NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

Vezina Trophy finalists announced, Caleb Jones admits testing positive for COVID-19, plus updates on David Pastrnak, Marc-Andre Fleury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy are the finalist for the 2020 Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goaltender as voted by NHL general managers.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is among the finalists for the 2020 Vezina Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask (2014) and Vasilevskiy (2019) won the Vezina before, while this is Hellebuyck’s second time as a finalist. Rask has the better stats of the three, but Hellebucyk led the league in shutouts (6) while carrying the Jets and their depth-depleted defense into the 2020 playoffs. That could be the determining factor in his favor.

LATEST TRAINING CAMP HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak’s agent said his client is in quarantine after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The Bruins winger tested negative for the coronavirus. That explains why he was held out of practice Thursday.

Pastrnak and teammate Ondrej Kase were following travel quarantine protocols after recently returning from the Czech Republic to attend training camp. The reason for Kase’s absence remains unknown.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones admitted he tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago when he returned to Edmonton from his off-season home in Dallas. He had no symptoms and self-quarantined for two weeks. He’s fine now and skating in Oilers’ practices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones is the second player known to have had the virus but the first to voluntarily admit it. Last month, the Toronto Sun reported Maple Leafs center Austin Matthews tested positive for COVID-19 over a month ago. He acknowledged it earlier this week.

The NHL is preventing teams from revealing the health status of its players during the return-to-play plan. Absent players are being listed as “unfit to play” or “unfit to participate” with no explanation.

Speaking of the Oilers, they and the mayor of Edmonton issued statements yesterday insisting the storm damage caused to part of Rogers Place arena on Thursday won’t derail plans to host Western Conference teams in the upcoming playoff tournament.

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury participated in training camp on Friday with his Vegas Golden Knights teammates for the first time this week. The club claims Fleury missed the opening days for “maintenance”, while head coach Peter DeBoer said the goaltender’s absence was not related to COVID-19.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Defensemen Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy joined Corey Crawford on the list of Blackhawks players deemed “unfit to play”. Blueliner Calvin de Haan missed his third straight practice dealing with a family emergency.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Cedric Paquette was listed as “unable to practice” on Friday. He was banged-up during practice on Wednesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Noah Juulsen is battling for a spot on the Canadiens roster after being sidelined since Nov. 19, 2018, with migraines related to head trauma. The 23-year-old defenseman got in some games with the Habs’ AHL farm team in Laval before the schedule was interrupted in March and claims he’s felt great since then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a while, there was concern Juulsen’s promising career could be over before it began. If he’s healthy he could be a valuable addition to the Canadiens blueline.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson declined to confirm a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming interim coach Bob Boughner signed a contract extension to become their permanent head coach. Dreger also cited a report claiming former AHL coach Rocky Thompson would join the Sharks staff as an assistant coach. Wilson said there’s been no decision yet on the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Wilson doesn’t like it when a reporter spoils his big reveal.

THE DENVER POST: Some promising news to report on former NHLer Kyle Quincey’s young son Axl. The 1-year-old appears on the road to recovery following his second brain surgery on June 9 to remove a tumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Axl and his family. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2019

The Hurricanes extend their franchise-record season-opening win streak while Dustin Byfuglien is no closer to a decision on his future. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes are off to their best start in franchise history, extending their season-opening win streak to five games by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist. Islanders center Brock Nelson also tallied a goal and an assist.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov helped his club defeat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Friday (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov (eight points) and Hamilton (seven) are the Hurricanes’ leading scorers entering this weekend.

Linus Ullmark made 41 saves and Casey Mittelstadt scored the winner in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Florida Panthers 3-2. Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons each collected two assists for the Sabres, who extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1). The Panthers, meanwhile, drop to 1-2-1.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their fourth win in five games by nipping the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Ryan Miller made 26 saves while Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, the Jackets placed winger Josh Anderson (upper-body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 5 and recalled left wing Markus Hannikainen.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: There’s no update from the Jets or the agent for Dustin Byfuglien on when the defenseman will return to action. Byfuglien’s been on a leave of absence since early September mulling his future. The club suspended him solely for salary-cap purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs. The longer he’s absent, however, the more speculation grows suggesting he’s leaning toward retirement.

CBS SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils placed defenseman Andy Greene (upper body) on injured reserve.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

Latest CBA news, updates on Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen, the Kings signed Ben Hutton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s encouraged by the collective bargaining discussions with the NHL Players Association. He’s hopeful of securing labor peace beyond the 2022 expiration of the current agreement and isn’t ruling out an extension. Bettman also expressed his happiness that the players opted not to reopen the CBA, which would’ve moved up the expiration timeline to Sept. 15, 2020.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports negotiations are ongoing. If all goes well, he speculated a tentative CBA extension could be in place within the next two months. He also reports Bettman dismissed the notion that the league might lack the urgency to push ahead with CBA talks now that the players declined to exercise its early opt-out. He also waved off the idea that he’s thinking about his legacy and didn’t want another work stoppage clouding his final years as commissioner.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports sources saying the NHLPA executive leadership favored reopening the CBA but they lacked sufficient support among the membership to do so, especially among the influential veterans in the 30-33 age bracket. The players were concerned taking the early opt-out would make the current amicable negotiations more contentious.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is please by the NHLPA’s decision not to re-open the CBA (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also reported the team owners haven’t been part of the negotiations with the players, who felt continuing talks directly with Bettman and league VP Bill Daly remains the best path. He also said the league’s desire for labor peace is very real, more so than at any point in his coverage of the league over the past 25 years.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine raised eyebrows when he appeared to complain to a Finnish reporter that he’d be a top-line player on other clubs. He spent most of last season on the Jets’ second line with center Bryan Little. “There are top lines and then there is our line. But I play with the guys I’m told to play,” he said. The 21-year-old restricted free agent remains mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is practicing with SC Bern in Switzerland.

THE SCORE: Jets captain Blake Wheeler said he didn’t have an issue with Laine’s remarks. “I would say those are all good things. You want guys that are hungry for more and not content with where he’s at,” said Wheeler, who praised the youngster’s skills and his contributions to the Jets’ power play.

Meanwhile, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is joining Laine with SC Bern. Like Laine, he’s yet to sign a new contract with his NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s latest comments fueled speculation over his future with the Jets. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings signed former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan took part in his first training-camp practice with the club. Traded to Chicago by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, de Haan has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and a nagging groin injury.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. With blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the move provides additional depth to the Hurricanes’ blue line.

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will consult a specialist for a second opinion regarding his ongoing headache issues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

Game recaps, hockey world lauds the late Ted Lindsay, stars of the week,  and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers scored three unanswered second-period goal to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The Oilers (65 points), who’ve won three straight games, are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth while the Sabres (68 points) have dropped eight of their last 10 and sit nine points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Ennis tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Oilers, winger Jesse Puljujarvi yesterday underwent successful hip surgery and is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in September. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe is expected to miss five-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. 

Tyler Ennis tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Mitch Marner reached the 80-point plateau for the first time as the Toronto Maple Leafs snuffed out the Calgary Flames 6-2. Marner also had a three-point performance while teammate Zach Hyman scored twice. With 86 points, the Leafs sit one behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. The Flames (89 points) remain atop the Western Conference standings. 

Tributes poured in yesterday celebrating the life and career of NHL Hall-of-Famer Ted Lindsay, who passed away yesterday at age 93. Lindsay was lauded by former players, coaches and executives for his remarkable career and his pioneering role in establishing a players’ union. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindsay was also a generous man away from the arena. Among my favorite stories was having the Red Wings pay for forward Jim Korn’s law school tuition, and his refusal to attend his own Hall of Fame induction in 1966 because wives and families weren’t invited, a policy that changed the following year. 

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler, and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 3. 

JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will not return this season as he continues to recover from a medical condition related to his vision. 

CBS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (upper body) is considered day-to-day. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have recalled defenseman Jason Demers from his AHL conditioning stint. 

TSN: Several potential rule tweaks are being discussed at this week’s NHL general managers meetings in Florida. Among them could be addressing outdated fines, allowing a team on the power-play to decide which side of the ice to take the faceoff and whether players should wear their helmets during pre-game warmups. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

Game recaps, rookie and three stars of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice and set up two others to lead his club to a 7-3 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Kane also collected his 900th career NHL point while teammate Brandon Saad also scored twice and Cam Ward made 40 saves. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger and Buffalo native Patrick Kane tallied his 900th career NHL point in a 7-3 win over the Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals and Filip Forsberg collected three assists. 

Victor Hedman scored in a shootout as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves while Isles netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 41 shots. 

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Nick Bjugstad, acquired earlier in the day by the Penguins in a trade with the Panthers, collected an assist. The Penguins also played without center Evgeni Malkin, who’ll miss at least two games with an upper-body injury

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s late third-period goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, snapping the Capitals seven-game losing skid. The Capitals played without team captain Alex Ovechkin, who served a one-game suspension for his decision not to participate in the recent NHL All-Star Game. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.  

Danny DeKeyser scored in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. During a pregame ceremony, the Wings honored Hall-of-Fame defenseman Red Kelly by retiring his No. 4

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Justin Faulk had a two-point performance, Petr Mrazek made 23 saves and winger Nino Niederreiter tallied his fifth goal in as many games since being traded to Carolina by the Minnesota Wild. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights placed Nick Holden (undisclosed) on injured reserve

Tyler Seguin scored twice in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were the NHL’s three stars for the month of January 2019

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for January 2019. 

TSN: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton has been playing hurt throughout this season. Coach Pete DeBoer said Thornton is close to getting fully healthy but isn’t there yet. 

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen is sidelined indefinitely due to a medical condition related to his vision. His agent dismissed a recent report claiming the injury was career-threatening, adding his client hopes to return to action later this season. The Canadiens expect he’ll make a full recovery. 










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.