NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2021

The Golden Knights defeat the Kraken while the Penguins upset the Lightning as the puck drops on the 2021-22 season. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A tie-breaking goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken in the latter’s first-ever NHL regular-season game. Max Pacioretty scored twice and Robin Lehner made 28 saves for Vegas, who blew a 3-0 lead as the Kraken rallied on goals by Ryan Donato (the first in franchise history), Jared McCann and Morgan Geekie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken were expected to have a strong defense but they look shaky while their offense acquitted themselves well in this contest. McCann, Joonas Donskoi, Marcus Johanssen and Jamie Oleksiak had entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Monday but were cleared to play in this game.

Kris Letang collected two assists and Tristan Jarry made 26 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. Danton Heinen and Brian Boyle scored in their debuts with the Penguins. Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli replied for the Lightning, who raised their 2020-21 Stanley Cup banner in a pre-game ceremony.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning were flat throughout this game, outshot 35-28 by a Penguins team skating without scoring stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel. The Bolts certainly missed former third-liners Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, who departed this summer via expansion draft, free agency and trade.

It was nice seeing Boyle score in his first NHL game since 2019-20. He missed all of last season as an unsigned free agent and earned a spot on the Penguins following a professional tryout offer.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed center Nick Suzuki to an eight-year, $63 million contract extension. The annual average value is $7.875 million, making him the highest-paid forward on the roster.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers questioned the Canadiens signing Suzuki to such a hefty raise after just two consecutive 41-point performances. Anyone who watched his performance in the 2021 playoffs will understand the rationale behind this contract. The 22-year-old Suzuki blossomed into a reliable first-line center, playing a solid game at both ends of the rink.

Suzuki was scoring at a higher rate last season than in his rookie campaign. His 41 points in 56 games last season prorates to 60 points in an 82-game season. Should he reach or exceed that point total this season he would’ve been in a better position next summer to seek a more lucrative deal. The Canadiens now have Suzuki locked in through what should be his prime playing years at what could prove to be a cost-effective long-term contract.

Cap Friendly shows the Canadiens sitting at $84.88 million in projected cap space for 13 players in 2022-23, well above the projected $82 million for next season. They could get over $7.8 million in relief if Shea Weber ends up on permanent long-term injury reserve. Even then, however, they won’t have much cap space to fill out the rest of their roster.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss their season-opener tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s reportedly asymptomatic and feeling good. His earliest possible return is Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL announced just four players remain unvaccinated. Nevertheless, MacKinnon’s case shows why the league has implemented strict protocols for this season for even its fully vaccinated players.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (hip injury) was placed on long-term injury. Though he skated yesterday for the first time as he rehabs his injury, he will miss at least the first 10 games of the season. Meanwhile, team captain Alex Ovechkin remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury but took to the ice for the club’s optional skate on Tuesday.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Speaking of Ovechkin and Backstrom, they starred in a new commercial for MassMutual.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a funny commercial with Backstrom in a brief but memorable scene-stealing role.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner left practice yesterday as a precautionary measure following a collision with Wayne Simmonds. He’ll be re-evaluated today.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defensemen Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen have missed several recent practices for “maintenance days.” That’s raising some concern over whether they’ll be in the lineup for their season opener on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET 590’s Nick Kypreos took to Twitter reporting the NHL could be leaning toward suspending San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane under supplementary discipline as per Section 18-18a of the CBA. After serving a set number of games he could be cleared to resume his career. Meanwhile, Cap Friendly reports Kane’s $7 million cap hit currently doesn’t count against the Sharks cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is currently under two league investigations regarding allegations of spousal abuse and using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets named Boone Jenner as their new captain.

WGR 550: Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons will split the captaincy of the Buffalo Sabres this season.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov refused assignment to their AHL affiliate in Hartford and could face suspension. His agent has also been given permission to speak to other teams to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov was projected as a potential third-line winger this season for the Rangers. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed Alex Chiasson to a one-year, $750K contract. He earned a roster spot following a professional tryout offer.

THE ATHLETIC: The NHL set the escrow rate on players’ contracts at 17.2 percent for 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is in line with the rates set in the CBA extension last year. The players owe the owners close to $1 billion as a result of the impact of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2021

A franchise record for Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell, hat tricks for Leon Draisaitl and Kevin Fiala, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Jack Campbell set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win to hold off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Campbell made 32 saves while teammate Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 28th goal of the season. Corey Perry scored twice for the Canadiens. The Leafs moved into first place in the league’s overall standings with 58 points as they hold a seven-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first in the Scotia North Division. The Canadiens remain in fourth with 43 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

The Oilers, meanwhile, doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2 thanks to Leon Draisaitl’s hat trick. Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (three assists) each finished with four points on the night. The Oilers (50 points) hold a one-point lead over the third-place Winnipeg Jets.

A hat trick by Kevin Fiala (the first of his NHL career) powered the Minnesota Wild to an 8-3 drubbing of the Colorado Avalanche. Fiala finished with four points while Wild rookies Kirill Kapizov scored twice and collected an assist while Victor Rask and Jared Spurgeon each had three helpers. The Wild (50 points) snapped the Avalanche’s 15-game points streak and moved within two points of the second-place Vegas Golden Knights (52 points) in the Honda West Division.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 3-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues and remain four points back of the first-place Avalanche. Jordan Binnington made 50 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko netted his third goal of the season as the Blues (40 points) snapped a seven-game winless skid to move two points ahead of the San Jose Sharks into fifth place.

A three-goal outburst in the third period rallied the Los Angeles Kings over the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Coyotes remain in fourth place in the West with 43 points.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have 21 players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. As the cases spread among the team, the NHL remains committed to having the team complete its schedule. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has a plan in place to allow the Canucks to complete the season.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise played his first game last night since March 22 after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s not fully convinced he had the coronavirus as he didn’t feel any symptoms.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars coach Rick Bowness rejoined his team in Chicago after a false positive COVID-19 test forced him into quarantine for the past two games.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger William Nylander was held out of last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens as a precaution after coming in contact with a potential positive COVID-19 case from outside the team.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher has been placed on long-term injury reserve as he’s expected to be sidelined at least six weeks with a fractured thumb.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will allow the Canadiens to exceed the cap by almost the equivalent of Gallagher’s $3.75 million cap hit if they decide to acquire another player before the 3 pm ET trade deadline on Monday.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler has been sidelined indefinitely by a concussion. It’s believed he suffered the injury after being elbowed in the head by Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk during Monday’s game between the Jets and Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big loss for the Jets. Wheeler usually skates at right wing on their top line though of late he’s also played on their second line. He’s fourth among their scorers with 10 goals and 32 points.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner is out for six weeks with a broken finger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A significant blow for the struggling Blue Jackets as they try to stay in playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. Jenner’s a big, hard-working forward who can play center or wing. They’ll miss his energy and physical game.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Mike Hoffman was a healthy scratch from last night’s game against the Golden Knights. Head coach Craig Berube denied it has anything to do with his trade status, claiming it was his decision to put Sammy Blais into the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman’s come up in recent days as a trade candidate with the Blues’ playoff hopes fading. He could be playing elsewhere by Monday’s deadline.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks purchased AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs and signed a new 15-year lease with the club’s arena.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2019

Game recaps, including milestone nights for Evgeni Malkin, Carey Price, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Johnny Gaudreau, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin collected two assists for his 1,000th career point as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Washington Capitals 5-3. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also became the only active player with six 90-point seasons on his resume.  Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had an assist to reach 1,200 career points. The Penguins (85 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin tallied his 1,000th career NHL point in a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price picked up his franchise-record 315th win as his club defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Price passed Hall-of-Famer Jacques Plante, whose record stood for nearly 56 years. The Canadiens (81 points) sit just outside the Eastern wild-card picture. 

The Calgary Flames erupted with six third-period goals to crush the New Jersey Devils 9-4. Johnny Gaudreau led the way with six points, including a hat trick, while Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm each collected four points. Gaudreau becomes the sixth player in franchise history to tally six points in a game. 

A goal by Joe Pavelski with five seconds remaining in regulation lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Gustav Nyquist scored twice and Marc-Edouard Vlasic collected three points for the Sharks (94 points), who maintain a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the top spot in the Western Conference. 

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop picked up his third straight shutout backstopping his club to a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. With the win, the Stars (77 points) maintain their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop is also playing his way into this season’s Vezina Trophy conversation. He leads the league in save percentage (.932), sits second in goals-against average (2.08), and is tied for second in shutouts with six. 

Boone Jenner tallied his first NHL hat trick while Josh Anderson and Zach Werenski each collected four points to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-4 victory over the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins. The Blue Jackets (81 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. 

Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as the Arizona Coyotes held off the St. Louis Blues 3-1. With the win, the Coyotes (75 points) vaulted over the Minnesota Wild into the final Western Conference wild-card spot, having won nine of their last 11 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers have garnered most of the attention with their surges up the standings in recent weeks, the Coyotes have also been among the hottest teams in the league since early-January. They’re also doing it with an injury-depleted roster. 

John Gibson made 32 stops as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. 

TORONTO SUN: The NHL has determined that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly did not utter a homophobic slur during Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Some on social media accused Rielly of making the remark against referee Brad Meier. 

NEWSOBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan is expected to recover from an eye injury suffered during Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. “We are optimistic that he will make a normal recovery without restrictions to his ability to play hockey in the near future,” said general manager Don Waddell. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers trade Cam Talbot to Flyers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nino Niederreiter scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. The victory moves the surging Hurricanes (66 points) within one point of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

The Edmonton Oilers traded goalie Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images).

Following the game, the Oilers traded goaltender Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for goaltender Anthony Stolarz. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers and Flyers were discussing this deal since Thursday. The move clears Talbot’s $4.16-million annual average value from the Oilers’ salary-cap payroll to make room for defenseman Andrej Sekera, who’s returning to action after missing most of this season to injury.

The Flyers get an opportunity to see if Talbot, who’s friends with Carter Hart, can make a good backup and mentor for the young rookie netminder. If he works out, the Flyers will probably re-sign him to provide additional stability between the pipes. 

The Buffalo Sabres failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings, falling 6-2 to the New York Rangers. Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice and set up another for the Rangers. The Sabres (63 points) remain four points out of a wild-card berth. 

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider picked up his first win since Dec. 27, 2017, in a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Nico Hischier tallied the winner in overtime as the Devils overcame a three-goal deficit. The Wild (60 points) are clinging to the final Western Conference playoff spot, sitting one point up on the Vancouver Caucks. 

Jaroslav Halak turned in a 30-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed Brian Gibbons on waivers

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz has been activated off injured reserve and could play this afternoon against the Calgary Flames. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner has suffered a minor injury and won’t travel with the club for today’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have called up defenseman Luke Schenn from their AHL affiliate in Utica. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Joe Morrow is sidelined two-to-three weeks with a lower-body injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins. Travis Sanheim tallied the winner and also picked up an assist. David Pastrnak scored both Bruins goals. 

Mika Zibanejad’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Mike Zibanejad’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mats Zuccarello collected three assists for the Rangers, who’ve won five of their last seven contests. Earlier in the day, the Rangers revealed center Brett Howden will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a sprained MCL. 

Third-period goals by Jack Roslovic and Kyle Connor lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets were playing without Cam Atkinson, who was a late scratch after being struck in the face by a puck during warmups. Earlier in the day, the Jackets revealed center Boone Jenner will miss one-to-three weeks with an infected laceration on his ankle.  Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (lower-body injury) is now listed as day-to-day. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 29. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry could make his season debut on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. He’s been sidelined for four months recovering from surgery on his right knee. 

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom suffered an apparent setback in his recovery from a broken left finger after being struck on the injured hand during practice. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger David Perron (upper-body injury) was placed on injured reserve. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Tyler Pitlick (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for two more weeks.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will neither confirm or deny a report claiming defenseman Noah Juulsen may have suffered a career-threatening eye injury. He was struck in the face by a puck during a Nov. 19 game against Washington and his last game was with their AHL farm team on Dec. 27. The club will only confirm he has an upper-body injury that requires rest and is not a concussion.  

TSN: The Florida Panthers placed forward Jamie McGinn on waivers. 

CBC.CA: Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield defended NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire from social media backlash for “mansplaining” hockey to Coyne Schofield. The incident occurred during her appearance with McGuire as a guest analyst in Wednesday’s contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. 

“I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that’s why I didn’t think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened,” said Coyne Schofield. Nevertheless, she added, “If I were watching it at home and saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended.”

McGuire also issued a statement apologizing for his remarks. “At times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better.”

THE SCORE: Antoine Vermette yesterday announced his retirement after 14 NHL seasons. In 1,046 games with the Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks, Vermette scored 228 goals and 287 assists for 515 points, along with 14 goals and 28 points in 97 playoff games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2015. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Vermette and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2018

Will the Flyers pursue Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky? Are the Bruins planning to make a trade? Find out in today’s edition of the NHL rumor mill.

LATEST BOBROVSKY SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports there are “whispers’ the Philadelphia Flyers could take a run at bringing back Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky via next summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Bobrovsky began his NHL career with the Flyers, who traded him to the Jackets in 2012. Since his departure there’s been a revolving door of goalies in the Flyers’ crease, with none capable of providing stability between the pipes.

NBC SPORTS: Tom Dougherty offers up his take on Johnston’s reports. He points out reports from this summer claiming Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, could seek a contract comparable to the eight-year, $84-million deal of Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price.

Bobrovsky would certainly address the Flyers’ immediate need for a quality starter, and they have the cap space and drive to pursue him, but Dougherty believes term would be an issue. He suggests a five-year deal would be suitable, as it wouldn’t block the development of promising Carter Hart.

Will the Philadelphia Flyers attempt to bring back goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky next summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring another opening-round playoff meltdown by Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets will probably keep trying to re-sign him up to July 1. If he hits the open market I expect the Flyers will pursue him, but they won’t be the only ones. If they’re unwilling to go beyond five years and $10 million per season, Bobrovsky could look elsewhere.

UPDATES ON THE BRUINS

BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently reported injuries to several key players (including Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller) explains why team president Cam Neely isn’t itching to make a roster-changing move at this time. They could use a top-six winger and an experienced third-line center. For now, they’ll continue looking for solutions from within until the roster becomes healthier. 

NBC SPORTS: During a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty was asked if Columbus Blue Jackets winger Boone Jenner would address the Bruins need for “a big, strong, mean power forward”. While acknowledging Jenner could be good with the Bruins, Haggerty still believes Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds would be a better fit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty really wants to see Simmonds in a Bruins jersey. The Flyers’ winger will become a UFA in July and there’s no certainty he’ll be re-signed. So far, there’s no indication the Bruins are interested in Simmonds, who will prove attractive for playoff contenders in need of some additional toughness and two-way skill up front.