NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Leafs’ Auston Matthews and the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, the Canucks expand their lead in the overall standings, Connor Bedard returns to action for the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his fifth hat trick of the season as his club nipped the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on an overtime goal by William Nylander. Mitch Marner collected three assists for the Leafs (28-16-8) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 64 points. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist for the 29-19-7 Flyers (65 points) as they hold third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews now has a league-leading 45 goals on the season, six more than Florida’s Sam Reinhart in second place. The Leafs center also set a franchise record with his 72nd multi-goal game.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider’s hat trick led his club over the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 7-4. Adam Fox collected four assists while Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had three points for the 35-16-3 Rangers, who picked up their sixth straight win as they lead the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Cole Caufield scored twice while Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist for the 22-24-8 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Rangers as winger Blake Wheeler left the game in the first period with an injured leg following a hit by Montreal defenseman Jayden Struble. He was helped off the ice by teammates before heading down the tunnel on a stretcher. There was no postgame update on his condition. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Slafkovsky set a franchise record for the longest Canadiens points streak by a teenager.

Elias Lindholm scored two goals as the Vancouver Canucks became the first team to reach 80 points this season with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Elias Pettersson picked up three assists and Thatcher Demko stopped 27 shots for the 37-12-6 Canucks as they’ve won three straight games. J.T. Compher scored for the Red Wings (27-20-6), who hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points but have dropped three of their last four games (1-2-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Red Wings announced that goaltender Ville Husso is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard collected an assist in his return to action but his club fell 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bedard missed 14 games with a fractured jaw. Sidney Crosby tallied twice for the Penguins (24-20-7) as they moved to within five points of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 55 points. Philipp Kurashev scored for the 14-37-3 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced that winger Jake Guentzel will be sidelined for three to four weeks with an upper-body injury. I’ll have more about Guentzel in today’s Rumor Mill.

The Florida Panthers took over first place in the Eastern Conference by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Anthony Stolarz kicked out 45 shots for his first shutout of the season while Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals for the 35-15-4 Panthers (74 points) as they picked up their fourth straight win and their 10th straight road victory. Eric Comrie turned aside 27 shots for the 23-26-4 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers and Boston Bruins each have the same amount of points but Florida has more wins. Meanwhile, Comrie got the start for the Sabres as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Seattle Kraken. Matty Beniers had a goal and two assists while Joey Daccord stopped 36 shots for the Kraken (23-21-10) as they moved to within four points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 56 points. David Pastrnak netted his 34th goal of the season for the 32-12-10 Bruins, who are winless in their last three games (0-2-1).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice and collected an assist as his club defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. Kucherov leads the league with 94 points while his Lightning (30-20-5) picked up their third straight win. They hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. Bowen Byram scored two goals while Nathan MacKinnon had two assists to sit four points behind Kucherov in the scoring race. The Avalanche (33-18-4) hold second place in the Central Division with 70 points.

The Dallas Stars (34-14-6) have a four-point lead over the Avalanche with 74 points after crushing the Nashville Predators 9-2. Wyatt Johnston scored twice and collected two assists, Matt Duchene tallied twice against his former club while Tyler Seguin and Ty Dellandrea each had three points. Cole Smith and Tommy Novak replied for the 27-25-2 Predators (56 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have won just three of their last 10 games and are in danger of falling further out of the playoff race. That’s stoked recent trade speculation regarding goaltender Juuse Saros, which I’ll feature in today’s Rumor Mill. Meanwhile, Stars defenseman Nils Lundkvist left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues forwards Jake Neighbours and Robert Thomas each had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Jordan Binnington made 35 saves for the Blues (29-22-2), who’ve won eight of their last 10 games and hold the final Western wild-card berth with 60 points. Connor McDavid picked up three assists for the 31-18-1 Oilers as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 63 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is in third place in the scoring race, sitting nine points back of MacKinnon and 13 behind Kucherov. He’s tallied three or more points in five of his last seven games.

The Los Angeles Kings (25-16-10) maintained their hold on the first Western wild-card spot (60 points) by nipping the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Quinton Byfield broke a 1-1 tie in the third period while David Rittich stopped 26 shots for the Kings. Tyler Toffoli replied for the 27-22-4 Devils (58 points) as they remain two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings welcomed back winger Viktor Arvidsson as he made his season debut following his recovery from an injured back.

San Jose Sharks forward Filip Zadina scored twice and collected two assists to lead his club to a 6-3 upset of the Calgary Flames. Luke Kunin tallied two goals and Justin Bailey had a goal and two assists for the 15-33-5 Sharks. Chris Tanev had two assists for the Flames (25-24-5) as they remain five points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 55 points.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler and winger Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Mason McTavish scored twice for the 19-32-2 Ducks while Claude Giroux replied for the 22-26-2 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2024

Oilers captain Connor McDavid has a six-assist performance, Bruins captain Brad Marchand reaches a career milestone, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly is suspended for five games, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected a career-high six assists (including his 600th career NHL assist) in an 8-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and an assist while Evan Bouchard had a goal and two assists for the 31-17-1 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 63 points. Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and David Perron each had two points for the Red Wings (27-19-6) as they hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 60 points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid also extended his home points streak to 19 games. His six-assist performance vaulted him into a tie with Boston’s David Pastrnak for third place in the NHL scoring race with 77 points. Meanwhile, Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. It was his first game back with the Wings since suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 18.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored a goal for his league-leading 90th point as his club nipped the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Brayden Point. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves as his club improved to 29-20-5 and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 63 points. Bruins captain Brad Marchand collected two assists in his 1,000th career NHL game. With a record of 32-11-10 for 74 points, the Bruins sit first in the Eastern Conference and second in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will honor Marchand’s milestone in a pregame ceremony on Feb. 19. Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot returned to action after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury.

After learning defenseman Morgan Rielly received a five-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Grieg on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1. Bobby McMann tallied his first career NHL hat trick for the 27-16-8 Leafs as they sit in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 62 points. Jordan Binnington turned aside 28 shots for the Blues (28-22-2) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs roster for this game was further depleted with John Tavares and Mitch Marner sidelined by an illness while Conor Timmins is out with mononucleosis.

The league-leading Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Dakota Joshua lead the way with a Gordie Howe hat trick (including two assists) while Conor Garland tallied twice for the 36-12-6 Canucks (78 points). Petr Mrazek stopped 34 shots for the 14-36-3 Blackhawks as they sit in last place in the overall standings with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Canucks, they’ve invited free agent forward Phil Kessel to work out for the team this week in Abbotsford, BC.

Colorado Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen scored twice and collected two assists in a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals. Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists to move within three points of Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race with 87 points. The Avalanche improved to 33-17-4 and sit in second place in the Central Division with 70 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored for the sixth straight game but his Capitals slipped to 23-21-8 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals playoff hopes are fading, winning just twice in their last 10 games.

The Dallas Stars (33-14-6) maintained their two-point lead over the Avalanche in the Central Division by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Jason Robertson and Matt Duchene each had a goal and an assist for the Stars. Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist for the 30-17-5 Hurricanes as they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Stars announced that winger Evgenii Dadonov will be sidelined for several weeks with a lower-body fracture. He suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk’s hat trick powered his club to a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists for the 22-25-2 Senators, who picked up their fourth straight win. Daniil Tarasov made 24 saves for the Blue Jackets (16-26-10) as they remain in last place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, a derogatory remark about Patrik Laine on a Jackets fan podcast is being used to rally support for the winger and raise charitable donations on his behalf for mental health awareness.

Laine is undergoing treatment through the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. One of the podcast hosts said the Blue Jackets winger was away because he was contemplating a “Remington retirement”, which is a slang term for suicide by gunshot. If you’d like to donate to Laine’s charitable fund you can do so at this link.

The Buffalo Sabres thumped the Los Angeles Kings 7-0 as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 33 saves for the shutout. Jordan Greenway scored twice and collected an assist for the 23-25-4 Sabres. With 58 points, the 24-16-10 Kings are clinging to a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings forward Carl Grundstrom left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced defenseman Owen Power will be sidelined for the next two weeks with an upper-body injury.

New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier tallied two third-period goals in a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Nico Daws stopped 30 shots for the Devils (27-21-4) as they sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Juuse Saros kicked out 43 shots for the 27-24-2 Predators (56 points) as they remain two points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

A 26-save performance by Philipp Grubauer carried the Seattle Kraken over the New York Islanders by a score of 2-1. Tomas Tatar netted the winning goal in a shootout for the 22-21-10 Kraken (54 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western wild-card berth. Ilya Sorokin turned aside 29 shots for the Islanders (22-18-13) as they sit three points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 57 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare returned to action after missing 19 games with a fractured bone in his leg.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau made 13 saves for his first NHL shutout to blank the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and two assists for his first NHL three-point game while Nick Suzuki had two goals and an assist to extend his points streak to eight games for the 22-23-8 Canadiens. Lukas Dostal stopped 33 shots for the 18-32-2 Ducks, who welcomed back defenseman Pavel Mintyukov after being sidelined since Jan. 9 with a separated shoulder.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2024

The Panthers gain ground on the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins, another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, and much more from a busy Saturday in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers moved to within three points of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 4-0. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 35-save shutout performance, Sam Reinhart scored his 39th goal of the season, and team captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists for the 33-15-4 Panthers, who sit second in the conference with 70 points. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 39 shots for the Avalanche (32-17-4) as they’re winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and remain in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.

Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart sits second among NHL goal scorers this season and leads the league with 22 power-play goals. He also recently broke the club record for most power-play goals in a season (19) originally held by Scott Mellanby and Pavel Bure. Meanwhile, the Avalanche held a players-only meeting following this game to address their struggles and lack of preparedness since the All-Star break.

Speaking of the Bruins, they were shut out 3-0 by the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin scored for the fourth straight game with his 57th career empty-net goal, surpassing the record of 56 previously held by Wayne Gretzky. Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie each had two points while Charlie Lindgren made 18 saves for the 23-20-7 Capitals. Jeremy Swayman turned aside 25 shots for the 32-11-9 Bruins, who missed an opportunity to move ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has struggled to score in 2023-24 but is on a bit of a tear since the All-Star break. He now has 12 goals on the season and 834 for his career putting him 70 behind Gretzky’s record of 894.

The Canucks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings. Jake Walman tallied the winner in overtime on a penalty shot as the Wings (27-18-6) overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by Daniel Sprong and Michael Rasmussen. They hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 60 points. Elias Pettersson and former Red Wing Filip Hronek each had a goal and two assists for the 34-12-6 Canucks as they hold first overall with 74 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick Kane collected an assist in his return to the Wings lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Wings forward Lucas Raymond, who left the game for assessment but would return to action.

Calgary Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar scored his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 35 shots while Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (25-22-5) as they sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 55 points. Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau replied for the 22-18-12 Islanders (56 points) as they sit four points back of the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar became the seventh defenseman in Flames history to score a hat trick. He also takes over the lead among NHL defensemen in goals this season with 15. Islanders blueliner Alexander Romanov missed this game with a lower-body injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists while Nikita Zadorov collected two assists for the 28-20-5 Lightning as they vaulted over the Toronto Maple Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. Boone Jenner netted both goals for the 16-25-10 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 89 points, Kucherov has opened a four-point lead in the NHL scoring race over Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon. Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they fell 5-3 to the Ottawa Senators, who picked up their third straight win. Shane Pinto led the way with a goal and two assists while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 shots for the 21-25-2 Senators. Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 42nd goal of the season for the Leafs (26-16-8) as they dropped into the first Eastern wild-card berth with 60 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly could face supplemental discipline as he took exception with Ridley Grieg’s slapshot into an empty net in the dying seconds and cross-checked the young Senators forward in the head. Meanwhile, Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano and Senators blueliner Jake Sanderson missed this game with injuries. There’s no timetable yet for when either player will return to action.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s 35 saves backstopped his club to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Scheifele and Nino Niederreiter scored for the 31-14-5 Jets (67 points) as they snapped a five-game winless skid and sit one behind the second-place Avalanche in the Central Division. Bryan Rust replied for the Penguins (23-19-7).

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in their first game under interim head coach Jim Hiller. David Rittich turned in a 26-save shutout while Quinton Byfield scored two goals and picked up an assist for the 24-15-10 Kings, who hold the first Western wild-card berth with 58 points. Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots for the Oilers (30-17-1) as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 61 points.

An overtime goal by Sebastian Aho gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Pyotr Kochetkov made 34 saves for the shutout as the Hurricanes improved to 30-16-5 and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points. Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots for the 25-21-4 Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes welcomed back winger Andrei Svechnikov from his six-game absence with an upper-body injury. However, backup goaltender Antti Raanta missed this game with a lower-body injury and is expected to remain sidelined for the next two weeks.

Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin scored twice as his club nipped the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matt Duchene and Mason Marchment each collected two assists for the 32-14-6 Stars, who’ve won 10 of their last 14 and moved into first place in the Central Division with 70 points. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist while Sam Montembeault turned aside 35 shots for the 21-22-8 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard left this game early in the second period with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated over the next couple of days to determine the severity of the injury.

The St. Louis Blues got two goals by Jake Neighbours in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, picking up their sixth victory in their last seven games. Joel Hofer made 33 saves for the 27-21-2 Blues as they hold the final Western wild-card berth with 56 points. Kyle Okposo replied for the 22-25-4 Sabres.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier snapped a 2-2 tie to defeat the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Cal Petersen made 17 saves in his first start since Nov. 11 for the Flyers (28-19-6) as they picked up t their third straight win and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points. Tomas Tatar and Jared McCann replied for the 21-20-10 Kraken (52 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz missed this game for personal reasons but is expected to rejoin his teammates later this week.

An overtime goal by Ryan McDonagh lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes. McDonagh, Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, Filip Forsberg and Tommy Novak each had a goal and an assist for the 27-23-2 Predators (56 points) as they remain behind the Blues for the final Western wild-card berth with the latter holding two games in hand. Jason Zucker collected three assists for the Coyotes (23-23-4) as they’re winless in their last five games (0-4-1).










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2024

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the latest on the Coyotes’ arena saga, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers picked up their third straight win by downing the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Jimmy Vesey scored twice and Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots for the 32-16-3 Rangers as they sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 67 points. Brandon Hagel scored for Tampa Bay (27-19-5) while Nikita Kucherov collected an assist to regain the lead in the NHL scoring race with 86 points. With 59 points, the Lightning slipped to the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning also lost defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to what appeared to be a serious injury to his lower left leg in the second period following a collision with Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere. Sergachev was stretchered from the ice and it’s expected he’ll be out of action for a while.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander scored two goals and collected an assist in a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars. John Tavares had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 41st goal of the season for the Maple Leafs (26-15-8) as they vaulted over the Lightning into third place in the Atlantic Division with 60 points. Evgenii Dadonov scored two goals for the 31-14-6 Stars as they sit in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Tavares, The Canadian Press reports (via TSN) that the Leafs captain is taking the Canada Revenue Agency to court to have the reassessment of his 2018 tax return annulled.

According to the CRA reassessment, Tavares’ income was determined to be $17.8 million higher than reported and he was ordered to repay $6.8 million in taxes plus $1.2 million in interest. The report indicates the $17.8 million accounts for a $15.25 million US signing bonus in the first year of his contract which “was integral to Tavares’ decision” to accept the deal.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Marcus Foligno snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period for the 22-23-5 Wild. Nick Foligno scored for the 14-35-2 Blackhawks, who’ve lost five straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Wild announced winger Pat Maroon underwent back surgery and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks. Maroon has surfaced in the rumor mill as a trade candidate but this news could ensure he finishes the season in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson (foot) was activated off injured reserve for this game.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said things don’t sound promising for the Arizona Coyotes’ efforts to purchase a piece of state land that is up for auction to build a new arena and entertainment complex.

Friedman doesn’t want to jump to conclusions because “deadlines are movable”. However, he said if there is going to be an announcement by this weekend or very soon regarding the purchase of that land, “it doesn’t seem to be good for the current ownership group.”

Speaking of the Coyotes’ ownership, Friedman thinks that “we’re coming to the end of the line”. If there isn’t a new arena plan in place soon, he speculates they could begin the process of selling the team or the NHL taking over and selling the club to somebody else.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predictions of the Coyotes’ relocation have been flying around for nearly two decades. This time, however, there seems to be a different vibe to the speculation. There’s a sense the NHL Board of Governors is running out of patience with this franchise.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been the biggest champion for keeping the Coyotes in Arizona. Nevertheless, he could finally admit defeat if he lacked BoG support on this issue.

I also think it’s more than a coincidence that a prospective ownership group in Salt Lake City recently made a very public expression of interest in bringing an NHL franchise to their city. If the Coyotes go up for sale, they could be on their way to Utah.

The Coyotes saga seems destined to end in relocation but I won’t rejoice if it happens. My thoughts will be with the club’s fans. Contrary to popular belief, the Coyotes drew reasonably well during many difficult years. Unfortunately, their supporters have been let down by decades of mismanagement and ongoing uncertainty over the club’s future.

TSN: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk laments what is shaping up to be another lost season for the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This one probably hurts a lot more for Tkachuk given how much excitement there was entering this season following the sale of the club last summer to billionaire Michael Andlauer. The Sens captain has four more years left on his contract and he’s stated repeatedly he wants to turn this team into a winner. However, Tkachuk’s patience will be tested if new general manager Steve Staios struggles like his predecessor did.

Speaking of the Senators, Vladimir Tarasenko has changed agents again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more about Tarasenko in today’s Rumors update.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Noel Acciari.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins rookie forward Matthew Poitras will be sidelined for five months after undergoing successful shoulder surgery on Wednesday.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed forward Martin Pospisil to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1 million.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2024

The Rangers could pursue Elias Lindholm while Kaapo Kakko could become trade bait, plus an update on Chris Tanev and the latest on the Canucks and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources tell him the Rangers have Elias Lindholm at the top of their wish list and had done so before Filip Chytil was ruled out for the rest of the season with a suspected concussion.

Lindholm, 29, is a skilled two-way center slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Brooks noted that he’s not a bruising checking-line forward that would make the Rangers a tougher playoff opponent. However, he would improve the Rangers at five-on-five.

While the Flames could still attempt to re-sign him he could become what Brooks calls the “prize deadline rental property.” The asking price could be a first-round pick along with “at least one legitimate prospect and perhaps a young, NHL-ready player.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

It could take Kaapo Kakko and a first-rounder for the Rangers to land Lindholm. “Or maybe the Flames would prefer Will Cuylle or Brennan Othmann”. The Blueshirts have the cap room to absorb Lindholm’s $4.85 million cap hit but it would leave them little room to address other issues. Brooks believes the Flames’ asking price could increase if the Rangers asked them to retain 40 or 50 percent of Lindholm’s cap hit.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported Kakko is an asset that Rangers general manager Chris Drury could use as trade bait. He said multiple sources claim Drury is taking calls about the 22-year-old winger, who was chosen second overall in the 2019 draft. Dreger speculates Kakko could be used to acquire “a significant piece” leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers ownership and management consider themselves to be Stanley Cup contenders since reaching the 2022 Eastern Conference Final. They went big in last year’s trade deadline by acquiring Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko but were eliminated from the opening round of the 2023 playoffs by their arch-rival, the New Jersey Devils.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Rangers will swing for the fences again this year. They must address their depth at center and have the cap space to do so with Chytil on long-term injury reserve for the rest of the season.

Dangling Kakko as the centerpiece of an offer for Lindholm could give the Rangers the edge in a bidding war. He’s struggled with injuries and consistency in his five NHL seasons but still has the potential to become a reliable top-six forward, especially after last season’s promising 40-point performance. A change of scenery could be just what he needs to reach his potential.

TEAMS LINING UP FOR CHRIS TANEV

TSN: Darren Dreger reports multiple teams are in the mix for Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev. Among them are the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators would see Tanev as a foundational fit as they would be interested in signing him to a contract extension. Dreger also indicated some of the teams looking at Tanev are non-contenders like the Senators.

Dreger believes it comes down to whether Tanev is chasing the Stanley Cup this year. If he is, it will factor significantly into his decision as to where he wants to go.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch cites league sources claiming as many as 10 teams have reached out to the Flames about Tanev, including the Senators, Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks. It’s thought that Leafs general manager (and former Flames GM) Brad Treliving has made acquiring the blueliner a priority.

There aren’t many right-shot defensemen in this year’s trade market which is why Tanev is so coveted this season. Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brett Pesce is the only other top-end right-shot blueliner available.

It’s believed the Flames asking price for Tanev is at least a first-round pick plus a prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-rounder plus a prospect seems like a lot to pay for a 34-year-old pending UFA defenseman. However, it wouldn’t be the first time a team has overpaid for such talent leading up to deadline day.

As for Pesce, his name was out there in the rumor mill earlier this season. With the Hurricanes rising in the Eastern Conference standings, I doubt that he’s available now. Like Tanev, he’s slated to become a UFA in July but the Hurricanes could be willing to hang onto him for the rest of the season and deal with his contract situation once the playoffs are over.

COULD THE CANUCKS TRADE ZADOROV?

CHEK-TV’S Rick Dhaliwal reports agent Dan Milstein doesn’t believe rumors that the Vancouver Canucks could trade client Nikita Zadorov at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The basis of that speculation had the Canucks moving Zadorov as a cost-cutting measure to free up cap room to acquire someone like Calgary’s Elias Lindholm or Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel.

Zadorov has struggled at times since joining the Canucks but he plays with a physical style that could prove invaluable in the heat of playoff competition. A more likely trade candidate would be Andrei Kuzmenko, who carries a $5.5 million AAV through next season. However, his declining performance this season could make him tougher to trade.

UPDATE ON THE CAPITALS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammy Silber cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli including Washington Capitals forward Nic Dowd on his list of trade targets. He’s among the league’s best defensive forwards and has a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $1.3 million.

Silber expects Dowd will be a trade candidate if the Capitals become sellers at the March 8 trade deadline. So will pending UFA winger Anthony Mantha. Max Pacioretty, Joel Edmundson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel could also draw some interest as could defensemen Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2024

The Oilers’ win streak reaches 16, Auston Matthews reaches 40 goals and Nikita Kucherov regains the lead in the scoring race. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers extended their win streak to 16 games with a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists while Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists for the 29-15-1 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 59 points. Colton Sissons replied for the Predators (26-22-1) as they cling to the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 53 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are now one win away from tying the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest win streak (17 games) in league history. Corey Perry made his debut with the Oilers, logging 12:44 in ice time with two hits and two shots.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 40th goal as his club doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly each collected two assists while Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves for the Leafs (25-14-8) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 shots for the 30-12-5 Jets as they slipped to third place in the Central Division with 65 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews set a franchise record as the fastest player to reach 40 goals (46 games) and extended his team record for most 40-goal seasons with five. He also became the eighth player in Leafs history to reach 600 points and the fastest to reach that plateau. Meanwhile, the club announced that Calle Jarnkrok is sidelined week-to-week with a broken knuckle.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected two assists to regain the lead in the NHL scoring race with 85 points in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Brayden Point and Brandon Hagel each scored twice as the 27-18-5 Lightning sit one point ahead of the Leafs in third place in the Atlantic Division. Ondrej Palat and Nico Hischier each had two points for the 24-20-3 Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hischier wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. “I’m embarrassed, to be honest,” he said in a postgame interview. With the Devils sitting six points out of a wild-card berth, he called on his teammates to play “pissed off.” They’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

The Vancouver Canucks overcame a three-goal deficit to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on an overtime goal by Elias Pettersson, who finished the game with two goals and an assist. Brock Boeser tallied a hat trick while Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller each collected three assists for the Canucks (33-11-5) as they hold first place in the overall standings with 71 points. Alexandre Texier had a goal and an assist for the 15-23-10 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blue Jackets announced winger Patrik Laine returned to Columbus after suffering a setback in his recovery from a fractured clavicle. They also placed defenseman Adam Boqvist (upper body) on injured reserve and recalled blueliner Nick Blankenburg from their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

A four-goal first period powered the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2. David Pastrnak tallied twice and collected an assist while James van Riemsdyk had a goal and two assists for the 31-9-9 Bruins, who sit second in the overall standings with 71 points. Tyson Foerster scored both goals for the slumping Flyers (25-19-6), who’ve lost five straight games but remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Flyers honored Mark Recchi with induction into their Hall of Fame. Recchi spent 10 seasons with the Flyers, tallying 627 points in 602 games. He also played three seasons with the Bruins, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 during his final season.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart scored to extend his points streak to 13 games as his club nipped the New York Islanders 3-2 on an overtime goal by Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the 31-14-4 Panthers as they sit in fourth place in the overall standings with 66 points. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 24 shots for the Islanders (20-17-12), who sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After beating the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Patrick Roy’s first game as their head coach, the Isles are winless in their last three contests (0-2-1). Before this game, Roy indicated that defenseman Adam Pelech is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He was sidelined by an illegal hit to the head on Thursday by Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, who received a five-game suspension as a result.

The Dallas Stars moved ahead of the Winnipeg Jets into second place in the Central Division with 66 points by dropping the Washington Capitals 5-4. Thomas Harley scored in overtime after his club blew a 4-2 lead and finished the game with two goals for the 30-13-6 Stars. Alex Ovechkin and Anthony Mantha each had a goal and an assist for the 22-18-7 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger Max Pacioretty left this game in the third period with a lower-body injury unrelated to his surgically repaired Achilles tendon. No word following the game regarding his condition.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin sniped two goals in a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider each had two assists while Alex Lyon stopped 28 shots for the Red Wings (26-18-5) as they hold the final Eastern wild-card berth with 57 points. Alec Martinez had two assists for the 29-15-6 Golden Knights (64 points) as they remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

A five-goal second period rallied the New York Rangers over the Ottawa Senators 7-2. Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists while Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Rangers (30-16-3) as they remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 63 points. Brady Tkachuk and Jakob Chychrun scored for the 18-25-2 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers captain Jacob Trouba missed this game as he’s serving a two-game suspension for elbowing Golden Knights forward Pavel Dorofeyev on Friday.

The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 as Dmitry Orlov broke a 1-1 tie with 36 seconds remaining in regulation time. Seth Jarvis collected two assists for the 28-15-5 Hurricanes, who sit two points back of the Rangers in second place in the Metro Division. Logan Cooley tallied for the slumping Coyotes (23-22-3) as they dropped their third straight game and sit four points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom kicked out 32 shots for a 1-0 shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks. Elias Lindholm scored the only goal as the 22-22-5 Flames (49 points) snapped a four-game losing skid and sit four points out of the final Western wild-card berth. Petr Mrazek made 30 saves for the 14-34-2 Blackhawks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with 30 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Flames announced that forward A.J. Greer is out for eight weeks with a fractured foot.

An overtime goal by Marcus Pettersson gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Penguins forward Lars Eller scored in his 1,000th career game as his club improved to 22-17-7 (51 points). Jake Allen made 30 saves for the 20-21-8 Canadiens.

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry scored two goals as his club tamed the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Lukas Dostal stopped 35 shots for the 17-30-2 Ducks. Mats Zuccarello collected two assists for the 21-23-5 Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild forward Marcus Foligno missed this game due to illness.

The Buffalo Sabres tallied five unanswered goals in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. JJ Peterka scored twice while Dylan Cozens had a goal and two assists for the Sabres (22-23-4). William Eklund picked up two assists for the 13-32-4 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Sabres as forward Jack Quinn left the game with an injured left leg following a hit by Sharks forward Tomas Hertl. Head coach Don Granato indicated Quinn’s injury should be considered more than day-to-day for recovery.