NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games plus the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Laine and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A hat trick by Trevor Moore powered the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Viktor Arvidsson collected three assists as the Kings improved to 11-7-1 (23 points), sitting just three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference standings. Zach Hyman replied for the Oilers as they drop to 9-8-0.

Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Moore (NHL Images).

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist while Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the 7-8-0 Blues while Andreas Athanasiou scored both goals for the 6-7-3 Blackhawks.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg kicked out 29 shots in a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres (7-10-0), handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Tim Stutzle and Jake Sanderson each had two points for the Senators as they improved to 6-9-1. Sabres goalie Eric Comrie left this game in the second period following a collision with Senators forward Mathieu Joseph.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s looking like the same old story for the Sabres. They get off to a promising start to the season and then collapse as the schedule rolls along. This will turn into another lost season unless they reverse this skid soon.

HEADLINES

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been sidelined by an upper-body injury. For now, there’s no timeline as to when he’ll return to action.

ESPN.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets moved winger Patrik Laine (ankle sprain) to injured reserve.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes will be without winger Teuvo Teravainen, goaltender Frederik Andersen and winger Ondrej Kase for a while. All three are currently sidelined and on injured reserve. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said they’re not close to returning to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will feel the absence of Teravainen and Andersen. Both are among their core players.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Mason Appleton will be out for eight-to-12 weeks with a wrist injury.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins have activated goaltender Jeremy Swayman off IR and assigned Keith Kinkaid to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin examines the reasons behind the growing number of goaltenders getting injured and what can be done to address the issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin looks at several good reasons behind the goalie injuries. I believe the main culprit is the butterfly style used by all netminders nowadays. It places tremendous wear and tear on a goaltender’s knees, hips, and groin which can eventually lead to nagging injuries that can shorten a career.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa looks at the decline of the stand-alone slap shot as the NHL’s signature scoring weapon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa isn’t referring to the one-timer, which he points out remains an effective scoring weapon. He’s talking mainly about a player receiving a pass, then winding up and firing the puck.

I think the main reason is the increased pace of the game and the rise in shot blocking have made the stand-alone slapper a less effective tool. It will never fully go away but it’s not as reliable for scoring as it once was.

OTTAWA SUN: Sources report Michael Andlauer, the owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs, is teaming up with Rocco Tullio (owners of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals) in an attempt to purchase the Senators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2022

Recaps of Monday’s games, the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is inducted, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a third-period power-play goal by Jordan Kyrou. Jordan Binnington stopped 45 shots while Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-8-0), who’ve now won three straight games. The Avalanche (8-5-1) got a 36-save effort from Alexandar Georgiev while Mikko Rantanen tallied a goal and collected an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Avalanche announced that Kurtis MacDermid would be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. They also placed sidelined forward Shane Bowers (upper body) on injured reserve.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau tallied his 200th career NHL goal as his club held on to nip the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 and improve their record to 7-6-2. Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists for the Flames while Arthur Kaliyev scored twice for the 10-7-1 Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau was returning to action after missing the last three games with an injured foot. Coming off a career-best 115-point performance with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, he’s having a slow start with his new club this season with seven points in 12 games.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they improved their record to 10-5-1 while the Blackhawks dropped to 6-6-3.

The New York Islanders got a 36-save performance from Semyon Varlamov to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the 11-6-0 Islanders. Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle each had two points for the Senators as they fall to 5-9-1. Giroux extended his points streak to nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is tied with Brock Nelson as the Islanders’ leading scorer this season with 18 points. He has yet to score a goal.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 was officially inducted on Monday night. The six members included former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo and former Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Finnish women’s hockey star Riikka Sallinen and pioneering Black hockey star Herb Carnegie were also inducted.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Bill Clement and Al Morganti were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for media excellence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for their well-deserved honors.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox were the NHL three stars for the week ending Nov. 13, 2022.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained ankle. He’s the latest member of the injury-ravaged club to be sidelined, joining Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Nick Blankenburg, Justin Danforth and Adam Boqvist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are also sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with nine points in 14 games. This rash of injuries will only make it more difficult for this club to climb out of that increasingly deep hole.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is sidelined indefinitely with a cervical spine injury and will be re-evaluated in February. Fellow blueliner T.J. Brodie is expected to miss two weeks with an oblique injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Muzzin and Brodie has some pundits suggesting general manager Kyle Dubas should make a trade to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline. I’ll have more about this in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and center Nick Schmaltz are set to return to the lineup next week. Chychrun has been sidelined by off-season wrist surgery while Schmaltz has been sidelined by a rib injury since the Coyotes’ season opener.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for months. Expect the speculation to ramp up once he resumes playing.

NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for roughing Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois on Sunday.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW/CBS SPORTS: Sharks defenseman Radim Simek has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury while blueliner Nikolai Knyzhov (Achilles) has been placed on long-term injury reserve.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Quinn will be sidelined this week with an undisclosed injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2022

Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine shine as the Avalanche and Blue Jackets square off in Finland, Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes over the Sabres, reaction to the Bruins signing prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, as part of the NHL’s 2022 Global Series. Finnish stars Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine shone in front of a sellout crowd with Rantanen tallying a hat trick for the Avalanche while Laine had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. Nathan MacKinnon collected four assists for the Avs (5-4-1) while the Jackets fall to 3-8-0.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche and Blue Jackets will face off again at Nokia Arena on Saturday to complete the second game of their Global Series.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho netted a hat trick and added an assist to lead his club over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3. Martin Necas had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes (8-2-1) while the Sabres (7-4-0) got two assists from rookie winger Jack Quinn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friday was a good day for three of Finland’s top forwards.

HEADLINES

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins signed prospect defenseman Mitchell Miller yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract.

A 2020 fourth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes, the club renounced Miller’s draft rights after it emerged that he was convicted in juvenile court at age 14 for brutally bullying disabled classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, including hurling racial slurs at him and physically demeaning him for years.

Miller admitted in juvenile court in 2016 that he and a classmate made Meyer-Crothers lick a lollipop that had been contaminated in a urinal, resulting in the victim having to undergo numerous tests for HIV, hepatitis and various sexually transmitted diseases. Meyer-Crother’s mother, Joni, revealed Miller never apologized to her son for his actions for years before reaching out last week on Instagram rather than contacting them directly.

SPORTSNET: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with the media to officially announce Miller’s signing. He said he struggled with the decision to sign the young defenseman.

Mitchell’s paid a punishment, and he’s going to carry that for the rest of his life,” said Sweeney. “We’re going to hold him to a standard.”

However, Sweeney also admitted, “This decision could be wrong…It invited a lot of negativity that we didn’t need or want.”

In an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said he was “on the fence” about the decision, saying as a team the Bruins stand for “integrity, and inclusion, and diversity obviously.” He felt that Miller’s signing “goes against what we are as a culture and as a team, and for me as a person.” Bergeron acknowledged he’d been told that Miller was working hard to make some changes but believes “the work is on him.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are catching hell for this move in the media and on social media, especially from their fans and local pundits. To make matters worse, management reportedly didn’t bother contacting Meyer-Crothers’ family during their vetting of Miller.

Some of the players in their leadership group questioned the decision when they were informed of the club’s intentions to sign Miller. If you’re a general manager or team president and your well-respected team captain is publicly questioning a signing, you might want to reconsider your plans.

Miller’s signing is just the latest in a string of recent stories of the toxic culture that exists within the game and its reflection on the NHL as a standard bearer for the sport. It gives the impression that the league in particular and the sport as a whole have learned nothing.

For better or worse, the Bruins are willing to give Miller a second chance. Like the Montreal Canadiens’ Logan Mailloux, it’s on him to prove that he’s learned from his transgression, that he’s genuinely remorseful for his actions and will never repeat them, and is willing to advocate against such atrocious behavior within the hockey community.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are officially up for sale with the condition that the new owner will keep the team in Ottawa. It’s expected the sale will take place within the coming months. There is expected to be no shortage of interested parties, especially with the Senators winning preferred bidder status to construct a new arena just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa at LeBreton Flats.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the conspiracy theorists suggesting a prospective owner could pay lip service toward keeping the team in Ottawa only to up and move them within a few years after purchasing the club. It was nonsense anyway since any attempt to do so would require NHL approval. League commissioner Gary Bettman wants the Senators to remain in Ottawa.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Beck Malenstyn will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured left finger.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2022

Game recaps, Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine sidelined, the Flyers re-sign Travis Sanheim, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. The Penguins captain had a goal and two assists while Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Danton Heinen and Jason Zucker each collected two points. Nick Ritchie scored both goals for the Coyotes, who also lost center Nick Schmaltz in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby set the franchise record for most seasons by a Penguins player with 18, one more than Mario Lemieux. He also scored his club’s first goal of the season for the first time in his career.

The New York Rangers thumped the Minnesota Wild 7-3. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored a goal and chipped in three assists while teammate Chris Kreider tallied twice. Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews snapped a 2-2 tie as his third-period goal gave his club a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots to defeat his former club while teammate Morgan Rielly picked up two assists.

John Tortorella picked up his first win as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers as they downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each scored twice while Carter Hart made 35 saves for the win. Alexander Holtz and Damon Severson replied for the Devils.

The Dallas Stars gave Peter DeBoer his first victory as their head coach by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Mason Marchment scored twice, Tyler Seguin collected three assists and rookie Wyatt Johnston netted his first career NHL goal. Ryan Johansen had the Predators’ only goal.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri each collected an assist in their first game with the Calgary Flames in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. MacKenzie Weegar picked up two assists in his first game in Calgary. Flames coach Darryl Sutter earned his 700th career NHL coaching victory. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots while Victor Olofsson scored two goals in a 4-1 home-opening win over the Ottawa Senators. Sabres rookie J.J. Peterka netted his first NHL goal. Brady Tkachuk tallied the Senators’ only goal.

Third-period goals by Patric Hornqvist and Matthew Tkachuk lifted the Florida Panthers past the New York Islanders 3-1, handing Paul Maurice his first win as their bench boss. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Panthers.

The Seattle Kraken got second-period goals from Brandon Tanev and Alex Wennberg in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Alex Iafallo netted the Kings’ only goal.

A second-period goal by Vegas Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter stood as the game-winner to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0. Logan Thompson stopped 27 shots for the shutout while Blackhawks netminder Alex Stalock made 36 saves.

HEADLINES

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Bad news for the Blue Jackets as winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained elbow. He suffered the injury during the club’s season-opening loss on Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday announced they’d reached an agreement with Travis Sanheim on an eight-year, $50 million contract. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn an average annual value of $6.25 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim is getting a significant raise over the $4.675 million AAV of his current contract. Cap Friendly indicates he’s also getting a full no-trade clause in the first four seasons followed by a 12-team no-trade clause for the final four seasons.

Sanheim has made steady improvement with the Flyers. He was their best defenseman and among the few bright spots for what was an otherwise miserable 2021-22 season for the club, netting 31 points and a team-leading plus-minus of plus-9 while logging nearly 23 minutes per game.

The Flyers will have over $23 million invested in Sanheim and fellow defensemen Ivan Provorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tony DeAngelo for next season. That’s not counting the $6.25 million of sidelined rearguard Ryan Ellis.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets named Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry as their alternate captains for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness stripped Blake Wheeler of the captaincy last month and will leave that position vacant this season.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse $5,000.00 for interference against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs on Wednesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson is expected to miss at least eight weeks with an abdominal sprain.

THE PROVINCE: Kevin Bieksa is going to officially retire from the NHL and will do so as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. He will sign a one-day contract next month and will be honored by the team in a pregame ceremony on Nov. 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieksa’s last NHL game was in 2017-18 but he hadn’t officially hung up his skates until now. The retirement ceremony was two years in the making as COVID-19 affected NHL scheduling.

Bieksa spent 10 of his 13 seasons with the Canucks, playing a key role in the club’s march to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He had 278 points in 808 career NHL games and now works as an in-studio NHL analyst for Sportsnet.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the Sabres sign head coach Don Granato and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to contract extensions, Andy Greene retires and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a hat trick as the Edmonton Oilers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. McDavid netted the game-winning and insurance goals, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists while Darnell Nurse had a goal and an assist. J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist for the Canucks.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers dressed just 17 skaters as wingers Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele missed this game with undisclosed injuries. Salary-cap constraints limited them to 11 forwards and six defensemen.

The Colorado Avalanche celebrated their 2021-22 Stanley Cup banner raising with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice and collected an assist, Valeri Nichushkin tallied two goals and Mikko Rantanen had four assists. Jonathan Toews and Max Domi replied for the Blackhawks.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson’s goal with 19 seconds remaining in the third period lifted his club to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cole Caufield scored twice and Nick Suzuki picked up two assists. John Tavares and William Nylander each had two points for the Leafs.

David Krejci had a goal and two assists in his first NHL game since 2020-21 as the Bostons Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 5-2. David Pastrnak led the way with a goal and three assists while Linus Ullmark made 33 saves for the win. It was a costly victory as Jake DeBrusk left the game in the second period with what appeared to be an injured right arm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci looked good in his return to the Bruins after spending last season playing in his native Czechia. However, it was Pastrnak who was the standout in this contest. He was dominant throughout this game and is already making the case for a big raise on his next contract.

The Carolina Hurricanes rolled to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Martin Necas had a goal and two assists while Frederik Andersen made 31 saves for the win. Patrik Laine scored for the Jackets but left the game in the second period with an injured right arm following a collision with Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the severity of Laine’s injury. Jackets starting goalie Elvis Merzlikins missed this game due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry opened and closed the scoring in his club’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Seattle Kraken. Terry and Ryan Strome finished with three points while Trevor Zegras had two points. Kraken rookie center Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of head coach Don Granato to a two-year contract extension. They also announced defenseman Mattias Samuelsson agreed to a seven-year, $30 million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granato’s extension was no surprise given the improvement of the Sabres thus far under his watch. The length of Samuelsson’s deal raised some eyebrows given his limited body of NHL action with just 54 games over the past two seasons.

Sabres management evidently believes Samuelsson’s going to be a key part of their blueline in the coming years. The 22-year-old’s average annual value starting next season will be over $4.285 million starting in 2023-24. If he develops as projected this contract could turn into a bargain for the Sabres.

TSN: Andy Greene retires as a member of the New Jersey Devils after signing a one-day contract with them. Greene spent 14 seasons with the Devils and was their captain from 2015 to 2020 before getting traded to the New York Islanders. The 39-year-old defenseman finishes with 264 points in 1,057 career games over 16 NHL seasons. He was part of the Devils’ run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Greene in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Tampa Bay Lighting defenseman Ian Cole met with NHL security yesterday but there was no formal announcement or resolution in the aftermath. The league and the NHL Players Association declined to comment. Cole was suspended with pay pending an investigation following a social media post accusing him of sexual assault and grooming.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov will miss the club’s current two-game road trip with an upper-body injury. It’s hoped he’ll rejoin his teammates next week but there is no definitive timeline for his return.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche reclaimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed winger Brad Lambert to a three-year entry-level contract. The 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, he will start the season with their AHL affiliate.

CAP FRIENDLY: The New York Islanders loaned forward Richard Panik to Swiss League team Lausanne HC for the season. His contract will still count against the Isles’ salary-cap payroll at the amount for players demoted to the minors.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Former San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson will attend a pregame ceremony in his honor before the club’s game on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Wilson stepped down from his post for medical reasons last year.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Kerry Huffman as their director of professional scouting.

The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their AHL affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch through the 2026-27 season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2022

Patrik Laine is happy he’s staying with the Blue Jackets while the Canadiens’ Paul Byron assists in a plane crash rescue. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Patrik Laine is happy to have a new contract with the Blue Jackets and excited about the club’s recent signing of winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Laine learned of the Gaudreau signing while negotiations were ongoing for his own contract. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to play hockey and maybe be able to play with this kind of guy,” he said.

Regarding his own new contract, Laine said he enjoys playing in Columbus and is happy he’s staying put. “Personally, I don’t know why guys, big names, have left before,” he said. “For me, that was never in my head that I wanted to go somewhere else.” Laine went on to say Columbus feels like home and there was no place he’d rather play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s new four-year contract and Gaudreau’s seven-year deal with the Blue Jackets is changing the impression of Columbus as a city that NHL stars prefer to avoid or leave at the first opportunity. It could become a prime destination for future stars if Gaudreau and Laine can help to turn the Blue Jackets into a contender.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron was part of a group of people who rescued the pilot of a seaplane that crashed in Lac des Sables in the Laurentians on Sunday.

Byron downplayed his role, crediting Serge Labelle with rescuing the pilot, who was the only person on the plane. He also praised his father-in-law, brother-in-law and a friend who also assisted in the rescue.

TSN: The Seattle Kraken avoided salary arbitration with forward Morgan Geekie, signing him to a one-year, $1.4 million contract. Geekie, 24, had seven goals and 22 points in 73 games with the Kraken last season. He’s among the group of players selected by the Kraken in last summer’s expansion draft.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Kraken, they signed Michal Kempny to a one-year, $750 contract. The 31-year-old defenseman spent over three seasons with the Washington Capitals, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2018.

GOPHNX.COM‘s Craig Morgan reports former Arizona Coyotes winger Loui Eriksson hopes to continue his playing career. The 37-year-old is looking at opportunities in Sweden and Switzerland for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eriksson’s NHL career appears to be over after 16 seasons. His most productive campaigns were with the Dallas Stars with three straight 70-plus point seasons from 2009-10 to 2011-12. He also had a 63-point season with the Boston Bruins in 2015-16.