NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

The Canadiens name Nick Suzuki as their new captain, an update on Carey Price, the Avalanche sign Evan Rodrigues, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday announced Nick Suzuki had been named as the 31st captain in franchise history. The 23-year-old center succeeds Shea Weber, whose playing days were cut short by injuries. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson were named alternate captains.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels pointed out that this is a departure from the old way of doing things when it comes to choosing the Canadiens captain. In the past, the honor was bestowed upon a long-time veteran of the team.

Suzuki is the youngest captain in franchise history with just three seasons under his belt. The move is in line with the club’s efforts to build around promising young talent. His best seasons remain ahead of him and he would be in a better position to lead by example.

The new Canadiens captain is already facing pressure from Quebec politicians to learn French, something he’s been doing during the offseason. Suzuki also has the support of Gallagher and Edmundson, who praised his maturity and pointed out how quickly he garnered respect in the dressing room.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price isn’t expected to suit up with the Canadiens this season. However, the 35-year-old goaltender intends to spend the season in Montreal and be around the team as he continues receiving treatment for his nagging knee injury.

Price has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He’s been placed on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. The indications are he’d like to play again if he can. That could require more surgery on his knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spending time with the Canadiens could also serve as a stepping stone toward scouting, coaching or a management role for Price if he’s unable to continue his playing career.

The Canadiens will also be among seven NHL teams that will take advantage of a new league rule allowing them to carry advertising on their jerseys. They’ll sport a small RBC patch on their right chests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news generated howls of protests on social media among some Canadiens followers and other fans who are against ad patches on NHL jerseys. I don’t have a problem with it as long as they don’t end up looking like the jerseys of some European leagues where they’re covered in ad patches. The league has limited them to just two small patches per jersey.

We’ll soon see every team in the league sporting those patches because they can earn between $5 million and $10 million annually from jersey ad deals. It’s part of hockey-related revenue, which will help to increase the salary cap, making it a little easier for your favorite team to retain your favorite players.

Besides, it’s silly to get upset over a couple of small ad patches on jerseys. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out, you’ve been watching a game for years in arenas named for corporations where the boards and ice have been covered with ads.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old center was an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, enjoying a career-high 43-point performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues didn’t get much term on this contract but he does get a nice pay raise over the $1 million he received last season. He’s expected to fill the second-line center position with the Avalanche vacated by Nazem Kadri after he signed with the Calgary Flames last month.

A strong effort with the defending Stanley Cup champions should ensure Rodrigues gets a more lucrative contract next summer, either with the Avalanche or another club via free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Good news for the Flyers entering training camp as Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes both received clean bills of health. Hayes missed 34 games last season due to two abdominal injuries and an infection in his groin area. Couturier, meanwhile, was sidelined for 54 games due to persistent back problems that required season-ending surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Michael Stone has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Flames. The 32-year-old defenseman has spent the past six seasons in Calgary.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Matthew DeFranks reports former Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been hired as their player development coordinator.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes recently reported Chris Phillips has returned to the Ottawa Senators as their vice president of business operations. The former Senators defenseman had severed ties with the club last summer by announcing his departure from the Senators Community Foundation. Phillips’ return is seen as another step by the franchise to repair the relationship with the local community.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

The Oilers win their first game under new coach Jay Woodcroft, Brad Marchand to appeal his six-game suspension, Flyers center Sean Couturier undergoes season-ending surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers won their first game under new head coach Jay Woodcroft by downing the New York Islanders 3-1. Connor McDavid collected two assists, Mike Smith made 37 saves and Zach Hyman scored what proved to be the winning goal. With 51 points, the Oilers are four behind the Anaheim Ducks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Robertson reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his young NHL career while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist. Jets center Mark Scheifele also had a goal and an assist. The Stars sit one point ahead of the Oilers and three behind the Ducks while the Jets (46 points) are nine points out of a wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have dug themselves a deep hole in the Western Conference standings. They could become sellers if they haven’t gained ground by the time the calendar flips to March.

The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Seattle Kraken. Jordan Eberle broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period while teammate Ryan Donato scored twice for the Kraken. Ducks forward Isac Lundestrom tallied two goals.

Steven Stamkos scored two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Teammate Corey Perry netted his 399th career goal. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. With 68 points, the Lightning sits one point behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

HEADLINES

TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand over the six-game suspension he received by the NHL department of player safety. Marchand was handed the ban for roughing Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and then high-sticking him on his mask during Wednesday’s game between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s suspension history likely contributed to his latest punishment. League commissioner Gary Bettman will review the appeal and determine if it will stand or be reduced.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers center Sean Couturier underwent season-ending back surgery on Friday. A decision whether Ryan Ellis (lower-body) will require surgery could be made in the coming weeks. Center Kevin Hayes could require a third abdominal surgery after having fluid drained from his adductor on Jan. 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries to those three key players are significant reasons why the Flyers are on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he’d like to bring former client Vincent Lecavalier into the organization in some capacity. “It’s not going to be assistant GM, despite all the rumors,” said Hughes. “But if we can find a way to do it then we’d absolutely like to do it.”

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko will remain sidelined for another both with an unspecified upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Leafs yesterday signed Joseph Woll to a three-year contract extension on Friday. He’s currently playing for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. The first year of the deal is a two-way contract and becomes a one-way deal in the final two years.

The Leafs also got some good news on forward Ondrej Kase, who was shaken up during Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames but could return to the lineup on Saturday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

The Bruins retire the number of hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree, the Canadiens hire Kent Hughes as their new general manager, updated COVID protocols are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins retired hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in a pregame ceremony last night. It was the 64th anniversary of O’Ree’s debut as the first black player in NHL history with the Bruins, becoming the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired.

The Boston Bruins raise Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 banner (NHL.com).

Following the ceremony, the Bruins were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored two of the Hurricanes’ five goals in the first period while Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo each finished the night with three points. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled after giving up five goals on 12 shots. The Hurricanes are tied with the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division with 54 points but hold three games in hand while the Bruins hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

Johnny Gaudreau collected four assists as the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game losing skid to drop the Florida Panthers 5-1, ending the latter’s nine-game points streak. Sean Monahan scored twice and Matthew Tkachuk collected three points. Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers in his first game in Calgary since being traded to Florida last season. The Flames (42 points) move within two points of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Panthers (57 points) slip to second in the overall standings.

Victor Hedman scored twice and chipped in an assist to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Despite playing with 12 forwards and four defensemen, the shorthanded Lightning picked up their fourth straight win to regain first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Kings (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 27th goal in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Tom Wilson netted the game-winner in overtime as the Capitals (53 points) sit one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be sidelined for more than one game after leaving in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals defenseman Dmitri Orlov. With 40 points, the Jets are two back of the Flames.

The Vancouver Canucks got a 31-save performance from Thatcher Demko to down the Nashville Predators 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson each scored for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Jets. The Predators, meanwhile are third in the Central Division with 51 points.

New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of a shootout to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost nine straight games. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 31 shots to give the Isles their sixth win in their last eight games. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced center Kevin Hayes will miss the next three to four weeks following a procedure to drain fluid from his adductor region.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Michael Hauser kicked out 43 shots in his season debut to backstop his club over the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Tuch and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Montreal Canadiens netminder Sam Montembault turned aside a career-high 48 shots in a 5-3 victory over the slumping Dallas Stars. Christian Dvorak scored twice while Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in his first game back with the Canadiens since Nov. 20. The Stars have dropped three straight and slip one point behind the Canucks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Stars, the Canadiens announced they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. A bilingual Montreal native, Hughes was a player agent with a client list that included such notables as Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hughes hiring received widespread acclaim among NHL pundits. He built up an excellent reputation during his years as an agent. He understands the business of hockey, especially dealing with players and negotiating contracts.

Canadiens Executive VP of Hockey Ops Jeff Gorton is good friends with Hughes and reportedly wanted him for the job from the start. However, the latter apparently needed some convincing before agreeing to a five-year deal with the Canadiens.

This hiring should allay concerns among some Canadiens followers that Gorton was seeking a frontman while he pulled the management strings. Hughes wouldn’t have left his lucrative gig to be a puppet GM even for a friend.

Hughes and Gorton now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding a Canadiens roster seriously depleted by injuries to superstars Carey Price and Shea Weber, the departures of leaders such as Phillip Danault and Corey Perry to free agency, and significant talent gaps in the roster. They must decide the fate of embattled head coach Dominique Ducharme, who has two years remaining on his contract.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA announced it will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star Break in early February, saying COVID-19 cases are declining around the league. The current testing policy will remain in place until Feb. 3.

Testing of asymptomatic individuals will continue when it is needed for crossing the Canada-US border. One negative test result will be required for players to return to team facilities following the All-Star break. The 90-day testing “holiday” for those who have recovered from COVID-19 will remain in place. Both sides also agreed to maintain the five-day isolation period for those who test positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA want to avoid any further game postponements that could jeopardize their intent of ending the regular season on April 29. It also appears they don’t want rosters to become significantly depleted as teams jockey for playoff positioning over the final half of the schedule.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel, Montreal Canadiens wingers Cole Caufield and Joel Armia and Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat are the latest notable players to enter the NHL COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel have been named the Last Men In for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) will miss their upcoming games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl got into a testy exchange yesterday with Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson during a press conference yesterday. At one point, Matheson asked Draisail, “Why are you being so pissy?” after the forward declined to give much of an answer to one of his questions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ poor play of late now seems to have ratcheted up tensions between the players and some of the reporters covering the club. Maybe Draisaitl should’ve been more forthcoming but most hockey players talk in cliches when addressing the media so I don’t know what answer Matheson thought he was going to get out of him with that catty remark.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

The Blues sign GM Doug Armstrong to a new contract and make a trade with the Senators, the Wild name Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno alternate captains, and the latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Anders Lee and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed general manager Doug Armstrong to a five-year contract extension.

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. In announcing the signing, Blues owner Tom Stillman pointed out the club has made nine postseason appearances during Armstrong’s tenure, including three division titles, a conference title and their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019.

The Blues also made a trade yesterday, shipping forward Zach Sanford to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for center Logan Brown. They’ll also receive a fourth-round pick in 2022 from the Senators if the 26-year-old Brown doesn’t appear in 30 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A St. Louis native, Brown was the Senators’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft but he struggled to crack their rebuilding roster, appearing in just 30 games over the past four seasons. He’ll get a great opportunity to reset his NHL career with his hometown club.

Sanford, 26, developed into a good defensive winger with the Blues. He should be a solid fit on the Senators’ checking lines.

This was also a much-needed cost-cutting move for the Blues. As per Cap Friendly, by exchanging Sanford’s $2 million cap hit for Brown’s $750K, they’re just under the $81.5 million salary cap.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild named defenseman Matt Dumba and winger Marcus Foligno as their new alternate captains. They replace Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who were bought out of their contracts during the offseason.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky hopes to put last season’s disappointing playoff performance behind him. He’ll be sharing the goaltending duties this season with promising Spencer Knight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s going to face a real challenge hanging onto the starter’s job. Knight is a highly-touted young netminder seen as Bobrovsky’s eventual replacement.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders are likely to keep left winger Anders Lee out of their first few postseason games. Their captain is returning from surgery to repair a torn ACL that ended his 2020-21 season last March.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They want to ensure Lee is fully up to speed before putting him into game action. No sense rushing him in meaningless preseason games and risk a setback.

THE ATHLETIC: Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes recently expressed his gratitude to the hockey community at large for the support he and his family received following the sudden death of his older brother (and former NHL player) Jimmy Hayes.

Among the notables to reach out with support were Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke and team captain Sidney Crosby, former New York Rangers teammates Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk, as well as New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The past several weeks have been difficult for Hayes. He also recently underwent abdominal surgery that will sideline him for the entirety of training camp.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman could miss up to four weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during offseason training.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana’s first day in training camp didn’t last long. After being delayed joining his teammates by visa issues, he left practice yesterday with a shoulder injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brady Keeper was stretchered from the ice during practice on Saturday with an apparent leg injury. No update was provided on his condition.

TSN: Goaltender Curtis McElhinney took to Instagram yesterday to announce his retirement. During his 13 NHL seasons, the well-traveled McElhinney appeared in 249 career games with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

McElhinney finished his career on a high note, winning two straight Stanley Cups with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He finishes with a record of 94 wins, 95 losses and 20 overtime losses, with a 2.83 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage and 12 shutouts.

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