NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2022

The Blues sign Jordan Kyrou to an eight-year contract extension, the Stars re-sign general manager Jim Nill, an update on Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues yesterday signed Jordan Kyrou to an eight-year, $65 million contract extension. The average annual value is $8.125 million. Kyrou is a 24-year-old right wing who is in the second season of his two-year deal with an AAV of $2.8 million.

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

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kyrou followed up a promising 35-point performance in 56 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season with 75 points in 74 games. His contract extension is similar to the one signed by teammate Robert Thomas in July.

It’s clear that Blues management sees those two as important long-term members of their roster core. Given how salaries for top players continue to rise, their identical AAVs could look like bargains in a few years if they continue to maintain or exceed last season’s point-per-game average.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars inked general manager Jim Nill to a contract extension that keeps him signed through 2023-24. He indicated the length of the deal was his idea. “Let’s do two years and let’s see where things are at after two years and just go from there,” he said, indicating he remains hopeful of staying in the role beyond ’23-’24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill, 64, is entering his 10th season as the Stars GM. Over the past nine seasons, they’ve reached the playoffs five times with the highlight being their run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

THE ATHLETIC: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson is believed to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery on his left knee. The club is hopeful he’ll return to action sometime in early December.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe underwent cervical spine surgery and is expected to miss 10-12 weeks. His timeline to return is sometime in late November.

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross took to Twitter on Tuesday to report New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and forward Cal Clutterbuck are expected to be ready for training camp next week. Both players missed the end of last season with injuries.

TSN: Chris Tanev is expected to be ready for the start of Calgary Flames’ training camp on Sept. 22. The 32-year-old defenseman underwent offseason surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder suffered during the 2022 playoffs against the Dalla Stars.

The New Jersey Devils signed Thomas Hickey to a professional tryout offer. The 33-year-old defenseman spent the past nine seasons with the New York Islanders.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Seattle Kraken signed Daniel Sprong to a PTO. He split last season between the Washington Capitals and the Kraken.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Speaking of the Kraken, they promoted analytics director Alexandra Mandrycky to assistant general manager. She’s the first woman to hold that title while specializing primarily in analytics.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Scott Darling is trying his hand at standup comedy. He played five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-15 to 2018-19, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2015.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2022

Erik Karlsson intends to stick with the Sharks, Carey Price sends a message to his fans, John Tortorella has concerns about the Flyers, Nazem Kadri makes a big charitable donation, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Erik Karlsson has no plans to request a trade from the San Jose Sharks. “No, I committed here a long time ago,” he said. The 32-year-old defenseman is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson, 32, acknowledged things haven’t gone the way they wanted to earlier in his tenure with the Sharks. However, he said he’s excited about the future and believes the club can be successful again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson has also been hampered by injuries since joining the Sharks in a trade from the Ottawa Senators in 2018. The former two-time Norris Trophy winner told The Athletic he intends to be more cautious in dealing with future injury rather than attempt to play through the pain.

Karlsson’s contract would make him difficult to move if he did want out or if new Sharks general manager Mike Grier wanted to move him. In addition to that big cap hit, he carries a full no-movement clause.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price posted a heartfelt “thank you” message to his fans on his Instagram account. The 35-year-old goaltender is on long-term injury reserve as a nagging knee injury threatens to end his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More than a few people felt the tone of the message suggested Price may be acknowledging that his playing days are over. For now, however, neither he nor the Canadiens have suggested that he’ll be hanging up his pads.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they signed restricted free agent goalie Cayden Primeau to a three-year deal with an AAV of $890K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Primeau, 23, is expected to start this season with the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval.

THE SCORE: cites John Tortorella telling SiriusXM NHL that he has “major concerns” about the mood in the Philadelphia Flyers dressing room. He was hired as their new head coach earlier in the offseason.

Tortorella made the assessment after speaking with players, management and other team personnel. “Before we even step on the ice, situations and standards and accountability in the room is forefront,” he said. “You can’t get squat done on the ice until you get your room straightened out, and I think we have a little bit of work to do there.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are coming off a hellish season that saw them endure two long, season-killing winless skids, an early-season coaching change, and the departure of long-time captain Claude Giroux at the trade deadline. It’s no wonder morale is probably low right now.

A two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year, Tortorella has a good reputation for turning around struggling teams. Improving the Flyers will be a challenge but one he’s capable of handling.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Nazem Kadri has given back to his hometown of London, Ontario. The 31-year-old center donated $1 million to the London Health Sciences Centre. Kadri signed a seven-year contract last month with the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A very generous gift by Kadri toward an excellent cause.

BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland reports the St. Louis Blues and Jordan Kyrou are working on a new contract. “Told talks between the two sides have been very good.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kyrou, 24, is coming off a career-best 75-point performance. He’s entering the final season of a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.8 million and will likely get a significant raise on a long-term contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has returned to the club in a new role. The position sees him support business operations for Madison Square Garden Corp. and MSG Entertainment Corp. He’ll also return to his role as a Rangers TV analyst on MSG Network.

Lundqvist, 40, announced his retirement last year. He holds franchise records with 459 career wins, 64 shutouts, and games played (887) during his 15 seasons with the Rangers.

SPORTSNET: Shane Doan is taking a step back from the Arizona Coyotes. He rejoined the Coyotes in 2021 as their Chief Hockey Development Officer following his retirement after 1,466 games with the franchise.

I don’t want this to be seen in any way that hurts the organization. I want the arena bid to be successful for hockey’s long-term future in the Valley,” said Doan. He added that he fully supports second-year coach Andre Tourigny and would help him in any way if asked.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests Doan is making this decision for family reasons. The report said he’ll be spending more time with his four children. His son, Josh, is a Coyotes draft pick who’s starting his second year at Arizona State University.

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner recently said he’s feeling much better following a season-ending back injury and looking forward to the coming season. “I’m feeling good, ready to go, absolutely,” he said. The 29-year-old center said his offseason training has gone well and he believes he can be a significant contributor to the Jackets.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mathieu Perreault is retiring as an NHL player to move into a broadcasting position with TVA Sports. A hardworking and versatile 34-year-old forward, he spent 13 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, netting 352 career points in 708 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Perreault in his new job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2022

More players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team issued statements denying involvement in alleged sexual assault and Johnny Gaudreau was close to signing with the Devils before joining the Blue Jackets. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: St. Louis Blues forwards Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou and Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh released statements on Tuesday denying involvement in an alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team.

The agent for free agent forward Sam Steel also released a statement yesterday on his client’s behalf denying involvement, indicating he had fully cooperated in every investigation into the matter and will continue to do so.

These statements followed a similar one issued earlier Monday by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins as well as those recently released by Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar and Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Victor Mete.

Rick Westhead reports lawyers for the eight players allegedly involved in the 2018 sexual assault plan to turn over to the NHL cellphone footage of the incident and 35 text messages between the victim and one of the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is pursuing its own investigation into the incident while Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation. A number of players on the 2018 WJC team are now NHL players.

SPORTSNET: An affidavit filed in an Ontario court suggests Hockey Canada has maintained a fund to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault. The organization has had its federal funding cut off while a number of corporations paused their sponsorship over its handling of the case and recent settlement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Globe & Mail reports Hockey Canada used player registration fees to cover the cost of those “uninsured liabilities.” In other words, it appears they used money that parents paid to register their kids in hockey as a slush fund.

The eight players involved in the 2018 incident have not been publicly identified. However, the recently released statements by several former members of that team has fans and pundits musing about their identities on social media. It seems only a matter of time until those players are eventually identified.

Last month, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised the league would be transparent in its investigation into this matter. The league intends to interview all members of the 2018 team with the cooperation of the NHLPA.

Whatever the outcome of these investigations, Hockey Canada’s reputation has been severely tarnished. A reckoning is hopefully coming soon that will bring about much-needed changes throughout the organization to address the rot that permeates its culture.

THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau said he was close to signing with the New Jersey Devils last week before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. He wanted to be close enough to his family and friends in New Jersey but maintain enough distance to ensure privacy as he and his wife start their own family. He signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Blue Jackets a week ago.

NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they signed restricted free agent Vitek Vanecek to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.4 million. The Devils acquired the 26-year-old goaltender from the Washington Capitals earlier this month.

TSN: Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said he’s looking for more offense from high-paid stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the coming season. “We have far too many players who are underperforming offensively,” said Gaglardi. “We need something to change.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Age and injuries could be contributing factors behind the declining production of Benn and Seguin. Benn is now 33 and his physical style of play could also be taking its toll on him. The 30-year-old Seguin, meanwhile, played through a hip injury in the 2020 playoffs requiring surgery that sidelined him for most of the following season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Stars captain Derian Hatcher and former coach and general manager Bob Gainey are the inaugural inductees into the club’s new Hall of Fame.

FLAMES NATION: The agent for Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane said the restricted free agent is willing to discuss a long-term contract with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames may be interested in that but their priority right now is determining the future of RFA winger Matthew Tkachuk. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings named Jim Hiller as an assistant coach.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL winger Larry Jeffrey passed away on Tuesday at age 81. He netted 181 points in 368 career regular-season games over eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers from 1961-62 to 1968-69, winning a Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1967.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2022

Claude Giroux leads Metropolitan Division to victory in the 2022 All-Star Game. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux was named the most valuable player of the 2022 NHL All-Star Game as he led the Metropolitan Division to two victories in the 3-on-3 tournament format. Giroux finished with three goals and an assist, including two goals in the clinching 5-3 victory over the Central Division, taking home a 2022 Honda Passport.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux was named MVP of the 2022 NHL All-Star Game (NHL.com)

Giroux became the third Flyer in All-Star Game history to win MVP honors, joining Reggie Leach (1980) and Wayne Simmonds (2017).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Giroux, whose performance in the All-Star Game has put more focus on his uncertain future in Philadelphia. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer, making him the subject of increasing trade speculation. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.

St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou led all scorers in the tournament with two goals and three assists for five points across two games, followed by Giroux, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (three goals and one assist) and Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski with two goals and two assists.

RDS.CA: Speaking of the Flyers, Daniel Briere will reportedly be named as assistant general manager to GM Chuck Fletcher. The former Flyers winger is the current vice-president of hockey operations for the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere hasn’t been officially announced as assistant GM yet but that could come in the next day or so. He was also a candidate for the Montreal Canadiens general manager position, which eventually went to former player agent Kent Hughes.

TSN.CA: The Chicago Blackhawks have interviewed Scott Mellanby for their general manager position. A former NHL forward, Mellanby was assistant GM with the Montreal Canadiens from 2014 until his resignation last November.










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.