NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

Will the Florida Panthers bring back Jaromir Jagr?

Latest trade, free agent & buyout updates and former Oiler Dave Semenko passes away. Details in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon seems reluctant to bring back free-agent right winger Jaromir Jagr, who took to Twitter yesterday claiming no team has contacted him to discuss a contract. Tallon said he’s had cordial talks with Jagr’s agent on a regular basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Panthers prefer bringing  the 45-year-old Jagr back on a one-year deal worth less than the $5.5 million bonus-laden deal he had for 2016-17. If other clubs aren’t calling the future Hall of Famer, it’s likely because of his age and possible asking price. He could be waiting a few days until teams that lose out on this summer’s top free agents come calling. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes traded goaltender Eddie Lack, defenseman Ryan Murphy and a seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defense prospect Keegan Kanzig and a sixth-round pick in 2019. The Hurricanes will also retain half of Lack’s $2.75 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes clear their logjam in goal and now have Scott Darling and Cam Ward as their goalie tandem for 2017-18, while the Flames pick up a seasoned backup for recently-acquired starter Mike Smith. The Hurricanes were expected to move a defenseman when they acquired Trevor van Riemsdyk last week from the Vegas Golden Knights. Murphy was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate last season. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Columbus Blue Jackets are buying out left wing Scott Hartnell. The Edmonton Oilers placed winger Benoit Pouliot on waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets now have over $62 million invested in 21 players for 2017-18. That’s plenty of room to re-sign restricted free agents Josh Anderson and Alexander Wennberg and still leave enough room for a significant UFA signing or perhaps a trade acquisition (Ilya Kolvachuk, maybe?).

The Oilers, meanwhile, now have over $56 million committed to 21 players. Looks like they’re clearing space for restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl’s new deal and for a whopping new contract for Connor McDavid that will kick in next July. 

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames re-signed winger Kris Versteeg to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers re-signed winger Jordan Weal to a two-year deal worth $1.75 million per season.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-upped backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Magnus Paajarvi to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K.

SPORTSNET: Several NHL agents are apparently squabbling among themselves over the NHLPA leadership’s handling of such issues as escrow, Olympic participation and World Cup of Hockey revenue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live to NHL Headquarters for reaction. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko passed away yesterday at age 59 following a brief battle with cancer. Semenko played 575 NHL games, most of those with the Oilers, and was part of two Stanley Cup championship teams in Edmonton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Semenko’s family, friends and former teammates. By all accounts, Semenko was a fine team player and a good man. Many of his former Oilers teammates were clearly shaken by his untimely passing. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2017

For the first time in 11 years, the Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff spot.

Game recaps, Oilers clinch playoff berth, Red Wings eliminated & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. For the first time since 2006, the Oilers clinched a playoff berth. They’re tied for second in the Pacific Division (93 points) with the San Jose Sharks. 

The Detroit Red Wings playoff streak officially ended at 25 years as they fell 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. With 82 points, the Hurricanes kept their playoff hopes alive, sitting four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canes were missing goaltender Eddie Lack, sidelined with a neck strain following his club’s loss to the Wings on Monday. 

The Anaheim Ducks clinched a playoff berth by beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Nick Ritchie and Antoine Vermette each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks (95 points), who’ve won five straight and hold a two-point lead atop the Pacific Division over the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers. 

Brent Burns’ overtime goal lifted the Sharks to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Chris Tierney scored twice for San Jose, snapping their six-game losing skid. Both clubs clinched postseason berths. 

Auston Matthews scored his 35th goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Florida Panthers 3-2. Matthews broke the Leafs rookie goal-scoring record previously held by Wendel Clark. The Leafs (87 points) remain one ahead of the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division. 

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves backstopping the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. The Bruins (86 points) hold a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Alex Ovechkin tallied a hat trick, Marcus Johansson picked up four assists and T.J. Oshie scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4. Wild left wing Zach Parise left the game after taking a high stick to the face from Caps forward Tom Wilson. The Caps (108 points) hold a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for first overall in the Eastern Conference. 

Sergei Bobrovsky made 41 saves backstopping the Blue Jackets to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. The Blue Jackets (105 points) moved ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (103 points) for second in the Metropolitan Division. Sabres forward Sam Reinhart spent the entire game on the bench as punishment for violating a team policy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Reinhart missed a team meeting earlier that day. 

The Montreal Canadiens (95 points) widened their lead over the Ottawa Senators for first in the Atlantic Division by four points, downing the Dallas Stars 4-1. Habs defenseman Andrei Markov picked up an assist to tie Guy Lapointe for second all-time among Canadiens blueliners in points (572). 

Jordan Weal scored the game-tying goal and the winner in a shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Sens (91 points) are four points ahead of the Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. 

Patrik Laine’s shootout goal completed the comeback for the Winnipeg Jets, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. 

USA HOCKEY: Announced last night they’ve reached an agreement with the United States Women’s National Team on a four-year deal. This ensure the Women’s team won’t boycott the upcoming World Championships. 












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2017

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde celebrates his overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Game recaps, stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Yanni Gourde scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a three-goal deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4. Jonathan Drouin scored twice for the Bolts (83 points), who moved to within one point of the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Anthony Mantha scored two goals and Andreas Athanasiou scored his second straight overtime goal as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack was stretchered from the ice following that goal as Athanasiou was pushed into Lack as the winger was driving to the net. Lack was taken to hospital but later tweeted he was okay and would be released later that night. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes (80 points) did pick up a point to move within four of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Goals by Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidson and Ryan Johansen powered the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders. With 89 points, the Preds are third in the Central Division, one point up on the St. Louis Blues. The Isles (82 points) failed to gain ground on the Bruins, sitting two points back and falling to 10th in the Conference. Earlier in the day, the Islanders also learned forward Nikolay Kulemin could miss the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury

Sean Monahan scored a goal and set up three others to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Flames (90 points) sit two ahead of the Blues in the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference and are only one point behind the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers for second in the Pacific Division. 

Jaden Schwartz scored two goals to give the Blues a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 88 points, the Blues have a firm hold on the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, 11 points up on the Los Angeles Kings. 

Brian Gionta scored a goal in his 1,000 career NHL game to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lethonen and Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf are the top-three stars for the week ending March 26. 

TORONTO SUN:  Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen is listed as day-to-day due to possible head trauma (possibly a jaw injury). He took part in a short workout yesterday and spoke with reporters soon afterward, saying he intends to be cautious and take it slow with his recovery. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks forward Micheal Haley received a one-game suspension for sucker-punching Nashville Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway is exploring the possibility of buying out his minority owners. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The relocation of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas means significant competition for the NHL’s expansion Vegas Golden Knights for potential corporate sponsors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no competition here. The Raiders will scoop up the most lucrative sponsors, leaving their scraps for the Golden Knights. 












NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2017

Could the Edmonton Oilers attempt to re-sign Leon Draisaitl to a bridge contract?

Latest on Leon Draisaitl, Brian Elliott, Sami Vatanen, Dustin Brown & more in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: If the Edmonton Oilers are thinking of re-signing forward Leon Draisaitl to a three-year bridge contract rather than a long-term extension, Jim Matheson suggests Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s three-year deal worth $4.76 million annually as the benchmark. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what type of deal Draisaitl receives. He’s completing his three-year entry-level contract and one of the reasons the Oilers are a playoff contender this season. Previous management would lock up Draisaitl to an expensive seven-year deal as they did with Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but current GM Peter Chiarelli might prefer a shorter term. 

Matheson also believes the Calgary Flames will re-sign pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Brian Elliott but maybe not backup Chad Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott’s performance improved following a horrible first half of the season. However, I still think they’ll look at Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury via the trade market or Los Angeles’ Ben Bishop or Chicago’s Scott Darling via free agency this summer. 

He also wonders if there’s a club that will take defenseman Sami Vatanen’s contract (three more seasons at $4.875 million annually) from the Anaheim Ducks this summer. He considers Vatanen the Ducks’ fourth-best blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Somebody will. The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils all need experienced skill on their respective blue lines. 

Matheson acknowledges the Winnipeg Jets need a goaltender but also believes they need a top-four shutdown blueliner.

He also feels the Los Angeles Kings will have to get creative to get the Vegas Golden Knights to take winger Dustin Brown off their hands. Brown would have to agree to waive his no-movement clause. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t see Brown waiving his no-movement clause for an expansion team. He’s also got five more seasons at over $5.5 million annually left on his contract. Even if he agreed to waive his clause for the draft, the Golden Knights could pass on that contract. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports no one was close to offering up what the Colorado Avalanche sought for forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog before the trade deadline. ” A team may have offered three or four pieces, and while the quantity was there, the quality was not to Colorado’s liking,” said Friedman. 

He also speculates the Carolina Hurricanes could look for a trade option for struggling goalie Eddie Lack this summer. He believes the happy-go-lucky Lack isn’t a good match with the Canes. The goalie recently received a public dressing down from coach Bill Peters for his poor play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lack played well as a backup with the Vancouver Canucks. Perhaps a change of clubs is necessary to help him regain his form. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $2.75 million. 












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2017



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2017

Metropolitan Division wins the 2017 All-Star Game 3-on-3 tournament.

Metropolitan Division wins All-Star Game final, Simmonds named MVP & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Two goals five seconds apart by Cam Atkinson and Wayne Simmonds gave the Metropolitan Division a 4-3 victory over the Pacific Division in the All-Star Game final, winning the $1 million prize.

The game’s turning point came when Metropolitan coach Wayne Gretzky successfully challenged a Ryan Kesler goal that would’ve given the Pacific a 4-2 lead when review showed Connor McDavid was offside. Simmonds was named the most valuable player. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I though the final game of this tournament was more competitive and entertaining than the semifinals. Heck, at one point late in the game, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin blocked a shot, something rarely seen in an All-Star game. Obviously the competitive juices kick in when a million bucks in on the line. Ovechkin, in my opinion, was the most entertaining player, as he was clearly enjoying himself throughout this tournament. Simmonds and Atkinson, who replaced sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, were the offensive standouts. 

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated his criticism of the International Olympic Committee, saying the league owes it to its fans to ensure Olympic participation doesn’t adversely affect the NHL product. “Subjecting the game to players who might get injured more often, or are more tired because they’ve got more back-to-backs, so they’re playing five games in seven nights — that’s what you get when you disrupt the schedule.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect, Mr. Commissioner, I call bullshit. You and the team owners have no problem with Olympic participation when its held in North America. The concerns only seem to arise whenever the Olympics are staged elsewhere. And if previous reports are to be believed, the league wants to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a means of establishing a footprint in China. But because the 2018 Winter Olympics are being staged in a much smaller market (South Korea), the league doesn’t seem to believe it’s worthwhile participating in those games. 

If the NHL is to grow its product, it must do so outside the tapped-out North America market. That means taking part in the Winter Olympics, regardless of where they’re staged. The players are obviously keen to take part so there’s no issue with them.

Ultimately, this comes down to money for the league. If the IOC was willing to give the NHL a bigger cut of the revenue generated by the league’s top players taking part in the Olympics, this would probably be a different story. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE:  Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden believes the NHL should do more to protect its goalies. 

STLTODAY: The St. Louis Blue will retire former defenseman Bob Plager’s No. 5 in a ceremony prior to their Feb. 2 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Long-time LA Kings broadcaster Bob Miller suffered a mild stroke during the All-Star weekend. He is reportedly under the care of specialized physicians and is in good spirits. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed defenseman Michal Rozsival on injured reserve. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goalie Eddie Lack from his conditioning stint in the minors. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2016

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason stops Washington Capitals winger Justin Williams’ shootout attempt.

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Steve Mason turned in a 36-save performance backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals. Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds tallied in the shootout for the Flyers. 

Mark Letestu’s three-point night (one goal, two assists) led the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, marking their first regulation win over the Coyotes in 26 games. 

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop will be sidelined three-four weeks with a lower-body injury. 

MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (lower body injury) was placed on injured reserve yesterday and could be sidelined for a while. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is mired in a goal-scoring drought that stretches back to November 6. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler could be playing his way into a spot in the 2017 All-Star Game. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE:  Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov (lower-body injury) isn’t expected to play tonight against the Minnesota Wild and could miss tomorrow’s game against the Minnesota Wild. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson (left foot) is questionable for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues center Paul Stastny (upper-body injury) will miss tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have activated goaltender Eddie Lack from injured reserve. 

The New York Islanders signed forward Stephen Gionta to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. 

TSN: Player agent Pat Brisson voiced frustration over the NHL’s reluctance to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Brisson feels the league can only benefit from growing the game in countries such as South Korea and China. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL honchos, such as league commissioner Gary Bettman, always speak of long-range goals in growing the game. However, many of the team owners are more shortsighted. They’re the ones grumbling about Olympic participation. 

SPORTSNET: The Washington Capitals will be flying Fatima Al Ali, star of the United Arab Emirates women’s hockey team, to Washington so she can watch the team and meet her favorite player, Alex Ovechkin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Check out the video included in the piece of Al Ali’s hockey skills. She’s fantastic!

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance profiles Sai Okabayashi, an NHL analytics expert who spent several months working for the New Jersey Devils.