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 Rumor Mill – March 4, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2020

The latest on the Blackhawks and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently reported the Blackhawks will finish the season with Corey Crawford and Malcolm Subban as their goalie tandem, but the future between the pipes appears murky. General manager Stan Bowman said his club will have a proven NHL goalie signed for next season, but didn’t shed light on who it’ll be.

Will the Chicago Blackhawks re-sign Corey Crawford? (Photo via NHL Images)

Pope doesn’t expect Subban fits into the Blackhawks’ future. All eyes will be upon Crawford, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and has a concussion history. If Crawford departs, Bowman’s options in the UFA market could include Brady Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Jaroslav Halak, Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, Mike Smith, and former Blackhawk Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford is 35 now and his best seasons are behind him. Perhaps he’ll agree to a one- or two-year deal for less than his current $6-million annual average value. If he agrees, I can see the Hawks trying to land an affordable backup via trade or free agency.

If they part ways with Crawford, I doubt they can afford Holtby or Markstrom. Halak, Khudobin, and Greiss are experienced backups, but they’ll try to get the best deal possible if they hit the open market. Smith, 37, is in the twilight of his career. Lehner didn’t sound happy over his dealings with Blackhawks management this season and could seek a long-term deal elsewhere.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers speculates it could get expensive for the Blackhawks to re-sign Dominik Kubalik. The 24-year-old winger leads all rookies with 29 goals and is tied with Patrick Kane for the lead among Blackhawks scorers.

Kubalik’s completing a one-year contract worth $925K and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. The Blackhawks’ limited salary cap space will be a factor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks’ goaltending situation could also affect what they can comfortably afford for Kubalik. Powers said both sides sound like they don’t want to go the arbitration route. Perhaps a one-year deal around $3 million can be worked out, with the promise of a more lucrative contract if Kubalik builds upon his rookie season.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE SABRES’ OFF-SEASON

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy examined potential off-season moves following another disappointing season for the Buffalo Sabres. Bolstering their offense could be the priority. The Sabres will free up a lot of salary-cap space if they allow Michael Frolik, Jimmy Vesey, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson to walk this summer. Wayne Simmonds might be worth retaining for toughness and leadership for the right price. Recent acquisition Dominik Kahun could be an affordable re-signing.

Kennedy feels they need to improve their penalty killing, suggesting Derek Grant and Vladislav Namestnikov as possible UFA targets. He advocates giving the starter’s job to Linus Ullmark but also suggests checking to see if Robin Lehner would be open to returning to Buffalo, or pursuing Jacob Markstrom if he doesn’t re-up with the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres currently have just over $47 million invested in 10 players. Part of their cap space will be taken up re-signing RFAs like Kahun, Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Brandon Montour, and Lawrence Pilut. Nevertheless, they’ll have enough to address some of their needs via trades or free agency.

I anticipate GM Jason Botterill will be busy in both markets, with bringing in a top-six scorer (preferably a center) his priority. I daresay we’ll also see defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen resurface in the trade rumor mill.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

Bobby Ryan scores a hat trick in an emotion return with the Senators, Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik nets his first NHL hat trick and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bobby Ryan scored a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. It was Ryan’s second game since returning from the player assistance program for alcohol abuse. He was overcome with emotion as his teammates and Ottawa fans cheered after he scored his third goal. The loss left the Canucks with 74 points, four behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Bobby Ryan tallied a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well done, Bobby Ryan.

David Pastrnak scored his league-leading 46th goal as the Boston Bruins held off the Dallas Stars 4-3. The league-leading Bruins (92 points) widened their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning by seven points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his first NHL hat trick as his club netted five unanswered third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Lightning, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Kubalik leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 29 goals. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to down the Florida Panthers 5-3. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman, and Justin Holl each had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Leafs (76 points) moved four ahead of the Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Colton Parayko’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the New York Islanders 3-2. The Blues (86 points) widened their lead atop the Western Conference standings by five points over the Colorado Avalanche. With 78 points, the Islanders cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund scored the tying and winning goals in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Ryan Ellis collected three assists for the Predators (72 points), who hold the final Western wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets (72 points) got a 34-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to blank the Washington Capitals 3-0. Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. The Capitals (84 points) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Patrik Laine left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period. The Jets also played without defenseman Josh Morrissey and Sami Niku. Morrissey is expected back in the lineup on Saturday, but Niku could be sidelined for weeks.

The New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2, picking up their ninth straight road win. Ryan Strome scored two goals and Mika Zibanejad extended his goal streak to six games. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed the game with an injured ankle. The surging Rangers (74 points) have won nine of their last 10 and sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Matt Dumba scored twice as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1, handing Wings goalie Jimmy Howard his 20th straight defeat. Kevin Fiala had a three-point performance for the Wild (69 points), who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

Logan Couture scored in overtime as the San Jose Sharks edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights re-signed William Carrier to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $1.4 million.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson (shoulder injury) could be done for the season.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion hopes to make Mark Borowiecki a “Senators for life”. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2020

The Rangers and Wild keep their playoff hopes alive, the Panthers move up in the Atlantic Division, David Pastrnak is tied for the goal-scoring lead and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mika Zibanejad had a four-point game and Chris Kreider picked up three points to lead the New York Rangers over the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Dominik Kubalik scored twice for the Blackhawks to lead all rookies with 25 goals. With seven wins in their last 10 games, the Rangers (66 points) are six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider collected three points in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are still assumed to be sellers by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, but that might change if they win their next two games and move closer to a playoff spot. Kreider is considered a prime trade candidate, but the Rangers are reportedly talking contract extension with his agent.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. It was Pastrnak’s 43rd goal of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead. The Bruins (88 points) widened their lead in the Eastern Conference standings by three points over the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Oilers (71 points) opened a one-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Dallas Stars moved into a tie with the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division by edging the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Ben Bishop made 39 saves for Dallas, while Stars captain Jamie Benn was ejected for boarding Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the second period. Ekman-Larsson left the game but returned for the third period. With 68 points, the Coyotes cling to a one-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 33 shots and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist to give the Florida Panthers a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Panthers (70 points) move into third place in the Atlantic Division, knocking the Maple Leafs into fourth and out of a playoff spot in the East.

Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each picked up two assists as the Colorado Avalanche downed the New York Islanders 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. The Avs sit one point behind the Blues and Stars in the Central Division while the Islanders (72 points) slipped to the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by nipping the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Alex Galchenyuk tallied the game-winner in the shootout. J.T. Miller scored twice for the Canucks. The Wild (63 points) sit five behind the Coyotes while the Canucks are one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Oilers.

IN OTHER NEWS…

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced winger Andreas Johnsson underwent season-ending knee surgery and will be sidelined for six months. They also made a couple of minor trades, shipping Mason Marchment to the Panthers for Denis Malgin, and acquired Max Verroneau from the Ottawa Senators for Aaron Luchuk. Malgin appeared in 36 games with the Panthers this season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina is sidelined two-to-three weeks with an injured foot.

PUCKPEDIA.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed forward Stefan Matteau to a two-year, two-way contract.

 










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.

 










What We Learned This Week In The NHL: Week 16

What We Learned This Week In The NHL: Week 16