NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2021

Leon Draisaitl reaches a milestone goal, Joel Eriksson Ek pots his first career hat trick, Alex Ovechkin keeps rising up the all-time goal leaders board, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice and assisted on two others to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Anaheim Ducks 6-5. Draisaitl also tallied his 200th career goal as the Oilers have won their first three games of the season. Connor McDavid had three points and Zack Kassian scored twice. Mikko Koskinen made 20 saves for the Oilers after Mike Smith left the game with an apparent leg injury in the second period. Kevin Shattenkirk and Sam Steel each tallied twice for the Ducks, who placed forwards Max Jones and Mason McTavish on injured reserve earlier in the day.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek’s scored in overtime to complete his first career hat trick in a 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Mats Zuccarello scored twice and set up two others and Kirill Kaprizov collected three helpers. Andrew Copp had a goal and two assists for the Jets, who picked up their first point in three games.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 734th career goal into an empty net in a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice and added an assist and Tom Wilson had three helpers for the Capitals. Ovechkin sits seven goals behind Brett Hull (741) for fourth place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Florida Panthers rookie goaltender Spencer Knight extended his regular-season win streak to five games stretching back to last season in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Bay Lightning. Knight kicked out 30 shots, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart each collected two points and rookie Anton Lundell tallied his first career NHL goal. The Lightning played without Nikita Kucherov, who was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The All-Star winger missed the entirety of the 2020-21 regular season recovering from offseason hip surgery. It’s uncertain if his current ailment is tied to that.

The Buffalo Sabres stretching their season-opening record to 3-0-0 for the first time since 2008 by dropping the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons each had a goal and an assist while Craig Anderson picked up the win with 32 saves. Canucks winger Brock Boeser was held scoreless in his season debut while defenseman Quinn Hughes missed the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed Nic Petan on waivers.

A 4-2 victory by the New Jersey Devils over the Seattle Kraken was overshadowed by Devils center Jack Hughes leaving the game in the first period with an injured left shoulder. Hughes is listed as day-to-day. Ryan Graves collected two assists for the Devils and rookie Dawson Mercer scored his first career goal. The Kraken lost their third straight game despite the season debut of center Yanni Gourde.

Ilya Sorokin’s 39-save performance carried the New York Islanders to their first win of the season as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1, leaving the latter winless in four games. Oliver Wahlstrom tallied twice for the Isles.

Alexander Radulov scored in a shootout as the Dallas Stars downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Braden Holtby picked up the win with 27 saves. Michael Raffl also scored for the Stars while John Marino replied for the Penguins.

Two third-period goals gave the Nashville Predators their first win of the season as they nipped the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Juuse Saros made 25 saves for the Predators as Tanner Jeannot potted the game-winner in the third period. Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings.

The San Jose Sharks blanked the Montreal Canadiens 5-0, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Rookie Jonathan Dahlen scored his first two NHL goals, Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier each had a goal and two assists while Adin Hill turned in a 21-save shutout.

Rookie Lucas Raymond netted his first career NHL goal and added an assist as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. Thomas Greiss made 22 saves for the win and captain Dylan Larkin collected two assists.

IN OTHER NEWS…

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights received some good news as team captain Mark Stone won’t require surgery for an undisclosed injury. Coach Peter DeBoer said Stone was between “day-to-day and week-to-week.” There’s no timetable for his return.

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich received a two-game suspension for headbutting Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse on Monday.

SI/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy is stepping away from his broadcasting duties with TVA Sports after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Bossy makes a swift and full recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

Lopsided wins by the Blues and Flyers, the three stars of the week, Evander Kane receives a lengthy suspension, Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined longer than expected, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal outburst in the second period powered the St. Louis Blues over the Arizona Coyotes 7-4. Jordan Kyrou had two goals and two assists and Klim Kostin also scored twice for the Blues. Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists for the Coyotes. Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich could face supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty in the first period for headbutting Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse.

Eleven Philadelphia Flyers collected points in their 6-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Derick Brassard led the way with a goal and two assists while Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee and Justin Braun each had a goal and an assist. Carter Hart picked up the win with a 23-save performance.

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

Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ilya Shesterkin made 40 saves while Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers. Michael Bunting replied for the Leafs while teammate Auston Matthews was shut out in his season debut as he returned to action from offseason wrist surgery.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their second win of the season by nipping the Calgary Flames 3-2 in overtime. Jamie Drysdale tallied his first NHL game-winning goal. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists for the Flames.

HEADLINES

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 17, 2021.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane without pay for 21 games for violating the league’s COVID protocols by using a fake COVID vaccination card. His salary will not count against the Sharks’ cap payroll during his suspension. The league also announced its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse by his wife could not be substantiated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s ongoing off-ice issues are raising questions about his future with the Sharks. He hasn’t skated with the team since the end of last season after mutually agreeing with the club not to participate in training camp while those investigations were ongoing.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined for an extended period by a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The club is trying to determine the severity of the injury and whether surgery is required.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov missed the entirety of the 2020-21 regular season after undergoing hip surgery last December. It’s unclear if his latest injury is tied to that procedure.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Nathan MacKinnon will be joining his Avalanche teammates in Washington following a negative COVID-19 test yesterday. He’s been sidelined nearly a week after testing positive twice. MacKinnon, who is reportedly asymptomatic and feeling fine, could play in tonight’s game against the Capitals if he has another negative test today.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler entered the league’s COVID protocol yesterday. His status for tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild is uncertain.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mike Hoffman is expected to make his debut with the Canadiens tonight when they face off against the Sharks at the Bell Centre. Hoffman was recovering from an injury suffered during offseason training.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a fractured rib.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has been granted a temporary leave of absence for personal reasons. His salary won’t count against their salary-cap payroll during his absence.

TSN: Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for slashing Ottawa Senators winger Tim Stutzle on Sunday. Stutzle left the game immediately but return to action in the third period.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Matt Martin will make his season debut after recovering from an ankle injury. The Isles also place forward Leo Komarov on waivers.

TSN: Former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk was named the general manager for the Russian Olympic Committee’s men’s hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Former NHLers Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov and Evgeni Nabokov will serve as assistant coaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

Game recaps include hat tricks by Connor McDavid and Sam Bennett, a record-setting night for Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied his 10th career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. Three of those hat tricks have come against the Flames. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists while Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and two assists. The Oilers also welcomed back Zack Kassian from concussion protocol. The Flames set a dubious NHL record by losing 12 straight season-opening games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Sam Bennett powered the Florida Panthers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair also tallied for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the win.

Mike Sullivan became the all-time wins leader among Pittsburgh Penguins head coaches with 253 as his club rolled over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got the hook in the first period after giving up four goals on 10 shots. Drew O’Connor and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Penguins activated Zach Aston-Reese from COVID protocol and placed winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on injured reserve.

Steven Stamkos’ overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring in the second period with his 733rd career goal while Mikhail Sergachev tied it in the third. The Lightning’s win was overshadowed by the departure of first-line winger Nikita Kucherov midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand joined Mats Sundin and Chris Kelly as the third player in NHL history to record a team’s season-opening goal on a penalty shot in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. He also scored the insurance goal late in the third period. Stars goalie Braden Holtby made 37 saves in a losing effort.

Chris Kreider scored in his third straight game as the New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Alexis Lafreniere picked up the game-winner by snapping a 1-1 tie in the third period. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens have dropped three straight and scored just three goals with Jonathan Drouin accounting for two of them.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron scored twice as his club held off a late rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-3 victory. The Avalanche came back from 4-1 to within a goal before Ryan O’Reilly put the game out of reach. Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson missed this contest as he was placed in COVID protocol. Before the game, the Avs honored former general manager Pierre Lacroix, who passed away in December from a COVID-related illness at age 72.

The San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit with a shorthanded goal and two power-play markers to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Tomas Hertl and rookie Jasper Weatherby led the way for the Sharks as they each had a goal and an assist.

A 40-save effort by Thomas Greiss carried the Detroit Red Wings over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1. Greiss made 23 saves in the third period. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner scored for the Wings.

Frederik Andersen kicked out 38 shots as the Carolina Hurricanes held off the Nashville Predators 3-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the win.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a 20-save performance from Jack Campbell to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Kerfoot led the way with a goal and an assist. With Petr Mrazek sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury, the Leafs had to sign University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop to a one-day contract as an emergency backup for Campbell due to salary-cap constraints. They’ll be able to call up Michael Hutchinson on Monday.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves as the Minnesota Wild held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild got second-period goals from Frederick Gaudreau, Victor Rask and Ryan Hartman. Anze Kopitar got the Kings within one in the third period.

An overtime goal by Patrik Laine gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Branden Tanev opened the scoring for the Kraken but Eric Robinson’s goal midway through the third period set the stage for Laine’s game-winner. The Kraken played without Vince Dunn as the defenseman was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their second-straight win by downing the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Arttu Ruotsalainen. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring for the Coyotes in the first period while Cody Eakin replied in the second for the Sabres. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower body) on injured reserve and claimed blueliner Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights got some bad news as first-line left winger Max Pacioretty could be sidelined up to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Linemate Mark Stone remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks placed center Derek Grant and defenseman Greg Pateryn on waivers.

NHL.COM: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Leo Boivin passed away Saturday at age 89. He spent 19 seasons (1952-1970) in the NHL, starting his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traded to the Bruins early in 1954-55, he spent nearly 12 seasons in Boston and served as their captain from 1963 to 1966. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars, collecting 322 points in 1,150 games. A three-time All-Star, Boivin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2021

The latest on Nikita Kucherov and Philipp Grubauer, Pierre McGuire accepts a front-office role with the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov trolled critics of his club for spending over the salary cap this season. He posted a photo to his Instagram account wearing an “$18 million over the cap” t-shirt while lounging on a boat with the Stanley Cup and the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans and pundits suggest the Lightning cheated by employing a loophole allowing them to use long-term injury reserve to spend over the cap. However, The Hockey News pointed out the Lightning proposed a vote following the 2015 Stanley Cup to end that loophole. During that year, the Blackhawks used it to spend over the cap by $5 million to bolster their roster for the playoffs. No other team joined their cause. 

THE DENVER POST: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s first choice is to remain with the Colorado Avalanche. The Vezina Trophy finalist is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28 but he hopes to sign a new contract before then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The writer of that piece wondered if it would be a good thing for the Avs to bring back Grubauer, pointing to his struggles during their second-round series meltdown against the Vegas Golden Knights. If there are no better options via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets (and there aren’t), they’re better off sticking with him.

OTTAWA SUN: Pierre McGuire is joining the Senators as their Senior Vice-President of Player Development. McGuire worked as an assistant coach for the Senators in 1995-96 and was a scout and assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-1992) and a coach and assistant general manager with the Hartford Whalers from 1992 to 1994. He’s been an NHL broadcaster since 1997.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire is more familiar to NHL fans for his often excitable in-game analysis for NBC Sports since 2006. He has a deep knowledge of players that few can match, but he hasn’t held an NHL front-office job in over a quarter-century.

It’s an interesting move by the Senators. We’ll have to wait and see what effect his hiring has upon the club’s ongoing rebuild.

NHL.COM: U.S. National Team Development Plan defenseman Luke Hughes could become the third member of his family to be a first-round pick in the NHL Draft. He’s the younger brother of New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (first-overall, 2019) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (seventh overall, 2018). NHL’s Central Scouting ranks him fourth overall among North American skaters. It would be the first time an American family would have three sons chosen in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance Luke could join one of his brothers. The Devils have the fourth-overall pick while the Canucks have the ninth-overall selection.

THE ATHLETIC: On the 20th anniversary of the Washington Capitals acquiring Jaromir Jagr (July 11, 2001), Tarik El-Bashir looks back on the trade and its effect upon the Capitals during Jagr’s tenure in Washington.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2021

The latest on Nikita Kucherov and Brendan Gallagher, the 2021 draft order is complete, the Leafs sign Travis Dermott, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: cited The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov played through the 2021 Stanley Cup Final with a fractured rib that required multiple injections. He still managed to put up five points in the five-game series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images)

Kucherov had originally denied playing hurt after taking a cross-check from New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in Game 6 of their semifinal series. He left that game but returned to play in Game 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov did seem off his game somewhat during the Cup Final. He tallied 27 points through the first three rounds.

CTV MONTREAL: Hours after losing in the Stanley Cup Final, Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher discovered he’d been robbed after returning to his home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least Gallagher was able to make light of the incident in a Tik Tok video. Still, that incident was insult to injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: According to numbers released by Sportsnet, this year’s Stanley Cup Final was the most-watched in the company’s history since taking over the NHL’s national broadcasting rights in 2014-15. Over 70 percent of Canadian viewers tuned in to that series.

NHL.COM: The order for the 2021 NHL Draft has been finalized. The Canadiens hold the 30th overall pick and the Lightning the 31st pick. The first round is scheduled for Friday, July 23, and rounds 2-7 on Saturday, July 24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason there are 31 picks in the first round instead of 32 is that the Arizona Coyotes forfeited their pick as punishment for violating last year’s draft combine rules.

TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Travis Dermott to a two-year, $3 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott may be under contract with the Leafs but he could end up with the Seattle Kraken if left unprotected in the July 21 expansion draft. Perhaps general manager Kyle Dubas swung a side deal with the Kraken to ensure they select someone else. Teams must submit their protection lists to the league by 5 pm EST on July 17.

THE ATHLETIC’S Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks don’t intend to buy out any players. The buyout period began at 11 pm EST last night and runs to July 27.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Florida Panthers are the first NHL team, and perhaps the first U.S. Major sports team, to establish an opportunity for college athletes to align with them as part of recent rules changes allowing those athletes to profit off their name and celebrity.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2021

The Tampa Bay Lightning repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, Andrei Vasilevskiy wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are Stanley Cup champions for the second straight year following a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Final, winning the series four games to one.

Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2021 Stanley Cup Champions (NHL.com).

Ross Colton scored the game’s only goal while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 22-save shutout. Vasilevskiy was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 29 saves.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Lightning winger Pat Maroon became just the fourth player in NHL history to win three straight Stanley Cups with two different teams. Maroon won his first with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 before joining the Lightning as a free agent.

SPORTSNET: Lightning winger Alex Killorn revealed he suffered a fractured fibula during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He underwent surgery last week to have a rod inserted in his leg and hoped to be ready to play in Game 6 or 7 if the series went that far.

THE SCORE: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov ripped Montreal fans for the wild celebration of their club’s victory in Game 4 during his post-game press conference. “I didn’t want to go back to Montreal, but they acted, the fans in Montreal, come on. They acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. You kidding me? Their final was last series.”

Appearing shirtless and chugging a beer, Kucherov also tore into Vezina Trophy voters for selecting Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury over Vasilevskiy. “I was telling him every day, ‘Vasy, you’re MVP. You’re the best player.’ And then they gave it to whatever the guy in Vegas, the Vezina. And then last year, they gave (the) Vezina to somebody else. No. 1 bullshit!”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Montreal goalie Carey Price blamed himself for his club’s loss in the Stanley Cup Final. “At the end of the day I just don’t think I played well enough at the start of the series,” he said during a post-game press conference.

Seated next to Price, Canadiens captain Shea Weber disagreed. “I don’t think that’s the case at all”, said Weber. “To be honest, I think that we weren’t good enough in front of Carey.” He also praised the Lightning. “Give them credit, they’re a heck of a team. They’re here for a reason and they were better than us in the end.”

Habs coach Dominique Ducharme revealed Weber played with a thumb injury. He also said Jeff Petry had an injured finger, Tyler Toffoli suffered a groin injury while Brendan Gallagher had a groin injury “and more.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Lightning on becoming the third team to win consecutive Cups since the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) and the Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998) within the last 25 years. They were unquestionably the best team in this series and throughout this year’s postseason.

Changes will be coming to the Lightning this summer as salary-cap constraints and the expansion draft could cost them two or three players. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.

This was also a heck of a run for the underdog Canadiens, overcoming the odds and defying the critics by upsetting three heavily-favored opponents to reach the Final. Whether they can build on this going forward will in part depend on whatever moves they make in the offseason.

NBC SPORTS: This year’s Stanley Cup Final marked the end of a 16-year affiliation between NBC Sports and the NHL. The league recently signed new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner Sports starting next season.

CALGARY SUN: Plans for a new arena in Calgary are running as much as $60 million over its $550 million budget.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Newell Brown has returned to the Anaheim Ducks for his third stint as an assistant coach with the team. He was an assistant in 1998-2000 and from 2005-2010. He spent the past four seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.