NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2020

League commissioner Gary Bettman admits finishing the regular season might not be possible, Oilers forward Colby Cave in a medically-induced coma, plus the latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Jeff Skinner and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman admitted finishing the regular season might not be possible, though he stressed many options are under consideration. One could see games played at neutral sites if teams aren’t allowed to play in their home arenas. It could take at least a couple of more weeks for clarity on how the pandemic affects all 31 NHL markets.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman admits completing the regular season might not be possible (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While NHL fans and pundits are calling upon Bettman to cancel the season and the playoffs, the league and the NHLPA are determined to salvage the rest of the schedule. Failing that, they’ll attempt to stage the Stanley Cup playoffs in some format during the summer.

Of course, it’ll depend upon how long it takes before the pandemic has run its course and is eventually contained. If the current situation persists through the summer, Bettman and company will have no choice but to scrap the season and look toward gearing up for 2020-21.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports being told it’s very unlikely the league would consider just one neutral site because it won’t work for its purposes. Scenarios include two locations where they each had two rinks apiece that the league could use, or four locations for 16 teams, or eight locations. LeBrun indicated it’s still very early in those discussions.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forward Colby Cave underwent emergency surgery yesterday in Toronto to remove a colloid cyst that was putting pressure on his brain. He remains in a medically-induced coma. The condition is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, nor was it the result of an accident.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Cave makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.

THE DENVER POST: A third Colorado Avalanche player tested positive for COVID-19. He’s in self-isolation and hasn’t had close contact with his teammates or team staff. The league has had eight players test positive for the coronavirus, including five Ottawa Senators.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said it’s his understanding his club will keep its conditional third-round pick from the Milan Lucic-for-James Neal swap last summer if the season doesn’t resume. The Flames would’ve received the pick if Neal scored at least 21 goals this season and Lucic tallied 10-or-fewer goals than Neal. The latter had netted 19 goals when the schedule was paused.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is earning praise for his efforts to help the local community during the pandemic. Bobrovsky pledged $100K to cover the salaries of the Panthers’ home arena part-time staff. His teammates and team owner Vinnie Viola subsequently jumped on board to cover those employee losses.

Bobrovsky is also working with the Panthers’ Foundation to equip first responders and medical workers with N95 masks. “I think I just tried to do the right thing for those people, to support them and help them from my side,” said Bobrovsky.

KITCHENER TODAY: Former Kitchener Rangers winger Jeff Skinner donated $53,000 to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. The donation number is a reference to the No. 53 he wired with the Rangers and wears today with the Buffalo Sabres.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien said young center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is resting at home in Finland and suffered no setbacks in his recovering from an injured spleen suffered on March 11.

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL general managers Brian Burke and Mike O’Connell are feuding over Burke’s attempt to acquire Joe Thornton during his tenure as Anaheim Ducks GM in 2005. O’Connell, the Bruins GM at the time, eventually shipped Thornton to the San Jose Sharks. Burke is still bitter about it, believing he’d made a better offer. O’Connell, however, called Burke’s claims a fabrication.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing like a pissing contest between two former NHL GMs to provide a momentary distraction from this pandemic and its effects upon the NHL season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2020

The NHL considers its options as the NBA suspends its season over coronavirus concerns, plus game recaps and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The National Hockey League will provide an update on its season later today regarding coronavirus concerns. The league released a statement last night indicating its awareness of the National Basketball Association’s decision to suspend its season indefinitely after a player tested positive for the virus. NHL officials will continue to consult with medical officials and evaluating options. It is also in close contact with the NHL Players Association.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the league is expected to hold a conference call with all 31 clubs today.

SPORTSNET: While the league hasn’t yet decided on suspending its season, Chris Johnston believes it wouldn’t be surprising if it followed the NBA’s lead. “How can they reasonably play on with the virus spreading quickly in North America?”, asked Johnston. Even if the league held games in empty arenas, it might not be enough to guarantee the safety of the players and officials. Johnston also raised concern over whether the NHL can award a Stanley Cup champion this season, noting several European leagues have scrapped their seasons over COVID-19 concerns.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports playing games without fans would have consequences for league revenue this season, in turn affecting the salary cap for 2020-21. The NHL is the most gate-reliant for revenue among the four major North American sports leagues.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have grounded their international scouts over COVID-19 concerns.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith attempted to find some humor over the possibility of playing games in empty arenas. “I played in an empty building for a couple of years in Florida so I’m used to it,” he said.

Could the NHL suspend its season over COVID-19 concerns? (Image via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this situation. The Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks already announced it would play several upcoming home games without fans. The league could go that route with all its clubs on a week-by-week basis, they could postpone the remaining schedule by two or three weeks or suspend it indefinitely.

Whatever the league decides, it will affect hockey-related revenue for this season. It’s probably safe to assume those rosy projections of the cap rising next season to between $84 million to $88 million can be scrapped.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Pietrangelo scored twice to lead the St. Louis Blues over the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 to complete the game that was postponed last month after Blues defensemen Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident. With the win, the Blues (94 points) hold a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first overall in the Western Conference.

An overtime goal by J.T. Compher lifted the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Cale Makar collected three assists for the Avs in his return to the lineup following a five-game absence to an upper-body injury The Rangers (79 points) sit two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Earlier in the day, the Avs announced center Nathan MacKinnon was sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Kyle Connor scored two goals for the Jets (80 points), moving two points ahead of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers (83 points) remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his 30th goal of the season in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Kubalik leads all NHL rookies in goals this season. Patrick Kane scored twice for the Hawks.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their seventh straight win by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Kings have won 10 of their last 13 contests.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 32 goals and 66 points.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens sophomore center Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s season is over following an injured spleen suffered on Friday playing for the Habs’ AHL affliate.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina’s attempt to return from an ankle injury has been delayed by a mid-body injury. The Wings are hoping it won’t be season-ending for the young winger.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers center Nate Thompson will be sidelined for two weeks with a sprained left knee.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

The Panthers retire Roberto Luongo’s number, David Pastrnak moves closer to 50 goals, updates on the playoff race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: On the night the Florida Panthers retired Roberto Luongo’s No. 1, they also gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad each had two points for the Panthers (76 points), who moved within three of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Panthers as they struggle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Leafs have done the Panthers a favor with their sputtering play of late, but the Panthers must start capitalizing if they hope to overtake the Leafs and clinch a postseason berth.

Vincent Trocheck’s first goal since joining the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The goal came with some controversy as Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov clanged the puck off the crossbar with what appeared to be a high stick, enabling Trocheck to bury the rebound. However, the NHL situation room upheld the goal, claiming Svechnikov’s stick was below his shoulders when he made contact with the puck. The Islanders (79 points) cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Hurricanes (77 points) sit two points behind the Isles and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Oilers (82 points), who moved into a first-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (82 points) hold the edge over Vegas based on goals scored and ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to action for the first time since Feb. 16. Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The New York Rangers failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling 6-4 to the New Jersey Devils. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice for the Devils as Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. It was Shesterkin’s first game since suffering a rib injury in a car accident on Feb. 23. The Rangers (76 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 48th goal in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Shorthanded goals by Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev just over a minute apart powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 48th goal of the season. The Bruins four-game winning streak came to an end, but they remain atop the overall standings with 98 points. The Lightning (91 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division.

Nic Dowd scored two goals and collected an assist as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Capitals (89 points) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division, but hold the edge due to ROW and goals scored. The Penguins (84 points) remain in third in the Metro.

The red-hot Flyers, meanwhile, picked up their ninth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Claude Giroux netted two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves.

Jusse Saros turned in a 37-save shutout and Ryan Ellis scored the only goal as the Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0. With 76 points, the Predators hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference over the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) based on goals scored (211) and holding a game in hand. The Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 upset of the Minnesota Wild, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. The Wild (75 points) sit one point behind the Predators and Jets.

The Ottawa Senators edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Chris Tierney. The Senators have won four of their last five games.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL is recommending teams close its dressing rooms to reporters to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Only a couple of teams have done so, but it could become more widespread in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players probably won’t mind getting a break from having to provide the same stock answers to the same question from reporters. Nevertheless, the league appears serious in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into NHL dressing rooms. Its effects are already being felt through the hockey world, as the IIHF has canceled the 2020 Women’s World Championships.

SPORTSNET: The Rangers have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager Jeff Gorton and assistant GM Chris Drury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to recover in time for training camp in September.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injuries) could be sidelined for weeks. He’s already missed five games after crashing heavily into the boards in a Feb. 25 game against the Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi suffered a splenic injury in a recent game with the Habs’ AHL affiliate. He returned to Montreal for evaluation yesterday and there’s no timetable for his recovery.










What Are Marc Bergevin’s Off-Season NHL Plans For The Montreal Canadiens?

What Are Marc Bergevin’s Off-Season NHL Plans For The Montreal Canadiens?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2020

Game recaps, stars and rookie of the month for January, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored twice and Leon Draisaitl picked up four assists as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Calgary Flames 8-3. Draisaitl (83 points) sits four ahead of McDavid as the league’s points leader. A fight between Flames goalie Cam Talbot and Oilers netminder Mike Smith was the highlight of a line brawl late in the second period.

Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl widened his league in the NHL scoring race during an 8-3 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Battle of Alberta is always more fun when both clubs are battling for postseason spots. The next game between these two clubs is April 4. Hopefully, that will be a playoff preview.

Torey Krug’s four-point performance (two goals and two assists) led the Boston Bruins to a 6-1 drubbing of the Minnesota Wild. Winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 38th goal of the season as the Bruins (74 points) moved within a point of the league-leading Washington Capitals.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 29 saves to shut out the Florida Panthers 4-0. With 47 career shutouts, Price moved past Ken Dryden into third place among the club’s all-time leaders. Jeff Petry assisted on all four goals. It was a costly defeat for the Panthers. They slipped out of a playoff spot (61 points) and center Aleksander Barkov left the game with a lower-body injury. An update on his status is expected on Sunday.

Tampa Bay Lightning backup Curtis McElhinney turned in a 30-save shutout to down the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Steven Stamkos scored and chipped in an assist. Before the game, the Sharks honored Marc-Edouard Vlasic for becoming the second player and first defenseman in franchise history to reach 1,000 career games.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth straight win by edging the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime. Quinn Hughes scored twice, including the game-winner. Isles center Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist. The Canucks (64 points) hold a two-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist picked up his first shutout in two years by blanking the Detroit Red Wings 1-0. Mika Zibanejad tallied the only goal. Rangers winger Chris Kreider left the game in the second period after a collision with Zibanejad, but coach David Quinn said he didn’t suffer a concussion and felt better following the game.

Jack Roslovic scored twice and collected an assist as the Winnipeg Jets ended a five-game losing skid with 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 38 shots. Winnipeg (56 points) sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Earlier in the day, the Jets learned center Mathieu Perreault will miss at least two weeks with an upper-body injury. Blues forward Alexander Steen played in his 1,000th career game in the city where he was born and raised.

The Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on an overtime goal by Mitch Marner. With the win, the Leafs (63 points) climbed back into a playoff berth, sitting third in the Atlantic Division.

Joe Pavelski’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Before the game, the Devils held a ceremony honoring their 2000 Stanley Cup championship team. Petr Sykora, who was injured during the Cup-winning game, finally got his opportunity to skate a lap with the trophy.

Two-goal performances by Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Colorado Avalanche 6-3, handing the latter their first defeat in four games. Flyers center Sean Couturier picked up three assists.

Shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the slumping Arizona Coyotes. Kane extended his points streak to 12 games with assists on two goals by Brandon Saad. With 56 points, the Blackhawks sit three behind the Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 19 shots in a 3-0 shutout of the Nashville Predators. With the win, the Golden Knights (61 points) moved into third place in the Pacific Division.

Jack Eichel’s overtime goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. The Sabres sit 10 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Miller made a season-high 46 saves to backstop the Anaheim Ducks over the Los Angeles Kings 3-1.

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, Edmonton winger Leon Draisaitl, and Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy are the NHL’s three stars for January 2020. Chicago winger Dominik Kubalik was named rookie of the month.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights will end their affiliation with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves at the end of this season.

 










Will the Montreal Canadiens’ Current NHL Prospects Crop Pan Out?

Will the Montreal Canadiens’ Current NHL Prospects Crop Pan Out?