The NHL is planning two outdoor games at Lake Tahoe, plus the latest on Jack Eichel, Kasperi Kapanen, Andrew Shaw and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL is planning to stage two outdoor games at Edgewood Tahoe Resort at Lake Tahoe, Nevada during the upcoming season. The first would see the Colorado Avalanche face off against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20, followed the next day by the Philadelphia Flyers facing the Boston Bruins. Fans will not be in attendance.
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel is listed as day-to-day (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said the NHL has been scouting locations to hold “natural wilderness” outdoor-weekend games this year. Since they cannot have fans in attendance owing to COVID-19, it makes sense to take the game closer to its roots for the television audience. As Friedman suggests, if it works out they could consider making such games an annual event.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel missed the opening day of training camp to an upper-body injury suffered during offseason training. He’s listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark missed practice while quarantining due to an immigration issue. He’s expected in camp in the coming days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres need a healthy Eichel if they hope to secure their first playoff berth in a decade. Being listed as day-to-day sounds like the injury isn’t serious. Having not seen any meaningful ice time with his teammates in nearly 10 months, the Sabres captain can’t afford to miss too much training-camp time.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen will miss the Jan. 3 start of training camp because of an immigration issue. The 24-year-old winger was acquired by the Penguins last August in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s expected to join his new teammate partway through camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen won’t have much time to get acquainted with his new teammates before the season begins. He’s reportedly still in Finland and will need a mandatory seven-day quarantine as per NHL rules and four non-positive COVID tests before he can join the Penguins in training camp.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith are both healthy and ready to join their teammates in training camp on Sunday. Both players missed considerable time last season with injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander all sidelined for months, the Blackhawks need all the help they can get up front.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is back on the ice with his teammates after missing all but eight games last season with a herniated disc. He worked with Filip Hronek as his defense partner and also skated with the Wings’ top power-play unit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A positive first step toward returning to action for DeKeyser. The rebuilding Wings will need him as they attempt to take a big leap forward in their overall development this season.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Former Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis has joined the Jets on a professional tryout offer.
Check out the latest on the Kings and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT COULD THE KINGS DO IN THE OFF-SEASON?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: In his postmortem on the Los Angeles’ Kings 2019-20 season, Matt Larkin observed they’ll have around $20 million in salary-cap space if the cap remains at $81.5 million for next season. With all their impact players under contract, Larkin wondered if general manager Rob Blake will chase a major unrestricted free agent. Noting it’s still too early for the club to become a contender, Larkin believes Blake could remain conservative for another year.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Lisa Dillman was asked if the Kings might re-sign Trevor Lewis to a contract extension in the off-season. She doesn’t think so, pointing out the 33-year-old center was reportedly available at this year’s trade deadline. She suspects there haven’t been any contract discussions lately.
Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter (Photo via NHL Images).
Dillman was also asked if Jeff Carter might be traded. She doubts it, pointing out the 35-year-old center recently underwent core-muscle surgery. She said there wasn’t a trade scenario before Carter’s surgery, but if there was, this would change the equation.
Asked which player she felt might be a good target for the Kings in the 2022 UFA market, Dillman cited Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. She cautioned, however, that most pending free agents tend to re-sign with their teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree that Blake is likely to wait another year before attempting to make a big splash in the UFA pool. However, I don’t rule out the possibility he’ll attempt to pry away a good young player from a cap-strapped rival.
With over $69 million invested in 16 players (as per Cap Friendly) for next season, the Kings also have sufficient cap space to make that kind of addition. Blake has some tradeable assets if the opportunity arises to land a promising NHL talent. The Kings have seven picks in rounds two through four of this year’s draft and six in the same rounds next season.
LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked what he thought the Pittsburgh Penguins will do about their goaltending situation. Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are both restricted free agents with arbitration rights and the Penguins can’t afford to keep both.
Yohe speculates Murray could hit the trade block. He’ll command the most money, which could be a problem for the Penguins if the salary cap declines next season. To keep both goalies would mean trading Kris Letang or a couple of other important players.
Asked which two players won’t be on the roster next season, Yohe thinks Nick Bjugstad and Patrick Marleau are the most likely candidates. Bjugstad’s injury history, however, will make him hard to trade. Marleau, meanwhile, is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford hasn’t ruled out re-signing Murray and Jarry, but it will require some salary and roster juggling to pull it off. Even if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million, the Penguins have over $68 million committed to 15 players in 2020-21. New contracts for both goalies will eat up a big chunk of that cap room.
Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin to skip the 2020 All-Star Game, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center Patrick Bergeron enjoyed his third straight two-goal game in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for the shutout. The Bruins played without defenseman Torey Krug, who suffered an upper-body injury earlier in the week. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has scored twice in each of his last three games (Photo via NHL Images).
An own goal in overtime by New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory. Leafs forwards John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and two assists, as did Devils forwards Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri and Jesper Bratt. Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev left the game in the third period with a wrist injury after being accidentally clipped by Bratt’s skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Leafs revealed forward Trevor Moore is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That goal pretty much symbolized the Devils’ season. They played well enough to win this one, only to lose it bizarrely.
T.J. Oshie’s scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Earlier in the day, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced he’ll skip the 2020 NHL All-Star Game next month in St. Louis. Ovechkin thanked the fans for voting him captain of the Metropolitan Division, but felt he needs the extra time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season. He’ll receive an automatic one-game suspension by the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if other players follow Ovechkin’s lead.
The Calgary Flames won the latest match in the Battle of Alberta by thumping the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Andrew Mangiapane had a three-point game while teammates Elias Lindholm and T.J. Brodie had two points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just four wins their last 15 games, the Oilers have slid from first place in the Pacific Division at the start of December to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Flames, meanwhile, have won 10 of their last 15.
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner won his first game against his former club in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. He made 38 saves as the Blackhawks are 4-2-0 in their last six contests. Duncan Keith and Dylan Strome each picked up two assists.
New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 39 shots backstopping his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and picked up an assist while Artemi Panarin scored and set up two others for the Rangers.
The Minnesota Wild tallied three unanswered third-period goals to down the Colorado Avalanche 6-4. Wild forward Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala each collected two points while Avalanche winger Matt Calvert scored twice. Avs rookie defenseman Cale Makar returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry turned aside 30 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Penguins have won five of their last six games.
David Perron’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues their seventh straight win as they downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-4. Tyler Bozak scored twice and Jaden Schwartz picked up three assists. Kyle Connor tallied twice for the Jets.
Three goals within a 1:37 span in the second period enabled the Anaheim Ducks to hang onto a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Cam Fowler and Devin Shore each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. Nate Schmidt tallied twice for the Golden Knights.
The Los Angeles Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jeff Carter. Martin Frk scored twice for the Kings. Sharks center Joe Thornton netted his first goal of the season. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Trevor Lewis (upper body) on injured reserve.
IN OTHER NEWS…
YARDBARKER: Former Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk is ineligible to play in the KHL for the remainder of this season.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha is sidelined at least a month with a rib injury.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forwards Joel Armia (wrist injury) and Paul Byron (knee) are listed as week-to-week. Center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is slated to return to action tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning after missing eight games with a concussion.
Sportsnet parts ways with Don Cherry, Jesse Puljujarvi to remain in Finland this season, the Coyotes extend GM John Chayka’s contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes blew a three-goal lead but went on to edge the Washington Capitals 4-3 on shootout goals by Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice for the Capitals. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced general manager John Chayka signed a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 26 when hired as GM in 2016, Chayka’s made significant changes to the Coyotes roster. He re-signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year extension, acquired Schmaltz, Phil Kessel, Darcy Kuemper, Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and drafted Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. His moves appear to be paying off. The Coyotes look like a playoff contender this season.
Sebastian Aho scored twice and Joel Edmundson enjoyed a three-point performance as the Carolina Hurricanes thumped the Ottawa Senators 8-2. Andrei Svechnikov, Brett Pesce, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, and Martin Necas each collected two points.
SPORTSNET: announced yesterday Don Cherry was immediately stepping down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada. The move came after Cherry singled out new Canadian immigrants during Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment for not wearing poppies to honor the country’s veterans and troops leading up to Remembrance Day. Cherry’s comments sparked considerable outrage in the press and social media, sparking apologies by Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean, the network, and the NHL.
After 38 years, Don Cherry is no longer on Hockey Night in Canada (Photo via NHL.com).
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Cherry refused to walk back his comments, insisting his remarks weren’t racial or bigoted but made out of respect for Canada’s troops. He also said he felt betrayed over the firing, adding he wasn’t going to be turned into a “tamed robot” to keep his job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what you think of Cherry, his departure from Hockey Night in Canada creates a void it could struggle to replace. He’d been on the show since 1981 and had his Coach’s Corner segment for over 35 years. Former NHL executive Brian Burke is rumored as a potential substitute.
Cherry’s dismissal drew considerable reaction among hockey fans and pundits. Some supported him while others are glad to see him go. He’s had a long history of making controversial statements on topics that had little or nothing to do with hockey. The latest proved to be a bridge too far, sparking an intense backlash the network and the league couldn’t ignore or gloss over with apologies.
TSN: Jesse Puljujarvi intends to spend the rest of this season playing in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent opted to return to his home country to await a trade by the Oilers. The club still retains his NHL rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Puljujarvi in the Rumors section.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov.10, 2019.
SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno received a three-game suspension by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Saturday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss at least one game with an undisclosed ailment. He didn’t join the team on its five-day trip to the New York area.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is sidelined with an upper-body injury. The club called up Uhro Vaakanainen on Monday.
WASHINGTON POST: Winger Richard Panik has returned to the Capitals after missing 10 games on long-term injury reserve.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader is sidelined for three weeks with a mid-body injury.
Sidney Crosby and Mitch Marner fall to injuries, Lightning sweep their two-game Global Series with the Sabres, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout but lost captain Sidney Crosby to a lower-body injury in the third period. The Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and the shootout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to the severity of Crosby’s injury. We could learn more later today.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner suffered an ankle injury during his club’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images)
The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but went on to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Leafs forward Mitch Marner left the game early in the second period with an ankle injury and didn’t return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs coach Mike Babcock was uncertain over the status of Marner’s injury. An update could come today or tomorrow.
Patrick Maroon tallied two goals and Curtis McElhinney kicked out 40 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 to sweep their two-game Global Series. The Sabres have dropped five straight games.
Nicklas Backstrom scored twice as the league-leading Washington Capitals picked up their sixth consecutive win by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Jakub Vrana each collected two points for Washington. Capitals winger Carl Hagelin missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Calgary Flames 3-2 on an overtime goal by David Perron. Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo each had two-point nights for the Blues. Flames forward Elias Lindholm had his points streak end at nine games.
Cale Makar scored twice and Pavel Francouz made 39 stops as the Colorado Avalanche doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. The Jackets have dropped six of their last seven games. Team captain Nick Foligno was tossed from the game for an elbow to the head of Avs’ forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who left the game and didn’t return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how long Bellemare could be sidelined. The Avs are already missing Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Philipp Grubauer, and Colin Wilson. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov was the latest to join their ranks, listed as week-to-week following surgery to mend a broken jaw.
The New York Islanders extended their points streak to 12 games by edging the Florida Panthers 2-1. They’ve picked up wins in 11 of those contests. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist. Winger Jordan Eberle returned to the lineup and prevented a Panthers’ goal with a game-turning goal-line save.
Ottawa Senators forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Jean-Gabriel Pageau set a franchise record with second-period goals within four seconds of each other to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. The Hurricanes have dropped four straight contests. They also revealed center Erik Haula (knee injury) could be sidelined longer than anticipated.
Shea Weber scored two first-period goals and Carey Price made 31 saves as the Montreal Canadiens held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Canadiens have won five of their last seven games. Kings forward Trevor Lewis missed the game with a lower-body injury and will be reassessed on Monday.
The Minnesota Wild tallied three unanswered goals to squeak past the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Kevin Fiala, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon had two points each. This was the fourth consecutive time the Coyotes blew a lead and went down to defeat.
Timo Meier scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Tomas Hertl scored the game-tying goal for the Sharks. Filip Forsberg tallied for the Predators.
SPORTSNET: New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will be sidelined at least two weeks following surgery to address an infection in his ankle.
Game recaps, injury updates, Canadiens and Flyers swing a four-player trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart collected his eighth straight win backstopping his club to a 6-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Hart tied Jocelyn Thibault as the only two goalies in NHL history to win eight straight games before their 21st birthday. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed Hart would remain with the club for the remainder of the season. While the Flyers have points (9-0-1) in their last 10 games, the Ducks have just two victories in their last 21 contests, sending them tumbling to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart’s the biggest reason behind the Flyers’ recent resurgence, providing them with the quality goaltending that was lacking earlier in the campaign.
As for the Ducks, injuries and a lack of scoring depth have crippled them this season, but I also believe general manager Bob Murray’s reluctance to fire head coach Randy Carlyle is another contributing factor. It’s apparent the players have tuned out Carlyle. Big changes are required in Anaheim and they should start behind the bench as soon as possible.
**UPDATE** The Ducks fired Carlyle this afternoon. Murray will take over as the coach on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
John Tavares’ overtime goal lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 (Photo via NHL Images).
John Tavares’ overtime goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs (71 points) a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, opening a two-point lead over the latter for second in the Atlantic Division. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens shipped David Schlemko and Byron Froese to the Philadelphia Flyers for Christian Folin and Dale Weise, placed defenseman Karl Alzner on waivers, and placed Paul Byron (forearm) on injured reserve as winger Andrew Shaw returned to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bit of tinkering here for both clubs, with Schlemko and Weise as the notable players in this deal. By moving Schlemko to the Flyers, the Canadiens shed his $2.1 million salary-cap hit through next season while bringing back Weise ($2.35 million through 2019-20), who was a popular checking line forward during his previous tenure in Montreal.
The Canadiens sent Weise to their AHL affiliate but there’s talk they’ll try to bring him up into the roster soon. Schlemko, meanwhile, is expected to skate alongside promising Philippe Myers on the Flyers’ blueline.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight win by nipping the Nashville Predators 3-2. Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington picked up his ninth win in 11 starts and teammate Vladimir Tarasenko stretched his points streak to seven games. The Blues (57 points) maintained their grip on the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton collected two assists to tie Gordie Howe (1,049) for ninth on the all-time list in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Lebanc tallied a hat trick for the Sharks. Following the game, Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock criticized his players’ performance. “At this time of year, the coaches can’t want it more than the players,” he said. The Oilers (53 points) are four points out of a playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are a disheartened bunch right. They’ve tried their best since the All-Star break but their lack of depth is hampering those efforts and hurting morale. Scolding them won’t overcome those issues.
Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves and Elias Pettersson scored the winner in a shootout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Pettersson also collected two assists in regulation. Flames winger James Neal lost some teeth after being struck in the mouth by the stick of Canucks defenseman Alex Biega but he was able to finish the game. Biega received a double-minor penalty. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed sidelined winger Sven Baertschi is dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby surpassed Mario Lemieux for most games played in franchise history (916) in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins (63 points) have dropped four straight and cling to the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
An overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron gave the Boston Bruins a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Before the game, the Bruins honored Bergeron for recently playing his 1,000th career NHL game. The Kings also activated forward Trevor Lewis off injured reserve.
Third-period goals by Conor Sheary, Connor Mittelstadt, and Kyle Okposo carried the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres (61 points) sit two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing skid by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing Devils goalie Cory Schneider his 20th consecutive loss. With the win, the Wild (59 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Ryan Pulock scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the New York Islanders edged the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. It was the Avs’ sixth straight defeat, putting them three points behind the St. Louis Blues (57 points) for the final wild-card berth in the West.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson made 44 saves as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Mark Stone scored twice against the Jets, who’ve dropped three straight games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Jets’ recent slump puts more pressure on GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to swing a deal before the trade deadline.
The Arizona Coyotes ended a five-game losing skid by holding off the Dallas Stars 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for the Coyotes (53 points), who sit four points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Stars defenseman Roman Polak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Mike Hoffman’s overtime goal gave the Florida Panthers a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals, giving the Panthers their sixth win in their last eight contests. Brett Connolly scored twice for the Capitals.
Cam Atkinson scored the game-tying and winning goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to down the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3.