NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, referee Tim Peel will no longer work NHL games, the Lightning and Ducks makes a trade, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. A further evaluation of his condition is expected today. With 42 points, the Penguins sit two points behind the second-place Washington Capitals in the MassMutual East Division. The Sabres have dropped a league-record 15 straight games in the shootout era. It’s also a franchise record for the beleaguered club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point, I almost wish there was a mercy rule so the Sabres could just end their schedule today and start the rebuild process. It’s just so painful watching this club flounder through the remainder of a lost season.

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (NHL Images).

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp scored a career-high four goals to lead his club to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Bo Horvat returned to the Canucks lineup after leaving the previous game between the two clubs with a lower-body injury. The Jets (42 points) move into a three-way tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers with the Leafs holding first place in the Scotia North Division with a game in hand over the Jets and two on the Oilers. Meanwhile, the Canucks (35 points) remain two points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens, who hold six games in hand.

The Ottawa Senators staged their second straight upset of the Calgary Flames with a 3-1 victory on second-period goals by Josh Norris, Chris Tierney and Nikita Zaitsev. Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves for his second straight win. The Flames have dropped three straight and remain two points behind the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced winger Austin Watson (hand injury) will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the sidelined Canadiens hold games in hand, victories aren’t assured for them in what becomes a more compact, difficult schedule. The Canucks and Flames had golden opportunities to overtake the Habs in the standings. These recent losses could prove costly to their playoff hopes.

Jared Spurgeon scored twice and Ryan Suter collected his 600th career point as the Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2, handing the latter their 10th straight loss on home ice. With 41 points, the Wild sit two back of the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols. 

The San Jose Sharks got two goals from Evander Kane and a 42-save performance by Martin Jones to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game in the final minutes of the third period following a late hit by Kings forward Jeff Carter.

HEADLINES

The NHL yesterday announced referee Tim Peel will no longer be working games after he was got on a hot mic stating his desire to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators during Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peel wasn’t fired but simply relieved of his duties until his intended retirement following what was slated to be his final game on April 24. The incident has raised concerns from Predators players and from pundits over how games are managed by on-ice officials. Some observers believe this could be an opportunity for the league to address this issue but there’s no guarantee we’ll see significant change. The league could simply dismiss this incident as a one-off and move on.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Tampa Bay Lightning traded forward Alexander Volkov to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward prospect Antoine Morand and a seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois explained this move as a way of providing some short-term salary-cap flexibility and insurance against dressing only five defensemen in the event some of their blueliners suffer multiple short-term injuries. Volkov saw his ice time decline over the course of this season. Ducks GM Bob Murray believes he’ll benefit from a fresh start in Anaheim as the Ducks add more youthful talent.

NBC SPORTS: Bob McKenzie reports contract talks have started between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov’s representatives. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer. McKenzie suggests they could be working toward a mid-range deal of five or six years or possibly longer. A bridge contract might not work here because it’ll take Kaprizov up to his UFA eligibility age.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. There is no definitive timeline for his return.

STLTODAY.COM: Former Blues defenseman Bob Plager was killed yesterday in a traffic accident in St. Louis. He was 78. An original member of the Blues renowned for his hip checks, Plager spent 11 of his 14 seasons in St. Louis and three seasons before that with the New York Rangers, finishing his career with 146 points in 644 NHL games. He and his brothers Barclay and Bill skated for the Blues from 1967 to 1972. Plager was one of the most popular players in franchise history and among the most popular of their alumni.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former NHL linesman Swede Knox passed away on Monday from lung cancer at the age of 73. Knox worked 2,248 NHL games from 1972 to 2000, including five Stanley Cup Finals and one NHL All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Plager and Knox families, as well as their friends and former teammates and colleagues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s games, the stars of the week, plus updates on Patrik Laine, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mitch Marner scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. John Tavares also scored for the Leafs. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 35 shots. The Jets were also playing without winger Patrik Laine, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Leafs learned winger Nick Robertson will be out at least four weeks with a knee injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the Leafs’ most complete game of this young season after inconsistent defensive play dogged them in their previous contests.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their first win of the season by thumping the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar each scored twice while Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall each collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-earned victory by the Sabres, who blew the game wide open with a three-goal second period. Their dominating performance seemed to catch the Flyers off-guard.

Jake Allen made 25 saves in his Montreal Canadiens debut while rookie Alexander Romanov scored his first NHL goal in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Habs held Oilers stars Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goalless for the second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s steady performance is a reminder of why the Canadiens acquired him as Carey Price’s backup last summer. Expect to see Allen spelling off Price in more back-to-back games throughout this season.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had two points to lead the Calgary Flames over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves to pick up his second straight win over his former club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks dominated the first period, outshooting the Flames 16-4 but the latter turned the tables and changed the course of the game by outshooting the Canucks 20-3.

The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their first win of the season by hanging on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves, while third-period goals by Alexandre Texier and Pierre-Luc Dubois secured the win. Bobby Ryan scored both goals for the Wings, who played without Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne due to COVID-19 protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois only played one shift in the final seven minutes of the second period but head coach John Tortorella denied benching the center. Dubois has requested a trade so his lack of playing time in the middle frame was bound to raise some eyebrows.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 27-save shutout to blank the Boston Bruins 1-0. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the only goal as the Isles managed just 17 shots against Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game with what appeared to be an injured right shoulder. No update was provided on his status following the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are the league’s lowest-scoring club thus far with just three goals. They’re definitely feeling the absence of sidelined sniper David Pastrnak. They’re also missing the blue-line production of departed defenseman Torey Krug while winger Jake DeBrusk is off to a disappointing start.

Justin Faulk scored two goals, Mike Hoffman collected his first of the season and Jordan Kyrou tallied the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Logan Couture scored twice and collected an assist while Brent Burns had a goal and two assists.

The Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist. Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson also had a goal and an assist.

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson’s 34-save performance backstopped his club to their first win of the season in a 1-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild. Nicolas Deslauriers netted the game’s only goal.

The Vegas Golden Knights rallied past the Arizona Coyotes with four straight goals on route to a 4-2 victory. Reilly Smith scored twice in the third period, including a shorthanded goal. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes learned captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov, Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 17, 2021.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Winger Kasperi Kapanen has finally joined the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. A delay in processing his work visa and a mandatory seven-day quarantine period resulted in Kapanen missing training camp and the Penguins’ opening games of the season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Blake Coleman was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Michael Stone to a one-year, two-way contract. He’d attended Flames training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils claimed goaltender Aaron Dell off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.










COVID-19 Hits Stars, Blue Jackets in NHL Training Camps

COVID-19 Hits Stars, Blue Jackets in NHL Training Camps

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2021

Bruins name Patrice Bergeron their new captain, Corey Crawford remains absent from training camp, the Devils bring back Sami Vatanen, an update on Kasperi Kapanen and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins named Patrice Bergeron as their new captain yesterday. He takes over from Zdeno Chara, who signed last month with the Washington Capitals.

Patrice Bergeron is the new captain of the Boston Bruins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron was the natural choice to succeed Chara. He’s spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Bruins and is among the greatest players in franchise history.

ELITE SPORTS NEW YORK: Corey Crawford has yet to suit up for practice with the New Jersey Devils. He missed every on-ice practice/scrimmages for maintenance days and personal days. The 36-year-old goaltender signed a two-year, $7.8 million contract with the Devils last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford has had well-documented issues related to head trauma during his final seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. That could explain his absence thus far.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they signed free-agent defenseman Sami Vatanen to a one-year, $2 million contract. Vatanen spent the past three seasons with the Devils until traded to the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2020 NHL trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatanen will bring back some much-needed experience to the Devils’ defense corps. He’s taking a big pay cut from the $4.875 million annual average value of his previous contract. The 29-year-old blueliner will hope for a better payday this summer with the Devils or another club via the unrestricted free agent market.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen is expected to be granted a visa today and fly to Pittsburgh from Finland on Saturday. Because of his immigration issues, he’ll miss the Penguins’ season-opener on Wednesday as he’ll have to self-quarantine for seven days upon his arrival in the United States per league rules.

CAP FRIENDLY: indicates the Colorado Avalanche placed defenseman Josh Anderson on unconditional waivers for the purpose of contract termination. He was set to enter the final season of his entry-level contract.

OTTAWA SUN: The province of Ontario has officially given the green light to the Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs to play their home games in their own arenas for the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That leaves Manitoba to grant approval to the Jets to stage their home games in Winnipeg. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently indicated that the province is expected to give its blessing soon.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens will still be allowed to play their home games at the Bell Centre despite a curfew that went into effect on Wednesday for the province of Quebec.

NHL.COM: The league released its detailed arena restart health and safety protocols for the upcoming season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning named Dave Randorf as their new play-by-play announcer. He has over 30 years of broadcasting experience, including the past six seasons with Sportsnet.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have entered into a partnership agreement with the Nashville Predators to share AHL affiliation with the Chicago Wolves.










Several Players Already Declare Unfit to Participate In NHL Training Camps

Several Players Already Declare Unfit to Participate In NHL Training Camps

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2021

The NHL is planning two outdoor games at Lake Tahoe, plus the latest on Jack Eichel, Kasperi Kapanen, Andrew Shaw and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL is planning to stage two outdoor games at Edgewood Tahoe Resort at Lake Tahoe, Nevada during the upcoming season. The first would see the Colorado Avalanche face off against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20, followed the next day by the Philadelphia Flyers facing the Boston Bruins. Fans will not be in attendance.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel is listed as day-to-day (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said the NHL has been scouting locations to hold “natural wilderness” outdoor-weekend games this year. Since they cannot have fans in attendance owing to COVID-19, it makes sense to take the game closer to its roots for the television audience. As Friedman suggests, if it works out they could consider making such games an annual event.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel missed the opening day of training camp to an upper-body injury suffered during offseason training. He’s listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark missed practice while quarantining due to an immigration issue. He’s expected in camp in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres need a healthy Eichel if they hope to secure their first playoff berth in a decade. Being listed as day-to-day sounds like the injury isn’t serious. Having not seen any meaningful ice time with his teammates in nearly 10 months, the Sabres captain can’t afford to miss too much training-camp time.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen will miss the Jan. 3 start of training camp because of an immigration issue. The 24-year-old winger was acquired by the Penguins last August in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s expected to join his new teammate partway through camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen won’t have much time to get acquainted with his new teammates before the season begins. He’s reportedly still in Finland and will need a mandatory seven-day quarantine as per NHL rules and four non-positive COVID tests before he can join the Penguins in training camp.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith are both healthy and ready to join their teammates in training camp on Sunday. Both players missed considerable time last season with injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander all sidelined for months, the Blackhawks need all the help they can get up front.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is back on the ice with his teammates after missing all but eight games last season with a herniated disc. He worked with Filip Hronek as his defense partner and also skated with the Wings’ top power-play unit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A positive first step toward returning to action for DeKeyser. The rebuilding Wings will need him as they attempt to take a big leap forward in their overall development this season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Former Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis has joined the Jets on a professional tryout offer.