NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2022

The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights on Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo, the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the lead in the scoring race and much more from a busy night of action in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres spoiled Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Eichel was held scoreless while Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch (the two players he was traded for) each tallied a goal for the Sabres. It was a milestone game for Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson as he made 30 saves for his 300th career NHL victory. The loss leaves the Golden Knights in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel fired a shot at Sabres fans following the game as he received a mixed reaction from the Buffalo crowd. “That’s about the loudest I’ve heard this place, ever,” he said. “It only took seven years and me leaving for them to get into the game.”

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad each collected four assists and Sam Reinhart netted a hat trick as the Florida Panthers dropped the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Huberdeau broke his own franchise single-season record by picking up his 64th assist and vaulted over the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid into first place in the scoring race with 82 points. With 85 points, the Panthers move into a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first overall in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got a 36-save shutout by Antti Raanta to blank the Colorado Avalanche 2-0. Ethan Bear and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers as the Hurricanes sit two points behind the first-place Avalanche in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog could face supplemental discipline from the league for criticizing the officiating during and following the game after receiving a misconduct penalty in the final minute.

Johnny Gaudreau tallied a hat trick to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rasmus Andersson collected two assists while Jacob Markstrom got the win by stopping 30 shots. The Flames sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 77 points, five up on the second-place Los Angeles Kings. The Lightning (80 points) sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau banked two of his goals in off the back of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s enjoying a fine performance in a contract year and is a big reason behind the Flames’ improvement this season.

The Leafs, meanwhile, dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Arizona Coyotes. The Leafs overcame 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to force the extra frame. Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored the winner but it was controversial as he got away with a blatant hold on the stick of Leafs center Auston Matthews moments before. Chychrun finished the night with two goals, Matthews tallied his league-leading 44th goal of the season while Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot had three points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek was terrible, getting the hook after giving up four goals on 12 shots, with three of those while he was out of position. Erik Kallgren made 10 saves but gave up the overtime goal. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced starter Jack Campbell will miss two weeks with a rib injury.

A late goal by David Pastrnak lifted the Boston Bruins over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Pastrnak had two goals on the night while Brandon Hagel tallied twice for Chicago. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane collected an assist to tie Bobby Hull for second place among the franchise’s all-time scoring leaders with 1,153 points. With 75 points, the Bruins hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas scored twice as his club downed the New York Rangers 6-2, chasing Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin after he gave up four goals on 17 shots. Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou each collected two points for the Blues (73 points) as they hold a two-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division. The Rangers remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.

The Wild, meanwhile, got shootout goals by Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala in a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Boldy scored twice for the Wild as did Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond. The two clubs also engaged in a big brawl at the end of the second period.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist and Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Juuse Saros made 27 saves for the win as the Predators (70 points) opened a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first Western Conference wild-card berth. With 63 points, the Ducks remain four behind the Stars.

Tomas Hertl’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings to snap a three-game losing skid. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up two assists in his return to the lineup after missing 15 games recovering from a forearm tendon surgery. Trevor Moore had three points for the Kings (72 points), who hold a four-point lead over Vegas for second place in the Pacific Division.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor’s 35th goal of the season was also the winner as his club squeaked past the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Eric Comrie made 33 saves as the Jets (62 points) are five points back of the Stars. The Devils honored Travis Zajac in a pregame ceremony for playing 1,000 games with the franchise, a feat he accomplished last February when there were no fans allowed at Prudential Center due to COVID restrictions. Zajac retired at the end of last season.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0. Anders Lee picked up the hat trick while Ryan Pulock collected three assists.

An overtime goal by Josh Norris gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. It was Norris’ second goal of the game. Senators goalie Anton Forsberg picked up the win with a 30-save effort.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price continues to train at the club’s training facility and is reportedly aiming at returning to action in April. He’s encountered a couple of setbacks in his recovery from offseason knee surgery that has sidelined him all season thus far.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen is sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks placed forward Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg on injured reserve.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is sidelined by a lower-body injury and has returned to Denver for further evaluation.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to a five-year, $25.5 million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers value Ristolainen’s size and physical play. His new contract isn’t unreasonable in term or dollars as he’s completing a six-year deal worth $5.4 million annually.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Marco Scandella returned to action on Thursday after missing over a month with a lower-body injury. Forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Oskar Sundqvist missed Thursday’s game against the Rangers nursing injuries.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets granted forward Alexandre Texier a leave of absence for personal reasons stemming from the personal losses of people close to him.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman Markus Niemelainen to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $762K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

Recaps of Saturday’s action, updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, the Canadiens acquire Andrew Hammond, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The red-hot Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Adam Ruzicka had a goal and an assist while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves replacing Semyon Varlamov after the latter was placed in COVID protocol following pre-game warmups. With 58 points, the Flames sit one behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler (NHL Images)

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored twice and added three assists as he rallied his club from a 2-0 deficit to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Mark Scheifele scored and collected two assists for the Jets (48 points) as they sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Predators (60 points) slid one point behind the Minnesota Wild into third place in the Central Division. Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki was ejected in the first period for elbowing Jets forward Evgeny Svechnikov in the face, who was forced to leave the game with an injury.

A 51- save performance by Thatcher Demko carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks while the Leafs Auston Matthews tallied his 32nd of the season. Defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to action for the first time since Dec. 8 for the Canucks (50 points), who sit five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Leafs, meanwhile, remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 63 points.

The Minnesota Wild held off the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 to extend their home points streak to 12 games. Kevin Fiala tallied a goal and an assist for the Wild while Andrei Svechnikov netted both Hurricanes goals. Wild blueliner Matt Dumba returned from an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. With 61 points, the Wild sit second in the Central Division while the Hurricanes (67 points) hold a one-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn collected two assists and Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, who were held to just 16 shots in this contest. The Blues hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up his first win since Jan. 2 with a 30-save shutout to blank the Ottawa Senators 2-0. The Bruins got first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. Matt Murray made 35 saves for the Senators. With 57 points, the Bruins are four behind the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Senators forward Austin Watson faces a hearing today for interference on Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan when he appeared to catch Ahcan in the head with a high hit.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had three assists in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Wings goalie Thomas Greiss made 32 saves in his first game since Jan. 9 as his club sits seven points behind the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Patrik Laine’s power-play goal in the dying seconds of regulation gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Canadiens, whose performance has noticeably improved under new head coach Martin St. Louis. Cole Caufield has definitely benefited from playing for St. Louis, scoring two goals in as many games after managing just one in 30 previous contests this season.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will return to action today against the Dallas Stars after being sidelined since Jan.26 by a broken nose and concussion.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Tomas Hertl’s agent has been in contract extension talks with the Sharks, but the 28-year-old center has yet to decide if he’s staying. Hertl is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could cost at least $7 million annually to re-sign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted in the rumor mill, much could depend on how much cap space the Sharks have for next season following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination. A date for that hearing has yet to be determined.

The Sharks did get some good news as sidelined defenseman Erik Karlsson could return from surgery on his left forearm earlier than anticipated. He was expected to be re-evaluated by mid-March. However, defenseman Jaycob Megna underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture and is likely out for four-to-six weeks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens traded minor-league forward Brandon Baddock to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Andrew Hammond.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move allows the Canadiens to send struggling young goalie Cayden Primeau back to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden will undergo knee surgery on Monday after suffering a fall shoveling out his driveway during the All-Star weekend. He’s expected to be sidelined for some time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2022

Keith Yandle sets Ironman record but Flyers woes continue, the Panthers regain first place in the overall standings, injury updates for Erik Karlsson and Jason Zucker, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle set the NHL Ironman record by appearing in his 965th consecutive game but his club endured a franchise-record 13th straight loss by falling 4-3 to the New York Islanders. Zach Parise snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period for the Islanders.

Philadelphia Flyers defeneman Keith Yandle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Yandle on his record-setting achievement. It’s among the few bright spots in a miserable season for the Flyers. Their ongoing tumble in the standings won’t result in another coaching change. They’re sticking with interim bench boss Mike Yeo and hired John Torchetti as an assistant coach. The club is expected to evaluate its coaching staff at season’s end. Tochetti could be Yeo’s successor as he replaced him as Wild head coach in 2016.

The Florida Panthers opened a two-point lead (63 points) over the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning atop the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Mason Marchment scored twice and chipped in an assist for the Panthers. The Jets (41 points) are five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

A four-point performance by Joe Pavelski (two goals, two assists) powered the Dallas Stars over the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Roope Hintz scored for the fourth straight game while Braden Holtby picked up the win with a 38-save performance. They played without defenseman John Klingberg, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. With 46 points, the Stars vault into the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Penguins tallied four straight third-period goals in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each had a goal and two assists while Kris Letang tallied twice. Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz scored twice and collected an assist. With 59 points, the Penguins sit one point behind the first-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins played without winger Jason Zucker as he underwent core-muscle surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely. He’s earning an annual average value of $5.5 million. The Penguins could use that as cap relief if he ends up on long-term injury reserve for the rest of the season, potentially allowing them space to become buyers at the March 21 trade deadline.

Sebastian Aho scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nolan Patrick had a goal and an assist for Vegas as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. The Hurricanes sit one point back of the Penguins while the Golden Knights remain in first place in the Pacific Division with 53 points.

The Nashville Predators regained second place in the Central Division (57 points) by doubling up the Seattle Kraken 4-2. Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist, Matt Duchene tallied his 20th goal of the season and Juuse Saros kicked out 33 shots for the Predators.

An overtime goal by Connor McDavid lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers (42 points) move to within four points of the final Western wild-card spot. Spencer Martin made 47 saves in a losing cause for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Oilers.

The Ottawa Senators got a hat trick from Tyler Ennis and a 32-save shutout from Matt Murray to blank the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. It was a costly win for the Senators as leading scorer Drake Batherson (34 points) left the game with an ankle injury after a questionable hit by Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell sent him crashing awkwardly into the boards. Dylan Gambrell also left the game in the first with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has surgery to repair a small muscle tear in his left forearm. He’s expected to be sidelined until at least mid-March.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are battling for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Losing Karlsson will be a big blow to their blueline. He has 26 points in 33 games this season.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly close to naming Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Patrik Allvin as their new GM. Allvin’s spent 16 seasons with the Penguins and worked for Canucks president Jim Rutherford during the latter’s tenure as Penguins GM.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t pleased with the Ontario government’s COVID limitations on arena capacity. “They’re misinformed and they’re miscalculated. They should be challenged and they will be challenged.” The club was allowed to have 500 fans in attendance starting Monday, but they will play 11 games at home before restrictions are lifted to 50 percent capacity by Feb. 21.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2021

More COVID cases among NHL teams raise concerns about Olympic participation, the Blackhawks reach a settlement with Kyle Beach, Alex Ovechkin ties an NHL scoring record, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

COVID CASES AMONG NHL CLUBS STILL RISING, CONCERN GROWING OVER OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION

CALGARY SUN: The number of Calgary Flames players and staff testing positive for COVID-19 grew to 27 yesterday. Head coach Darryl Sutter and players Jacob Markstrom, Rasmus Andersson, Erik Gudbranson, Byron Froese, Trevor Lewis and Tyler Pitlick joined the list yesterday. Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets has been postponed. The good news is all the Flames’ cases are reportedly doing well, which is being attributed to the players being fully vaccinated.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron joined teammates Brad Marchand and Craig Smith in COVID protocol yesterday.

THE TENNESSEAN: 11 members of the Nashville Predators were placed in COVID protocol yesterday. They include forwards Mikael Granlund, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tomasino and defenseman Ben Harpur and head coach John Hynes.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Five Panthers players (Ryan Lomberg, Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour) enter COVID protocol on Wednesday.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen in COVID protocol Wednesday. Tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes is expected to go ahead as scheduled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The growing number of cases is alarming but it’s not expected to result in a shutdown of the NHL schedule at the present time. That could change if the cases continue to spread and more games become postponed. However, it’s not expected to result in a season-ending shutdown as we saw in 2019-20. It could instead be a pause of two-to-three weeks.

One reason is all cases are experienced at worst minor symptoms because all but one player is fully vaccinated. Another is a return to enhanced COVID protocols (including daily testing) are expected to be implemented soon.

TSN: The province of Ontario is reducing capacity limits at sporting events to 50 percent starting Saturday. That includes the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL has no control over provincial or state COVID guidelines regarding sporting events. It remains to be seen if others will follow Ontario’s lead. The Leafs and Senators will likely see a return to full capacity once the COVID numbers in Ontario are reduced.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is the latest NHL player to express concern over potential three-to-five week quarantine in China for players taking part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics who test positive for COVID-19 during the tournament. “If that’s the way it’s going to be, I don’t see it being very feasible for guys to take that risk. That’s my personal opinion,” said Karlsson.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin expressed apprehension over the potentially strict COVID guidelines for Olympic participants. “It would be unfortunate for anyone to get stuck in quarantine for that long and a serious unknown of when you’d come home. I think it’s unfortunate for all athletes,” said Larkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is so far leaving it up to the NHLPA members to decide if they’ll participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. No one has definitively said they won’t go because of those restrictions but that could change if there is no loosening of those rules for Olympic athletes.

The opt-out date is Jan. 10. The league can also withdraw if COVID outbreaks reach a point where it cannot complete the remainder of this season on time.

It’s been suggested the NHL would simply run a normal schedule during the Olympic break in February. However, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reported that would create a logistical nightmare for team owners as they attempt to reschedule events in their arenas during that period.

BLACKHAWKS REACH SETTLEMENT WITH BEACH

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: After eight months of legal battles, the Blackhawks and Kyle Beach have reached a confidential out-of-court settlement during third-party mediation yesterday. Beach alleged former Blackhawks video coach sexually assaulted him in May 2010 and that Blackhawks executives knowingly covered it up. An independent investigation by the Blackhawks supported Beach’s claims.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping this settlement brings Beach the closure and peace of mind he deserves after enduring a decade of hell dealing with what happened to him. It will take a long time for the Blackhawks organization to scrub away the stain on their reputation for the atrocious way they treated Beach and their handling of this situation.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tied the all-time power-play goal record as his club fell 5-4 to the Blackhawks. Ovechkin tallied his 274th PP marker to tied Dave Andreychuk.

Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones won it for his club with an overtime goal. Chicago winger Alex DeBrincat scored two goals while Marc-Andre Fleury got his 501st career win with a 42-save performance. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom collected an assist in his season debut after missing 28 games recovering from a hip injury

New York Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko scored twice, including the game-winner as his club downed the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Chris Kreider assisted on all three Rangers goals. The Coyotes have lost six straight. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin left the game in the second period with a minor lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry netted his 18th of the season in a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Goalie Anthony Stolarz picked up his sixth straight win for the Ducks this season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Christian Dvorak is listed as sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Winger Josh Anderson will be out for another six weeks with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, winger Brendan Gallagher and defenseman Sami Niku are expected to rejoin their teammates later this week after emerging from COVID protocol.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc will be sidelined for three months after opting for surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.

NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks placed forward Henrik Borgstrom on injured reserve backdated to Dec. 10 with a non-COVID-related illness.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings winger Andreas Athanasiou will miss the remainder of his club’s current road trip with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils acquired goaltender Jon Gillies from the St. Louis Blues for future considerations.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2021

Alex Ovechkin moves up again on the all-time goal-scoring list, Jack Eichel undergoes surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin tallied his 742nd career NHL goal while Conor Sheary scored the game-winner late in the third period as the Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Ovechkin overtook Brett Hull to move into fourth place on the all-time goal-scoring list. Garnet Hathaway netted two goals for the Capitals while Sean Kuraly replied for the Jackets with two goals.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin now sits 24 goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third place. At his current rate of production (12 goals in 14 games), the Capitals captain could surpass Jagr by mid-January.

The Buffalo Sabres upset the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 thanks to two goals by Dylan Cozens and a 33-save performance by Dustin Tokarski. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl tallied twice to lead the league with 14 goals and 28 points while teammate Connor McDavid collected an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 13 games. The Sabres improve their record to 6-5-2.

An overtime goal by Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. William Nylander set up both goals by the Leafs, who’ve won seven of their last eight contests. The Flames are winless (0-2-1) in their last three games.

Carter Hart turned aside 39 shots to backstop the Philadelphia Flyers over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Joel Farabee and Zack MacEwen netted third-period goals to give the Flyers the win.

The Chicago Blackhawks have three straight wins under interim head coach Derek King as they nipped the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Dylan Strome’s game-winner in the third period. Patrick Kane collected two assists as the Blackhawks improve their record to 4-9-2. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have just one victory (1-12-1) thus far.

HEADLINES

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights center Jack Eichel underwent successful artificial disk replacement surgery in Denver on Friday. He’s expected to spend three weeks in Denver recovering before returning to Las Vegas for the remainder of his expected three-month rehab.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will play the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Kanata and the Calgary Flames on Sunday despite their COVID-depleted roster. Nine Senators are currently on the COVID protocol list.

The league instructed the club to cancel practice for the third time this week on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Senators had hoped to convince the NHL to postpone several games until some of the players are well enough to return to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to the report, the league sympathizes with the Senators’ plight but hopes to avoid rescheduling games until the club has almost no more players left to recall from their AHL affiliate.

While I understand the league’s reluctance to face rescheduling games as they did last season, they’re not doing the Senators any favors here by forcing them to ice a significantly depleted lineup. There’s also the risk of spreading the virus among themselves or their opponents. The good news (so far) is no other players have tested positive since Thursday.

Speaking of the Senators, defenseman Erik Brannstrom will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a broken hand suffered during Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

SPORTSNET: Seven San Jose Sharks players (Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Lebanc, Jake Middleton, Matt Nieto and Radim Simek) and head coach Bob Boughner have returned to the active roster since being placed in COVID protocol on Oct. 30.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Karlsson, Middleton and Boughner described how their contracting COVID-19 affected their families. They were among the first of five others on the club to recently test positive for the coronavirus.

Karlsson said his wife and two-year-old daughter also tested positive. While his daughter is doing well, his wife is still dealing with symptoms. Middleton, meanwhile, had to put his girlfriend and their dog into a hotel during the 10 days he was in COVID protocol. Boughner’s parents were visiting when he got his positive test. He immediately quarantined himself into a hotel while his parents returned to Canada safe and sound.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated the Sharks organization is fully vaccinated. Neither Karlsson, Middleton or Boughner know where or when they were exposed to COVID.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman for two games for high-sticking Colorado Avalanche forward Kiefer Sherwood on Thursday.

TSN: Braydon Coburn announced his retirement yesterday after 16 NHL seasons. The 37-year-old defenseman tallied 234 points in 983 games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2020.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2021

The Senators hold off the Stars, Jimmy Hayes’ family reveals his cause of death, plus the latest on Brady Tkachuk, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Chris Tierney scored two power-play goals as the Ottawa Senators held off the Dallas Stars for a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s only game on the NHL schedule. Connor Brown assisted on all three Senators’ goals while Filip Gustavsson made 32 saves for the win. Michael Raffl and Joe Pavelski replied for the Stars.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, head coach D.J. Smith revealed Brady Tkachuk will make his season debut on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks. The 21-year-old left winger missed training camp and the opening game of the season due to contract negotiations. Signed to a new seven-year deal on Thursday, the Senators felt he needed time to get himself prepared.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they don’t want to rush Tkachuk into the lineup and risk an injury before he’s in game shape.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The family of Jimmy Hayes revealed Sunday the former NHL forward died on Aug. 23 with fentanyl and cocaine in his system. They hope telling his story will help save lives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This story indicates Hayes got addicted to painkillers dealing with an injury. His father noticed a problem 16-17 months ago and spoke to his son. Hayes subsequently received help and seemed on the path to recovery.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

The opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of age or status, it is destroying lives at an alarming rate.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews makes his season debut tonight against the New York Rangers. He underwent wrist surgery two months ago.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, they’ve recalled goaltender Michael Hutchison on an emergency basis. Salary cap constraints forced them to bring in University of Toronto netminder Alex Bishop on a one-day amateur tryout as Jack Campbell’s backup during Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Senators.

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon remains sidelined by COVID protocol and won’t travel with the team to Washington today. Defenseman Jack Johnson will make the trip following a negative COVID test on Saturday.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson still considers himself among the best players in the game as he looks to bounce back from a down year last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Karlsson in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He missed only four games last season but his production dropped to a career-low 22 points. The Sharks will need a solid effort from a healthy 31-year-old Karlsson if they hope to make the playoffs this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Karlsson’s teammate Nikolai Knyzhov will undergo surgery this week on a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be sidelined eight to 10 weeks.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko suffered an upper-body injury Saturday and was placed on injured reserve yesterday.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for roughing Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto on Saturday.

TSN: Former Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mikko Lehtonen signed a four-year contract with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg. He recently refused assignment to the AHL and he and the Jackets agreed to terminate his contract.

THE PROVINCE: The son of Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning was hospitalized following an alleged assault outside a local nightspot early Sunday morning. The 25-year-old and his sister were reportedly attacked by four men outside the nightclub. He declined assistance from paramedics for facial injuries and went to the hospital himself. Jim Benning and the Canucks declined to comment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Benning’s son is ok. No word yet if anyone has been apprehended.