NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2022

Keith Yandle ties the league’s Ironman record, Chris Kreider takes the lead in the goal-scoring race, the Avalanche takes over first overall in the standings, the Canucks hire their first female assistant GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle tied the NHL’s Ironman record of 964 consecutive games but his club also tied a franchise record with its 12th straight defeat in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist and Jake Oettinger made 27 saves as the Stars won their third straight game to sit tied with the Calgary Flames with 44 points.

Philadelphia Flyers defeneman Keith Yandle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Yandle, who can break the record tonight against the New York Islanders. It’s the sole bright spot for the Flyers of late, who hold the fourth-worst record (13-21-8, 34 points) in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Flames, they’ve taken over the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference by thumping the St. Louis Blues 7-1. Matthew Tkachuk collected a career-high five assists while Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and three helpers for Calgary, who hold two games in hand over the Stars and five games over the San Jose Sharks, who also have 44 points.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider scored his league-leading 30th goal of the season as his club beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Adam Fox tallied the winning goal in a shootout while teammate Artemi Panarin picked up two assists for the Rangers, who sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 60 points and are just one back of the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Kings, meanwhile, slip to third in the Pacific Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers played without Kaapo Kakko as the 20-year-old winger is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Filip Chytil also missed this game as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche extended its home winning streak to 16 games and its points streak to 13 by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Pavel Francouz turned in a 23-save shutout while Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers. With 61 points, the Avalanche sits atop the Western Conference and has taken over first place in the overall standings.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist and Hampus Lindholm collected three assists as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Boston Bruins 5-3. With the win, the Ducks slipped ahead of the Kings into second place in the Pacific with 49 points. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 50 points. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is considered day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask did not look sharp in this game as he struggles to shake off the rust from his lengthy absence recovering from offseason hip surgery. He’s won two of his four starts but gave up five goals in each of his losses and has a 4.29 goals-against average and .844 save percentage after four games.

Robin Lehner made 34 saves and Michael Amadio scored the only goal as the Vegas Golden Knights shut out the Washington Capitals 1-0. It was the seventh straight road victory for Vegas, who remains atop the Pacific Division with 52 points. The Capitals hold the first wild-card berth in the East with 55 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner had a frightening moment in the second period when a slapshot by Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin broke the cage of his mask, forcing him to use the mask he wore last season as a backup. “It was probably the hardest shot I have ever taken to the head,” said Lehner. It was a little scary, as I felt the cage bend…”

The Minnesota Wild extended their points streak to seven games by crushing the Montreal Canadiens 8-2. Nico Sturm had a goal and two assists while Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Jared Spurgeon and Kevin Fiala were among eight Wild to finish the night with two points. Canadiens center Christian Dvorak left the game after a high hit by Spurgeon in the first period and didn’t pass the concussion protocol.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks made franchise history as Emilie Castonguay become the club’s first female assistant general manager. Castonguay had previously made history by becoming the first female NHLPA-certified player agent in 2016. She played NCAA Division 1 hockey in her youth and holds degrees in law and finance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Castonguay, who was also under consideration for the role of general manager of the Montreal Canadiens before they hired player agent Kent Hughes last week.

NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso and San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan 23, 2022.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Teddy Blueger will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured jaw.

DAILY FACEOFF: The International Ice Hockey Federation accidentally leaked Canada’s roster for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before Hockey Canada’s official reveal today. Former NHLers include Eric Staal, Jason Demers, David Desharnais and Mark Barbeiro. 2021 NHL first-overall pick Owen Power and third-overall pick Mason McTavish are also on the roster.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2022

The scoring race tightens as Chris Kreider, Alex Ovechkin and Leon Draisaitl enjoy multi-point performances. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider is tied for the NHL’s goal-scoring lead after tallying a hat trick in a 7-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Kreider has reached a career-high 29 goals, tying him with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin atop this season’s leader board. Jacob Trouba also scored twice and Mika Zibanejad collected three assists as the Rangers remain atop the Metropolitan Division with 58 points. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko missed this contest as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider (NHL Images).

Speaking of Ovechkin, he scored two third-period goals to rally his club over the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on an overtime goal by Nicklas Backstrom. With 55 points, the Capitals maintain a five-point lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl scored twice to sit one goal behind Ovechkin and Kreider as his club snapped a seven-game losing skid by dousing the Calgary Flames 5-3. The Oilers (40 points) sit two points behind the Flames, who remain two points back of the San Jose Sharks (44 points) for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Thanks to his four-point performance, Draisaitl has tied Ovechkin for the points lead with 58. Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie missed this game due to injuries suffered on Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Speaking of the Sharks, they were on the receiving end of a 7-1 drubbing by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ross Colton scored two goals while Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had a goal and an assist while Brian Elliott made 27 saves. The Lightning and the Florida Panthers each have 61 points but the Panthers remain in first place in the overall standings with two games in hand. Lightning defenseman Cal Foote was fined $2,125.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Anaheim Ducks forward Buddy Robinson on Friday.

Gabriel Landeskog’s overtime goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Avs extend their points streak to 12 games and their home winning streak to 15, sitting on top of the Western Conference with 59 points. Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau made 43 saves to keep this one close. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens placed Jonathan Drouin (upper body) on injured reserve and listed goalie Sam Montembault as day-to-day with a minor wrist injury.

Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene scored two goals and collected an assist to lead his club over the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Teammate Filip Forsberg tallied his 20th goal of the season and chipped in an assist as the Predators remain four points back of the Avs with 55 points.

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their first multi-goal win since Jan. 5 by dropping the New York Islanders 3-1, snapping the latter’s three-game win streak. Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist and Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the Leafs, who remains in third place in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.

New Jersey Devils forward Andreas Johnsson and defenseman Ryan Graves each had a goal and two assists in a 7-4 upset of the Carolina Hurricanes. Nathan Bastian also scored twice for the Devils as they overcame a 2-0 deficit. With 56 points, the Hurricanes sit two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

An overtime goal by Marcus Foligno gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Henrik Borgstrom scored twice for the Blackhawks. With 51 points, the Wild have a firm grip on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks played without forward Jujhar Khaira and defenseman Riley Stillman as both were placed on injured reserve.

The Boston Bruins got a tie-breaking goal from David Pastrnak in a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Brad Marchand shook off an upper-body injury from his previous game to pick up an assist. Like the Oilers, the Jets are four points behind the Sharks in the chase for the Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Buffalo Sabres downed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 as the latter’s winless skid reached 11 games (0-8-3). Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson and Peyton Krebs each scored twice for the Sabres while Claude Giroux tallied two goals for the Flyers. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced rookie Jack Quinn will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jordan Subban was the target of a racist gesture during an ECHL game on Saturday. Jacksonville Iceman Jordan Panetta made monkey gestures at Subban, a defenseman for the South Carolina Stingrays, during an altercation leading to a fight. Subban is the younger brother of New Jersey Devils blueliner P.K. Subban, who shared a video of the incident on Twitter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There should be no place for racism in any level of hockey or society. However, this was the second episode this month of a black minor-league player being the target of racial taunting. On Friday, the American Hockey League suspended San Jose Barracudas forward Krystof Hrabik for 30 games after he made similar monkey gestures at Tucson Roadrunners Boko Imama on Jan. 12.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2021

Walter Gretzky, the father of Wayne Gretzky, passed away at 82, the Flames replace head coach Geoff Ward with Darryl Sutter, plus recaps of Thursday’s games and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne Gretzky, passed away at age 82 after battling several illnesses including Parkinson’s disease. The world’s most famous hockey dad, Walter’s guidance and tutelage helped develop Wayne into the greatest player in NHL history.

Walter Gretzky passed away at age 82 (NHL.com).

For my sister and my 3 brothers, Dad was our team captain – he guided, protected, and led our family every day, every step of the way,” wrote Wayne on Twitter in announcing Walter’s passing. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Gretzky family and Walter’s friends. He will be greatly missed. A kind, friendly man who devoted considerable time to charitable causes and always had time for a fan, Walter’s passing leaves a void in the hockey world.

 

The Calgary Flames’ 7-3 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators was overshadowed by their firing of head coach Geoff Ward following the game. His replacement is Darryl Sutter, who coached the Flames from 2002 to 2006 and was also their general manager from 2003 to 2010. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Flames signed Sutter to a three-year contract (this season plus two more).

Flames winger Dillon Dube tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists. Sam Bennett was made a healthy scratch from this contest as a “coach’s decision” by Ward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ward became the Flames’ interim head coach in November 2019 and was named their full-time head coach last September. The club’s inconsistency this season has threatened to derail their playoff hopes. It’ll be interesting to see how they perform under Sutter, a no-nonsense coach who guided the Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final and went on to win two Cups with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014.

The New York Islanders extended their home record to 8-0-2 by dropping the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Matt Martin scored twice and Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist. Sabres winger Taylor Hall tallied his first goal since the club’s season-opener on Jan. 14.

Chris Kreider tallied a hat trick to lead the New York Rangers over the New Jersey Devils 6-1. It was a costly win for the Rangers as goaltender Igor Shesterkin left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. Struggling Blueshirts center Mika Zibanejad had his ice time reduced, including being bench for the first half of the second period. Earlier in the day, the Devils announced captain Nico Hischier is week-to-week with a sinus fracture after being hit in the face by the puck during Saturday’s loss to Washington.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov finally faced off against brother Evgeny Svechnikov in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Andrei had a goal and an assist while Evgeny picked up an assist for the Red Wings. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player discipline for a dangerous slew foot on Wings forward Robby Fabbri.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Claude Giroux scored twice, including the game-winner. Flyers forward Joel Farabee missed the game as he was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Penguin captain Sidney Crosby came off the list yesterday and picked up an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Farabee is just one of three players on the protocol list, joining Boston’s Charlie Coyle and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.

Paul Stastny scored twice and Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Corey Perry had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who’ve dropped six games in overtime this season and are 3-5-4 in their last 12 games. They hold a two-point over the Flames for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Killorn. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shutout streak ended at three games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough loss for the Blackhawks as they outplayed the Lightning through the first two periods and carried a 2-0 lead into the third.

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad had a career-best four-point performance (two goals, two assists) as his club held off the Nashville Predators 5-4. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov collected three helpers. Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson each had a three-point game for the Predators.

The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.

A two-goal performance by Jake Virtanen lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 upset of the league-leading Toronto Maple Leafs. Canucks center Elias Pettersson missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was fined $5,000.00 by the league’s department of player discipline for spearing Boston Bruins forward Trent Frederic on Wednesday.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm will be sidelined for six weeks with a fractured wrist.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld received a two-game suspension by the league for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon on Wednesday. MacKinnon’s status remains uncertain as the Avs have yet to release an update on his condition.










NHL Trending Up, Trending Down – Week 7

NHL Trending Up, Trending Down – Week 7

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2020

More details on the return-to-play plan and CBA extension, an update on the Blues’ COVID-19 tests, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reported yesterday the NHL and NHLPA were closing in on a tentative memorandum of understanding on an all-encompassing six-year extension on the collective bargaining agreement and a return-to-play plan to complete this season.

Could an agreement between the NHL and NHLPA be announced today? (Image via NHL.com).

It requires ratification by the NHL Board of Governors and the full NHLPA membership. The latter would require 72 hours to vote.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said if an agreement was announced on Saturday the players’ vote could begin electronically on Monday. As of this update, there’s no sign of this agreement, though that delay could be due to yesterday’s American Independence Day holiday. 

Seravalli listed the pertinent details of the proposed agreement, including the critical dates of the return-to-play plan, the term of the CBA (end of 2025-26 with a possible one-year extension), Olympic participation in 2022 and 2026 pending negotiations with the IOC and IIHF, a cap on escrow (20 percent next season and gradually dropping to six percent for the final three seasons), freezing the salary cap at $81.5 million until league revenue returns to $4.8 billion, and outlawing front-loaded contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Further details on those and other issues were revealed from other sources on Friday evening. You can read about them in Saturday’s morning coffee headlines.

Other notable points include the players receiving a post-career health care subsidy of between $3,500.00 and $5,000.00 per player, the opportunity for players to rehab long-term injuries in a city or place of their choice unless the team can prove that rehab isn’t possible there, and no requirement for players who played in Europe to pass through waivers to return to the NHL provided they sign their NHL contract by Dec. 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last one is a significant change. In the past, a player who skated with a European team at the start of the season who subsequently signed an NHL contract could be plucked off the waiver wire by a rival club.

Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, reported the NHL remains focused on a full 82-game schedule for 2020-21 beginning in December or January. That would mean the Stanley Cup Final could be played sometime next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to get through this season first. If the return-to-play plan is carried out to its hopeful conclusion, the Stanley Cup will be awarded in the first week of October. The 2020 Draft will be held in mid-to-late October, and the free-agent market would open Nov. 1.

Earlier reports speculated the league would kick off next season on New Year’s Day with the 2021 Winter Classic in Minnesota. That would mean training camps would have to open in early-December, meaning the clubs that reach the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final under the return-to-play plan will have a very short off-season.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports further details were provided on the multiple Blues who tested positive for COVID-19. A source said it was four players and one coach. The problem may have started over a week ago when several members of the team visited a local bar. One player soon tested positive, followed by another player and a coach, and then two more players.

It’s unknown if any of the five displayed symptoms or were asymptomatic. Some of them could miss the start of the training camp period in Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan slated for July 13.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said these and other positive tests weren’t necessarily surprising.

I think it’s fair to say that our experience to this point is consistent with what we expected,” he said via email. “We didn’t go down this road thinking we were not going to see any positives. Of course, we were going to see positives.

Daly cited factors such as players spread out across the globe, their individual behaviors, locations, conditioning, and modes of travel. He stressed the importance of “conservative approaches and response management” is critical at this point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league’s approach has always been that isolated cases, especially those involving asymptomatic players, wouldn’t derail the return-to-play plan. That will be put to the test under Phase 3 when the players return to their NHL cities for mandatory training camps. While the teams will be undertaking strict health and self-distancing protocols, the players will be under greater risk of exposure in those cities than they will in the two hub cities for Phase 4.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Powers reports a source claims Brent Seabrook hopes to rejoin the Chicago Blackhawks if play continues later this summer. The 35-year-old defenseman underwent surgeries on his right shoulder and both hips earlier this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook won’t be the only player sidelined at the time the schedule was interrupted by COVID-19 who could return to action in the proposed playoff tournament. Others include Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Columbus’ Seth Jones, the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider, and Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2020

More reaction to the draft lottery results, plus the latest on Bruce Boudreau, Chris Kreider, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Bob Wojnowski believes the Red Wings got burned by what he considers the NHL’s draft lottery buffoonery. The Wings had this season’s worst record but fell to fourth overall in the draft order as a placeholder club took the top spot in Phase 1 of the lottery draw on Friday.

The results of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery has sparked criticism of the process (Photo via NHL.com).

You put your fate in random acts, expect random, inexplicable results,” writes Wojnowski, going on to call the lottery “an embarrassment”. He noted the Wings had an 18.5 percent chance of winning the draft lottery, yet the odds were a combined 24.5 percent that one of the eight teams eliminated from the qualifying round of the upcoming 24-team playoff tournament would get the prize. “And here’s the ridiculous part: it’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.”

THE TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes the NHL Draft hasn’t made much sense for years. He thinks Friday’s lottery results destroyed the belief that it’s about fairness of competition, allowing weaker teams an opportunity to compete with stronger clubs.

Cox suggests there’s little evidence the draft helps weaker clubs. “In most cases, they’re weak because they’re badly run,” he said. Cox makes the case for a free market system allowing the top prospects to sign with whoever they choose once they turn 18. He feels it would motivate teams to improve how they run their operations as a way to woo the best young talent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The anger felt by Red Wings fans over the results of the lottery is understandable, but even if this had been a normal draft year, there’s a good chance the lottery balls still wouldn’t have fallen their way. In 2017, for example, the Colorado Avalanche were the league’s worst team but dropped to fourth as the Devils won the lottery.

That’s cold comfort for the Wings and their fans, but they could still end up with a very good player, perhaps a potential superstar, with the No. 4 pick. Just like the Avs did when they selected Cale Makar three years ago.

Don’t expect the NHL to take up Cox’s suggestion to scrap the draft in favor of an open market. The last thing they want is the best prospects clustering toward a handful of clubs.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo reports former Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is hoping this season won’t be his last as an NHL bench boss.

The plan was when we signed here that this was it for me, and this is where we were going to end up. Even though I hope it’s not, it’s just tough when it goes this way.”

Boudreau has two years remaining in an advisory role with the Wild, but he doesn’t know if general manager Bill Guerin will take advantage of it.

NEWSDAY: New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider (broken foot) and Micheal Haley (torn abdominal muscle) have fully recovered from their injuries and ready to return to action.

STLTODAY.COM: Recently retired NHL player Chris Thorburn hopes to mentor young pros.