NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

Patrick Kane has a four-point performance, Jack Eichel’s points streak comes to an end, the holiday roster freeze is now in effect, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored a goal and set up three others in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad left the game with an injured right ankle. Earlier in the day, the Hawks revealed defenseman Brent Seabrook remained in Chicago for medical evaluation. Meanwhile, the Jets reclaimed goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane led his club to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored twice and Travis Konecny collected three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. The Sabres played without captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched following an upper-body injury believed suffered during pre-game warmups. His 17-game points streak has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s absence highlights his value to the Sabres. He’s put this club on his back this season, determined not to miss the playoffs again. If he’s out for a lengthy period, it could spell doom to their postseason hopes.

Mathew Barzal scored in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck left the game to get stitches on his wrist after getting cut by a skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Isles activated Tom Kuhnhackl from injured reserve. The Bruins are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair’s 20th goal of the season was also the overtime winner as his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-4. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected three assists. The Predators overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

Minnesota Wild forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and two assists in an 8-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 3. Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Nick Schmaltz picked up three assists for the Coyotes, who lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an injured right leg.

Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks had blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads before Tanev’s heroics in the extra frame. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, who scratched Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson from this contest.

Three unanswered goals late in the third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was fined over $1,900.00 for boarding Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Max Domi. It was the Habs’ sixth win in their last eight contests. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the Flames.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tyler Seguin had two points, including the game-winning goal, while teammates Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg also picked up two points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson left the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed defenseman Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on injured reserve.


The NHL holiday trade freeze is now in effect until 12:01 am ET on Saturday, Dec. 28.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc could miss the club’s weekend games with an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Stefan Noesen off waivers yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long-time hockey reporter Kevin Allen’s 34-year tenure with USA Today has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s one of the best hockey scribes in the business. Here’s hoping he’s not out of the game for long.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2019

The Bruins’ top line has a big game against the Rangers, Oilers suffer their first home loss of the season, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand combined for 13 points as the Boston Bruins thumped the New York Rangers 6-2. Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Marchand and Pastrnak collected five points each. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after giving up four goals on 31 shots. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury following a check from Bergeron and is listed as day-to-day.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak collected five assists in a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Edmonton Oilers suffered their first home loss of the season as they fell 6-2 to the Florida Panthers. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith was pulled after giving up three goals on the first three shots of the second period. Brian Boyle picked up his first points (one goal, one assist) since signing with the Panthers last week. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each scored a goal as the New York Islanders picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Jakub Voracek had a goal and an assist for the Flyers. The Islanders played without forwards Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl as leg injuries have sidelined them for four-to-six weeks. Flyers forward Scott Laughton missed the game with a broken finger and is expected to miss four weeks.

David Perron’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their eighth straight loss. Perron also had three assists while teammate Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected two helpers. Blues center Alexander Steen left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

The Chicago Blackhawks snapped a four-game losing skid by beating the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Forwards Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat each collected three points as they were reunited on the same line. Veteran Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch, though the club downplayed this move as a rest day.

Nick Paul (two goals, one assist) and Brady Tkachuk (one goal, two assists) led the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 upset of the San Jose Sharks. Veteran Senators winger Bobby Ryan was a healthy scratch. Brent Burns collected two assists for the Sharks.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Golden Knights rookie Nicolas Roy tallied his first career NHL goal.


WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Adam Lowry will have a phone hearing today with the league’s department of player safety. Lowry hit Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington from behind during Saturday’s Heritage Classic game. 

CBS SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Motte is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2018

Thornton and Hertl re-signing with Sharks among latest notable signings. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks yesterday re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year, $5-million contract and forward Tomas Hertl to a four-year deal.

The Beard is back, as Joe Thornton signs a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Thornton’s deal doesn’t contain any bonuses. It’s a straightforward $5 million. His salary is a significant drop from last season’s $8 million ($6.75 million base plus bonuses) but unsurprising given his age (39), recent knee surgeries and his willingness to stay in San Jose.

Cap Friendly indicates Hertl’s new deal is worth an annual average value of $5.625 million, a big raise over his previous salary of $3 million annually. It’s a shorter term than perhaps he would’ve preferred, but given his injury history, it’s understandable why the Sharks were reluctant to invest in a lengthier deal.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Joe Starkey scolds Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford for suggesting the reason the Columbus Blue Jackets, former team of new Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson, scratched the blueliner was for reasons other than on-ice performance.

Rutherford’s remarks, and those of Johnson expressing his happiness over joining a team with a winning culture, prompted angry rebuttals from Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella and GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Johnson claimed he meant no offense by his comments and apologized to the Jackets organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starkey also chided Tortorella for not being the bigger man in this situation and ignoring those remarks. If anything, this back-and-forth will only stoke the ongoing rivalry between the two clubs. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers owner James Dolan denied reports claiming he’s looking to sell the club and his other sports franchises.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was granted a dismissal of his misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction, potentially paving the way for his return to the NHL. He can now request a reinstatement hearing with league commissioner Gary Bettman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if Bettman grants Voynov’s reinstatement, the blueliner could have a difficult time landing with a new NHL club. While some general managers could be interested in his on-ice skills, the baggage from his domestic assault conviction could be a potential public-relations nightmare. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The head district attorney handling a criminal charge of domestic assault leveled at Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has recused herself because of her upcoming wedding to Gerry Helper, the team’s senior vice president and senior adviser.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday signed UFA winger Carter Rowney to a three-year deal worth $3.4 million.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forward J.T. Brown to a two-year, $1.375-million deal. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, $865K contract.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders signed forward Tom Kuhnhackl to a one-year, $650K deal.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Zac Rinaldo to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2018

Game recaps, injury and waivers news and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning rolled past the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Four Lightning players – Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Yanni Gourde and Victor Hedman – each had a goal and an assist. Hedman also set a franchise record for most goals by a defenseman with 73.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan tallied his third straight game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Sean Monahan scored two goals, including his third-straight game winner, as the Calgary Flames hung on to edge the New Jersey Devils 3-2. The Flames have won three in a row. Devils winger Taylor Hall, meanwhile, scored his 20th goal of the season and extended his points streak to 12 games.

The Dallas Stars extended their winning streak to four games by doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Tyler Seguin scored twice to extend his goal streak to four games.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Brayden McNabb, James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault gave the Vegas Golden Knights a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Joe Pavelski scored two goals for the Sharks, who also lost winger Joel Ward to an apparent upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn tallied twice and teammate Vince Dunn collected three assists to lead their team to a 6-1 beatdown of the Colorado Avalanche.

An overtime goal by Mike Hoffman gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, spoiling the homecoming of former Senator Kyle Turris. P.K. Subban scored twice for the Predators.

Travis Konecny scored twice while Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere each collected three points as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3.

Derek Stepan and Alex Goligoski each had two assists as the Arizona Coyotes overcame a 3-0 deficit to upset the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on an overtime goal by Clayton Keller.

The Buffalo Sabres ended a four-game losing skid by nipping the New York Islanders 4-3. The Sabres blew a 3-0 lead but Sam Reinhart’s late third-period goal gave them the win. He finished the night with three points. Earlier in the day, the Sabres learned defenseman Jake McCabe will miss the next three-four weeks recovering from thumb surgery

TSN: New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith and Carolina Hurricanes forwards Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris were placed on waivers yesterday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers re-signed Smith last summer to a four-year, $17.5-million contract while the Hurricanes acquired Kruger from the Vegas Golden Knights. Both players were expected to fill key roles with their respective clubs but have really struggled this season. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun speculates the Hurricanes might be able to trade Kruger if they’re willing to absorb part of his $3.08-million salary-cap hit. Speaking of the Rangers…

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers brass released a letter to their fans yesterday acknowledging changes could soon be coming to their roster. General manager Jeff Gorton remains supportive of head coach Alain Vigneault but declined to say if his bench boss will return after this season. Vigneault has two seasons remaining on his contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Check out today’s Rumors section for the latest Rangers’ trade scuttlebutt. 

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson is recovering from a concussion suffered after taking a shot off his mask during practice earlier this week. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights rank fourth in NHL merchandise sales this season. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2017

The NHL holiday trade freeze is over. Here’s the latest on Kris Letang, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Hoffman and Anthony Duclair in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman touched again on recent trade speculation regarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who has four seasons remaining on a contract with a $7.25 million annual average value and a modified no-trade clause. He notes the theory the Pens want to free up salary-cap space and the fact they won the Stanley Cup last season without him. Despite Letang’s talent, his health history (which includes concussions and a stroke) remains an issue. Friedman wonders if moving the veteran blueliner could be too complex to pull off during the season.

Friedman sees a trade match with the Montreal Canadiens and believes they’re on Letang’s list of trade destinations. Adding him, however, would mean the Habs would have over $27 million invested in Letang, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and Karl Alzner. Friedman also wonders about the Detroit Red Wings “whenever a top defender is available.”

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Despite defenseman Ian Cole being a frequent healthy scratch of late, Jason Mackey reports he remains an attractive trade piece for opposing teams. It’s unlikely Cole finishes this season with the Penguins. Another could be hard-nosed forward Tom Kuhnhackl, who’s behind several young and talented forwards on the Pens’ depth chart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the trade freeze lifted there’s considerable anticipation the Penguins, who made a couple of small moves before the freeze, could swing a bigger deal to shake things up. Trading Letang would certainly do that. As I observed yesterday, the Dion Phaneuf trade in February 2016 proved a high-salaried defenseman can be moved in-season, but Letang’s long injury history and his current struggles this season could make him a tougher sell than Phaneuf.

If the Canadiens were to pursue Letang (and that’s a big “if” at this point), the Pens could ask for Max Pacioretty or Alex Galchenyuk in return. Pacioretty is mired in a lengthy scoring drought this season, but he has five 30-goals seasons on his resume and should regain his form playing alongside talented centers such as Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. He carries a $4.5 million cap hit, lacks no-trade protection and is eligible in 2019 for UFA status. Galchenyuk is a little more expensive ($4.9 million through 2019-20) but he’s younger than Pacioretty and could blossom on a deeper club. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently suggested the New York Rangers must start considering their options with captain Ryan McDonagh, who can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. He believes the Rangers cannot afford to let McDonagh walk for nothing in July 2019. While this hasn’t been McDonagh’s best season, it’s largely due to the lack of a top-pairing defense partner on his right side.  Brooks thinks his greatest value could be as a trade chip, either at the Feb. 26 trade deadline or at the 2018 NHL Draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Rangers will trade McDonagh this season. However, I don’t rule out the possibility of a move at the draft or in July. The Blueshirts can open contract extension talks with McDonagh on July 1. If it quickly appears both sides are far apart, perhaps a trade takes place soon afterward.


Elliotte Friedman also doubts Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman ends up with the Edmonton Oilers. Hoffman was frequently linked to the Oilers in recent weeks but Friedman said it doesn’t seem like there’s a trade match there. He wonders if the Carolina Hurricanes or St. Louis Blues take a look at him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could certainly use more scoring punch, but I think their preference is adding a center. With Jaden Schwartz sidelined for several weeks with an ankle injury and Robby Fabbri out for the season with a knee injury, the Blues could make inquiries into Hoffman’s availability. If the Senators move Hoffman I expect they’ll want a young player plus a quality prospect or draft pick in return. 


Friedman also reports it sounds as though the Arizona Coyotes are working to give struggling young winger Anthony Duclair a fresh start. He believes somebody could take a shot at the 22-year-old Duclair. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a promising 20-goal, 44-point rookie campaign in 2015-16, Duclair managed only 15 points in 58 games as a sophomore and spent part of the season in the minors. He’s made some improvement this season with 13 points in 29 games but there’s still work to be done. Given his youth and potential, I think the Coyotes shouldn’t have much difficulty finding a trade partner. 


NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2017

Updates on Rick Nash, several teams seeking forwards and the latest on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports winger Rick Nash understands his eligibility for unrestricted free agency in July creates uncertainty over his future with the New York Rangers. Brooks suggests Nash’s greatest value to the Rangers could be as a “blue-chip rental property to exchange for futures as the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaches.” However, if Blueshirts general manager Jeff Gorton believes the Rangers have a playoff run in them, Brooks doubts Nash will be traded, even at the risk of his departure via free agency. 

The Rangers could re-sign Nash, whose preference is to stay in New York. He’s in the final season of an eight-year, $62.4 million contract. The 32-year-old won’t garner that much on his next deal. Brooks wonders if a four-year contract worth between $5 – $5.5 million annually is realistic considering J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei are restricted agents this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers are a playoff contender by the trade deadline, Nash won’t be going anywhere. Yes, they could lose him for nothing to free agency but that’s a risk I believe Gorton will take.

However, if they fall out of contention they’ll likely field offers for the aging forward. With those younger players all due for new contracts and with over $51 million invested in just 11 players, I have my doubts they’ll re-sign Nash. If they have sufficient cap room, I suspect they’ll look toward younger, more affordable UFA options. 


TSN: In the latest edition of “Insider Trading,” Bob McKenzie reports trade talk has increased since the Matt Duchene trade earlier this month. He said the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers are in the market for a center and the Florida Panthers have stepped up their search for a scoring winger of late. The Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning are also seeking forwards. 

Pierre LeBrun adds the Lightning need a top-nine winger to skate alongside Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn on their third line. They’ll look to within their organization to fill that role. If that doesn’t pan out, GM Steve Yzerman could look toward the trade market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers already made a move to bolster their scoring depth by acquiring Mike Cammalleri yesterday from the Los Angeles Kings. The Blue Jackets, like the Ducks, Habs and Rangers, are believed seeking a center and were among the clubs with interest in Duchene before he was dealt to the Senators. The Bruins could use a scoring winger as injuries have decimated their forward ranks.

With the standings still tight, most of those clubs could be forced to wait until more teams start falling out of playoff contention. Unlike most of the teams on that list, the powerhouse Lightning can afford to wait until then.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In a recent mailbag segment, Sam Werner was asked what the Pittsburgh Penguins might do to address their ongoing need for a third-line center. Riley Sheahan, acquired earlier this season from the Detroit Red Wings, has been OK defensively but he’s still struggling to score.

As for players the Penguins could dangle as trade bait, Werner doubts they’ll deal pending UFA forward Patric Hornqvist but thinks GM Jim Rutherford would be interested in moving winger Carl Hagelin’s $4 million salary from his books. Given Hagelin’s sub-par production this season, Werner feels finding a trade partner will be difficult.  Tom Kuhnhackl could be a more realistic trade chip, especially if promising winger Daniel Sprong joins the roster in the near future. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Pittsburgh Penguins have a need for an experienced backup goaltender. He wouldn’t be surprised if they add one for insurance. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could find it easier to land a backup goalie than a third-line center. As noted above, they could be forced to wait until more clubs start falling out of playoff contention to address their center needs.

They’re not trading Hornqvist. Indeed, if they can free up sufficient cap room, I can see them re-signing him before July 1. Hagelin is signed through 2018-19 and I don’t see any takers unless they absorb part of his salary or take on another toxic contract. Kuhnhackl on his own might not fetch a third-line center until closer to the trade deadline.