NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

Mike Hoffman joining the Blues and two significant trades by the Senators highlights this roundup of the notable Christmas holiday weekend news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout offer. Hoffman can negotiate with other clubs while training with the Blues. However, Rutherford believes the two sides have in place a one-year deal worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, and they’re waiting to officially announce it because of salary-cap implications.

Mike Hoffman joins the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout offer (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubted the Blues would sign Hoffman unless he was willing to reduce his rumored asking price of between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. He’s apparently done so to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Hoffman will provide some much-needed short-term offense with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery. A solid performance could improve Hoffman’s chances of a more lucrative deal in next year’s UFA market.

Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $1.175 million in cap space with Vince Dunn to be signed. They will get cap relief by placing Alexander Steen and his $5.75 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve at the start of the season.

Rutherford points out having Hoffman on a PTO gives Blues general manager Doug Armstrong time to determine how much it’ll cost to re-sign Dunn. It could also allow time to make a cost-cutting trade, though they could also get some wiggle room if necessary by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million AAV) on LTIR.

ARIZONA SPORTS/OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were busy in the trade market on Sunday. Their first move saw them ship a 2021 second-round draft pick (originally owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Derek Stepan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by both clubs. The Coyotes wanted to shed some salary and the rebuilding Senators sought some short-term experience and leadership at center.

PuckPedia pointed out this deal gives the Coyotes a projected $3.7 million in salary-cap space without having to place Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). They can accrue cap space to put toward this season’s trade deadline and their performance bonuses earned won’t automatically carry over into next season. That extra second-rounder will offset their lack of a third-round pick in the ’21 draft.

Some folks wondered why the Senators took on Stepan when (in their minds) they could’ve pursued better options. One reason is Stepan will get more playing time with the Sens than he was getting with the Coyotes. Another is he lacked no-trade protection. His actual salary is another factor. While his annual average is $6.5 million annual average value for this season (the last of his contract), his actual salary is just $2 million.

Critics feel the Senators gave up too much for Stepan by parting with a second-round pick. This, however, was a move they could afford to make. They still have two second-round picks in the ‘21 draft and could land another second-round pick if they decide to peddle Stepan at the trade deadline. Failing that, they could get a third-rounder. Some will scoff at that notion but one must never underestimate the willingness of general managers to overpay at the deadline.

OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Senators’ second deal saw them send the contracts of winger Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette, and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaborik hasn’t played since 2017-18 while Nilsson is expected to miss this season with concussion symptoms. The Lightning will place their combined salaries ($7.5 million) on LTIR, allowing the club to become cap compliant when this season begins.

Like Stepan, Coburn and Paquette will provide the Senators with short-term experience and leadership. Both will be unrestricted free agents next summer, though there’s a chance the Sens could sign the 27-year-old Paquette to an extension if he plays well this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators also signed top prospect Tim Stuetzle yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract. He was given his release by Adler Mannheim in the German league Sunday in order to sign with the Sens.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This signing isn’t surprising considering how well Stuetzle’s performed for the COVID-ravaged German squad thus far in the 2021 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old winger is expected to finish the tournament with Germany and join the Senators’ training camp following a seven-day quarantine in Ottawa.

TSN: Ilya Kovalchuk has officially signed a two-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should bring Kovalchuk’s second tenure in the NHL to a permanent close. He’s no longer the scoring threat he once was, bouncing last season from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed free-agent center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes after Blackhawks promising young center Kirby Dach suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada at the World Juniors.

THE SCORE: The Capitals signed free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson to a professional tryout contract. This signing comes less than two weeks after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season by a heart condition.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year contract worth $850K.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a professional tryout contract. He’ll compete for either a roster spot or a place with the Jackets’ taxi squad.

TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson has opted out of playing the 2020-21 NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for player opt-outs was Dec. 27.

THE SCORE: Forward Mark Letestu announced his retirement yesterday after 11 NHL seasons. He tallied 93 goals and 210 points in 567 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2020

The league continues evaluating its options to resume the season while looking ahead at 2020-21, plus the latest on Alexander Radulov, Sidney Crosby and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league continues to entertain all options regarding the resumption of the 2019-20 season. “In terms of where we go from here, we’re modeling all sorts of options and everything is on the table,” he said. “But we’re going to have to be flexible and react to things that are beyond our control.

Bettman hopes the Ottawa Senators player who tested positive for COVID-19 makes a swift recovery. He also said the league is taking steps to ensure all its employees are safe and taken care of during this crisis. Bettman indicated he’s been in constant contact with businesses, other hockey leagues and sports leagues.

NBC SPORTS: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said playing a full 82-games schedule in 2020-21 is the league’s priority. Whatever steps are taken to resume this season must not adversely affect its ability to stage a full ’20-’21 campaign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If maintaining the remainder of the current schedule creates risk for 2020-21, I believe they’ll either cancel the rest of the regular season in favor of staging the 2020 playoffs. If that isn’t feasible, they’ll have to scrap the entire thing and focus on staging a full ’20-’21 campaign.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks say none of their players have shown COVID-19 symptoms at this time. They’ll continue monitoring their players through the league’s self-quarantine period through March 27. An Ottawa Senators player tested positive for the virus after coming down with symptoms following his return from the club’s recent California road trip.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche may have been exposed to the coronavirus during a recent road game against the San Jose Sharks. Santa Clara County, where the Sharks play their home games, was a coronavirus hot spot at the time.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Alexander Radulov tested negative for COVID-19. Radulov was ill for six days before the league pausing its schedule a week ago, missing two games.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has cancelled his summer hockey school over coronavirus concerns (Photo via NHL Images).

 TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby canceled his summer hockey school in Cole Harbour, NS as a result of the current pandemic.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Speaking of the Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford and team president and CEO David Morehouse will take voluntary pay cuts to ensure other members of the Penguins staff won’t be financially affected by the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens recently donated 13,000 pounds to a local food bank. The food was originally slated to be used during the remainder of the club’s home games in March.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins are the only NHL team yet to announce how they’ll take care of their employees during this pandemic. A group of concerned Bruins players is running a GoFundMe page soliciting donations to help TD Garden employees. The club last week released a statement indicating they intend to reveal further information about helping those employees, citing the sheer size of their parent company Delaware North as one of the challenges.

THE SCORE: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise has pushed back its March 31 plan to unveil its team nickname.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: CHL leagues canceled the remainder of their regular-season schedules.

NBC SPORTS: The USHL and NAHL canceled its seasons.

ESPN.COM: The cancellations of all NCAA winter and spring championships robbed Cornell University of a shot at a rare double national championship. Their men’s and women’s teams are both ranked No. 1 in the country.

BARDOWN: Former NHL enforcer Tie Domi ripped into Hockey Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, calling the former New Jersey Devils defenseman “the biggest phony” he ever played against.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What do you think, folks? Is Domi right? Or is it merely a case of sour grapes? Feel free to weigh in via the comments section below.

NBC SPORTS: The 10 finalists for the 2020 Hobey Baker Award have been revealed:

Morgan Barron, Jr., F, Cornell
Jason Cotton, Sr., F, Sacred Heart
Jack Dugan, So., F, Providence
David Farrance, Jr., D, Boston University
Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, North Dakota
John Leonard, Jr., F, Massachusetts
Dryden McKay, So., G, Minnesota State
Marc Michaelis, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Scott Perunovich, Jr., D, Minnesota Duluth
Jeremy Swayman, Jr., G, Maine










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2020

The Bruins become the first team to reach 100 points this season,  Mika Zibanejad and Filip Forsberg set franchise records with their respective clubs and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask kicked out 36 shots to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0, snapping the latter’s nine-game winning streak. Matt Grzelcyk and Patrice Bergeron were the goal scorers as the league-leading Bruins became the first team to reach 100 points this season. The Flyers played without defenseman Philippe Myers, who’s sidelined at least four weeks with a fractured patella in his right knee.

Mika Zibanejad is the fastest player to score 40 goals in New York Rangers history (Photo via NHL Images).

Mika Zibanejad became the fastest player to reach 40 goals in New York Rangers history in a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Rookie Kaapo Kakko scored twice for the Rangers (78 points), who sit three points out of an Eastern wild-card berth. The slumping Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’re winless in their last six contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how many great scorers the Rangers have had in their long history, that’s quite an achievement by Zibanejad.

The Nashville Predators (78 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by doubling up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Filip Forsberg scored twice, becoming the first player in Predators’ history to register six 20-goal seasons. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced leading scorer Tomas Tatar is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews’ 47th goal of the season was also the game-winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Teammate Mitch Marner collected two assists as the Leafs (81 points) opened a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly returned to action for the first time after suffering a broken foot nearly two months ago. The Lightning are eight points behind the Bruins.

Evgeni Malkin scored twice and picked up an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 86 points, the Penguins sit third in the Metropolitan Division. Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced center Nick Bjugstad is considered week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian tallied twice and added an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek made 23 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in late February. With 81 points, the Canes move into the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Wings, meanwhile, have the dubious honor of clinching last place in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The silver lining for the Wings is they have the best odds of winning the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

The struggling New York Islanders winless skid reached seven games as they fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. Brock Nelson scored twice for the Isles while Thatcher Demko made 45 saves for the Canucks (78 points), who moved back into the second Western wild-card berth, The Isles (80 points) sit one point out of an Eastern wild-card spot.

A natural hat trick by Nicolas Deslauriers carried the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s status remains uncertain after suffering a lower-body injury during Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is expected to provide an update later today. Meanwhile, the Avs announced former Colorado Rockies stars and MLB Hall-of-Famer Larry Walker will be their honorary emergency backup goalie during Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues placing Troy Brouwer on waivers has raised speculation sidelined winger Vladimir Tarasenko could be nearing a return from shoulder surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic could return to action against the Islanders on Thursday.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets assigned Mark Letestu to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint. A diagnosis of myocarditis sidelined him for all but seven games this season.

THE SCORE: The Columbus Blue Jackets will continue to allow fans at their home games despite the Ohio governor’s recommendation that indoor sports events be held without spectators over coronavirus concerns. The team has recommended those fans at higher risk, including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, should avoid these events.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2019

The Canadiens and Flames rally for overtime victories plus the latest on Dustin Byfuglien, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: Max Domi’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher to force the extra frame. Domi and Tatar each had a goal and an assist. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty collected an assist against his former club for his 500th career NHL point. Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed the game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.

The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0, 4-1, and 5-4 deficits to burn the Nashville Predators 6-5 on a between-the-legs overtime goal by Matthew Tkachuk, who also tallied the game-tying goal. Tkachuk and Sean Monahan finished with three points apiece. Predators winger Auston Watson celebrated his new three-year, $4.5-million contract extension with a four-point performance. Teammate Calle Jarnkrok also tallied twice.

HEADLINES

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien could require up to four months to recover from recent ankle surgery. His agent is in discussions with the NHL Players Association as they review his case. it could have financial complications if it’s determined he injured his ankle playing hockey.

Dustin Byfuglien’s ankle surgery raises more questions over his future with the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien is on a leave of absence mulling his future and was suspended without pay for salary-cap purposes. He underwent this surgery in his home state of Minnesota without informing the team.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff shed little light on the situation, raising speculation of a difference of opinion between the player and the organization over the status of his injured ankle. The silence from both sides only generates more questions over the future of Byfuglien’s playing career. For the time being, it seems increasingly likely he won’t be back with the Jets this season.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets got more bad news as center Mark Letestu has been sidelined by a heart virus (myocarditis) for six months. Winger Patrik Laine remains sidelined with a minor lower-body injury. Center Bryan Little left practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury and could miss tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letestu is expected to make a full recovery but he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season.

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has hired a lawyer to investigate how his name became associated with a Russian virtual reality start-up that reportedly lost millions of dollars. The report claimed Malkin invested $4 million into the company, which used his name to attract other investors. He denied investing in the company.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they’ve assigned Sam Lafferty to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Buffalo Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey (lower body) has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day. San Jose Sharks center Dylan Gambrell is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings forward Tyler Toffoli was a healthy scratch during Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is an unrestricted free agent in July. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to this move.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist.

The Charlotte Checkers have released Jamie McGinn from his professional tryout offer.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2019

Brothers Jack and Quinn Hughes face off for the first time, Tyson Jost tallies his first career hat trick, Jason Zucker apologizes to Bruce Boudreau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jack Hughes emerged the victor in the first meeting against his brother Quinn, scoring the only goal as his New Jersey Devils blanked the Vancouver Canucks 1-0. Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for the shutout.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (left) and New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (Photo via NHL.com).

Three unanswered second-period goals carried the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Carey Price made 32 saves while Canadiens captain Shea Weber had a goal and an assist. Habs defenseman Cale Fleury missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The Arizona Coyotes extended their points streak to five games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Conor Garland and Alex Goligoski had two points each for the Coyotes. In a pre-game ceremony, the Coyotes honored winger Phil Kessel recently playing in his 1,000th career NHL game with a silver stick.

Morgan Rielly scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Leafs 2-0 and 3-2 leads before Rielly’s OT heroics. David Pastrnak netted a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tyson Jost tallied his first NHL hat trick while Pavel Francouz kicked out 44 shots as the Colorado Avalanche downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. Colin Wilson collected three assists for the Avs, extending their points streak to eight games.

The Dallas Stars snapped a five-game losing skid by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Corey Perry had a goal and two assists while Ben Bishop made 38 stops.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Paul Stastny, William Karlsson, and Mark Stone were the goal scorers. The Penguins skated without defenseman Brian Dumoulin and center Jared McCann.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth straight win as they nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brock Nelson. Teammate Anthony Beauvillier collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Isles placed winger Jordan Eberle (lower body) on injured reserve.

After blowing a 2-0 lead, the Florida Panthers downed the Nashville Predators 3-2 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. It was a costly win for the Panthers as center Aleksander Barkov left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis collected two assists.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. It was Quick’s first win of the season and snapped the Kings’ three-game losing streak. Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane missed the game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Zemgus Girgensons’ third-period goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks to end the latter’s three-game win streak. Sabres center Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist while Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson had two assists.

THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker apologized for publicly calling out head coach Bruce Boudreau earlier in the week. “There was no reason for me to use his name in that quote in any way,” Zucker said. He explained that the players were mostly responsible for the club’s poor start to the season.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Wild, Joel Eriksson Ek will be sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Letestu (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the remainder of the month.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2019

Game recaps, Wild re-sign Stalock, Hurricanes re-up Martinook, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Kyle Connor scored twice in regulation and tallied the shootout winner as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron also scored two goals while linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak collected three points each. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor led his club to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images).

Conor Sheary’s third-period goal gave the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner tallied his 31st goal of the season. 

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 38 saves to shut out the New York Rangers 1-0. Oskar Lindblom netted the only goal as the Flyers picked up their fifth straight win. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-upped winger Jordan Martinook to a two-year, $4-million deal. 

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed backup goaltender Alex Stalock to a three-year, $2.355-million contract. The annual average value is $785K. 

NJ.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard won’t receive supplemental discipline for his elbowing penalty on Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen, opening a gash on Vatanen’s forward. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NHL and admitted into stage two of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program for his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse.

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled Mark Letestu, who’s spent the season in the minors. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens players Gerry Plamondon passed away Saturday at age 95. Plamondon was the last surviving member of the Canadiens’ 1946 Stanley Cup championship roster.