Notable Former NHL Stars Still Awaiting Induction Into Hockey Hall of Fame
The league and several teams release statements against racism, Henrik Lundqvist talks about his future, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The league released a statement sharing the sentiment expressed by their teams and players calling for racial justice and speaking out against “racism, hatred, bigotry and violence.”
Statement from the National Hockey League: pic.twitter.com/F0AagVAg4e
— NHL (@NHL) June 1, 2020
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs released a statement on Twitter yesterday speaking out against racism. Leafs star Auston Matthews, whose mother is from Mexico, shared his thoughts on Twitter.
“As a Latino American it is impossible for me to understand and fathom what others endure,” Matthews said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones and who have endured pain and suffering due to hateful racist attitudes and beliefs. The world must unite not divide. We need to stand together in support of justice, love and peace for all. We need change.”
THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph hopes the protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis will lead to positive societal changes.
“It is not enough to be non-racist and events unfolding today have proven that. But violent protests are not the answers or a good way to be anti-racist … we need to focus on the solution. On making a change in the way we educate children.”
DKPITTSBURGHSPORTS.COM: Thirteen teams joined the league released statements yesterday addressing the nationwide protests and discussions over racial inequality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They include the Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, Washington Capitals, and Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane called upon white athletes last week to take a stand against racial injustice. It looks like his message was heard by the league and individual players, particularly given the protests unfolding across America. Over the weekend, Sharks captain Logan Couture and Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler also spoke out.
I daresay we’ll see more teams and players add their voices to a growing chorus of condemnation against racism, bigotry, and violence in society. Perhaps this also signals a significant step toward addressing those issues within the sport at every level.
NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist told a Swedish newspaper he believes he can still play a few more years in the NHL. The long-time Rangers starting goalie fell into a third-stringer role this season behind Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.
Lundqvist, 38, said he understood the situation but intends to fight for his place in the Rangers’ net. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer and there’s speculation the Rangers could buy out his contract. Lundqvist said he’s not thinking about that, focusing instead on his training.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist will have an opportunity to win back the starter’s job when his Rangers take part in the 24-team playoff tournament set for this summer. A strong performance should put to rest any talk of a contract buyout, perhaps instead sparking talk of Georgiev hitting the trade block.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones examines the economic benefits to the city of Edmonton if it’s selected as a host city for the playoff tournament, particularly in the Ice District section around Rogers Place.
TVA SPORTS: A Pittsburgh Penguins conditional first-round draft pick will be affected by the Penguins’ qualifying-series matchup against the Montreal Canadiens. The Penguins included a conditional first in the package they sent to the Minnesota Wild to acquire winger Jason Zucker in February. The Penguins could decide to hold onto their 2020 pick if they’re eliminated by the Canadiens, as it would be part of the eight placeholder picks in the 2020 draft lottery.
The Pittsburgh Penguins tonight traded right wing Phil Kessel, defenseman Dane Birks, and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After weeks of trade speculation surrounding Kessel, the Penguins finally find a team he was willing to waive his no-trade clause for. They also get themselves a decent return in the process.
Kessel, 32, is a point-per-game winger who helped the Penguins win consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. However, his rumored clashes with coach Mike Sullivan and sometimes difficult relationship with center Evgeni Malkin became issues as the Penguins struggled this season.
Some might question the Coyotes adding Kessel to their young lineup. However, they were reportedly among the clubs on his eight-team trade list. He also had a good relationship with Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet during the latter’s tenure with the Penguins.
The Coyotes need some experienced offensive skill, which Kessel can still provide. Playing for Tocchet with the Coyotes promising youngsters away from the harsh media spotlight could prove beneficial for the veteran sniper.
Birks, 23, played three seasons at Michigan Tech and his first full pro season in the ECHL. He’ll likely spend next season with the Coyotes’ farm team.
This is the second time in as many years Galchenyuk’s been traded. Last summer, he was shipped to the Coyotes by the Montreal Canadiens for Max Domi. In 72 games, the 25-year-old tallied 19 goals and 41 points this season. He’s a former 30-goal scorer who might reach those heights again skating with teammates like Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Joseph, 19, was also a nice addition by the Penguins. The former Charlottetown Islanders defenseman exceeded 45 points in the QMJHL for the second straight season. A first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 6’2″ Joseph is a mobile rearguard with solid offensive skills. He could blossom into a top-four d-man with the Penguins.
The Penguins also freed up valuable cap space. Kessel has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.8 million. Galchenyuk has one year left at $4.9 million and becomes a UFA next summer. This frees up $1.9 million for the Penguins, giving them over $5 million to invest in the free-agent market on Monday.
Game recaps, Corey Crawford sidelined by a concussion, Marc-Andre Fleury reaches another milestone, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brent Burns collected three assists as the San Jose Sharks downed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 16 saves in relief of Martin Jones, who was pulled after giving up three goals on four shots. It was a costly loss for the Blackhawks as goalie Corey Crawford left the game in the first period after suffering a concussion following a collision in the crease. There’s no timetable yet for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As if things couldn’t get any worse for the floundering Blackhawks, they lose their starting goaltender to another head injury. Crawford missed half of 2017-18 to a suspected concussion. Another lengthy absence could seal the Blackhawks’ fate this season.
Alex Tuch scored in overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the New York Rangers 4-3. Golden Knight goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 423rd career victory to move into a tie with Tony Esposito for ninth on the all-time wins list. Kevin Hayes collected there assists for the Rangers, who have dropped three straight games. Earlier in the day, the Rangers announced winger Jesper Fast will miss two-to-four weeks with a suspected shoulder injury.
Mark Scheifele’s overtime goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend their winning streak to five games while snapping the Lightning’s win streak at eight games. Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers (two goals) each had a three-point night.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the best game of the night, as two of the league’s top teams went back and forth in an entertaining contest. This could be a preview of a potential 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
A four-goal first period powered the Calgary Flames to a 7-2 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Johnny Gaudreau and Alan Quine each scored twice for the Flames, who chased Blues goalie Jake Allen from the game after he gave up four goals on 16 shots. Earlier in the day, the Flames activated Mikael Backlund off injured reserve and recalled forward Kerby Rychel.
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel had a hand in all of his club’s goals in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Eichel scored twice and added two assists while linemate Jeff Skinner also scored twice, including the game-winner.
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser scored and set up two others as his club doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek kicked out 23 shots to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 3-0. Calvin de Haan had two assists.
Game recaps plus the latest on Braden Holtby, Brock Boeser, Nino Niederreiter and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby opened the scoring in the first period and ended it with a dazzling overtime goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in the night’s most-hyped matchup. Patric Hornqvist and Jamie Oleksiak also scored twice for the Penguins, as did Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson for the Oilers. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid added a goal and an assist.
Mika Zibanejad matched a career high with four points and Mats Zuccarello scored twice to give the New York Rangers a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Christian Fischer tallied his first career hat trick while Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves as the Arizona Coyotes picked up their third win of the season with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Derek Stepan also collected three assists.
David Pastrnak enjoyed a four-point performance and Tuukka Rask kicked out 38 shots in the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron picked up three points in this contest. Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen left the game in the first period after he “took a hit to the head in front of the Sens’ net from Mark Borowiecki” and didn’t return.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 21 saves to pick up his 289th career win as his club edged the Calgary Flames 3-2. Price is tied with Patrick Roy for second on the Canadiens’ all-time wins list.
Three unanswered third-period goals powered the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators, snapping the latter’s five-game winning streak. Brent Burns had a goal and two assists for the Sharks.
The Dallas Stars snapped a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Jason Spezza and John Klingberg each collected a goal and an assist for the Stars, who were playing without Alexander Radulov as he remains sidelined by a lower-body injury.
Brandon Saad tallied his first two goals of the season and Corey Crawford turned aside 24 shots as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Anaheim Ducks 3-1.
NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby believes his struggles last season through February and March were tied to the NHL’s changing culture and its focus on offense over physical play. Taking time to evaluate his performance helped him regain his form in the 2018 playoffs.
CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.
THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau believes Nino Niederreiter has lost a bit of confidence in the early going this season but believes the winger will soon regain his scoring touch. Niederreiter usually gets off to a slow start but rounds into scoring form in November.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser is listed as day-to-day with a groin problem.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed Ben Lovejoy (lower body) and Drew Stafford (upper body) on injured reserve.
CBC.CA: Former NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph reveals he was neglected as a child in his upcoming autobiography “Cujo — The Untold Story Of My Life On And Off The Ice.” “I had a weird life,” he writes. “Two moms, three dads and I grew up in a home full of mentally ill patients run by a crazy person. The last thing anybody expected was that I would someday make a living playing hockey.”
If you think scoring is up early in the NHL season, you’re correct, but barely.
Per NHL Stats, the average goals per game (including shootout deciding goals) so far this season is 6.21 (751 in 121 GP).
The average goals per game during October 2017 was 6.19 (1,115 in 180 GP).
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) October 23, 2018