NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2018

Jets re-sign Blake Wheeler plus updates on Zdeno Chara, Matt Duchene, Josh Morrissey and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday re-signed captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year, $41.25-million contract extension. The new deal, worth an annual average value of $8.25 million and also contains a full no-movement clause in its first three seasons, goes into effect next July.

The Winnipeg Jets re-signed forward Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler, who tallied a career-high 91 points last season, is the Jets highest-paid player, though he’ll likely cede that honor to Patrik Laine next summer. Keeping Wheeler out of next summer’s UFA market was expensive but that’s the price the Jets had to pay to keep him in the fold.

After years in sometimes painful roster building the Jets are now Stanley Cup contenders. Wheeler was a big part of that and no one can blame him for wanting to stay put, even if he might’ve received more money on perhaps a longer deal on the open market.

Wheeler, however, will turn 33 during the first year of that new contract. It’s unlikely the Jets will get full value for their money as his play inevitably declines. Still, if he can help keep them in Cup contention for the first two or three years of the deal they’ll consider it money well spent.

The biggest problem, however, is how much this contributes to their coming salary-cap crunch next summer. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumors section. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Jets, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expects to have restricted free agent defenseman Josh Morrissey under contract by the time training camp opens next week. Sources say the Morrissey camp prefers a short-term deal while the Jets are pushing for a loftier term. That might result in Morrissey getting something between $5-$6 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morrissey’s representatives prefer a short-term deal because they feel their client could be in line for a significant raise on his next contract. The Jets prefer a long-term deal for what could ultimately prove to be a bargain over the long term should Morrissey reach his full potential. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara won’t be joining his teammates during their upcoming trip to China so as to avoid the rigors of 12-hour flights on his 41-year-old body. Other Bruins staying in Boston include “Patrice Bergeron and Noel Acciari (both recovering from postseason groin surgeries), and defenseman Torey Krug (broken left ankle in May). Sean Kuraly and Danton Heinen, who served ambassadorships to China in July, will not return for a second trip.”

The Bruins have also invited defenseman Mark Fayne to training camp on a tryout basis.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Matt Duchene said he’s unconcerned over his contract status entering this season, focusing instead on helping the club turns things around following a disappointing 2017-18. Duchene is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and remains open to re-signing with the club. He adds he’s spoken with general manager Pierre Dorion several times this summer regarding the direction of the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Duchene’s sincerity about staying in Ottawa but let’s see if he still feels the same way if the Senators have another lousy season. 

Speaking of the Senators, they’ve brought back Chris Kelly as a development coach. He spent eight of his 14 NHL seasons with the Senators before retiring at the end of last season. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Sam Reinhart said he’s focused on the upcoming season and not his contract. The restricted free agent is leaving negotiations with the club up to his agent as he prepares for training camp. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Morrissey, the holdup could be over the length of Reinhart’s new contract. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers will honor former Blueshirt Vic Hadfield by raising his No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden in a pre-game ceremony on Dec. 2.  He spent 13 of his 16 NHL seasons with the Rangers from 1961-62 to 1973-74, rallying 20-or-more goals seven times, including a 50-goal campaign in 1971-72. The Rangers also announced they’ve hired Steve Konowalchuk as an amateur scout working primarily in the WHL. 

TSN: Free-agent goaltender Jeff Glass will join the Calgary Flames on a professional tryout offer. 

SPORTSNET’s Eric Francis reports Zach O’Brien and Justin Falk will also have tryouts with the Flames. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The keepers of the Stanley Cup are now politely requesting the Washington Capitals no longer do “keg stands” with the trophy. While the Capitals have treated the Cup with respect and reverence, there is concern that a player might inadvertently get hurt or the trophy could get damaged. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2018

Game recaps, waiver info plus updates on Brian Gionta, Chris Kelly, Jordan Staal and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Rick Nash’s debut with the Boston Bruins wasn’t particularly memorable as he was held scoreless in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Nash was dealt to the Bruins by the New York Rangers earlier in the day. The Bruins also announced the signing of free agent Brian Gionta to a one-year, $700K contract. Gionta, 39, was the captain of Team USA Men’s Olympic hockey team.

Speaking of the Rangers, they fell 3-2 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on an overtime goal by Trevor Daley. Ryan Spooner, who was acquired by the Blueshirts earlier in the day in the Rick Nash trade, tallied two assists with his new club. The Rangers honored Hall of Famer Jean Ratelle by retiring his No. 19 in a pre-game ceremony. The club also intends to retire the No. 11 of Ratelle’s linemate Vic Hatfield next year.

Connor McDavid’s shootout goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images)

The Edmonton Oilers blew two two-goal leads before Connor McDavid’s shootout goal gave them a 6-5 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. McDavid also collected three assists. Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell potted a hat trick while Corey Perry also had three helpers. The Ducks also signed free-agent forward Chris Kelly to a one-year pro-rated contract. Kelly captained Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team to a bronze medal in Pyeongchang.

Pekka Rinne had a 27-save shutout performance backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Predators forward Kevin Fiala tallied his 20th goal of the season. The Blues have lost four in a row and fallen out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Predators also made a minor move yesterday, acquiring  forward Brandon Bollig and goaltender Troy Grosenick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Jared Spurgeon’s overtime goal lifted the Minnesota Wild to their fourth straight win by edging the San Jose Sharks 3-2.

Daniel Sedin scored twice and Jacob Markstrom kicked out 41 shots to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The infant daughter of Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal died on Sunday. The club issued a statement mourning her death and asking the public to respect the Staal family’s privacy at this time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Staal and his family.

SPORTING NEWS: Former NHL forward Ilya Kovalchuk confirmed he’ll attempt to return to the league this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Kovalchuk helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) win Olympic gold in Men’s hockey.

NEWSDAY: Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormack called the New York Islanders ” a rent-a-team” that never fully embraced Brooklyn and vice versa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, me-ow. 




NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2017

Game recaps, Carey Price off injured reserve, waiver updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: On the night the Dallas Stars retired Jere Lehtinen’s No. 26, Tyler Seguin tallied a hat trick to lead the Stars to a 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had three points in a losing cause for the Flames. 

David Pastrnak scored the game winner, David Krejci had a goal and an assist and backup goalie Anton Khudobin remains unbeaten in regulation (7-0-2) as the Boston Bruins edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. 

Alex Ovechkin scored his 573rd career goal to tie Mike Bossy for 21st on the NHL’s all-time goal leader list as the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Jay Beagle also collected his 100th career point in the win. Earlier in the day, the Lightning claimed Chris DiDomenico off waivers from the Ottawa Senators. 

Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice in the opening five minutes of the first period as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Bryan Little collected three points for the Jets, who’ve won six of their last seven games. 

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a three-goal lead but defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jonathan Marchessault. Vegas remains in first place in the Pacific Division, holding a two-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings. 

Speaking of the Kings, they lost for the seventh time in eight games as Christian Fischer scored in overtime to give the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 victory for their fourth victory in five games. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Brooks Laich on waivers. Meanwhile, the man who appears at Kings games as their mascot “Bailey” is being sued for inappropriate behavior. 

Cam Atkinson scored twice as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2. It was the Jackets sixth straight win and the Senators fifth consecutive loss. Former Senators center Chris Kelly signed a PTO contract earlier in the day with the Senators AHL affiliate in Belleville, Ontario. 

Nino Niederreiter tied a club record with a goal in six consecutive games as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout. 

Pekka Rinne turned in a 34-save shutout performance as the Nashville Predators blanked the St. Louis Blues 2-0. 

The New York Islanders overcame a 4-2 deficit to upset the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime 5-4. Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal and Andrew Ladd each had a goal and an assist for the Isles, while Flyers Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere also each tallied a goal and an assist. 

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and Mats Zuccarello sniped the winner in overtime to lift the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, giving the Blueshirts their seventh straight home victory. 

Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists and Brian Boyle scored on Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia two months ago.

A four-goal second period helped the Toronto Maple Leafs hold off the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen made 43 saves while James van Riemsdyk and Ron Hainsey each had a goal and an assist. 

Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist and Robin Lehner made 29 saves as the Buffalo Sabres snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, handing the latter their fourth loss in five games. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens activated goaltender Carey Price off injured reserve and returned backup Charlie Lindgren to their AHL affiliate in Laval. Price missed the last 10 games with a lower-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Price also returns to his usual stellar form, he won’t snap the Canadiens out of their two-month funk. He wasn’t playing well prior to being sidelined and Lindgren had better stats during his eight games between the pipes. 

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, their poor start has generated some empty seats at the usually full Bell Centre. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that’s it, fans won’t turn out to support the team, time to move the franchise to a real hockey market. I’m joking, of course, but if the Habs played in a Sun Belt market, some chuckleheads would seriously make that suggestion. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former NHL forward Mike Ribeiro was arrested for trespassing last month in Miami Beach. In recent months, reports emerged claiming the 37-year-old Ribeiro was battling alcoholism. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Ribeiro gets the help he needs. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2017

NY Rangers winger Rick Nash needs a strong effort in his contract year.

Latest on Rick Nash, Chris Kelly, Alex Chiasson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: Entering the final year of his eight-year contract, New York Rangers winger Rick Nash knows this coming season is an important one for him. With the Rangers transitioning toward a younger roster, the 33-year-old Nash’s performance in 2017-18 could determine if they’ll try to retain him and how much it might cost to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash’s future with the Rangers depends upon his performance this season, While Nash isn’t the dominant winger he once was, he’s still a reliable scorer when healthy. Injuries, however, have hampered his play. After tallying 42 goals in 79 games in 2014-15, he averaged 60 games in each of the next two seasons, scoring 15 and 23 goals respectively. Another injury-shortened season could convince Rangers management to part ways with him next summer. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent forward Chris Kelly to a professional tryout offer.  

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals bring free-agent winger Alex Chiasson to training camp on a tryout basis.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators have no timetable to name a new captain. Defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are considered among the leading contenders. 

NBC SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired former star Kevin Stevens as a special assignment scout based in Boston. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stevens struggled with drug addiction related to painkillers following surgery in 1993 to repair serious facial injuries. In May, he was fined $10,000.00 and sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to a drug charge. Here’s hoping this job helps him get back on track.