NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2020

The latest on Zdeno Chara, Brady Tkachuk, Kaapo Kakko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: During a conference call with NHL reporters on Monday, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claimed goaltender Tuukka Rask’s smelly farts make him the teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with. “The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings, I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.”

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how depressing most of the NHL news has been of late because of COVID-19, I thought Chara’s remarks about Rask brought a welcome bit of levity yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: During the same conference call, Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk said his two teammates who tested positive for COVID-19 are doing well. “We’re a tight group so we’re always in contact with one another but I think all of us are just concerned about them and everybody impacted by it.”

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Kaapo Kakko’s stubbornness is blocking his potential greatness. The rookie Ranger’s insistence on holding the puck isn’t working as well in the NHL as it did when he dominated in Finland. He’s also struggled with the defensive of his game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks feels Kakko has the tools to become a dominant NHL player. The youngster isn’t the first promising player who’s ever struggled to adjust to the NHL in his rookie season. With maturity and a willingness to learn, he should become the elite winger he was projected to become.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong believes his club is in a good spot to defend their Stanley Cup title if the season is resumed. “With the knowledge of what we did last year, and that we have a mature team, we’re not worried about whether they’re preparing or what they’re doing off the ice, eating correctly and doing whatever workouts they need to be doing; I know they are because they’ve shown that year in and year out,” Armstrong told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said no Capitals players have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. Nevertheless, the club is preparing for all scenarios, including returning to action at some point in the summer if the league resumes action by then.

TSN: The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers yesterday announced temporary staff layoffs during the COVID-19 period. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed forward Michael Chaput to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPORTSNET: Goaltender Eddie Lack yesterday announced his retirement because of hip injuries. He spent five seasons in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and New Jersey Devils. He compiled a “56-55-18 record, 2.62 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and nine shutouts.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lack in his future endeavours.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2019

Updates on Zach Werenski and Kyle Connor, the Lightning trade Adam Erne to the Red Wings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Defenseman Zach Werenski’s agent, Pat Brisson, expects his client will re-sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets before training camp opens in September.

“I have been in communication with the Jackets throughout the summer,” said Brisson. “It’s our intention to have an agreement in time for camp. I’m most certain we will be continuing our talks in the near future.”

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Kyle Connor is hopeful of signing a long-term contract. The restricted free agent also hopes to avoid missing training camp next month.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor hopes to have a new contract before training camp opens in September (Photo via NHL Images)

“That’s definitely the plan,” he said. “A player never wants to miss time in training camp. It’s tough coming in, not getting that preparation and time with the teammates in practice. But things happen, so we’ll see. I’ll be prepared if it happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: None of the unsigned RFAs want to miss the start of training camp. I’m sure all of them, especially Mitch Marner, saw how Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander struggled after missing almost half of last season to a contract standoff with management.

With about a month until training camps open in September, there’s plenty of time for these players to sign new deals. I anticipate we’ll see a flurry of signings in early/mid-September.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/THE DETROIT NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday traded left wing Adam Erne to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a four-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rare mid-August NHL trade. With $9.3 million in salary-cap space and most of that headed to restricted free agent center Brayden Point, there wasn’t enough for the Lightning to retain Erne. He’ll probably be replaced with an affordable call-up or UFA signing.

The rebuilding Wings land a young (24) winger with some NHL experience and the potential to contribute more with increased playing time. He’ll get that opportunity in Detroit.

VANCOUVER SUN: A Canucks spokesperson said the club has no current plans for the upcoming season to retire the number of Roberto Luongo but the club is “sure his name will be included in future discussions.” They also acknowledged Luongo’s 20-year NHL career, including the eight seasons he spent with the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Canucks will retire Luongo’s number at some point. The future Hall-of-Famer was a big reason why the Canucks rose to dominance in the Western Conference from 2008-09 to 2012-13, including their march to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Luongo is the Canucks all-time leader in career wins (252), shutouts (38) and second all-time in goals-against average (2.36), games played (448) and save percentage (.919). He’s also the single-season leader in games played (76), wins (47), and shutouts (nine).

SPORTING NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Eddie Lack yesterday announced he won’t be signing with an NHL club this season, focusing instead on recovering from a hip injury suffered in the minors last season. He revealed he played through hip pain throughout the past six seasons. As he rehabs, Lack will be the goaltending coach at Arizona State University.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Lack in his recovery. If he’s unable to continue his playing career, perhaps he’ll have a future in coaching.

THE SCORE: Seattle general manager Ron Francis said the expansion NHL franchise will reveal its new name in early 2020.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2018

Game recaps, Joe Thornton and Zach Parise reach career milestones, injury updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Bo Horvat scored two goals and set up two others and Loui Eriksson also scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks to an 8-5 victory over the Boston Bruins. Jake DeBrusk had a three-point night in a losing cause for the Bruins. The Canucks played without winger Brock Boeser, who returned to Vancouver to see a specialist regarding a nagging groin injury.

Bo Horvat’s four-point performance carried the Vancouver Canucks to an 8-5 win over the Boston Bruins. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Florida Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1, picking up their first home win over the Oilers since 2002. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for the victory.

Shayne Gostisbehere scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers squeezed past the Arizona Coyotes 5-4, overcoming two shorthanded goals by the Coyotes. Scott Laughton tallied twice for the Flyers.

Jeff Skinner scored twice and Rasmus Ristolainen potted the winner as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 in overtime. Max Domi collected three assists for the Canadiens, who were playing without forwards Paul Byron and Joel Armia. Byron is week-to-week with a lower-body injury while Armia is sidelined six-to-eight weeks with an injured knee.

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a three-goal lead but two third-period tallies gave them a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa rookie Brady Tkachuk was held scoreless in his first game back from a leg injury.

Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos scored late third-period goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. Josh Bailey scored twice for the Islanders.

Jeremy Colliton lost his first game behind the Chicago Blackhawks’ bench as his club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes, who jumped to a 4-0 lead and managed to hang on for the win.

Devin Shore scored two goals to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg could be sidelined for three weeks after suffering an injury blocking a shot in the third period. Sharks center Joe Thornton reached another notable milestone, playing in his 1,500th career NHL game.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise’s 700th career point came in the form of the game-winning goal as his club beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1.

NEWSDAY: New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello will miss the club’s next two games with a groin strain.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Patrick Maroon will be a healthy scratch in tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Eddie Lack on waivers.

THE SCORE: Former NHL coach Dave Tippett said he won’t be returning to the coaching ranks as he intends to remain in his role as an advisor to the ownership group that is trying to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle.

TWINCITIES.COM: Bob Naegele Jr., the original owner of the Minnesota Wild, passed away on Wednesday at age 78 of complications from cancer. He was majority owners of the Wild from 2000 to 2008.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Naegele’s family, friends, and the Wild organization.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2018

Sharks re-sign Logan Couture, James van Riemsdyk heading to Philadelphia, Mike Green returns with the Red Wings. Details and more on the early news of the NHL’s opening day of free agency in your morning coffee headlines.

**Follow this link to check out the listing of today’s notables UFA signings**

NBC SPORTS: Reports indicated the San Jose Sharks and center Logan Couture have finalized an eight-year, $64-million contract extension that he’ll officially sign today. The annual average value is $8 million.

Logan Couture and the San Jose Sharks have reportedly agreed to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture has a year remaining on his current contract worth an AAV of $6 million. It’s a big pay bump for Couture,  who’s exceeded 50 points in six of of his 10 NHL seasons. He’s among the Sharks core players but will also be 30-year-old when this new contract kicks in. That cap hit could become troublesome over the final four years of his deal as his performance begins to decline. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: James van Riemsdyk is reportedly returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, as sources claim he’s signed a five-year, $35-million contract. The annual salary-cap hit is $7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk began his NHL career with the Flyers, playing three seasons with them before being deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012 for Luke Schenn. Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $57 million invested in 17 players, so adding JvR pushes their cap payroll to over $64 million.

The Flyers still have plenty of room for other additions, but one wonders if this move suggests Wayne Simmonds, who has a year left on his contract and is recovering from offseason surgery, might get dealt this summer. The Flyers can afford to re-sign Simmonds but his name has surfaced in trade rumors in recent weeks. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Defenseman Mike Green is expected to forego unrestricted free agency and sign a two-year, $10.75-million ($5.375 million AAV) with the Red Wings. The Wings are also reportedly signing former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth $3 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green is accepting slightly less money than his previous annual cap hit ($6 million) to stay in Detroit. He was considered the best defenseman potentially available via free agency after John Carlson re-signed with the Washington Capitals last week. The depth in quality UFA defenseman has significantly thinned with Carlson and Green off the market. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Vegas Golden Knights have re-signed winger Ryan Reaves to a two-year deal worth $2.775 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holy overpayment, Batman! That’s a big raise for a fourth-line grit player. Reaves definitely capitalized on his solid playoff performance this spring but it remains to be seen if he can maintain that form. At least it’s a short-term deal and the Golden Knights have the cap space to afford this. 

The Montreal Canadiens yesterday placed goaltender Steve Mason on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. They acquired Mason from the Winnipeg Jets in a deal that also brought them forward Joel Armia and two draft picks.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild placed forward Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers for buyout purposes.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars reportedly have an agreement with former Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin on a two-year deal. Meanwhile, former Stars forward Antoine Roussel is reportedly close to a four-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks worth just over $3 million annually while the Minnesota Wild are expected to sign former Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed goaltender Eddie Lack to a one-year, $650K contract.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2017

Game recaps, Flames ship Eddie Lack to the Devils plus injury updates on Filip Forsberg, Logan Couture and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals took over first place in the Metropolitan Division by downing the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Alex Ovechkin had three assists and Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson each scored a goal and set up two others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin, the Capitals’ top scorer with 41 points, moved into 10th spot among the league’s scoring leaders. 

Tuukka Rask made 25 saves to pick up his second shutout of the season as the Boston Bruins blanked the Ottawa Senators 5-0. Ryan Spooner scored twice and David Krejci collected two points in his first game since being sidelined on Dec. 16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins continue to jostle with the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games. 

The Nashville Predators moved ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for first in the Central Division by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-0. Juuse Saros kicked out 29 shots for his second shutout this season. The Predators were playing without their leading scorer, as winger Filip Forsberg (upper body) is on injured reserve

Drew Doughty scored the game winner in the third period to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tyler Toffoli also scored and added two assists for the Kings.

Scottie Upshall’s third-period goal stood as the winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Alex Pietrangelo had two helpers for the Blues, who squandered a 2-0 lead before Upshall’s winning tally. The Blues also welcomed back defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from injured reserve. 

James Reimer turned in a 38-save shutout performance and Connor Brickley had two points to give the Florida Panthers a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The punchless Habs dropped their fourth straight, scoring just three goals in that stretch.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames yesterday traded goaltender Eddie Lack to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defensman Dalton Prout, who cleared waivers earlier this week. As per Sportsnet’s John Shannon, the Devils will pick up 50 percent of Lack’s remaining salary while the Carolina Hurricanes (his former club before being dealt to the Flames) absorbs the other 50 percent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lack’s game really declined during his tenure in Carolina and didn’t improve during his brief stay with the Flames. He and Prout will both report to their new clubs’ minor-league affiliates. 

NBC SPORTS: Good news for the San Jose Sharks, as leading scorer Logan Couture (sidelined since Dec. 14 by a concussion) could be on the verge of returning to action. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins have called up forward Daniel Sprong in hopes of bolstering their sagging offense. He has 18 goals and 28 points in 29 AHL games this season. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The good news for the Winnipeg Jets is sidelined defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is expected back within the next five days. The bad news is blueliner Brandon Tanev is out two-three weeks. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed backup goalie Peter Budaj (left leg) on injured reserve and called up Louis Domingue. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2017

Latest on Connor McDavid and Nino Niederreiter, Canadiens & Kings make a trade, waiver updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid reportedly lost between 5-10 lbs battling the flu over the last two weeks. While he didn’t miss a game and still tallied nine points in five games during that stretch, the illness did affect his play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At one point McDavid drew some criticism for his less than stellar performance during that stretch. Sometimes a player can be guilty of not performing up to his full potential, but usually a bad stretch of play is the result of trying to soldier through injury or illness. Sounds like the flu knocked the stuffing out of the Oilers captain. And yes, that was a post-Thanksgiving pun. You’re welcome. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Despite a slow start to this season that included missing six games with an ankle injury, Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter is now on pace to reach 30 goals for the first time in his career. He’s been on a roll of late, with goals in five straight games and a point in each of his last seven contests. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri is remorseful over accidentally striking a penalty-box official in the face with his stick during the Leafs loss on Wednesday to the Florida Panthers. Kadri was venting his frustration over taking a bad penalty when the incident occurred. He said he apologized to the official and intends to reach out to him again. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: A healthy Ryan Callahan is among the reasons behind the Lightning’s dominating start to this season. The two-way winger is finally healthy after missing most of last season to a hip injury. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta will miss at least the next two games after being sidelined with a suspected head injury. He’s currently listed as day-to-day. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time this season Raanta’s been sidelined, having missed nine games in October with a lower-body injury. His latest comes as the Coyotes were showing some improvement, coming off a three-game win streak. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens traded forward Torrey Mitchell to the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2018. If the Kings reach the playoffs, it becomes a fourth-round pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Habs fans wonder if this move heralds the start of a rebuilding effort by the struggling club. It seems to be simply a case of moving out a little-used veteran to make room for a younger player. 

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames placed backup goaltender Eddie Lack on waivers yesterday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lack hasn’t been the same ever since the Vancouver Canucks traded him in June 2015 to the Carolina Hurricanes. At the time, Vancouver GM Jim Benning caught some flak for that move from Canucks fans. Looks like he made the right move after all. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger John Hayden was fined over $2,400.00 for his second highsticking penalty in three games.