NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHLPA decision to re-open CBA extended to Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov receives a three-game suspension, Wild re-sign Jared Spurgeon, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The NHL Players Association intends to use a provision in the NHL collective bargaining agreement to extend its deadline to re-open the CBA to Monday, Sept, 16. The provision allows the deadline to be advanced to the next business day if the decision date falls on a Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the PA decides to re-open the CBA, it will expire in one year if the two sides fail to reach agreement on a CBA extension. Optimists will consider this one-day extension as potentially good news, providing the PA and the league an extra day to work out a deal. Whatever decision the players make, Ottawa Senators PA representative Dylan DeMelo claims they will be united behind it.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received a three-game suspension by the NHL after testing positive for cocaine this spring while representing Russia at the 2019 World Championships. Kuznetsov won’t appeal the suspension.

The NHL suspends Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov for three games after testing positive for cocaine earlier this year (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: it’s a slap on the wrist for Kuznetsov but also a warning shot across his bow. A repeat offense will lead to a lengthier suspension.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday re-signed defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a seven-year, $53-million contract extension. The annual average value is $7.575 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bill Guerin’s first significant signing since taking over as the Wild’s general manager is being widely applauded. Despite his 5’9″, 167-pound frame, Spurgeon is a key part of the Wild defense corps. The 29-year-old logs big minutes and plays well at both ends of the rink.

With the rising salary cap driving up players salaries, this deal for Spurgeon is already a bargain for the Wild. He would’ve received much more in next summer’s free-agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: Winger Patrik Laine will train with SC Bern in Switzerland as his contract impasse continues with the Jets. Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Ken Wiebe reports Andrew Copp is dealing with a minor injury while Sami Niku and Kristian Vesalainen “were a bit stiff after they were in a fender bender on Friday.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Center Kevin Hayes denied a rumor from back in June claiming he would sign with the Flyers only if they overpaid him. “Someone made up something and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said. In June, he signed a seven-year, $50-million contract.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues to rehab from off-season shoulder surgery.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens blueliners Noah Juulsen (head) and Karl Alzner (groin injury) are listed as day-to-day.

CBC: A U.S. casino is suing Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk “for more than $900,000, saying he tried and failed to pay them with bank drafts over a winter weekend in 2017.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Annnnnd the Melnyk Circus continues in Ottawa. Step right up, folks, and let’s see what mischief the Senators cantankerous owner can ensnare himself into this season.


Kuznetsov Likely To Avoid NHL Punishment Following IIHF Suspension

Kuznetsov Likely To Avoid NHL Punishment Following IIHF Suspension


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2019

Updates on the Bruins and Blues plus the latest on Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andrew Ladd, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The league and the Washington Capitals are satisfied Evgeny Kuznetsov did nothing wrong when he was seen in a video sitting next to a table with lines of white powder on it. The video was shot in a Las Vegas hotel room after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup last June. They have accepted Kuznetsov’s explanation that he did not take illegal drugs and had inadvertently put himself in a bad situation. He has apologized for the incident. 

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The brief video didn’t show the Capitals center inhaling or ingesting the powder, which looked like cocaine. Kuznetsov said he went to the hotel room in question with some friends, became uneasy with his surroundings and soon departed. According to the league, his account of events aligns with other information received about the situation and no further action is required. 

STLTODAY.COM: Zach Sanford will replace Oskar Sundqvist in the Blues lineup for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Sundqvist received a one-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2. 

NBC SPORTS: Grzelcyk (concussion symptoms) remains doubtful for Game 3 and could be replaced by John Moore. 

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reports New York Islanders forwards Cal Clutterbuck (back injury) and Andrew Ladd (knee) both had surgery. Doctors expect Clutterbuck will be ready for training camp in September. Ladd’s timeline remains less clear. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers part ways with assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Manny Viveiros. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2019

The Bruins draw first blood in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. A recap and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Sean Kuraly scored the game-winner and collected an assist. Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the Blues. Game 2 goes Wednesday night in Boston.

Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug’s big hit on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas excited the crowd in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

Bruins defenseman Torey Krug ignited his teammates with a big hit on Blues forward Robert Thomas in the third period. Boston captain Zdeno Chara left the game late in the third period after getting cut on the left forearm from blocking a shot. Chara received stitches but insists he’ll be ready for Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lengthy layoff between series affected the Bruins’ play in the first period. But after the Blues went up 2-0, they regained their game legs and dominated the rest of the contest.  

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov issued a statement denying he used illegal drugs after video emerged showing him sitting next to a table with lines of an identified powder. The video was shot in Las Vegas last June after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. The video doesn’t show Kuznetsov snorting or ingesting the powder. The Capitals and the league are investigating. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov said he was in an unfamiliar room with some friends, grew uncomfortable and quickly left. We must reserve judgment until the league and the Capitals have completed their investigations. 

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said changes will be coming to video review during meetings of the competition committee and general managers next month. Those changes could be implemented for next season following a series of controversial calls in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bettman admitted being upset over an uncalled hand pass leading to an overtime goal by the San Jose Sharks during the 2019 Western Conference Final. He also dismissed the idea of doing away with video replays, adding the league wants to find ways to improve the process.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said collective-bargaining discussions with the NHL Players Association are ongoing and expected to continue throughout the offseason. Both sides hope to hammer out an agreement and avoid another work stoppage. Both sides can opt out of the current agreement in September. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Video replay can and should be improved. Don Cherry suggests providing on-ice officials with earpieces to off-ice officials monitoring the game in the arena to quickly address questionable calls.

It’s a good sign the league and the PA are continuing discussions. Hopefully, the two sides can reach an agreement come September. If one or the other does so, the current agreement will terminate on Sept. 15, 2020. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed restricted free-agent defenseman Xavier Ouellet to a one-year, two-way contract. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: New research indicates Pittsburgh could be the birthplace of professional hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to reader “Chrisms” for the link. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2019

Game recaps, Lightning extend Jon Cooper’s contract, Flyers re-sign Michael Raffl, an update on Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored three times to lead the Edmonton Oilers to an 8-4 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected four points while Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists. With 76 points, the Oilers are five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl tallied his first career NHL hat trick in an 8-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings (Photo via NHL images).

Darcy Kuemper turned in a 31-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0. With the win, the Coyotes (81 points) move into a tie with the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western wild-card berth. The Blackhawks (76 points) remain five points behind.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 49th goal of the season and John Carlson netted his 400th career point as the Washington Capitals downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals (98 points) opened a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders.

Before the game, Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov responded to Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry calling him “a jerk” over his bird dance goal celebrations. “If he want(s) to say something, he can call me or he can meet me, but to call me (a) jerk on TV doesn’t make him look good, you know? But whatever he said, my parents (taught) me a lot of good things when (I was) young, and I’m not going to say anything bad about a guy who’s much older than me,” said Kuznetsov.

Speaking of the Islanders, they failed to gain ground on the Capitals after the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked them 4-0. Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his third shutout in his last four games and moved into a tie with Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury for the league lead with eight. The Jackets (88 points) remain two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Earlier in the day, the Islanders announced winger Andrew Ladd suffered a season-ending injury in his left knee. His recovery time will be four-to-five months and he’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. 

The Canadiens (90 points), meanwhile, rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Florida Panthers and moved within a point of the Hurricanes for the first wild-card spot. Carey Price made 33 saves while Tomas Tatar scored twice and collected an assist. Canadiens forward Paul Byron left the game with a suspected concussion following a fight with Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.

Anaheim Ducks rookie Sam Steel had his first NHL hat trick as his club edged the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Despite the win, the Ducks are officially eliminated from the playoff race. 

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. The Sabres have lost 13 straight road games. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday announced they’ve signed head coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year contract extension. Cooper is the league’s longest-tenured active coach and is the franchise leader in wins (300) and games (500). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This comes as no surprise. Under Cooper’s tenure, the Lightning won their first Presidents’ Trophy this season, reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and advanced to three Eastern Conference Finals (2015, 2016, 2018). 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks have reduced Erik Karlsson’s practice schedule as he continues to rehab a groin injury. Karlsson recently said he expected to be 100 percent in time for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed winger Michael Raffl to a two-year, $3.2-million contract extension. It’s a 32 percent pay cut from his current three-year, $7.05-million deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raffl’s production has declined in recent years but he remains a versatile, physical checking-line forward. He obviously had no qualms about accepting a pay cut to stay with the Flyers. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Ryan Kesler, Tom Wilson, Paul Stastny and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers bounced back from Tuesday’s 8-2 humiliation at the hands of the San Jose Sharks by thumping the Ottawa Senators 7-4. Jakub Voracek enjoyed a five-point night, scoring twice and setting up three others. A bright spot for the Senators was the play of rookie winger Brady Tkachuk, who scored his first two NHL goals and also collected an assist.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek had a five-point game in a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been a lot of high-scoring games in the opening days of this NHL season. Some attribute this to the reduction in the size of goaltenders’ chest protectors. Others attribute this to the league trending toward speed and skill. We should also remember that it’s still very early in the season when teams are still shaking out their rosters and players are adjusting to the schedule. I daresay we’ll see a decline in these offensive numbers in the coming weeks. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied a goal and collected three assists while Alex Ovechkin scored twice to give the Washington Capitals a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of this year’s Stanley Cup Final. 

Speaking of the Capitals, winger Tom Wilson has been granted “non-roster player status” by the league as he serves his 20-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. That allows the Capitals to activate defenseman Michal Kempny off injured reserve without having to demote a roster player. 

Before the game, the Golden Knights announced center Paul Stastny will miss three games with a lower-body injury. 

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their first win of the season by edging the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in a shootout. Nick Cousins scored the winning goal while goaltender Antti Raanta made 23 saves, along with three in the shootout, for the victory. Ducks center Ryan Kesler made his long-awaited return to the roster and opened the scoring. 

POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed center Derek Grant on waivers. 

TSN: The New York Islanders placed forward Jan Kovar on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. 

NEW YORK POST: The Nashville Predators are catching some flak for raising three banners in their recent home-opener. They had one to commemorate winning the Presidents’ Trophy, one for winning the Central Division and, curiously, one for being the “Regular Season Western Conference Champions.” It’s the latter that raised eyebrows as the Vegas Golden Knights are the real 2018 Western Conference Champions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like someone in the Predators front office has a bit of banner envy. Raising one to celebrate winning the Presidents’ Trophy is fine. Raising one as Central Division champions is redundant since that’s covered by winning the Presidents’ Trophy. Calling themselves the “Regular Season Western Conference Champions” is silly and misleading.