NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

The Oilers eliminate the Flames, the Hurricanes push the Rangers to the brink of elimination, updates on the Avalanche and Blues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 16 years. Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Oilers a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 to take their best-of-seven second-round series four games to one.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton overcame a 2-0 deficit and held a 3-2 lead before Calgary battled back to regain the lead 4-3. Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard tied the game 4-4 late in the second period. Flames forward Blake Coleman appeared to score the go-ahead goal late in the third but it was overruled on a controversial video review claiming he kicked the puck into the net.

Leon Drasaitl collected four assists while Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists for the Oilers. Coleman had two assists, Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Flames.

The Oilers await the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues series. Game 6 of that series is tonight with the Avalanche up three games to two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t have a dog in this fight but that didn’t look like a kicking motion on Coleman’s part. His skate made contact with the pick but there was incidental contact by an Oilers defenseman as Coleman was heading toward the net. Just my two cents. The league’s video review folks believed differently.

While that disallowed goal cost the Flames this game, their sloppy defensive play and uncharacteristic shaky goaltending from Jacob Markstrom throughout this series led to their postseason demise. They struggled to contain Edmonton’s offense, especially McDavid and Draisaitl. Had they won this game, I doubt they would’ve gone on to take the series.

The Carolina Hurricanes have the New York Rangers on the brink of elimination following a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their second-round series. Teuvo Teravainen snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period while Andrei Svechnikov’s third-period goal put the game out of reach. The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Game 6 on Saturday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have yet to win a road game in this postseason but they’ve been dominating on home ice. They outshot the Rangers 34-17, controlled this game at even strength, scored on the power play and shorthanded, and apart from Mika Zibanejad’s goal overwhelmed the Rangers’ top line. If they can carry over that effort into Game 6, they’ll have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning starting next week.

HEADLINE

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid a Game 7 when they face off against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series tonight. Head coach Jared Bednar believes his club will put their blown lead in Game 5 behind them and play with confidence in tonight’s contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche dominated the first 40 minutes of Game 5 but took their foot off the gas and tried to protect their lead in the third period. That enabled the Blues to rally back twice, setting the stage for their dramatic overtime victory.

TSN: Don’t expect St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug to return to action in tonight’s game. He’s been sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 3 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. Blues coach Craig Berube indicated Krug would also be out for Game 7 if this series goes that far.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has changed agents, hiring Pat Brisson to negotiate his next contract. Larkin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Wings can sign him to a contract extension on July 13.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi underwent successful shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The Geneve-Servette Hockey Club signed former NHL defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract and former NHL forward Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect either guy to be signing with NHL teams this summer as free agents.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

A look at the potential off-season plans for the Senators and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch looked at some potential offseason moves for the Senators. They need to determine Matt Murray’s status as the oft-injured goaltender was sidelined for the final 30 games of the season with a neck/head injury. He’s appeared in just 47 games over the last two seasons with the Senators and has two more years remaining on his contract.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

The 27-year-old Murray will have to earn his job back if he returns next season. Anton Forsberg was their best goaltender this season and signed a three-year contract extension in March. Filip Gustavsson had a strong finish and is signed to a one-way deal for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch recently spoke with colleague Wayne Scanlan and the Senators’ French play-by-play man Nicolas St-Pierre to get their thoughts on Murray’s situation. Both suggested buying out the veteran netminder but Garrioch doesn’t see that happening because the Senators aren’t likely to be a cap team.

The only other option the trio sees is Murray returning healthy and battling for his job this fall. There was speculation about placing him on long-term injury reserve but they have no reason to believe Murray won’t play again.

Murray’s injury history makes a trade unlikely. His $6.25 million annual average value through 2023-24 and 10-team no-trade list also complicates things. It doesn’t mean Murray can’t be shopped if the Senators were to pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit but concerns over his health should keep him in Ottawa for the foreseeable future.

The Senators will have to make a decision regarding Colin White, who missed most of this season due to shoulder surgery and was inconsistent on his return. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens had an interest in the 25-year-old center before the trade deadline. Perhaps that deal is revisited if the two sides can work something out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether the Canadiens revisit their rumored interest in White will depend on how they go about addressing their needs during the offseason. They’ve got 14 picks in this year’s draft, with 10 of those in the first four rounds. They must determine whether Carey Price and Shea Weber will be returning next season and if they can find a suitable trade partner for defenseman Jeff Petry. They could find better options than White through this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Unrestricted free agents Chris Tierney, Tyler Ennis and Scott Sabourin likely won’t be back. Restricted free-agent defenseman Victor Mete requested a trade in March and probably won’t get a qualifying offer. Blueliner Michael Del Zotto has a year remaining on his contract and could be shopped this summer.

Garrioch also reports Senators fans will be keeping a close eye on Florida Panthers center Claude Giroux. There’s a belief the 34-year-old Ottawa native might be intrigued and interested in the possibility of playing for the Senators if he wins a Stanley Cup with the Panthers. He could play a big role in helping Ottawa’s young roster take the next step.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not dismissing the possibility of Giroux signing with Ottawa if he wins a Cup this spring in Florida. However, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high if I’m a Senators fan. A lot could depend on whoever replaces late owner Eugene Melnyk and what type of contract Giroux would seek to come home to play.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE RED WINGS?

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman offered up his thoughts on possible off-season moves by the Detroit Red Wings.

Making a decision behind the bench is the priority for general manager Steve Yzerman as head coach Jeff Blashill’s contract expires at the end of this season. While the rebuilding club showed improvement in the first half of the season, things went really sideways for them from late February onward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings head coach for seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for the club’s struggles through most of his tenure as management tore down and rebuilt the roster. However, they were expected to make significant strides this season. It may be time for Yzerman to find a new bench boss who can turn this roster into a legitimate playoff contender.

Yzerman could decide to bring in some veteran help via free agency and trades like the Los Angeles Kings did last summer. They have over $30 million in salary-cap space to make those investments if they wish to sign second-tier free agent talent (such as Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck or the Rangers’ Andrew Copp) to medium-term contracts. The Wings GM could also bide his time and wait for more prospects to arrive, or he could opt to sacrifice some of his current core players for more promising talent in order to build a playoff window for three or four years from now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman has observed that Yzerman likes to add players who are proven winners, such as Oskar Sundqvist from the St. Louis Blues and Jakub Vrana from the Washington Capitals. Copp, Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat and Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky were among his suggested free-agent targets.

Bultman suggests remaking the defense, bolstering their scoring punch, re-signing captain Dylan Larkin and deciding what to do with winger Tyler Bertuzzi should also be on Yzerman’s offseason to-do list. Larkin and Bertuzzi both have a year remaining on their current contracts and will be eligible next summer for UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman has been patiently rebuilding with youth while adding several veterans to provide some experienced depth and leadership. However, I think the time has come to make a bold move or two to get this club over the hump. I’m not saying he should blow all his cap space on an expensive addition but he can certainly bring in some secondary talent that won’t break the bank and provide some real improvement to the roster.

It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does with Bertuzzi and Larkin. Bertuzzi was the subject of trade speculation in the weeks before the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up getting shopped this summer. Larkin could also hit the trade block if he’s grown weary of the rebuild and decides to move on to a playoff contender next summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2022

The Canucks keep their slim playoff hopes alive, Cale Makar sets a franchise record, Johnny Gaudreau reaches two scoring milestones, the stars of the week are revealed and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks remained in the chase for the final Western Conference playoff berth with a 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Elias Pettersson scored twice and added an assist, Brock Boeser and Jason Dickson each had three points and Thatcher Demko made 28 saves. Roope Hintz tallied twice for the Stars while Jake Oettinger got the hook after giving up four goals on 19 shots. The Stars hold the final Western wild-card spot with 91 points. Winners of six straight games, the Canucks sit five points back.

Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights’ efforts to gain ground on the Stars and widen their lead over the Canucks took a hit with a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Andrew Hammond kicked out 42 shots while Nathan Bastian had a goal and an assist for the Devils. The Golden Knights remain four points behind the Stars and are now just one point ahead of the Canucks.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 48th goal of the season and Marcus Johansson netted the game-winner as the Washington Capitals defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2, snapping the latter’s nine-game winning streak. Ovechkin tied Teemu Selanne for the most goals in a season by a player aged 36-or-older. The Avalanche’s Cale Makar picked up an assist to set a franchise record of 83 points by a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs remain atop the overall standings with 116 points, two points up on the Florida Panthers. Earlier in the day, they announced defenseman Devon Toews will take the next four games off to recover from a couple of minor injuries before the playoffs. Having clinched a playoff berth over the weekend, the Capitals (96 points) are one point behind the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Gaudreau passed the 600-point milestone and became the first player since Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96 to reach 85 even-strength points in a season. Matthew Tkachuk collected two assists as the Flames (103 points) hold a nine-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 to take over sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division with 106 points. Max Domi and Nino Niederreiter each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes while Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 46 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes announced forwards Jordan Staal and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are day-to-day with injuries. Goaltender Frederik Andersen underwent an MRI yesterday for a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated in a week’s time.

Seattle Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored to collect his third point in his first three NHL games in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn collected three assists. Senators captain Brady Tkachuk scored his 28th goal of the season.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith are the league’s three stars for the week ending April 17.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm and Linus Ullmark remained sidelined and won’t be traveling with the Bruins on their two-game road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have clinched a playoff berth so there’s no need to rush those players back into action. They’ll want them healthy for the upcoming playoffs.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin will miss his club’s final six games of this season after undergoing core muscle surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A disappointing end to Larkin’s season. He’s their leading scorer with 31 goals and 69 points, marking his best performance since his career-high 32-goal, 73-point effort in 2018-19.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal was fined $2,500.00 by the department of player safety for making contact with Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner from the bench on Sunday. Barzal grabbed Marner’s jersey and held on to him for a couple of seconds.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno was placed in COVID protocol ahead of tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST‘s Mollie Walker yesterday tweeted that Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.

NHL.COM: Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta received a two-game suspension for an illegal check on Capitals winger T.J. Oshie on Saturday.

TSN: Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch and recording artist Macklemore are joining the Seattle Kraken’s minority investor group.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals will be bringing back their “screaming eagle” logo for 2022-23.

THE ATHLETIC: Long-time Flyers trainers Jim McCrossin and Sal Raffa are suing the club’s ownership claiming they were unknowingly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals used in Zambonis at the club’s training facility.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2022

Big nights for Evgeni Malkin and Nikita Kucherov, rapper Kodak Black creates a stir at the Canucks-Panthers game, the Oilers confirm interest in free-agent Evander Kane, Tuukka Rask returns to the Bruins & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored twice and collected an assist in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Malkin had been sidelined by offseason knee surgery. Jeff Carter also scored twice for the Penguins (47 points), who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With 45 points, the Ducks remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each finished the night with three points as the Lightning (53 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference.

The Florida Panthers 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks was overshadowed by a viral video that appeared to show rapper Kodak Black having sex in a luxury box during the game. Panthers forward Sam Reinhart tallied two goals and collected an assist as the Panthers (53 points) hold first place in the overall standings with two games in hand over the Lightning. It was the Canucks first regulation loss under head coach Bruce Boudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports claiming Black’s female companion was merely twerking against him. Regardless, this incident created a stir on Twitter last night.

Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville winger Luke Kunin also netted two goals. It was the fifth straight win for the Predators, who sit atop the Western Conference with 50 points. Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who were playing without blueliner Bowen Byram after he left the club for personal reasons. The Av didn’t release any further details about Byram.

William Nylander opened the scoring and tallied the winning goal in a shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. The Golden Knights forced overtime and the shootout by overcoming a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by William Karlsson and Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas sits second in the Western Conference with 48 points while the Leafs (49 points) sit third in the Atlantic Division.

An overtime goal by Logan Couture lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns collected three assists as his club has moved into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 41 points. The Wings were without captain Dylan Larkin as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He could return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Chicago Blackhawks got a two-goal performance from Alex DeBrincat to double up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Patrick Kane collected an assist to extend his points streak to five games.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: Player agent Dan Milstein, who represents Evander Kane, expects his client will sign a new contract with an NHL team by this weekend. The San Jose Sharks terminated its contract with the 30-year-old winger citing breach of contract on Sunday. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland confirmed he has an interest in Kane and has contacted Milstein. Holland acknowledged the winger’s well-documented personal baggage but said he has a responsibility as a general manager to investigate every situation.

I would want to get an understanding with what’s going on in that person’s life. I believe in second chances,” said Holland. He also gave head coach Dave Tippett a vote of confidence as the club attempts to reverse its skid in the standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s interest in Kane has already drawn some criticism in the Edmonton media. However, there’s speculation the Oilers could have the former Shark under contract soon. Stay tuned…

Speaking of the Oilers, goaltender Alex Stalock is trying to make a comeback. He’s missed this season with a heart condition but has received medical clearance by his doctors to attempt to return to action. He will report to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: To no one’s surprise, the Bruins signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $1 million contract yesterday. The 34-year-old goaltender had been recovering from offseason hip surgery. The club demoted Jeremy Swayman to their AHL affiliate in Providence to make room for Rask’s new contract.

SPORTSNET: New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore were among the notables to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: The ongoing loss of hockey-related revenue due to attendance restrictions on Canadian NHL teams is generating concern over its effect upon the league’s hockey-related revenue for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The salary will rise by $1 million next season to $82.5 million as per the CBA extension regardless of this season’s HRR. However, it will affect the players’ repayment of their debt owed to the NHL owners for maintaining the salary cap at its current level despite the decline of HRR over the past two seasons due to COVID-19. It could take longer than originally projected for the players to make the owners whole, which will affect salary cap projections beyond 2023-24.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom has been hired as the club’s new vice president of hockey operations.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was taken to task by Philadelphia Flyers legend and senior advisor Bob Clarke. Appearing on the podcast Cam and Strick yesterday, Clarke claimed Hextall alienated everybody during his tenure as Flyers GM. He accused him of ignoring the Flyers’ scouts by choosing Nolan Patrick over Cale Makar in the 2017 draft and trading Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues. Hextall declined to comment about Clarke’s comments.

NHL.COM: The league yesterday announced the Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, the Colorado Avalanche’s Jared Bednar, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour and the Vegas Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer have been named as the head coaches for the 2022 NHL All-Star weekend (Feb. 4-5) in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL appears determined to press on with the All-Star Game despite a plethora of postponed games requiring rescheduling due to the latest wave of COVID-19. The best players from every NHL team in one place for a meaningless game of glorified pond hockey in the middle of a pandemic. What could go wrong?

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Jon Merrill to a three-year, $3.6 million contract extension.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-assigned goaltender Zach Fucale to their AHL affiliate in Hershey now that Vitek Vanecek has recovered from a non-COVID illness.

THE ATHLETIC: Nate Prosser has announced his retirement. The 35-year-old defenseman played 360 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers from 2009-10 to 2020-21. He spent over nine seasons with the Wild.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2022

The Blues defeat the Stars, the Ducks clip the Red Wings, the Coyotes’ Tempe arena proposal could be in trouble, the Kings extend GM Rob Blake & hire Marc Bergevin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Two power-play goals by Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou within the final minute of the third period lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Dallas Stars 2-1. Kyrou’s goal was the result of a controversial penalty call against Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen for slashing Kyrou after he was hauled down by his stick by Blues forward Brayden Schenn.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Trevor Zegras’ shootout goal gave the Anaheim Ducks a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks rookie had a goal and an assist in regulation time. Detroit forward Tyler Bertuzzi also had a goal and an assist but left the game in the final seconds of overtime after suffering a wrist laceration but he wasn’t seriously hurt. Wings captain Dylan Larkin was injured in the first period and didn’t return to the game.

HEADLINES

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes’ Tempe arena proposal is on thin ice as two sources said the club currently doesn’t have the votes on the Tempe City Council to approve the project. There are three yes votes, two no votes and two undecided but leaning toward no after the Coyotes’ recent failure to pay taxes and bills owed to the city of Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan reports the Coyotes’ arena proposal wasn’t rejected during a recent city council executive session in December. If it isn’t approved, Morgan cites a source saying the Coyotes could pursue a deal with nearby Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. “It would be right on Tempe’s border so Tempe would get all the problems including the traffic, and get none of the revenue,” the source said.

MAYOR’S MANOR: Multiple sources say it will soon be announced that the Los Angeles Kings have signed general manager Rob Blake to a multi-year contract extension believed to be four-five years in length.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake was hired in April 2017 and the Kings have been rebuilding under his watch for the past three seasons. They are showing improvement this season in part due to players he’s acquired through the draft, via trades and free agency. They’re jockeying with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Kings, they’ve hired former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin as a senior advisor to Blake.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised by this news. There was speculation prior to Bergevin’s firing in November that he could join the Kings once his contract with the Habs was completed at the end of this season.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane cleared unconditional waivers on Sunday. The San Jose Sharks can terminate his contract, making the winger an unrestricted free agent. However, the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance on his behalf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be several weeks before this situation is sorted out by an arbiter. Until it is, don’t expect a rival club to approach Kane’s agent about a new contract.

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant, Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson are among the latest to be included on the NHL’S COVID protocol list.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers canceled practice yesterday while the NHL postponed the Oilers Jan. 15 game against the Ottawa Senators and tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2021

The NHL returns with CBA exemptions to give teams COVID roster relief, several stars lament the decision to withdraw from the 2022 Olympics, plus injury updates and much more in the morning coffee headlines.

NHL COVID NEWS UPDATES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman provided highlights of recent CBA exemptions formalized by the NHL and NHLPA to provide COVID relief to their teams.

Teams will be allowed to add a third goaltender when two regulars aren’t available. There will be an emergency salary-cap exemption allowing clubs to make emergency recalls for teams that cannot dress two goalies, six defensemen or 12 forwards. The recalled player’s cap hit cannot exceed $1 million.

The taxi squad has returned until at least the All-Star break in early February consisting of a maximum of six players who cannot be on the squad longer than 20 days. Players cannot be on it if they were part of an NHL roster on Dec. 22, are waiver-exempt, were on the roster at least 75 percent of regular-season days or played in 16 of a team’s last 20 games through Dec. 22. Goalies who dressed but didn’t play are counted as having played.

TSN: Because of seven NHL teams based in Canada, the league cannot do blanket testing of fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players due to the rules and restrictions set up by the Canadian federal and provincial governments. A lack of widespread booster availability in Canada could also affect efforts by the NHL to make an extra dose part of being considered fully vaccinated.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league could review its COVID protocol after the US Centers for Disease Control reduced its recommended 10-day isolation period to five days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reduction in the isolation period plus the recent CBA changes could reduce the current upheaval affecting the NHL schedule by leading to fewer postponements in the coming weeks. There have also been calls for the league and PA to allow asymptomatic players to continue playing rather than undergo any isolation period but there’s no indication if that’s under serious consideration at the moment.

NHL.COM: Three more games were postponed due to COVID concerns, bringing the full number of postponements to 70. The three games are the Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets and the home-and-home series on Wednesday and Friday between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild are trying to avoid any positive COVID tests as their Winter Classic matchup on Jan. 1 with the St. Louis Blues at Target Field draws near.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson described the stress the players are feeling trying to play with COVID lurking in the background. “Over the last two seasons, you kind of get used to it a little bit, but it’s not really about hockey, it’s about mental health,” he said. “It tears you down a little bit thinking about it all the time when you’re supposed to be playing and be good out on the ice.” He added that the players have to try to live with that, while also saying they were fortunate that no one has gotten seriously ill and are vaccinated.

SPORTSNET: Has a daily tracker of the NHL players and head coaches currently in COVID protocol. Among the latest are Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen, Detroit’s Lucas Raymond, Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, Philadelphia’s Ryan Ellis, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, Toronto’s William Nylander and Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer.

MORE REACTION TO NHL WITHDRAWAL FROM 2022 OLYMPICS.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid called for a best-on-best tournament if the 2022 Winter Olympics aren’t pushed ahead by COVID in the same way the Tokyo Summer Games were moved from 2020 to 2021. “We can’t go six, seven, eight years without playing best-on-best,” said McDavid. “I’d like to see something worked out if the Olympics don’t get pushed.”

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL owners don’t like Olympics breaks because they don’t make any money from it. They only agreed to participate to get the players on board with last year’s extension to the collective bargaining agreement. However, they would be amenable to a World Cup of Hockey. That’s an NHL-controlled event staged in September that doesn’t adversely affect the regular season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were the latest NHL stars to express disappointment over the league’s decision to withdraw from the Olympics. Bergeron indicated he would’ve gone as it would’ve been his last opportunity to experience it after having played in 2010 and 2014.

Marchand has never played in an Olympic competition and this year was likely his best chance of doing so. He criticized the decision, claiming the league doesn’t care about the Olympics because they don’t make any money from it. “It’s a business and we’re an asset. Let’s call a spade a spade,” he said.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said he would’ve gone to the Olympics despite the potential consequences of testing positive for COVID while in Beijing. Under Chinese law, anyone testing positive while in the country must quarantine three to five weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players’ frustration is understandable but the league took the necessary action and was within its rights to do so under the CBA. The postponed games brought about by the latest spread of COVID-19 threatened to derail this season. That would’ve significantly affected league revenue, in turn affecting next season’s salary cap, which also would’ve impacted the timetable for the players to repay their hockey-related revenue debt to the owners incurred last year.

IN OTHER NEWS…

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Winger Zach Hyman returns to the Oilers lineup after being sidelined by a shoulder injury since Dec. 11. Meanwhile, goaltender Mike Smith looks ready to return to action for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 19.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust took part in full-contact practice yesterday. Rust could return to action later in the week but there’s still no set time for Malkin’s return. Meanwhile, winger Jason Zucker is listed as week-to-week with a nagging lower-body injury.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken forward Bradon Tanev will require season-ending ACL surgery after suffering a knee injury on Dec. 18.

TSN: A lawsuit filed against the Chicago Blackhawks for a former high school student who claimed he was sexually assaulted by former video coach Bradley Alrich has been dismissed. Rick Westhead reports the withdrawal of the suit indicates a settlement has been reached.

THE PROVINCE: Former NHL coach Bob McCammon passed away on Dec. 23 at the age of 80. He served two stints as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers (1978-79, 1981-82 to 1983-84), two stints as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers (1985-86, 1995-96 to 1997-98) and was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks from 1987-88 to 1990-91.

DAILY DEMOCRAT: Former NHL player and coach Jim Wiley died Sunday at age 71. He spent five seasons as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks from 1972-73 to 1976-77, finishing with four goals and 14 points in 63 games. He went on to become a minor league coach from 1984-85 to 2007-08, except for one season as head coach of the San Jose Sharks in 1995-96.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the families and friends of both men.