NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

Corey Perry reaches a goal milestone in the Lightning’s win over the Oilers, the Avalanche extends their lead atop the overall standings, the Leafs place Jake Muzzin on LTIR, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Corey Perry tallied his 400th career goal as he helped the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. The Lightning surged to a 4-1 lead and sealed the win with Nikita Kucherov’s empty-netter after the Oilers rallied to within one goal. Perry, Kucherov and Pat Maroon each finished the night with a goal and an assist. Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice and teammate Leon Draisaitl collected three assists as both are tied for the points lead with 73. With 72 points, the Lightning sits three back of the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers. The loss dropped the Oilers (59 points) into the second Western Conference wild-card berth.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Corey Perry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss has some pundits wondering what Oilers general manager Ken Holland will do to address his club’s leaky goaltending. It’s been a problem all season, renewing speculation over whether Holland will make a move to address this issue before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche (78 points) opened a three-point lead over the Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavel Francouz made 32 saves for the win while Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals and Cale Makar picked up two assists. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin and defenseman Moritz Seider each collected two assists. Avs center Nathan MacKinnon missed this contest with a lower-body injury but is expected to play against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson tallied two goals (including the game-winner) as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The win vaults the Kings (61 points) over the Oilers into third place in the Pacific Division.

An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Seguin finished the night with two points while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 36 shots. The Stars (58 points) are one point behind the Oilers and Anaheim Ducks while the Jets (53 points) are six points out of that final Western wild-card berth.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault kicked out 32 shots for his first NHL shutout to blank the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Nick Suzuki scored twice and collected an assist while Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist. Canadiens forwards Josh Anderson (head injury) and Paul Byron (upper-body injury) left the game and will be re-evaluated later today. The Habs have won four straight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield remains on a torrid scoring pace under the tutelage of interim coach Martin St. Louis. The rookie winger has six goals and 10 points in his last seven games.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve as he recovers from a head injury (concussion) suffered during Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Canadiens. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days. The move would allow the Leafs to exceed the salary cap by roughly the equivalent of Muzzin’s $5.625 million annual cap hit if they choose to add a player or two before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind the Leafs would have to become cap compliant if they use that LTIR space to acquire a player should Muzzin return to action before the end of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how general manager Kyle Dubas addresses this situation.

The Leafs also announced yesterday prospect forward Rodion Amirov has a brain tumor. The 20-year-old is receiving treatment and remains upbeat that he’ll overcome this condition and resume his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Amirov for a swift and complete recovery.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens will provide a medical update on Friday on the condition of Carey Price. The 34-year-old goaltender has been recovering from off-season knee surgery. He also spent the first month of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program for substance abuse and mental health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price’s on-ice workouts stopped on Feb. 15 but he’s continuing off-ice workouts. It remains to be seen if he’ll return at all this season. At this stage, it might be best if he puts his focus on working toward returning next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they promoted John Sedgwick to assistant general manager. He’d been their vice-president of hockey operations and legal affairs since 2017.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira underwent surgery on his lower back on Tuesday. He’s expected to be sidelined 10-12 weeks, effectively ending his season.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 15 with a lower-body injury. NHL.com reports Jackets netminder Daniil Tarasov’s season is over after undergoing surgery on his right hip. His recovery period is six months.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks president Jonathan Becher declared it’s “highly unlikely” his club will undergo a “proactive rebuild” of its roster. He felt it would be difficult selling season tickets for the next three to five years if the club wasn’t going to be very good over that period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What also hurts season ticket sales is a club in need of a rebuild refusing to do so and icing a product that fails to improve. If you do a rebuild correctly you can sell your fans on hope for the future. Of course, there could be other factors at play here. The pandemic hit all teams hard, some more than others. Perhaps the Sharks could have a more pressing need for revenue compared to other clubs.

TSN: Former NHL forward Sean Avery, 41, has signed a standard player contract with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. He last played professional hockey 10 years ago.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2021

The Rangers’ winning streak comes to an end but they become the NHL’s first $2 billion franchise, the Coyotes could be locked out of their arena, plus the latest on Carey Price, Jake Guentzel, Jason Spezza and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers’ seven-game win streak came to an end as they fell 7-3 to the Colorado Avalanche. Mikko Rantanen and Logan O’Connor each scored twice while Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists before exiting in the third period with a lower-body injury. Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves in his return to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

Three straight third-period goals rallied the Vegas Golden Knights over the Dallas Stars 5-4 to snap the latter’s seven-game win streak. Vegas captain Mark Stone scored twice and set up another while Joe Pavelski tallied two goals for the Stars. Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner got the hook in the second period after giving up three goals on 10 shots while Dallas netminder Braden Holtby finished with 40 saves.

Shootout goals by J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat gave the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Brock Boeser scored for the Canucks and Patrice Bergeron replied for the Bruins in regulation. It’s the Canucks second straight victory since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach on Sunday. Vancouver defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game in the second period following a hit by Bruins winger Brad Marchand. Canucks blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson missed the game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

The New Jersey Devils got a 25-save shutout by Mackenzie Blackwood to blank the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod scored for the Devils. The Flyers are winless in their last 10 games.

HEADLINES

FORBES.COM: The New York Rangers are the NHL’s first $2 billion franchise, topping the franchise value rankings in Forbes’ annual “The Business of Hockey” issue. The Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.8 billion), Montreal Canadiens ($1.6 billion), Chicago Blackhawks ($1.4 billion) and Boston Bruins ($1.3 billion) round out the top five.

The Edmonton Oilers made the biggest jump in the rankings, moving from $550 million last year to $1.1 billion into seventh overall. The Ottawa Senators ($525 million), Buffalo Sabres ($500 million), Columbus Blue Jackets ($475 million), Florida Panthers ($450 million), and Arizona Coyotes ($400 million) are in the bottom five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete rankings by following the link provided above.

While COVID-19 still affected hockey-related revenues, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian indicated the annual franchise value rose by 32 percent this year. He pointed to several factors accounting for that increase, including the impending $900 million sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the league’s new seven-year media deals with ESPN and Turner Sports, the construction of several state-of-the-art arenas in recent years, an increase in sponsorship revenue and the debut of the expansion Seattle Kraken.

Ozanian also projected hockey-related revenue will reach $4.8 billion for 2021-22. It’s expected to reach $5.4 billion in 2022-23, $5.6 billion in 2023-24, $5.8 billion in 2024-25 and $6 billion in 2025-26.

THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang reports the Arizona Coyotes could be locked out of Gila River Arena by the City of Glendale for delinquent tax bills and unpaid arena charges totaling $1.3 million. The club has until 5 pm MST on Dec. 20 to pay the outstanding arena invoices for 2020-21 and the outstanding tax bill.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly did not respond to requests for comment. The Coyotes released a statement claiming they’re conducting an internal investigation and initial indications suggest the unpaid bills appear to be the result of “unfortunate human error.” The club claims it will clear its debts today and will ensure this doesn’t happen again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Coyotes off-ice follies garner more headlines than anything the team does on the ice. While there are calls from fans and pundits in outside markets to move the team, that’s not going to happen.

The NHL remains determined to maintain the struggling Coyotes in the lucrative Phoenix media market. Until Bettman and the league board of governors finally run out of patience, calls for relocation to Houston or Quebec City or Kansas City or Portland or Hamilton will continue to fall on deaf ears.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price practiced on his own yesterday in full gear for the first time since rejoining the club following a month-long stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. The 34-year-old continues to recover from offseason knee surgery and isn’t expected to return to action before the upcoming Christmas break (Dec. 24 to 26).

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel is sidelined on a week-to-week basis with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big blow for the Penguins. Guentzel is the leading scorer with 27 points in 24 games.

TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza regarding the league’s decision to suspend him for six games for hitting Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk in the head with his knee earlier this week.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira was released from the hospital yesterday after being stretchered off the ice during Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers. Khaira was knocked unconscious by a hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian Cole was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele on Tuesday. Cole received a game misconduct while Scheifele was able to continue the game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are out of COVID protocol.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano also emerged from COVID protocol but Colin Blackwell became the latest member of the Kraken to go into the protocol.

CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt will undergo additional testing to determine if the upper-body injury he recently suffered is the same as the one that sidelined him for 21 games earlier this season.

NHL.COM: With Jordan Binnington in COVID protocol and Ville Husso injured, the St. Louis Blues signed goaltender Jon Gilles on a one-year, two-way contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2021

The Rangers and Wild extend their respective win streaks, the Islanders snap a long winless skid, Jason Spezza suspended for six games, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers picked up their seventh straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2. Artemi Panarin reached 500 career points with two goals and two assists as the Blueshirts (37 points) moved within a point of the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira was stretchered from the ice in the second period following a hit by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Khaira was taken to a hospital for further testing but Blackhawks coach Derek King said he was up and responsive and wanted to return to the game before he went to the hospital.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot made 38 saves backstopping his club to their seventh straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, handing the latter their third straight loss. Joel Eriksson Ek had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who sit atop the Western Conference with 37 points.

The New York Islanders snapped a 12-game winless skid by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Anders Lee tallied twice for the Islanders while Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. Alex Formenton had a goal and an assist for the Senators.

Morgan Rielly collected four assists and Auston Matthews scored twice to extend his goal streak to seven games as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals for the Jackets. The Leafs played without Jason Spezza after he received a six-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk. Winger Mitch Marner (shoulder) and defenseman Rasmus Sandin (knee) also missed this game. Marner is sidelined for three-four weeks. Sandin’s knee suffered no structural damage but will need time for the swelling to subside.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza had no history of fines or suspension in his NHL career. He reportedly intends to appeal his suspension. He deserved punishment for his dangerous retaliatory hit on Pionk but this seemed unduly harsh given his previously unblemished record.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew a 2-0 lead but rallied to double up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Carolina defenseman Ian Cole was ejected for a knee-on-knee hit on Jets center Mark Scheifele, who was uninjured. The Jets played without defenseman Neal Pionk, who received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Pionk is also in concussion protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pionk had no history of fines or suspensions before this. Leafs fans are wondering why he got just two games while Spezza got six. The fact he was sidelined by a concussion from Spezza’s hit probably factored into it though Sandin was injured by Pionk’s hit in the first place.

Pavel Buchnevich’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Florida Panthers 4-3. It was a costly win for the Blues as goalie Ville Husso left the game with a lower-body injury and defenseman Jake Walman suffered an upper-body injury. The Blues were already playing without starter Jordan Binnington, who is in COVID protocol. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov scored in his first game since being sidelined on Nov. 16 by a knee injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 25-save shutout by Anthony Stolarz to blank the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. Ducks forwards Trevor Zegras made a lacrosse-style pass from behind the net to Sonny Milano for the game-winner. The Sabres have lost five straight while the Ducks (33 points) move within two points of the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

Speaking of the Flames, they blew a 3-1 lead to fall 5-3 to the San Jose Sharks. Tomas Hertl led the way for the Sharks with a hat trick while Adin Hill made 40 saves for the win. Struggling Sharks forward Kevin Labanc was a healthy scratch from this game.

Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen and Dante Fabbro each had a goal and two assists to power the Nashville Predators over the Detroit Red Wings 5-2, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. The Predators played without goaltender Juuse Saros and defenseman Mattias Ekholm as both are sidelined by a non-COVID illness.

Two late third-period goals by Corey Perry and Ondrej Palat lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Lightning has won four straight games. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens did almost everything right in this game except win. That’s the way this season is going for the hapless Habs. They rarely win even when they play well.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals have canceled today’s practice as part of their extra precautions after three players (Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and Trevor van Riemsdyk) wound up on COVID protocol. No players tested positive yesterday.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers claimed defenseman Kevin Connauton off waivers yesterday from the Florida Panthers.

SPORTSNET: The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers placed forward Brendan Perlini on waivers.

Former NHL goaltender Devan Dubnyk has signed a professional tryout offer with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2021

Last night’s action featured milestones for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Carey Price. Get the details plus the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 717th career NHL goals as his Washington Capitals crushed the Buffalo Sabre 6-0. Ovechkin is tied with Phil Esposito for sixth on the all-time goals list. Washington goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves for his first career NHL shutout. The Capitals (40 points) sit two back of the first-place New York Islanders in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to reach his 1,100th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Tristan Jarry kicked out 42 shots for the win while Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists. The Penguins (37 points) won their sixth straight to sit third in the East Division while the Bruins (32 points) are clinging to fourth place.

Patrick Kane scored to collect his 1,064 point but his Chicago Blackhawks fell 6-3 to the Florida Panthers. Kane sits fifth on the all-time points list for American-born players, one behind Keith Tkachuk. Florida tallied five unanswered goals with captain Aleksander Barkov leading the way with a goal and two assists. The Panthers (42 points) vaulted over the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Discover Central Division while the Blackhawks hold fourth place with 33 points.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 34 saves to pick up the win in his 700th career game as his club doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Montreal winger Tyler Toffoli scored twice and collected an assist while Winnipeg winger Kyle Connor tallied two goals. The Jets (36 points) remain in second place in the Scotia North Division while the Canadiens held onto fourth place with 33 points. Earlier in the day, the Habs announced defenseman Ben Chiarot will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery on a fractured hand.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 38 shots while Calle Jarnkrok scored and picked up three assists as the Nashville Predators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the Predators while Steven Stamkos tallied Tampa Bay’s only goal as the Lightning (40 points) slipped to third in the Central Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jakub Voracek, who also collected two assists. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin also had a goal and two helpers. With 31 points, the Flyers sit one back of the fourth-place Bruins in the East.

J.T. Miller scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame on goals by Josh Norris and Colin White. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko picked up the win with a 42-save performance as the Canucks (30 points) sit three behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division.

The Calgary Flames picked up their third straight win under new coach Darryl Sutter with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Noah Hanifin netted the game-winner in the third period just over a minute after Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl tied the game. Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira left the game after being knocked out by Brett Ritchie during a first-period fight. Khaira answered the challenge from Ritchie following a high hit on Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who left the game but later return to action. The Oilers (36 points) remain in third place in the North Division while the Flames (31 points) are two behind the fourth-place Canadiens.

Mark Stone scored the game-winning goal and set up the game-opening tally as his Vegas Golden Knights held off the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Max Pacioretty also scored while Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 23 shots for the win. Timo Meier scored for the Sharks. With 39 points, the Golden Knights opened a four-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Honda West Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 15.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen’s recent struggles may be tied to the groin injury he’s playing through.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen Leafs fans on this site and elsewhere demanding general manager Kyle Dubas acquire a goaltender. However, they have limited salary-cap space and the pickings are slim in the trade market for rental goalies.

I’ve seen some suggest Arizona’s Antti Raanta as one option but he’s unlikely to move with Darcy Kuemper sidelined and I’ll be very surprised if the Coyotes trade the latter. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier could be the best available choice but the Leafs could face competition for his services from contenders like Colorado and Washington.

TSN: Three Rangers (Pavel Buchnevich, Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox) are among the five players on yesterday’s NHL COVID-19 protocol list. New Jersey’s Will Butcher and the Islanders’ Noah Dobson are the others.