NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2021

Recaps of the first games of the season, the Golden Knights and Red Wings name their new captains, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Morgan Rielly scored in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. William Nylander scored twice and collected an assist while John Tavares had a goal and two assists. Josh Anderson scored twice for the Canadiens and teammate Jonathan Drouin had three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A close, fast-paced contest between these long-time rivals. Some observers credit Wayne Simmonds’ fight with Ben Chiarot as the turning point when the Leafs were down 3-1 in the second period, but it was penalties by Anderson and Nick Suzuki leading to two Toronto goals that changed the course of the game.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled their 2019-20 Stanley Cup championship banner before thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos led the way with a goal and two assists. The Blackhawks played without defenseman Brent Seabrook, who missed training camp with a back injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos showed no lingering effects from the surgery he underwent in the offseason to address the core muscle injury that sidelined him for all but one game in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Joel Farabee scored and collected three assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Michael Raffl snapped a 3-3 tie with the game-winner in the third period. Flyers forward Nolan Patrick scored in his first game since missing last season to migraines. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his first goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers exploited the Penguins’ sloppy defensive play throughout this game, especially in the third period.

Two third-period goals by Brock Boeser helped the Vancouver Canucks down the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Braden Holtby made 28 saves in his Canucks’ debut as he and his teammates successfully killed four Oilers power-play opportunities.

St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist scored two goals and Robert Thomas collected two assists as their club rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues played without offseason acquisition Mike Hoffman as he missed the game due to a work visa issue. They also placed winger Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder surgery) on long-term injury reserve.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL revealed 22 players on 16 different clubs were unavailable for the start of the season due to COVID-19 protocols. They include Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets center Mikko Koivu, Oilers winger James Neal, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, Canucks forward J.T. Miller and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He said he’s feeling fine and has fully recovered from the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reminder that no one is immune from COVID-19. We’re bound to see more instances of positive tests over the course of this season. The best the league can do is take the necessary steps to limit exposure and spread of the coronavirus.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights announced winger Mark Stone was named their first captain in franchise history.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings named center Dylan Larkin as their 37th captain in franchise history and the first since Henrik Zetterberg retired in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a foregone conclusion Larkin would get the Wings’ captaincy but the Golden Knights played coy about naming their first full-time captain. Fine choices by both clubs.

TSN: The Washington Capitals signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a one-year, $700K contract and placed him on waivers yesterday for the purpose of placing him on their taxi squad if he clears.

CBC SPORTS: The Jets signed forward Trevor Lewis to a one-year, $750K contract.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers signed Kevin Connauton to a one-year, two-way deal and placed him on waivers yesterday. He’ll join their taxi squad if he clears.










Red Wings Will Be Better, But Still Far From Good

Red Wings Will Be Better, But Still Far From Good

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2020

Players are returning to their respective teams as negotiations continue between the NHL and NHLPA on a format for the 2020-21 season. Check out the latest in the morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Joe Thornton reportedly departed Switzerland yesterday on his way to joining the Maple Leafs. The 41-year-old center played with HC Davos in preparation for a shortened 2020-21 NHL season.

Joe Thornton has left Switzerland to join the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton is among a number of players reportedly returning to their NHL club over the last week or two. His return to North America is seen as another indication the NHL is making progress in its plans toward starting this season in mid-January. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin is looking forward to returning to the ice with his teammates for the first time since the pandemic derailed the 2019-20 regular season. Larkin found it tough mentally dealing with the uncertainty over when this season would begin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are among the seven clubs that missed the playoffs last season. Those teams are expected to begin training camp on Dec. 31, four days before the other 24 clubs.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks’ proposal for a 14-day group quarantine of their players returning from Europe and the United States has apparently been rejected by local health officials. “Everything I’m hearing is that they didn’t accept the group cohort quarantine,” said general manager Jim Benning.

The Canucks presented a training-camp style plan where those players would practice as a group at Rogers Arena with a professional athlete exemption, traveling only to and from the arena and their homes.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA announced Monday they are making progress toward a 56-game schedule for this season. He indicates the majority of players are returning to their teams, especially those in Canada whose players must quarantine for 14 days before joining their teammates.

The focus remains playing in all 31 arenas but Plan B is playing in hub cities. An agreement on a format will have to reached by the end of this week to meet the timeline to open training camps in two weeks’ time.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports the NHL Players Association’s 31-member executive committee could vote as early as Wednesday on a wide-ranging plan for the ’20-’21 season. The NHL Board of Governors would vote on Thursday.

An industry source tells McGran the two sides are working “around the clock on transitional rules and return-to-play protocols, and working to firm up agreements for logistical issues.” Another source tells McGran he doesn’t see any issue that could derail negotiations. “It’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take. I don’t see any reason not to play a season.”

Issues still to be sorted out include the timing for the 2021 NHL Draft and the expansion draft, new dates for free agency if the 2021 playoffs stretch into July, and rules governing cross-border trades.

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks reports players are being told to expect training camp to begin shortly after New Year’s Day. Teams have been told to expect the season to begin between Jan. 13 and 16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: COVID-19 is a pretty good reason not to play but the team owners and the players want this season to take place. With the NFL season ongoing, the NBA opening their season on Dec. 22 and MLB spring training slated to begin on Feb. 27, the NHL doesn’t want to disappear from the sports calendar. The owners want to salvage whatever revenue they can while the players need to get paid.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are expected to hire Cory Stillman as an assistant coach. A two-time Stanley Cup champion during his 16-year NHL playing career, Stillman has worked at the front-office level with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2020

The latest return-to-play news, Evander Kane calls for white athletes to speak out against police brutality, and updates on Dylan Larkin, Cam Talbot & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): An interview by Joe Smith and Sean Shapiro with over two dozen NHL players from around the world reveals most don’t have a plan yet to return to their respective clubs during the league Phase 2 of its return-to-play format.

With nearly 15 percent of NHL players outside the United States during the pandemic, most have to work through visa issues, flight plans, and the quarantine program in their respective teams’ cities.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the “nuts and bolts of actual travel” has been left to the team and its players. Player agent Dan Milstein said the league is working with the U.S. Government on extending the players’ visas beyond their June 30 expiration to the end of the playoff tournament. The league reached out to the teams in March regarding player and coach work visa and green card status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Phase 2 small-group workouts at team facilities are voluntary. Most players living outside the US could prefer training at available facilities in their hometowns until their travel issues are sorted out. Phase 3, which involves a three-week training-camp period for the 24 teams participating in the tournament, is expected to begin sometime in July.

Jesse Granger reports sources are saying MGM Resorts International submitted a detailed proposal to the NHL highlighting its ability to host the postseason in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas is considered the front-runner to become one of the two host cities for the playoff tournament. It has the training, accommodation, transportation, and entertainment facilities to host the players and perhaps even their families during the tournament period. The local desert climate, however, could be an issue. Maintaining the ice in the arenas will be a challenge, especially in the early going when three games per day could be played.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane called upon prominent white athletes to speak out against police brutality against African-Americans.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (Photo via NHL Images).

 “It’s time for guys like (Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback) Tom Brady and (Pittsburgh Penguins center) Sidney Crosby and those types of figures to speak up about what is right, and clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong. Because that’s the only way we’re gonna actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change, especially when you talk about systematic racism.”

Kane praised his teammates for being supportive of his views. Sharks owner Hasso Plattner shared his support in a statement on Friday. Kane believes hockey’s culture, which frowns upon outspokenness, prevents his fellow players from speaking their minds and standing up for what’s right.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some athletes by nature aren’t comfortable with taking a public stance on social issues. In recent years, the NHL launched its “Hockey Is For Everyone” campaign “to provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.” However, that’s not the same as taking a public stance regarding those issues. It’ll be interesting to see how many NHL stars heed Kane’s call. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman intends to name a captain for his team. Dylan Larkin is considered the prime candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As he should be. He’s been the de facto captain for the past two seasons.

SPORTSNET: The University of Alabama-Huntsville’s hockey program was saved after supporters raised over $535K, aided in part by Calgary Flames goalie (and UAH alumni) Cam Talbot.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Vancouver Canucks have parted ways with scouting director Judd Brackett over a contract dispute. Brackett reportedly sought more autonomy over the scouting department. During his tenure from August 2015 to his departure, the Canucks drafted foundation players Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

ARIZONA SPORTS: If play resumes this season, the Coyotes intend to return in their vintage Kachina jerseys.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their lease at PNC Arena to July 2029.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should silence those occasional (and baseless) rumors suggesting the Hurricanes could be relocated to a “real hockey market”.

THE TENNESSEAN: Renovations to Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators, have been delayed.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2020

The hockey world mourns the passing of Colby Cave, plus the latest on Dylan Larkin, Kevan Miller and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave passed away at age 25, four days following surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

Colby Cave. 1994-2020. (Photo via NHL Images)

His passing sparked an outpouring of support and condolences throughout the hockey world. The Oilers and Cave’s former club, the Boston Bruins, offered their commiserations, as did the NHL, the AHL. and his junior club, the Swift Current Broncos. Wayne GretzkyErik Karlsson, and Torey Krug were among those who took to Twitter offering sympathy and support to Cave’s family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was heartbreaking news. My sincere condolences to Cave’s family, friends, and family. By all accounts, he was an upstanding young man with a strong work ethic. It’s so sad when a young life is ended before it has truly begun.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s chances to atone for the dissatisfying end to their otherwise dominant 2018-19 campaign could be slipping away if this season is canceled because of the coronavirus.

Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said it would be a huge disappointment. “For what our team has done this year, and how we’ve set ourselves up, the additions that we’ve made, where we were at that point in the season with just a handful of games left and trying to gear up for a long playoff run and a successful playoff run, you just hope and you pray that there’s some scenario out there where we can somehow finish.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s easy to say they’ll get another shot next season, but the Lightning might not be the same club by then. Limited salary-cap space means they’ll have to shed a player or two (Alex Killorn, perhaps?) in order to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Unrestricted free agents like Patrick Maroon and Kevin Shattenkirk probably won’t be back. Those moves could adversely affect their overall chemistry and depth.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and his family donated 50,000 vinyl powder-free and nitrile gloves to the Detroit Medical Center and St Joseph Mercy Medical Group.

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller encountered some setbacks during his rehab of his twice-broken kneecap. An unrestricted free agent at the end of his season, his future with the Bruins is in doubt.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin has signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He explained the Canucks didn’t want to re-sign him but hopes to return to the NHL in two-years time.










For NHL Players, Trade Deadline A Harrowing Experience

For NHL Players, Trade Deadline A Harrowing Experience