NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2020

NHL looking at 8-9 locations as potential neutral-site hubs, plus the latest on Mikko Lehtonen and Guy Lafleur in today’s morning coffee headlines,

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL is looking at “probably eight or nine different places” that can accommodate “a dozen or so teams in one location” as it continues to examine options to re-open the season. He also indicated there’s no fixed timetable yet for returning to action.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The latter comment may have been aimed at the players. Cory Schneider, the New Jersey Devils’ NHLPA rep, said the players are wondering if there’s a drop-dead deadline for returning to play. The longer it takes to restart the season, the further the start of next season gets pushed ahead. 

“We have been working very hard since we took the pause on March 12 to make sure that whatever the timing is, whatever the sequencing is, whatever physical ability we have in terms of locations to play, that we’re in a position to execute any or all of those options. There is still a great deal of uncertainty,” said Bettman. He also indicated border and quarantine issues must also be resolved before the players return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver have been mentioned as possible hosts. Having one of those hub locations in Canada would be more affordable for the league because of the lower value of the Canadian dollar. However, that depends upon whether there will be quarantine exemptions for NHL players. Anyone currently traveling to Canada must undergo a 14-day quarantine period. 

Bettman stressed the need to ensure an abundance of testing for all involved in NHL games.”(We) certainly can’t be jumping the line in front of medical needs.” Good game conditions must also be in place for the players. Everything the league does will be determined by medical and government authorities.

The commissioner said players and fans want the NHL to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup, even if it means playing through the summer and delaying the start of next season. The league remains committed to staging a full 82-games schedule for 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming the league returns in early-July with a 24-team playoff format, the Stanley Cup could be awarded by mid-September. The 2020 NHL Draft would be staged soon afterward (provided it isn’t held in June) with the freeze on player trades lifted, followed by the start of the 2020 free-agent period. Training camp could open in November and the regular season begin in early-December. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Ken Campbell took to Twitter yesterday reporting almost nothing of substance came out of yesterday’s NHL Board of Governors’ meeting. “The league is still considering a host of options and will not commit to any one of them until absolutely necessary. Those close to the situation maintain the goalposts are still constantly moving.”

SPORTSNET: Newly-signed Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mikko Lehtonen was named the KHL’s top rearguard for 2019-20. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could have a blueline star on their hands if Lehtonen adapts well to the NHL game. 

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur is healthy enough to renew his helicopter pilot’s license after undergoing open-heart surgery and cancer surgery since last fall.  “They have to send all the doctors’ papers to Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration because I also had a US license. They will give me permission to take my medical exam, which I need to do to get my license. I spoke to my doctor and he said it was okay,” said Lafleur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Glad to hear Lafleur has fully recovered and ready to return to the skies. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2019

Mikko Koivu plays the hero in a milestone game, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reach 50 points, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game by scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars. He also collected an assist for his 700th career point. The Wild are 6-0-3 in their last 10 games.

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu collected his 700th point in his 1,000th career game (Photo via NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid (two assists) and Leon Draisaitl (two goals) became the first players to reach 50 points this season in a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. McDavid sits atop the NHL scoring race with 51 points, with Draisaitl right behind him. Oilers defenseman Matt Benning left the game after being hit in the head by a puck.

David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 25th goal as the Boston Bruins downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. The Habs are now winless in eight games.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane are the NHL’s three stars for November 2019. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was named rookie of the month.

THE SCORE: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Stars defenseman Julius Honka are ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. The two restricted free agents were still unsigned by yesterday’s 5 pm ET deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars were reportedly working on trading Honka’s rights before yesterday’s deadline. I expect their rights will be traded in the off-season.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will miss the next four weeks with a shoulder injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Brian Dumoulin will be sidelined at least eight weeks following surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his left ankle.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur underwent surgery on Thursday to remove a lobe from one of his lungs. Lafleur was coming off quadruple bypass surgery in late September. The procedure went well and he’s under observation in the hospital before returning home to continue his recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur for a speedy convalescence.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 4-1 third-period deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 on a shootout goal by Paul Byron. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and two assists for the Canadiens while Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs.

Connor McDavid’s four-point performance carried the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-5 win over the L.A. Kings (Photo via NHL Images).

Connor McDavid had a four-point performance (one goal, three assists) and James Neal scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Los Angeles Kings 6-5. Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists.

Mika Zibanejad’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Zibanejad scored at even strength, shorthanded, and on the power play. Speaking of the Senators, they will retire Chris Phillips’ No. 4 during a pre-game ceremony on Feb. 18 against the Buffalo Sabres. “The Big Rig” spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Senators, holding the franchise record for games played with 1,179.

Patric Hornqvist and Jared McCann each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguin thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a rare fight, tussling with Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois. It was a costly win for the Penguins as forwards Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad left the game with injuries. Updates on their status are expected later today.

Tyler Bertuzzi had a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Nashville Predators 5-3. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard kicked out 39 shots for the win.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and coach Joel Quenneville picked up their first win with the Florida Panthers with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bobrovsky made 32 saves while teammate Mike Hoffman tallied a hat trick.

The Calgary Flames blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 as David Rittich turned in a 34-save shutout. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau had a hand in all three goals, scoring one and setting up the other two. The Canucks scratched veteran winger Loui Eriksson.

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line led the way as they doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, Nathan MacKinnon collected two helpers and Gabriel Landeskog netted one goal. Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves to seal the victory.

Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin had three-point performances while Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson each scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres crushed the New Jersey Devils 7-2. Devils winger Taylor Hall briefly left the game after being shaken up following a collision with Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe but returned for the third period.

Third-period goals by Brayden Schenn and Sammy Blais lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Blues forward Robert Thomas sat out the game with an unspecified upper-body injury.

John Gibson made 35 saves as the Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1, handing the latter their third straight loss. Second-period goals by Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique broke a 1-1 tie for the Ducks.

Jake Gardiner’s first goal with the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Gardiner’s goal completed a two-goal third-period rally by the Hurricanes.

A 35-save shutout by Jaroslav Halak carried the Boston Bruins to a 1-0 blanking of the Arizona Coyotes. Brad Marchand tallied the lone goal as the Bruins picked up their 15th consecutive victory over the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes recalled goalie Antti Raanta from his conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2019

The latest on  Antti Raanta, Nolan Patrick, Alex Galchenyuk,and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Oft-injured Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. An injured knee sidelined Raanta for 59 games last season.

Arizona Coyotes starting goalie Antti Raanta is day-to-day with a lower-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta’s health was cause for concern entering this season. Fortunately for the Coyotes, they can rely on backup Darcy Kuemper. He was solid last season, winning a career-high 27 games for the offense-challenged Desert Dawgs, sporting a 2.33 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Nolan Patrick was diagnosed with a migraine disorder and is listed as week-to-week. He’ll miss the club’s season opener next week. General manager Chuck Fletcher said the club’s doctors don’t believe the disorder is linked to any previous hits.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough break for Patrick, who struggled through a sophomore slump last season. Here’s hoping he makes a swift recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk missed practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the lineup for Wednesday’s preseason game. He’s listed as day-to-day.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves expects to play in the club’s season opener next week. He’s been dealing with an undisclosed injury during the preseason.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche sent highly touted prospect Bo Byram back to his junior team, the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Byram was the Avs first-round pick (fourth overall) in this year’s NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers expected Byram to crack the Avs lineup this season. Best to give him another season in junior rather than rush him into NHL action.

CBS SPORTS: The Boston Bruins signed defenseman Alex Petrovic to a one-year, two-way contract and placed him on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames promoted Chris Snow to assistant general manager.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur underwent successful quadruple-bypass surgery yesterday. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get well soon, Flower!










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2019

Fallout from Auston Matthews’ disorderly conduct charge, Guy Lafleur to undergo heart surgery, Cammi Granato makes NHL history, plus the latest on Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Galchenyuk, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines. 

TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs knew nothing about Auston Matthews’ alleged disorderly conduct incident in May until the report emerged earlier this week. General manager Kyle Dubas claimed he discovered it on Twitter and was upset and disappointed when he learned of the 22-year-old center’s actions. Dubas declined to comment about how this incident would affect the club’s decision to name a new captain.

Auston Matthews did not inform the Toronto Maple Leafs that he was facing a domestic conduct charge in Arizona (Photo via NHL Images).

Matthews is alleged to have attempted to enter a security guard’s vehicle outside his Scottsdale, Arizona condo while she was doing paperwork. After she exited the vehicle, he is alleged to have dropped his trousers and grabbed his buttocks through his underwear as he walked away. He and several friends were reportedly intoxicated at the time.

Matthews made a statement yesterday expressing regret for his actions. He admitted it was a big mistake on his part to try and deal with the issue privately. 

THE SCORE: Body cam footage of the police interview with Matthews’ accuser has been released. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By not informing the Leafs of what happened and trying to keep it quiet, Matthews made this situation much worse. TSN’s Rick Westhead reports Matthews could face several months of jail time and a fine if convicted, though it’s doubtful he’ll see any time behind bars. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur will undergo quadruple heart bypass surgery today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping the operation is successful and Lafleur makes a full, speedy recovery. 

NBC SPORTS: The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise named Cammi Granato as the league’s first female scout. Granato captained the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team to gold in the 1998 Winter Olympics and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. She joins Ulf Samuelsson, Stu Barnes, Dave Hunter, and John Goodwin on Seattle’s scouting staff. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Granato on this history-making appointment. 

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky is sidelined indefinitely with a wrist injury and will likely to miss the start of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubinsky missed 21 games last season with various injuries and 18 games in 2017-18 with a fractured orbital bone. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins held winger Alex Galchenyuk out of last night’s preseason game against Detroit as a precautionary measure. He’s dealing with a nagging undisclosed injury. 

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers released Troy Brouwer from his professional tryout offer. 

Carolina Hurricanes winger Saku Maenalanen has signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s Helsinki Jokerit.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe will miss the rest of the preseason with an upper-body injury. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former NHL player Tom Laidlaw as part of the cast of “Survivor: Island of the Idols”.