NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

Patrick Kane says he didn’t know anything about sexual assault allegations against the Blackhawks former video coach, the Canadiens will host the 2022 Draft, James Neal is among the latest PTO signings & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he has participated in the investigation into allegations the club’s former video coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010. The 32-year-old winger denied having any knowledge about the incidents at the time.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s remarks run counter to those of former teammate Nick Boynton, who claimed everyone knew about the incidents during an interview with the lawyers hired by the Blackhawks to investigate the allegations. “I said talk to Torch (former assistant coach John Torchetti). I called out Brian Campbell, and said talk to Patrick Sharp and talk to Kaner (Patrick Kane),” he told TSN on July 29.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The NHL announced Friday the 2022 Draft will be held in Montreal at the Bell Centre on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8. The 2020 Draft was originally scheduled to be held there but was instead conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first round will be on Thursday evening and rounds two through seven the following day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Returning to a live venue should significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for teams to make their selections. The recent virtual drafts saw teams take an inordinate amount of time selecting prospects, with each round taking much longer to complete.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced the signing of wingers James Neal and Michael Frolik to professional tryout contracts.

TORONTO SUN: Nikita Gusev was invited to Maple Leafs training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils inked center Fredrik Gauthier to a PTO.

SPORTSNET: Zack Smith is hanging up his skates after 12 NHL seasons, all but one with the Ottawa Senators from 2008-09 to 2018-19. He spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith, 33, tallied 98 goals and 204 points in 662 career regular-season games.

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

PHILLY.COM: Former NHL forward Lou Angotti passed away Thursday at age 83. He spent 10 seasons in the league from 1964-65 to 1973-74 with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. Angotti was the Flyers’ first-ever captain. He had 103 goals and 289 points in 653 career NHL contests. He also went on to coach the Blues for two seasons (1973-74 to 1974-75) and the Penguins in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Angotti’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2021

David Backes to retire with the Blues, the Blackhawks to honor Patrick Kane and three others later this season, the Rangers intend to name a captain this season, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: David Backes yesterday signed a one-day contract with the St. Louis Blues to officially retire as a member of the team. The 37-year-old forward spent the first 10 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Blues (2006-07 to 2015-16), five of those as team captain. He spent his final five seasons with the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks, playing his final NHL game on May 5.

David Backes during his tenure as St. Louis Blues captain (NHL.com).

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

Backes’ best seasons were with the Blues, exceeding 50 points five times. He was a key player in the club’s emergence from several seasons of rebuilding into a perennial playoff contender.

In his prime, Backes garnered a well-earned reputation as a versatile, physical two-way forward. Age and injuries hampered his performance during his final seasons. He finishes with 248 goals and 561 points in 965 career NHL regular-season games, as well as 39 points in 82 career playoff contests. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks announced they’ll honor Patrick Kane’s 1,000th career NHL game during a pregame ceremony on Oct. 21. Kane achieved that milestone last season without fans in the building. The club also intends to honored retired Blackhawks Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers general manager Chris Drury indicated his preference to name a team captain for the upcoming season. That role has been vacant since former captain Ryan McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017-18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larry Brooks listed veteran defenseman Jacob Trouba and 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox as potential candidates.

TSN: Historian and journalist Stan Fischler, former Philadelphia Flyers player, coach and executive Paul Holmgren, and former NHL player turned color commentator Peter McNab are this year’s inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. They’ll join the class of 2020 in an induction ceremony in December.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Fischler, Holmgren and McNab for this well-deserved honor for their contributions to hockey in the United States.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos bought a new home on Davis Island for $8.35 million. He sold his previous home in that area for $16 million.

THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said his club’s players and staff will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to start this season.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they and the Ottawa Senators continue to await word from the province of Ontario regarding a possible easing of restrictions on the number of fans allowed into their respective arenas to start this season.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars named former NHL goaltender Al Montoya as their new director of community outreach.

HITMENHOCKEY.COM: The Calgary Hitmen named former Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan as an assistant coach.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2021

North Division playoff matchups set plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Mika Zibanejad and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor Hellebucyk turned in a 24-save shutout and Blake Wheeler collected four points as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the Vancouver Canucks 5-0. With the win, the Jets secured third place in the Scotia North Division and will face the Edmonton Oilers in the opening round of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will meet in the other North Division first-round series.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

The Washington Capitals nipped the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Michael Raffl’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to action for the first time since May 3 after being sidelined by a lower-body injury. With 24 goals, it’s the first time Ovechkin hasn’t reached the 30-goal plateau in his NHL career. The next time the Capitals and Bruins face off will be Saturday in Game 1 of their opening-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin missed 11 games this season. Had he been healthy he would’ve reached 30 goals. With 730 career goals, he’s one shy of Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the all-time goals leader list.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane admitted he’s been dealing with an injury that nagged him since before last year’s playoffs. Kane didn’t reveal details but said he’s trying to figure it out and hopes it’s nothing serious. He doesn’t expect it to interfere with his offseason training but has been advised to take a little more time off the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a lower-body or core-muscle injury. While Kane did take time away from practices for maintenance days down the stretch, he finished with a team-leading 66 points in 56 games.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they signed forward Henrik Borgstrom to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. PuckPedia reports it’s worth an annual average value of $1 million.

NBC SPORTS: New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad admitted he struggled to regain his form following his bout with COVID-19 at the start of this season. He tallied just three goals in his first 27 games but rallied in the second half with 21 goals in the final 29 games. Zibanejad finished the season with 50 points.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: David McNab is stepping down as the Anaheim Ducks’ senior vice-president of hockey operations.










NHL Betting: Connor McDavid Cementing Hart Trophy Race

NHL Betting: Connor McDavid Cementing Hart Trophy Race

 










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2021

Musing over Nick Foligno’s next destination plus a look at some possible offseason moves by the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline expects Nick Foligno is only a rental player this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, pointing out their limited salary-cap space for next season. He said there was talk before the trade deadline of Foligno becoming the latest player to get moved at the deadline only to turn around in the offseason and sign with the club that traded him.

Could Nick Foligno return to the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer? (NHL Images)

The Minnesota Wild, however, could have an emotional pull for Foligno. His brother Marcus plays for the Wild, who were said to have an interest in Nick before the trade deadline. They could attempt to sign him this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno could return to Columbus, joins his brother in Minnesota or perhaps sign with a Stanley Cup contender. The Wild could be in a better position to offer him a better contract plus they appear closer to becoming a contender than the Blue Jackets right now.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently examined potential offseason moves by the San Jose Sharks. It’s possible most of their pending unrestricted free agents, including Patrick Marleau, won’t be back next season.

Marleau’s indicated he’d like to continue his NHL career but it might not make sense for the team or the 41-year-old forward, who still wants to chase the Stanley Cup. He could find it difficult signing with a contender. None were interested in his services at the trade deadline.

Most of the Sharks’ restricted free agents, including Ryan Donato, Noah Gregor, Rudolfs Balcers and Dylan Gambrell, could be re-signed.

Kurz believes it’s difficult to predict if the Sharks will protect all of their core high-salaried players in this summer’s expansion draft or if they’ll try to entice the Seattle Kraken to take one of them (Brent Burns? Evander Kane? Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Martin Jones?) off their current roster.

Don’t expect the Sharks to trade their first-round pick at the 2021 NHL Draft. They could, however, attempt to move up and acquire a second-round pick at the expense of moving down in the lower rounds.

It’ll be difficult for the Sharks to add via free agency with $63.6 million already invested in just nine players for 2021-22. Kurz anticipates they could target an established goaltender who can play No. 1 minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This NHL season could be Marleau’s last. While he deserves praise for breaking the NHL games-played record, he’s well past his prime. The fact no clubs made inquiries about him at the trade deadline speaks volumes about his value in this summer’s free-agent market.

General manager Doug Wilson could find it difficult enticing the Kraken into selecting one of his overpriced stars. Of those mentioned by Kurz, Vlasic is the only one with a no-movement clause. Kane’s well-documented financial troubles dampen his value as an expansion draft target.

Burns might be appealing if the Kraken wants to inject a bit of star power into their lineup. That’s assuming they’re comfortable with carrying the 36-year-old defenseman’s $8 million cap hit for the next four seasons.