NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2022

The Rangers move into first place in the overall standings, the three stars of the week are announced, the latest COVID protocols updates, the Flames new arena deal is dead and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers (48 points) moved into first place in the overall standings by dropping the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, Adam Fox collected two assists, Chris Kreider tallied his 20th goal of the season and Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with 33 saves. The Oilers (38 points) have only two wins in their last 12 games and are clinging to the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (NHL Images).

Last night’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Seattle Kraken was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns affecting the Senators. Thomas Chabot, Zach Sanford and Chris Tierney entered COVID protocol yesterday, bringing the total number of Senators players in protocol to eight.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski and Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart were among those who also entered COVID protocol yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The total number of players going on or coming off the protocol list changes daily. For example, 10 Dallas Stars players (including Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, Esa Lindell, Jason Robertson and Ryan Suter) were removed from the list yesterday.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth missed practice yesterday after submitting positive rapid COVID-19 tests. Both are asymptomatic and are awaiting the results of their PCR tests.

Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he doesn’t expect many more Canadian franchises will have games postponed due to attendance issues because the league is running out of time to make up games already postponed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the seven Canadian franchises had asked for their home games in January to be rescheduled for later in the season when attendance restrictions in their respective provinces are lifted when the Omicron COVID variant fades. Those clubs will see a significant reduction in their hockey-related revenue (HRR) under the current capacity limitations which will have an adverse effect upon the league’s overall revenue, in turn affecting the salary cap down the road.

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau are the league’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 2.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis recently started skating after being sidelined for weeks with a lower-body injury. However, there’s still no timetable for his return to action. Acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators, the 31-year-old Ellis appeared in just four games and hasn’t played since Nov. 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis’ absence is one reason why the Flyers are struggling to stay in the hunt for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot is nursing a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s Winter Classic. Winger Jordan Greenway entered COVID protocol.

CBC SPORTS: The City of Calgary’s deal with the owners of the Calgary Flames for a new downtown arena is officially terminated due to “unresolved issues.” It’s estimated the two sides had already spent between $20 million and $25 million on the $600 million project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This doesn’t mean the Flames will be relocating to another city. The club’s ownership group indicated it intends to remain in the Saddledome. However, they’ll be looking at investing millions in updating and upgrading the building.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars hired former Buffalo Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley as their new director of hockey strategy/scouting and development.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2022

The Blues defeat the Wild in the 2022 Winter Classic, Canucks trainer finds Kraken fan who saved him from cancer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A four-point performance by Jordan Kyrou (two goals, two assists) powered the St. Louis Blues to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild in the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Target Field. Kyrou set a record for the most points in an outdoor game. At minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit, it was the coldest outdoor game in league history. With the win, the Blues (43 points) moved into first place in the Central Division.

St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues put the game away with five goals in the second period. Nearly 40,000 fans braved the extreme cold to watch the game.

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4. Brady Skjei and Steven Lorentz each scored two goals for the Hurricanes. Frederik Andersen replaced Antti Raanta in the Carolina crease after the latter gave up three goals on nine shots. Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins allowed four goals on 15 shots after Daniil Tarasov left the game with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell made 23 saves to shut out the Ottawa Senators 6-0. William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev each scored twice while T.J. Brodie had a goal and two assists. The game was played in front of just 1,000 fans at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena due to the Ontario government’s limits on attendance at indoor events amid the current wave of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Los Angeles Kings ended the Philadelphia Flyers’ seven-game points streak with a 6-3 victory. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice and set up two others while linemates Trevor Moore also had a four-point performance and Phillip Danault collected three points.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 30 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken to win his seventh straight game. The Canucks remain unbeaten in regulation (8-0-1) in their last nine games.

The Boston Bruins overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 with Charlie Coyle’s overtime goal completing their comeback. It was the Bruins’ first game in 15 days due to COVID-related postponements.

An overtime goal by Noah Dobson lifted the New York Islanders over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Leon Draisaitl tallied his league-leading 25th goal for the struggling Oilers, who’ve won just twice (2-6-2) in their last 10 games. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed this game as they’re listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers still hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 38 points. However, the Kings (37 points), Colorado Avalanche (36), San Jose Sharks and the surging Canucks (35 points) are right behind them. They’re in danger of tumbling further down the standings if they don’t soon reverse their skid.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 37 saves, Mattias Ekholm collected three assists and Tanner Jeannot tallied twice in a 6-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jeannot’s 10 goals on the season tie him for the rookie goal-scoring lead with Detroit’s Lucas Raymond. It was the Blackhawks first game in 14 days

Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists and Sam Bennett scored twice to lead the Florida Panthers over the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. The depleted Canadiens dressed just 16 skaters for this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens reportedly opted to press on with this game despite having 16 players in COVID protocol. They now have a 10-day break as four of their upcoming home games were postponed. The club has also paused all team activities through Thursday as a preventative measure. That also extends to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian Hamilton has a sharp-eyed Seattle Kraken fan to thank for spotting what was a cancerous growth on his neck as she sat behind the Canucks bench during a game in October. She informed Hamilton with a note on her phone that she held up to the glass between periods.

Hamilton subsequently had the malignant melanoma removed. He and the Canucks recently put out a call on Twitter to find the fan, who turned out to be an aspiring medical school student named Nadia Popovici.

Hamilton got to meet and thank Popovici before yesterday’s game between the Canucks and Kraken at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena. During the game, the two clubs announced a joint $10,000.00 fund to go toward Popovici’s medical training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s great to start the New Year off with a positive story like this. Best wishes to Hamilton and to Popovici in her studies.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2021

Andre Burakovsky pots his first career hat trick, Max Pacioretty sets a Golden Knights record, Alex Pietrangelo has concerns about COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.com: Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky tallied his first career hat trick in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Burakovsky broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Avs picked up their fourth straight win while snapping the Panthers’ five-game points streak.

Colorado defenseman Jacob MacDonald was stretchered from the ice in the second period following a hit by the Panthers’ Ryan Lomberg. He was said to be “alert, responsive and has full movement” and undergoing further evaluation. The Avs also played without captain Gabriel Landeskog as he’s sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed goaltender Jonas Johansson on waivers after recalling Pavel Francouz from their AHL affiliate.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Max Pacioretty pushed his goals streak to a franchise-record six games as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Minnesota Wild 6-4. Pacioretty and Mark Stone each had a goal and two assists to extend their points streaks to eight games while teammate Chandler Stephenson picked up four assists. The Wild (39 points) still lead the Western Conference but have lost two straight games.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fourth win in as many games under new head coach Bruce Boudreau by holding off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson scored for the Canucks. Martin Necas replied for the Hurricanes, who played without leading scorer Sebastian Aho due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros had a 32-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 1-0. Philip Tomasino scored the game’s only goal in the Predators’ fifth consecutive win, bringing Rangers’ goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s three-game win streak to an end. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Ryan Johansen in COVID protocol.

The Anaheim Ducks defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Troy Terry, who also scored the tying goal in the third period on a penalty shot. St. Louis forward Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist. Blues forward Jordan Kyrou missed the game with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has expressed concern about the potential COVID-19 protocols in Beijing and is uncertain if he’ll participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Pietrangelo was already named to Canada’s roster along with the Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid and the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby.

I’ve got four kids that are under the age of 3 1/2. For me to be potentially locked up there for five weeks plus the Olympics, that’s a long time being away from my family,” said Pietrangelo. He indicated he won’t make a decision until the players receive further clarification on the COVID protocols for the Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states people who test positive for COVID-19 face a quarantine period of between three to five weeks. It remains to be seen if there will be exemptions for Olympic participants.

The NHL and NHLPA have until Jan. 10 to opt-out of Olympic participation without facing financial consequences. League commissioner Gary Bettman expressed concern last week over those protocols but said he’d leave it up to the players to decide if they’ll participate in the Beijing Games.

Other NHL players could share Pietrangelo’s concerns. A number of them could back out of participation rather than risk a lengthy quarantine in China without pay if they contract COVID-19 during the Olympic tournament.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo faces a deadline to fulfill his mandatory military service in Finland before the end of the regular season. All Finnish males between 18 and 28 must serve a required number of days of compulsory service.

The Finnish government released a statement indicating athletes like Korpisalo, who turns 29 on Apr. 28, will begin their service on Apr. 11. However, the Blue Jackets regular season ends on Apr. 29. The required service is 165, 255 or 347 days depending on the assignment.

Korpisalo said he put off his service due to his offseason training schedule. His passport expires in a year’s time and the Finnish government won’t issue him a new one until he completes his service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline pointed out it was easier in the past for Finnish athletes to avoid service but the rules were changed several years ago. Korpisalo said he wouldn’t leave the Jackets to do his service while their season was ongoing. However, this could affect his chances of getting a new NHL contract this summer when he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status.

ESPN.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks placed forward Reese Johnson on injured reserve with a broken right clavicle.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2021

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, Jonathan Toews, John Klingberg, John Tortorella and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports several of Evander Kane’s teammates don’t want the San Jose Sharks winger to return to the club next season. That strained relationship was also the reason behind the club’s attempt to trade him earlier this summer.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

One source said the frustration stemmed from Kane’s disrespect for teams rules, including being late for practices and games. He faced no consequences for those actions, which didn’t sit well with younger teammates.

TSN: Kane has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the Hockey Diversity Alliance as the league investigates recent allegations that he bet on NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s troubles appear to be mounting. Earlier this year, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy citing over $26 million in debts with $10.2 million in assets. $1.5 million of those losses were related to gambling.

The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka speculated Kane’s gambling issues and the friction with his teammates could force Sharks management to buy out the remainder of his contract in the second buyout window. The club is eligible to use that opportunity because goaltender Adin Hill filed for salary arbitration.

Pashelka indicates a buyout of Kane would leave a total of $13 million in deal cap space on the Sharks payroll over the next four years. That’s in conjunction with the $7.25 million over the next three years from their recent buyout of Martin Jones.

Trading Kane would be the preferred option. As Kurz points out, however, the winger’s aforementioned issues combined with his $7 million annual average value for the next four seasons and a three-team trade list could make that move impossible.

TSN: Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said the club remains without a firm timeline for Jonathan Toews’ return. However, the club remains hopeful their 33-year-old captain will be ready for the start of this season. Toews missed all of last season with chronic immune response syndrome.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars GM Jim Nill said his club has started contract extension talks with John Klingberg. The 29-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s earning an annual average value of $4.25 million on his current contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg will get a significant raise on his next deal. I don’t see the Stars paying him more than the $8.45 million AAV they’re paying to Miro Heiskanen, who’s a better all-around defenseman. If he seeks more, this season could be his last in Dallas.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues reached an agreement with forward Jordan Kyrou on a two-year, $5.6 million contract.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed center Travis Boyd to a one-year, $750K contract.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL coach John Tortorella is joining ESPN as a studio analyst.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella worked briefly with TSN in a similar role in 2008. Like him or not, he speaks his mind and that will make for entertaining television.

WGR 550: The Rochester Americans hired former Buffalo Sabres captain Michael Peca as an assistant coach. He spent last season as a development coach with the Washington Capitals.

TORONTO SUN: John Lilley has left his role as Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting to join the New York Rangers as director of player personnel and amateur scouting.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2018

Reviewing the latest additions to the TSN trade-bait list plus updates on the Red Wings, Sharks and more in your NHL rumor mill.

Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart is the latest addition to TSN’s trade-bait board (Photo via NHL Images).

LATEST FROM TSN’s INSIDERS

TSN: New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou, Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart, Colorado Avalanche winger Blake Comeau and Winnipeg Jets centre Nic Petan are the latest additions to Frank Seravalli’s list of trade bait heading toward the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline.

Seravalli claims “multiple teams” have expressed interest in McDonagh, though he anticipates the Rangers could wait until the summer to make such a significant move. McDonagh also carries a 10-team “no-trade” clause. While the Blues could be reluctant to part with the promising Kyrou, he could be what’s required to land them a scoring winger such as Buffalo’s Evander Kane at the trade deadline. Seravalli said the Jets seek a center or winger to plug into their top-two lines which is why Petan makes the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Seravalli isn’t saying those players are definitely available or being shopped. Regarding McDonagh, there’s lots of chatter the Rangers could listen to offers but there’s also no guarantee he’s a goner at the deadline.

If the Blues were to part with a quality prospect such as Kyrou, they might prefer landing someone with term remaining on his contract. If they went after a pending UFA like Kane, they could seek assurances he’ll re-sign with them before agreeing to part with a significant prospect. 

Reinhart’s name has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill amid talk Sabres management are disappointed with his regression this season. However, it might be better to remain patient with him and see if he can rebound next season.

The Jets could wait until Mark Scheifele’s return next month before reaching a decision on potential deadline moves. I expect they’ll be buyers this season.

Not sure the Avs would move Comeau. He’s a pending UFA but with the club playing well of late there’s no reason for them to become sellers. 

TSNPierre LeBrun speculates the San Jose Sharks might get more aggressive searching for a scorer in the trade market after learning center Joe Thornton is sidelined indefinitely following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Before Thornton’s injury, they were in the market for a fourth-line center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What the Sharks do will depend upon how they adjust to Thornton’s absence and their position in the standings over the next two-three weeks. Pickings are slim for quality centers potentially available in the trade market. Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, Edmonton’s Mark Letestu, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau and the New York Rangers’ David Desharnais are the notables kicking around the rumor mill. Speaking of Letestu and Pageau…

LeBrun also reports it’s believed Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford seeks a bottom-six center and has kicked the tires on Letestu and Pageau. 

Darren Dreger reports former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is interested in returning to the NHL but he faces a lengthy process to do so. His application for reinstatement isn’t expected until the conclusion of the KHL season. It would also coincide with the expiration of his contract with the LA Kings, who hold his NHL rights. There’s also immigration issues to sort out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov returned to Russia with his family in Sep. 2015 as a result of his legal issues stemming from domestic violence charges. That could make it difficult for him to return to the United States. 

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports an NHL source said the Detroit Red Wings have informed potential trade-deadline buyers that they’re ready to sell now. Unrestricted free agent defenseman Mike Green is the obvious trade candidate but there are others they could move.

The Wings came close last fall to trading goaltender Petr Mrazek to Edmonton but the return at that time wasn’t much, believed to be a mid-round pick. His improved play of late may increase his value. Veteran netminder Jimmy Howard, meanwhile, could also be available. The problem with moving Mrazek or Howard is there isn’t much of a market for goaltenders right now.  

Custance speculates the Vegas Golden Knights could be a destination for Green. Golden Knights GM George McPhee knows Green well from their days with the Washington Capitals. If there’s an interest in a Wings’ forward with term remaining on their contract, such as Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist, a trade would be entertained if a deal makes sense now. 

Only the Wings young players, such as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, are considered untouchable. Detroit’s blueline must also get younger and better. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green is one for certain. He’s got a full no-trade but I can see him waiving it to go to a playoff contender. The Golden Knights are playing well but they could benefit from a rental addition to their blueline. Green’s puck-moving abilities could make him a good fit there if the price is right. So far, however, the Wings haven’t yet approached him about waiving that clause. 

A playoff bubble team in dire need of a goaltending upgrade (hello there, New York Islanders) could express interest in Mrazek or Howard. I think Howard might be more enticing to a playoff club. Yes, Mrazek is playing well this month but his previous inconsistency could hurt his value.