NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

Eric Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury reach career milestones, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal scored to pick up his 1,000th career point, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied a hat trick while Jonathan Toews collected three assists. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Wild.

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal netted his 1,000th career point in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

Marc-Andre Fleury moved into 14th place for all-time games played among NHL goalies (821) backstopping the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas winger Max Pacioretty scored twice and added two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed winger Sven Baertschi on waivers.

Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee faces supplemental discipline for interference on Jets center Mathieu Perreault. The injury-ravaged Flyers have dropped four of their last five games.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice to lead his club over the Detroit Red Wings 4-2, snapping the latter’s two-game win streak.


SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recently teamed up with sponsor and equipment maker CCM to announce a donation of 87 sets of hockey gear to participants in three programs administered by Hockey Nova Scotia.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar will miss the next two games with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting former San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is willing to entertain offers for coaching jobs this season. “Sometimes coaches wanna take time, maybe the rest of the season before they come back,” Friedman said. “The word is … that, depending on the situation, Peter DeBoer is willing to listen and will consider coaching this year. But again, it depends on the situation.”

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres sent struggling Casey Mittelstadt to their AHL affiliate in Rochester. The 21-year-old winger had been a healthy scratch in three of the Sabres’ last four games.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former NHL winger Vladimir Tsyplakov has died at the age of 50. The cause of death was not revealed. Tsyplakov played nearly five seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and nearly two seasons with the Sabres. He netted 170 points in 331 NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Tsyplakov’s family, friends, and former teammates.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2019

The latest on Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson claims his injured groin is back to normal after surgery in May. The nagging injury sidelined Karlsson for several games during the regular season and hobbled him during the 2019 Western Conference Final. He doesn’t regret holding off surgery until the off-season.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said he’s fully recovered from off-season groin surgery (Photo via NHL Images).

“I most likely would have missed the whole year,” he said. “Now it feels that it’s something that shouldn’t affect anything else moving forward, and it shouldn’t be a problem that I have again.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are counting on Karlsson to be fully recovered. In June, they re-signed him to an eight-year, $92-million contract. If that injury remains an issue they’ll have a very expensive problem on their hands.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Evgeni Malkin is among several Pittsburgh Penguins entering this season with something to prove. While his offense (72 points in 68 games last season) remains strong, he faced considerable criticism for his sloppy defensive play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Malkin took the criticism to heart, working hard to improve that aspect of his play and stepping up his offseason training. A motivated Malkin will be crucial to the Penguins’ postseason hopes.

NHL.COM: Speaking of something to prove, Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar expects better from himself and his teammates after missing the playoff last season. He believes new head coach Todd McLellan can bring about a turnaround in the club’s fortunes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t be easy. Core players such as Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, and Dustin Brown are aging and the club is starting to transition toward youth. Their once-vaunted defense is depleted while injuries are taking a toll on long-time starting goaltender Jonathan Quick.

OTTAWA SUN: For the second straight year, the Senators won’t be naming a team captain. They’ll instead go with three alternates drawn from the ranks of their older, more experienced players. They don’t want younger players such as Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and Colin White dealing with that burden this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makes sense. Give those youngsters another year to develop and to learn from their more experienced teammates.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Mike Green and Frans Nielsen are among five Red Wings who could rebound in 2019-20. Justin Abdelkader and Jonathan Bernier could also have bounce-back performances while promising Filip Zadina looks to crack the roster on a full-time basis.

NBC SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils promoted player personnel directors Tom Fitzgerald and Dan MacKinnon to front-office vice president positions.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2019

Game recaps, Flames clinch first place in the Western Conference, Joe Thornton fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames (105 points) clinched first place in the Western Conference by defeating the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists for the Flames, who have home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the 2019 playoffs.

The loss means the Sharks’ opening-round opponent will be the Vegas Golden Knights. Speaking of which, Sharks center Joe Thornton and Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves were each fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking each other during their game on Saturday. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky collected his ninth shutout in a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves to pick up his league-leading ninth shutout as he backstopped the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Jackets (94 points) picked up their fifth straight victory and moved into the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling through most of this season, Bobrovsky’s been red-hot down the stretch, regaining the form that made him the only active multi-Vezina Trophy winner. Since March 5, his save percentage has been at .920 or higher in all but two of his last 11 starts. 

Anthony Mantha had a career-high five points, including his first NHL hat trick, as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Boston Bruins 6-3. With 103 points, the Bruins maintain a six-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (97 points) are two points behind the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division after beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Matt Cullen scored a goal and collected an assist for the Penguins. The Hurricanes (93 points) fell into the second wild-card berth in the East. 

The Arizona Coyotes kept their playoff hopes alive by blanking the Minnesota Wild 4-0. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 39 shots and Josh Archibald scored two goals. The Coyotes (84 points) are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card berth while the Wild sit four points out. 

Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 29-save shutout and Ryan Strome had two points as the New York Rangers blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings captain Anze Kopitar will play his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Calgary Flames. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery on Saturday to remove a blood clot from his hand. 

TSN: On a sad non-NHL note, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League yesterday announced it will discontinue operation on May 1. The league was founded in 2007 and was made up of six franchises. They recently saw a record 175,000 viewers tune to watch the Clarkson Cup contest between the Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes de Montreal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian cites a source saying the National Women’s Hockey League will investigate adding one or two Canadian franchises, with Montreal and one of the Toronto-area clubs the likely candidates. The NHL has expressed interest in growing women’s hockey but it remains to be seen if they’ll get involved in backing one North American league. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2019

Game recaps, coaches named for 2019 All-Star Game, and more in this morning’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Jonathan Quick collected his 300th NHL win and Anze Kopitar tallied his 300th NHL goal as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was perhaps the worst game of the season for the struggling Oilers, who seemed listless throughout this contest. At one point, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty elbowed Oilers captain Connor McDavid in the face without getting a penalty or receiving retribution from McDavid’s teammates, drawing a furious reaction from Oilers fans on social media. The faithful are getting restless as the hashtag #FireChiarelli (referring to Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli) was trending in Canada this morning. 

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar tallied his 300th career NHL goal in a 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 16-game point streak came to an end last night with a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Winger Evander Kane scored twice for the Sharks, including his 200th career goal, while Brent Burns collected three assists and Erik Karlsson had two helpers.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban collected his 300th career NHL assist against his former club in a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Craig Smith tallied two goals for the Predators. With the loss, the Canadiens dropped out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

The New York Islanders moved ahead of the Canadiens into that second wild-card spot by holding off the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Anders Lee had a goal and an assist for the red-hot Isles, who’ve won six straight contests. 

Michael Hutchinson had a 28-save shutout in his second game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, backstopping them to a 5-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Leafs. The Canucks, meanwhile, were playing without star rookie Elias Pettersson, who is expected to miss two weeks with a sprained right knee. 

Defenseman T.J. Brodie scored in overtime as the Calgary Flames overcame a 2-1 deficit for a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, who suffered their sixth straight defeat. Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 31 saves as his club held on for a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Returning from a three-game suspension, David Backes tallied the winning goal. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their seventh win in their last nine games by downing the Florida Panthers 4-3 on an overtime goal by Seth Jones. 

The Minnesota Wild handed the Ottawa Senators their seventh consecutive loss by edging them 4-3. Wild blueliner Jared Spurgeon scored two goals and teammate Zach Parise had a three-point performance. 


Josh Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets, Todd Reirden of the Washington Capitals, and Bill Peters of the Calgary Flames will serve as the head coaches in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose on Jan. 26. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers will be sidelined at least a month with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers forward Derek MacKenzie has announced his retirement to become an assistant coach with the club. He suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the season. In a career stretching back to 2001-02 with the Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, and Columbus Blue Jackets, McKenzie scored 51 goals and 74 points for 125 points.

ESPN.COM: Former New Jersey Devils forward Mike Peluso has filed a lawsuit claiming the club hid the true extent of a head injury he suffered during a game in 1993. “The suit says Peluso has suffered “nine grand mal seizures, early onset dementia, total and permanent disability in the workplace, all signs of being afflicted with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), as well as other severe neurological and psychological impairment.”

NHL Stars Off To Slow Starts in 2018-19

NHL Stars Off To Slow Starts in 2018-19

The 2018-19 campaign is only a month old but several noteworthy stars aren’t playing at a level usually expected of them.

Three are former Vezina Trophy-winning goaltenders. Another is a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman. One is a team captain considered among the league’s top two-way forwards.

Here’s a closer look at eight NHL players who seem to be struggling through the opening month of 2018-19.

Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights. Acquired from the Montreal Canadiens before training camp, the five-time 30-goal scorer managed just two goals in his first 10 games with the Golden Knights. He’s also been recently sidelined by an upper-body injury.  Adjusting to his new surroundings and teammates could also be behind his poor production thus far.

Two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is off to a poor start to 2018-19. (Photo via NHL Images)

Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks. On the eve of training camp, the Sharks landed this big fish in a blockbuster trade from the Ottawa Senators. A two-time Norris Trophy winner, Karlsson is ranked among the world’s elite defensemen. So far, however, his offensive stats are below normal. Not that he’s playing badly (seven assists in 14 games) but he has a team-worst plus-minus of minus-10. Karlsson’s stats should improve over the course of the season as he grows more comfortable with his new team.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets. The only active multiple winner of the Vezina Trophy (2013, 2017), Bobrovsky is having a horrible start to 2018-19. His goals-against average (3.33) and save percentage (.895) are well off from his otherwise solid career averages. “Bob” is slated for unrestricted free agency next summer and it’s believed he and the Jackets cannot agree over the terms of a new contract. His unhappiness seems to be spilling over into his play.

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins. The long-time Bruins starter is a former winner of the Vezina Trophy (2014). However, he won’t be in line for that honor this season if his performance doesn’t improve. He’s won three of six starts with a 3.15 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. Rask is at risk of losing his role to Jaroslav Halak, who’s sporting better numbers (1.45 GAA, .952 SP, two shutouts) in as many starts.

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings One of the best two-way forwards and better-disciplined players in the game, Kopitar is a former winner of the Lady Byng Trophy and a former two-time winner of the Selke Trophy. Unfortunately, he’s off to a sluggish start to this season, with six points in 12 games. Kopitar’s not the only Kings veteran struggling early. As captain, he’s feeling the pressure to lead them out of their current funk before the season slips away from them.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals. Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2016, Holtby had a below-average performance in 2017-18 but regained his usually stellar form backstopping the Capitals to the Stanley Cup last spring. Like his teammates, Holtby might be still feeling the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover”. He’s won four of 10 starts with a bloated 3.62 GAA and .888 save percentage.

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets. A Vezina Trophy finalist last season, Hellebuyck enjoyed a strong breakout performance. With 44 wins, a 2.36 GAA, .924 SP and six shutouts, the 25-year-old also helped the Jets reach their first Western Conference Final in franchise history. In the opening month of this season, however, he’s won five of 10 starts with a 3.01 save percentage and .907 save percentage. His stats must improve if the Jets are going to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues. Often overshadowed by Karlsson, Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty and Chicago’s Duncan Keith, Pietrangelo’s ranked among the league’s top defensemen over the past several years. This season, however, he’s off to a less-than-stellar start, with a plus-minus of minus-nine and four points in 12 games. Granted, the Blues’ goaltending and overall team defensive play haven’t been sparkling but Pietrangelo’s difficulties have raised some eyebrows early on.

Stats (as of Nov. 3, 2019) via NHL.com.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine, Jonathan Toews and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Anze Kopitar’s four-goal performance carried the Los Angeles Kings to a 7-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Anze Kopitar scored four goals as the Los Angeles Kings crushed the Colorado Avalanche 7-1. Tobias Rieder also scored twice for the Kings (89 points), who moved back into third place in the Pacific Division by one point over the Anaheim Ducks. With 88 points, the Avs hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their franchise-record 51st win of the season with a 7-6 victory over the New York Islanders. The win also moves the Lightning (106 points) into first place overall with the Nashville Predators. J.T. Miller scored twice and Brayden Point had a three-point performance for Tampa Bay. Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Ryan Pulock each scored two goals for the Isles.

Sergei Bobrovsky’s 33-save shutout performance carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Jackets’ 10th straight win, moving them into a tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins (89 points) for second in the Metropolitan Division. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist. The Panthers, with 81 points, remain one behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Connor McDavid’s four-point game (two goals, two assists) powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-2 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators. With 94 points, McDavid sits one behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced defenseman Oscar Klefbom underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McDavid wins the scoring title this season it’ll strengthen the case for those who believe he should win this year’s Hart Trophy, despite the fact the Oilers won’t make the playoffs. 

Auston Matthews signaled his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with a goal to help his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-2. Matthews missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury. Morgan Rielly collected three assists for the Leafs, who snapped the Predators’ 15-game points streak.

The Vegas Golden Knights became the first expansion team to reach 100 points in a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. Logan Couture netted the game winner for the Sharks (93 points), who remain four ahead of Los Angeles for second in the Pacific Division.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Detroit Red Wings 1-0, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Brett Connolly scored the only goal and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 39 shots. Earlier in the day, the Wings announced defenseman Mike Green will undergo season-ending cervical spine surgery. Meanwhile, the Capitals recalled goalie Pheonix Copley as starter Braden Holtby appeared to suffer a leg injury in a recent game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And now you know why the Red Wings couldn’t find any takers for Green at last month’s NHL trade deadline. 

Claude Giroux collected three assists and Travis Konency tallied twice as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 4-3. The Flyers (88 points) remain one point behind Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Valentin Zykov and Jeff Skinner lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The duo each scored twice for Carolina (75 points), who sit seven points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Alex Edler scored two goals for the Canucks. The Blackhawks played without captain Jonathan Toews, who’s expected to miss several games because of an upper-body injury

TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine suffered a bruised leg after blocking a shot in a recent game against Los Angeles. While the injury isn’t serious, the Jets offered no timeline for his return. 

CBS SPORTS: Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza (back injury) could miss the remainder of the regular season. 

St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo received a fine for cross-checking Boston Bruins winger Jordan Szwarz.

NORTHJERSEY.COM:  With Corey Schneider struggling, the New Jersey Devils could ride the hot hand with backup Keith Kinkaid in their quest to clinch a playoff berth. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider’s been in a horrible slump lately, going winless in his last 11 starts with a .868 save percentage. Kinkaid, meanwhile, won nine of his last 12 starts with a .931 save percentage. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks broadcaster Ed Olczyk announced he’s now cancer free. He’d been battling colon cancer since last fall. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, “Edzo!” Good news indeed.