NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2020

The NHL postpones the 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league postponed the 2021 Winter Classic and the All-Star Weekend for this season. The Winter Classic was slated for Jan. 1, 2021 at Target Field in Minneapolis featuring the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. The Florida Panthers were to host the 2021 All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise from Jan. 29-31.

NHL postpones 2021 Winter Classic (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those events could be pushed ahead to the same locations for next season. There’s talk the league still hopes to begin the 2020-21 season sometime in January. These postponements indicate that’s not going to happen. At the very least, it won’t happen with fans in the arenas in the early going.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the status of the developmental leagues like the AHL and the Major Juniors will be a pressing issue at today’s meeting of NHL general managers. However, the league’s high-level executives aren’t going to be able to provide answers for their GMs.

Pierre LeBrun reports of a constant dialogue between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and their chief lieutenants regarding plans for next season. He added there’s a bigger appetite among team owners, general managers and players to have a greater voice on those plans because there’s so much at stake. LeBrun also said whatever the season looks like when it begins likely won’t be what it’ll look like toward the end.

Frank Seravalli reported one of the biggest conversations is a cost-benefit analysis for the NHL. It would be problematic for the league if revenue for next season is lower than the total salaries owed to the players. The players will also be getting paid on Oct 31 for the first time since April, receiving 8.1 percent of the salaries to tide them over for whenever the season begins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be very difficult for NHL prospects to get suitable playing time considering the difficulties their development leagues face to stage their respective seasons. As for what the NHL season will look like, the league has indicated it could begin without fans in the arenas but they could gradually allow fans into the stands over the course of the schedule depending on local health and safety protocols. That will ultimately determine what the league’s revenue looks like by season’s end and its potential effect upon player salaries.

Speaking of next season, the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons reports the Canadian government is looking at a pilot COVID-19 testing program that would replace the current 14-day quarantine period for people entering the country with rapid testings at airports and border entry crossings. If those prove successful, it could open up travel for NHL teams between the two countries.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided arbitration with Connor Brown by signing him to a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair deal for both sides. Brown quickly established himself as a key player for the Senators after joining them in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He finished second in team scoring, netting career-highs in assists (27) and points (43) in 71 games last season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed winger Denis Gurianov to a two-year contract worth $2.55 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gurianov led the Stars in goals last season (20) and finished second in playoff goals with nine. This new contract will be a bargain for the Stars if the 23-year-old winger continues to develop as a goal scorer. Cap Friendly indicates they have $77.4 million invested in 21 players with Roope Hintz left to re-sign.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with Jake Virtanen by signing the winger to a two-year contract worth an AAV of $2.55 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen had a career-best performance (18 goals, 36 points in 69 games) last season but followed up with a disappointing effort (two goals, three points in 16 games) in the playoffs. He’ll be under pressure to step up and improve his overall game next season. The Canucks are $1.5 million over the $81.5 million salary cap but could get relief by placing winger MIcheal Ferland on long-term injury reserve if he’s unable to play next season. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a one-year, $1.15 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils needed experienced depth on the blueline. This is a cost-effective short-term deal they hope will help to address that issue.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Dominik Simon to a one-year, $700K contract.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s home arena is changing its name from the Pepsi Center to Ball Arena.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Winnipeg Jets

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Winnipeg Jets

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2020

Tony DeAngelo ties a Rangers record, David Pastrnak extended his points streak, Pekka Rinne tallied his first goal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo scored a hat trick and added two assists in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. DeAngelo tied club records for defensemen for most goals and most points in a single game. Rangers rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin made 46 saves for his second win in as many starts.

Tony DeAngelo tied club records for goals and points in a single game by a New York Rangers defenseman (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 11 goals and 36 points in 43 games, DeAngelo is on pace to reach 20 goals and 70 points by season’s end. After being forced to accept a one-year, $925K contract last summer, he’s got terrific leverage entering this summer with salary arbitration rights.

David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins over the Winnipeg Jets 5-4. Pastrnak extended his points streak to 12 games and widened his lead in the league goal-scoring race (35) by four over Toronto’s Auston Matthews. Jake DeBrusk also scored twice for Boston. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara missed the game due to an abscess in his surgically-repaired jaw unrelated to his fight with Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin on Tuesday. Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov returned to action for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Nov. 29. They also placed Logan Shaw on waivers.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne became the 12th goalie in NHL history to score a goal in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Rinne is also the first netminder to score a goal since Mike Smith in October 2013. It was the Predators’ first win under new head coach John Hynes. Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula returned to action for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 11.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid reached 70 points as his club doubled up the fading Montreal Canadiens 4-2. McDavid picked up an assist while teammates Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl each collected two points as the Oilers overcame a 2-1 deficit.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their ninth straight victory by blanking the Arizona Coyotes 4-0. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the shutout while Nikita Kucherov scored twice. Coyotes rookie Barrett Hayton is listed as week-to-week with a shoulder injury suffered playing for Team Canada at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Noel Acciari scored two goals and Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists as the Florida Panthers downed the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Canucks have given up 14 goals in consecutive losses to the Panthers and Lightning.

St. Louis Blues forwards Robert Thomas and Tyler Bozak collected three points and Alex Steen scored two goals in a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Jack Eichel netted the struggling Sabres only goal.

Cam Talbot made 42 saves as the Calgary Flames edged the Minnesota Wild 2-1, handing the latter their fourth loss in their last five games. Derek Grant and Johnny Gaudreau tallied for the Flames while Mats Zuccarello replied for the Wild.

A four-goal first period carried the Los Angeles Kings over the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Adrian Kempe led the way with two goals for the Kings.

Ben Bishop turned in a 27-save shutout as the Dallas Stars blanked the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Roope Hintz scored and collected an assist.

San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc scored and set up another in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping the latter’s nine-game road points streak.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be sidelined for three weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

The Devils fire head coach John Hynes, the Canadiens snap a lengthy losing skid, changes could be coming for NHL coaches, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Hours before their game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John Hynes, replacing him on an interim basis with Alain Nasreddine. The move, however, could prevent the Devils from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault tallied a natural hat trick in the third period for the win.

The New Jersey Devils yesterday fired head coach John Hynes (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Devils’ poor performance thus far, it’s not surprising Hynes was fired. He deserves his fair share of the blame, but can’t be faulted for the lousy goaltending, weak secondary scoring, and lack of defensive depth. Nevertheless, the club’s lack of effort in his final two games was indicative that he’d lost the players.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped their eight-game winless skid by doubling up the New York Islanders 4-2. Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist for the Habs, who commemorated their 110th anniversary by honoring 11 former captains in a pre-game ceremony. Among the notables were Hall-of-Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Guy Carbonneau. Saku Koivu, the captain from 1999 to 2009, received the biggest cheer.

Four first-period goals powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Antoine Roussel scored on his first shift in his season debut after being sidelined eight months by a knee injury. Before the game, former Canucks winger Alex Burrows’ name was added to the club’s ring of honor.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle and David Krejci tallied both goals in the third period. The Bruins have won eight straight games.

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 44 shots in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Wild are unbeaten in their last 10 games (7-0-3).

Five third-period goals powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1. Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers collected three assists while Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere each had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Leafs placed Nick Shore on waivers, recalled defenseman Martin Marincin, and announced Trevor Moore (shoulder injury) is weeks away from returning to the lineup.

A three-point performance by Carl Soderberg helped the Arizona Coyotes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the win.

Nikita Kucherov scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had two points on the night. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Nashville center Ryan Johansen was ejected from a game for elbowing Lightning center Brayden Point in the face.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last nine contests by downing the Dallas Stars 5-1. Jets winger Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will be sidelined for two months with an upper-body injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected three points while teammates Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway each scored twice in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former NHL player Akim Aliu believes big changes are coming to the NHL after meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman and other officials at the league’s office in Toronto yesterday. Aliu’s claims that Bill Peters made racist remarks to him a decade ago led to the latter’s stepping down last week as Calgary Flames head coach.

Frank Seravalli reports some of the topics discussed at the meeting include “comprehensive harassment and discrimination policy, whistleblower and retaliation protection for players, encouraging more diversity and inclusion and breaking the culture of silence.”

The NHL Coaches’ Association released a statement yesterday affirming there is no room for abusive behavior by coaches at any level. They are working with the league and the NHL Players Association to ensure respectful working environments for everyone.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Sean Avery spoke out in support of Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was placed on leave as the club investigates allegations of abuse against him. Avery recently said Crawford kicked him during a game but defended the coach’s actions. “He had every right in the world to kick me in the ass. He should have spanked my ass a little bit more. I deserved it. I loved Crow.” He went on to call Crawford his second-favorite NHL coach.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators players Dylan DeMelo and Mark Borowiecki claim they had a good relationship with Crawford during his tenure with the club. Former Senator and Canucks Alex Burrows praised Crawford for helping him become an NHL player.

Another former Canuck, Harold Druken, accused Crawford of physical and verbal abuse when he broke into the league. “I can’t believe he’s still coaching, I wouldn’t let him coach my dog,” said Druken.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Todd McLellan believes players and coaches do their best not to cross the line between right and wrong. However, he acknowledged the changes in the game and society means that line has also changed. He believes it’s important to build trust and treat his players with respect, and expecting it in return.

“The line between pushing a player — I’m not talking physical — but getting the player to maximize his physical talents and to get a team to pull together and go further into their toolbox than they ever have, is delicate,” McLellan said. “Sometimes feelings are hurt. There’s never an intention behind it, but there are feelings that get hurt.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no place in the league, or anywhere else. for racism, which was what resulted in Peters’ downfall. There’s no place for physical abuse, which is what he was also accused of by two other former NHLers.

Crawford, Mike Babcock, and Darryl Sutter weren’t accused of racism, but emerging stories of alleged physical and verbal abuse toward their players have made headlines in recent days. Those tactics may have been effective but it appears they sometimes went too far. Some players shrugged it off or accepted it as part of the game, but others felt tormented by those actions.

Just because many former players tolerated unnecessary abuse by a few coaches doesn’t mean today’s players have to. A coach can motivate and improve their players without resorting to bullying, humiliation or threats.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith could miss at least two more games with a nagging groin injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will be sidelined “longer term” with an undisclosed injury.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Matt Stajan announced his retirement. Stajan played 14 seasons and 1,003 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. He spent last season playing in Germany for EHC Red Bull Munchen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s wishing Stajan and his family all the best in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2019

Bill Peters resigns as Flames head coach, game recaps, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Bill Peters resigned yesterday as head coach of the Flames. The club had been investigating allegations of racism and abuse against Peters by former players earlier in his coaching career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think anyone’s surprised over Peters’ departure in the wake of the allegations against him. If he hadn’t resigned, he likely would’ve been fired by the Flames. Perhaps his downfall will eradicate such behavior, leading to an overdue change in hockey culture that aligns with today’s changing society. Time will tell. Hockey, and especially the NHL, tends to be conservative and resistant to change.

NHL.COM: David Krejci’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Bruins have won six straight games, extended their points streak to 10 games, and are unbeaten in regulation at home (10-0-4). Bruins winger Brad Marchand wasn’t pleased about a concussion spotter pulling from the first half of the third period after running into a raised elbow by Rangers blueliner Jacob Trouba late in the second period. “Maybe next time he’ll pull his head out of his butt and watch the game. I skated into his elbow, but [I was] fine,” said Marchand, who later tweeted an apology for his remarks.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a four-point performance in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored and set up three others in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Teammate J.T. Compher had a three-point night. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored to extend his points streak to 10 games, but teammate Duncan Keith was sidelined with a groin injury.

A four-goal third period powered the Minnesota Wild to a 7-2 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Luke Kunin, Ryan Hartman, Eric Staal, and Jason Zucker were the scorers in the final frame. The Wild have overcome their poor start to this season, moving to .500 on the season (26 points in 26 games) and within three points of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice and set up another to lead up club over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4. John Tavares tallied twice for the Leafs, who dropped their first game under new coach Sheldon Keefe after winning three straight.

Dmity Orlov’s overtime goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps overcame a 3-1 deficit on goals by Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin to force the extra period. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected three assists. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos returned to the lineup from a lower-body injury, but defenseman Braydon Coburn left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Vegas Golden Knights edged the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Alex Tuch, who also scored in regulation. Goaltender Malcolm Subban made 35 saves for the win. The Golden Knights were playing without starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, whose father passed away Wednesday in Quebec.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Fleury and his family.

Gustav Nyquist’s hat trick carried the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. Nick Foligno also scored twice for the Jackets, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.

Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1. O’Reilly and David Perron each collected two points on the night. Earlier in the day, the Stars placed Joel Hanley on waivers.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 24 shots to shut out the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine each collected two assists. Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov left the game with an upper-body injury.

Erik Karlsson picked up two assists and Martin Jones made 33 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Sharks forward Noah Gregor tallied his first career NHL goal.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their third straight win by crushing the Detroit Red Wings 6-1. Jakub Voracek had three assists for the Flyers. The Wings have dropped eight straight contests. Wing blueliner Mike Green returned to the lineup from an upper-body injury while goaltender Jimmy Howard was placed on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside 31 shots to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin revealed he suffered a torn tendon in his left wrist during a Nov. 15 game against the Washington Capitals. He underwent surgery on Nov. 18 and is currently sidelined for eight weeks.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2019

Should the Winnipeg Jets trade Jacob Trouba? Will the Tampa Bay Lightning pursue defensemen via trade or free agency this summer? What changes could be coming to the Vegas Golden Knights? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

TROUBA TRADE TIME IN WINNIPEG?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre feels it’s time for the Winnipeg Jets to trade Jacob Trouba. He believes it’s clear the 25-year-old defenseman doesn’t want to be in Winnipeg long-term but the Jets can’t afford to let him depart next summer via free agency for nothing. McIntyre suggested the Jets find a trade partner for Trouba (Florida? Philadelphia? Detroit?) and make the best deal they can. If Trouba is traded, that could open the door to retaining pending UFA blueliner Tyler Myers. 

Could the Winnipeg Jets trade Jacob Trouba this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

McIntyre also proposed the Jets find a way to re-sign UFA Ben Chiarot, trade third-string goalie Eric Comrie, trade or buy out defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and shake up the forward group by trading a veteran like Bryan Little or Mathieu Perreault. 

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anticipated the Jets will trade Trouba this summer. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and a year away from UFA eligibility. Given his contentious contract history with Jets management, it’s doubtful general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wants to go through another bruising round of negotiations with Trouba’s camp this summer. He should fetch a quality return that helps the Jets now and in the long-term.

As per Cap Friendly, the 31-year-old Little has a full no-movement clause and I daresay the five years remaining on his contract (at over $5.2 million annually) dampen his trade value. Perreault carries a shorter deal with a cheaper cap hit ($4.125 million through 2020-21) and a five-team no-trade list. He’d be a more likely trade candidate but his recent injury history could make him difficult to move. Kulikov has a six-team no-trade list with an annual cap hit of $4.33 million through 2020-21. Trading him could require adding a sweetener like a decent draft pick or a quality prospect. 

WILL THE LIGHTNING GO SHOPPING FOR BLUELINERS?

THE ATHLETIC:  Joe Smith recently noted the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense corps could have a different look next season. Veterans Dan Girardi, Braydon Coburn, and Anton Stralman are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Of the three, Coburn played the best this season and could return on a shorter, cost-effective contract. Stralman might also be willing to accept a short-term, cap-friendly contract. 

Smith also suggested the Lightning could attempt to go the trade route this summer. Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen are the notable defensemen potentially available. They could also revisit their interest in San Jose’s Erik Karlsson if he hits the open market on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith acknowledges the Lightning will have to shed salary to pursue those players, especially with center Brayden Point due for a big raise coming off a 92-point performance this season. With over $73 million invested in 16 players, Point’s new contract will likely eat up most of their cap space, leaving little room to re-sign Coburn and/or Stralman and also re-sign or replace their other free agents. It’s assumed winger Ryan Callahan ($5.8 million for next season) will be traded or bought out, while J.T. Miller ($5.25 million annually through 2022-23) lacks no-trade protection and could also be shopped this summer.

I doubt they can free up sufficient cap room to land Karlsson. If they swing a trade for Trouba or Ristolainen it will likely involve shipping a salaried player out as part of the deal, but they’ll still have to shed another contract to create room for their other free-agent signings. 

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes re-signing center William Karlsson is the Vegas Golden Knights’ top priority. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.25-million contract. He had a career-best 78-point performance last season but his production dropped to 56 points this season.

Given the Golden Knights’ limited salary-cap space, someone must be traded to free up room for Karlsson’s new contract. They currently have over $82 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20. They’ll recoup $5.25 million by placing permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson on long-term injury reserve or they could attempt to trade that dead cap space to a budget-conscious team in need of reaching the cap minimum next season. 

Emerson notes that “Cody Eakin ($3.85 million), Ryan Reaves ($2.775 million), Nick Holden ($2.2 million) and Jon Merrill ($1.375 million) all have sizable cap hits and are entering the last year of their contracts. Colin Miller ($3.875 million) and Brayden McNabb ($2.5 million) could be possibilities as well, but each has three years remaining on their respective deals.”  He also suggested trading one of the defensemen on that list could help free up a logjam on the blueline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect two or three players on Emerson’s list will be on the move this summer. All lack no-trade protection and they also carry reasonable salary-cap hits that could prove attractive in the trade market. I think they’ll retain McNabb and Miller. Eakin, Reaves, Holden or Merrill seem the likely trade candidates.