting five points out of a wild-card berth, the Canucks already face an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. Losing Horvat makes that pursuit more difficult.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brandon Carlo could be in the lineup after the defenseman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s game.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is being evaluated for a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with his teammates to Boston.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss this weekend’s games against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders due to an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach suffered a sprained right shoulder on Thursday. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract extension worth $900K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2022

Devils center Jack Hughes enters COVID protocol, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour considers the Panthers a juggernaut, the Wild look like Stanley Cup contenders, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

ESPN.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes was placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list after participating in the 2022 All-Star Game over the weekend.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how many other All-Star participants join Hughes on the protocol list.

SPORTSNET (via THE SCORE): Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour praised the Florida Panthers when asked about them during an interview on Friday. “That’s the juggernaut for me,” he said, commending the club’s management for the “great job” it did to construct the roster. “There’s no weaknesses,” said Brind’Amour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could get even better if they land a top-four, left-side defenseman before the March 21 trade deadline. Their only real weakness is the lack of playoff success. Perhaps that will change this year.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani points out the Minnesota Wild’s current record of 28 wins, 10 losses and three overtime losses is a franchise-best after 41 games. He cites several factors, including the one-two scoring punch of Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, that makes them legitimate Stanley Cup contenders this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild’s lack of experienced depth at center could hold them back, but there’s no question they’ve become a rising force since last season in the Western Conference.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW (via THE SCORE): Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke praised general manager Ron Hextall’s support of Tristan Jarry after the latter’s struggles during last year’s playoffs. Jarry is enjoying a bounce-back performance this season. He’s among this season’s top netminders and played in the 2022 All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall ignored calls to find a replacement for Jarry via trade or free agency last summer. Some observers still believe the Penguins should go shopping for a goalie but those calls are now for a reliable backup for Jarry.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks fired long-time Rockford Icehogs head athletic trainer D.J. Jones in November for sexual harassment that allegedly took place in 2014 but didn’t come to light until recently.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t find the words to describe my reaction to this story given everything about the Blackhawks organization that’s preceded this report. Disgust doesn’t seem sufficient to cover it.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are among the Canadian clubs that approached the NHL about playing some home games within the stringent rules in Ontario regarding large gatherings that are in place until March.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2021

Another multi-point game for Connor McDavid, the Sharks are unbeaten in four straight, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected two assists while Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each scored twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers captain has a league-leading 13 points in five games. Only Wayne Gretzky had more points (15) in franchise history over the same period to start a season. The Oilers sit atop the overall standings with a 5-0-0 record while the Golden Knights are 1-3-0.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

The San Jose Sharks pushed their season-opening win streak to four games (4-0-0) by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Logan Couture scored two goals and set up another while goalie Adin Hill made 30 saves for his third straight victory. The Leafs are 2-2-1 in their first five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks general manager Doug Wilson entered this season on the hot seat as his club missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. He was also criticized for his handling of Evander Kane’s off-ice issues. The Sharks will eventually lose some games but building on this impressive start will reduce the heat on Wilson.

A 35-save performance by Linus Ullmark backstopped the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their first loss of the season (3-1-0). Charlie Coyle had a goal and two assists while Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand chipped in two points. This was Ullmark’s first game against his former club.

An overtime goal by Denis Gurianov lifted the Dallas Stars over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists for the Stars. Kings captain Anze Kopitar tallied his sixth goal of the season and has scored in all four of his club’s games. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty left the game in the second period following a knee-on-knee hit by Stars blueliner Jani Hakanpaa, who received a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing. Doughty’s status remains unknown.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hakanpaa could receive supplemental discipline for what was a dirty hit on Doughty, who could end up missing significant time as a result.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks forward Max Jones will be sidelined between four and six months after suffering a torn pectoral tendon during Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry was removed from COVID protocol yesterday and rejoined his teammates in practice. Jarry had received a false positive test on Thursday.

SPORTSNET: Winger Alex Barre-Boulet was reclaimed off waiver by the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday. He was originally claimed by the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 11 and saw action in two games with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I look forward to his video tribute by the Kraken the next time those two clubs meet.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and its team of medical experts are currently debating the merits of testing asymptomatic players. This comes after several players, including Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifle and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed games due to a positive COVID-19 test despite being asymptomatic. That’s led to growing frustration among players and general managers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli speculates this could lead to changes to the protocol only to test players and team staff who show symptoms of COVID-19. However, he notes even the experts have split opinions on the matter.

The league and the NHLPA will meet on Nov. 1 to review the protocol. Given the 99.5 percent vaccination rate among players and staff and the strict rules on social distancing, it wouldn’t be surprising if the testing rules become adjusted.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2021

Check out the latest on Johnny Gaudreau and Claude Giroux plus Brian Burke addresses the Penguins’ offseason goalie trade speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported on the lack of a contract extension thus far for Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. He said it wasn’t for lack of trying as both sides talked numerous times during the offseason.

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

Gaudreau has publicly stated he wants to sign past this season with the Flames. LeBrun still believes that’s the case and hasn’t found any evidence to suggest the Gaudreau camp has cut contract talks. He felt the two sides will continue discussions but will keep them out of the public eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can expect Gaudreau’s name to surface in trade rumors if he’s still unsigned when the calendar flips to January 2022. We’ll likely hear a lot more about him as the March 21 trade deadline approaches of the Flames are out of playoff contention.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps recently reported Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke addressed offseason rumors that his club was shopping for another starting goalie. He said it would be false to say they never looked at another netminder but it wasn’t a priority and not something they went looking for. Burke also shot down offseason rumors linking the Penguins to Marc-Andre Fleury after he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke believes Penguins starter Tristan Jarry will have a big bounce-back season after his disappointing performance in last spring’s playoffs. If he doesn’t, however, the Penguins could start seriously seeking help between the pipes before the trade deadline.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By willingly, Morganti is referring to Giroux waiving his no-movement clause to accept a trade to Ottawa. That’s assuming he’s willing to go and the Senators want him. He’s not going anywhere as long as the Flyers are a playoff contender.