NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.


WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2020

More trade deadline fallout involving Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie, Robin Lehner, Zach Parise and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman wondered what the future held for San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton. If he’s not sold on the Sharks as a Cup contender next season, Friedman predicts the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a factor. He believes the Leafs considered adding Thornton before the trade deadline, but can’t confirm it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Thornton, the last thing the Leafs need is a past-his-prime center. It’s obvious to all that the Leafs desperately need to shore up their defensive depth. If management can’t see that, Leafs fans should give up any hope of this club becoming a Cup contender anytime soon.

Could the Vancouver Canucks pursue Tyson Barrie this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman said they weren’t trading Tyson Barrie unless they got a return that immediately replaced the blueliner plus a sweetener for the future. They would’ve taken Troy Stecher, but the Vancouver Canucks didn’t have the draft picks and weren’t parting with futures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were linked to Barrie leading up to the trade deadline. I wonder if they might try to sign him this summer as an unrestricted free agent. That could depend upon how much he’s seeking and whether it’ll fit within their cap space for 2020-21. Stecher, Jacob Markstrom, Jake Virtanen, and Adam Gaudette are due for raises next season.

Friedman believes the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t want to go past two years on a contract extension with Robin Lehner. The goaltender was shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights on deadline day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t understand the Blackhawks’ reluctance. I’m well-aware of Lehner’s past issues, many of those tied to depression, but he’s turned his life and career around. He won the Masterton Trophy and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season with the New York Islanders. He put up good numbers backstopping a porous Chicago defense and got along well with his Blackhawks teammates. If the Golden Knights don’t re-sign him, Lehner should land a fair contract elsewhere in the NHL.

Friedman also weighed in on the failed effort by the Minnesota Wild to trade Zach Parise to the New York Islanders for Andrew Ladd at the trade deadline. Getting the salary-cap dollars to fit was the sticking point. It was rumored young Isles winger Kieffer Bellows was going to be part of the deal, among other sweeteners. The Wild also had concerns about salary-cap recapture penalties if Parise retired early. Friedman isn’t sure where the deal goes from here.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin hinted the two clubs could revisit those negotiations in the off-season. We’ll see if they can hammer something out.

The New York Rangers trading defenseman Brady Skjei to Carolina allows them to take care of internal business, like Anthony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, dumping Skjei’s $5.25-million annual average value through 2023-24 frees up salary-cap space to re-sign DeAngelo and Strome. The pair are restricted free agents with arbitration rights this summer.

Friedman also reported the Edmonton Oilers had an interest in Patrick Marleau before the Sharks traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild were interested in Vincent Trocheck before the Florida Panthers shipped him to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flames also checked into Wayne Simmonds for the second time in two years. He believes the Islanders had an interest in Mikko Koivu, who opted to stay with the Wild. A lot of teams called the Philadelphia Flyers about winger Scott Laughton, but they weren’t interested in parting with him.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2019

The Bruins’ top line has a big game against the Rangers, Oilers suffer their first home loss of the season, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand combined for 13 points as the Boston Bruins thumped the New York Rangers 6-2. Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Marchand and Pastrnak collected five points each. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after giving up four goals on 31 shots. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury following a check from Bergeron and is listed as day-to-day.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak collected five assists in a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Edmonton Oilers suffered their first home loss of the season as they fell 6-2 to the Florida Panthers. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith was pulled after giving up three goals on the first three shots of the second period. Brian Boyle picked up his first points (one goal, one assist) since signing with the Panthers last week. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each scored a goal as the New York Islanders picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Jakub Voracek had a goal and an assist for the Flyers. The Islanders played without forwards Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl as leg injuries have sidelined them for four-to-six weeks. Flyers forward Scott Laughton missed the game with a broken finger and is expected to miss four weeks.

David Perron’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their eighth straight loss. Perron also had three assists while teammate Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected two helpers. Blues center Alexander Steen left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

The Chicago Blackhawks snapped a four-game losing skid by beating the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Forwards Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat each collected three points as they were reunited on the same line. Veteran Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch, though the club downplayed this move as a rest day.

Nick Paul (two goals, one assist) and Brady Tkachuk (one goal, two assists) led the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 upset of the San Jose Sharks. Veteran Senators winger Bobby Ryan was a healthy scratch. Brent Burns collected two assists for the Sharks.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Golden Knights rookie Nicolas Roy tallied his first career NHL goal.


WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Adam Lowry will have a phone hearing today with the league’s department of player safety. Lowry hit Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington from behind during Saturday’s Heritage Classic game. 

CBS SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Motte is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2019

The Hurricanes sign Ryan Dzingel, the Flyers re-sign Scott Laughton, and the Blues re-up Robby Fabbri. Details on these and other signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday signed free-agent winger Ryan Dzingel to a two-year, $6.75-million contract. 

The Carolina Hurricanes signed winger Ryan Dzingel to a two-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.375 million, which is considerably less than the $5-million AAV Dzingel reportedly sought from the Ottawa Senators earlier this season. It’s a cost-effective short-term deal that could pay significant offenseive dividends for the Hurricanes. 

Dzingel had a career-high 56 points split between the Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets. However, his production and ice time declined following his trade to the Jackets. Dzingel said he’s looking forward to playing with the Hurricanes because coach Rod Brind’Amour plays an up-tempo system that favors his style of play.  

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers avoided arbitration with forward Scott Laughton by signing him to a two-year, $4.6-million deal. 

WGR 550: Center Johan Larsson signed his one-year qualifying offer ($1.55 million) with the Buffalo Sabres.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Robby Fabbri to a one-year, $900K contract. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Adam Johnson to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets has brought back Craig Hartsburg as an amateur scout and defense development coach. Former NHL goaltender Niklas Backstrom joins the Jackets as their European goaltending coach.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2017

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano honored for his charity work.

Latest on Mark Giordano, Jaromir Jagr and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Flames captain Mark Giordano won ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for his charity work. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well deserved recognition of Giordano’s good works away from the ice. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: If unrestricted free agent Jaromir Jagr fails to land with a new NHL team, the ECHL’s Florida Everblades would love to sign him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Jagr can’t find an NHL contract, I believe he could opt to finish his playing career in Europe. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes hired former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet as their new head coach. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Penguins replaced Tocchet with Mark Recchi. 

EDMONTON SUN: The New York Islanders hired Kelly Buchberger as their new assistant coach. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed center Scott Laughton to a two-year, $1.925 million contract.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  The Stars re-signed forward Gemel Smith to a one-year, two-way contract.