The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite Team: Central Division
The latest on the Stanley Cup champion Blues plus updates on Connor McDavid, Marc-Andre Fleury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues will hold their Stanley Cup parade and celebration on Saturday, June 15. “The parade will start at noon CT at 18th and Market Street and will end at Broadway and Market Street. A rally will follow at the Gateway Arch.” The Blues won the Cup by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Final on Wednesday.
SPORTSNET: Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington can expect to see more money on his next contract. “He’s going to earn a big pay raise this summer and we’re looking forward to paying him,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. Binnington is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A career minor leaguer until called up at midseason, Binnington’s performance helped the Blues rise from the bottom of the standings to Stanley Cup champions. He’s got arbitration rights and is a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. Those factors will affect his contract negotiations.
NBC SPORTS: Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final was the most-watched NHL game on record since 1994. Over 8.9 million viewers watched the Blues defeat the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the most-watched NHL game on record in the United States. In Canada, it’s a different story. With all Canadian teams eliminated after the opening round and the Toronto Raptors on an NBA championship run, the ratings for the Stanley Cup playoffs were down this year.
THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said he expects team captain Connor McDavid to be ready for training camp in September. McDavid continues to rehab from a knee injury suffered during the Oilers’ final game of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid was spotted limping at a recent charity event, generating concern over the status of his recovery. The injury didn’t require surgery and isn’t expected to affect his off-season training.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knight goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury sold his Las Vegas home for $2.3 million. Records indicate the buyer is a strip club owner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might seize on this sale to raise concern over Fleury’s future with the Golden Knights. However, he’s about to begin a new three-year deal. As the Golden Knights’ starting goalie and franchise player, he’s not going anywhere.
TSN: Former NHL player Rick Nash was named a special assistant to Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Nash announced his retirement as a player in January.
NBC SPORTS: Hall-of-Famer Eric Lindros hopes a new campaign in Ontario will help amateur athletes, parents and coaches better identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Lindros’ career was cut short by repeated concussions.
Canadiens and Flames swap former first-round picks, Oilers sign Jakub Jerabek, Rangers sign Dustin Tokarski. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CALGARY SUN: The Calgary Flames shipped center Hunter Shinkaruk to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Kerby Rychel. Both teams re-signed their new players to one-year, one-way contract worth $650K. The duo are also former first-round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft. Rychel was selected 19th overall while Shinkaruk went 24th overall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will be Rychel’s fourth NHL team, having bounced from Columbus to Toronto to Montreal while the Canadiens are Shinkaruk’s third, having been previously acquired by the Flames from the Vancouver Canucks. Both have spent the bulk of their respective pro careers in the minors.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed goaltender Dustin Tokarski to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650K at the NHL level. Tokarski, 28, spent last season with the Philadelphia Flyers AHL affiliate.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers signed defenseman Jakub Jerabek to a one-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jerabek,27, made his NHL debut last season, splitting 36 games between the Canadiens and Washington Capitals. He’s seen as an affordable stopgap measure for now to offset the absence of Andrej Sekera, who recently suffered a career-threatening torn Achilles tendon.
Jerabek won’t replace Sekera’s skill and experience. Still, he will be a short-term depth solution until better options present themselves once Sekera ($5.5 million) is placed on LTIR at the start of the upcoming season.
NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri has launched a foundation in his name to assist serving and former U.S. service members and their families. The goal is to provide funds for various programs that benefit the military community.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a Canadian Forces veteran, I salute Palmieri for his efforts to help the U.S. military community.
THE ATHLETIC: Hockey-related revenue, escrow, shortening maximum-length contracts, the Olympics and expansion to Seattle are expected to be the major issues in the next round of collective bargaining between the NHL and NHLPA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In case you’re wondering why we’re hearing about this now, the league and the NHLPA each have an opt-out option next September. If one or the other triggers that option, the current CBA will expire on Sept.15, 2020.
OTTAWA SUN: Hockey Hall of Famer Eric Lindros recently clarified his comments suggesting the NHL should consider removing body contact from the game, saying “clean body contact should have a place in the upper tiers and professional hockey.” Lindros, whose career was cut short by concussion injuries, is now an advocate for improved player safety.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: The family of recently deceased NHL player Kurt Walker will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation at Boston University.
Updates on Patrik Laine, William Nylander, Ryan Miller and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine stated he’s in no rush to sign a contract extension. Noting he’s entering the final season of his entry-level contract, Laine said he doesn’t mind if talks with the Jets start this summer or next. He indicated his preference is to ink a long-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine will be a restricted free agent without arbitration rights next summer. That give the Jets plenty of time to work out a new deal with him.
Coming off a 44-goal campaign in 2017-18, the cost of re-signing him will be high. Another 40-plus goal season could push his asking price higher.
The Jets have already invested over $46 million in just 10 players for 2019-20 and Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers among their notable free agents next summer. They could face a cap squeeze.
SPORTSNET: Like Laine, Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander also isn’t in any hurry to get a new contract. The difference is, he is currently a restricted free agent.
Nylander said there was no added pressure to get a deal done because someone else recently re-signed, referring to the Detroit Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin, who last week inked a five-year, $30.5-million contract. He also said Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wanted to take things slow, adding his agent and Dubas are “going back and forth”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s new deal might not be having any effect upon how Nylander’s handling this, but I have a feeling his agent could be pointing to that contract as a comparable.
THE ATHLETIC: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller recently attended a Families Belong Together rally with his family to protest the American government’s decision to separate immigrant parents from their children at the Mexican border. He said his stance is pro-human rights but acknowledged a need for a reasonable immigration and border policy. Miller also feels athletes should speak freely about issues that are important to them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you have a subscription to The Athletic you should check out this piece on Miller. The Ducks netminder provides well-rounded opinions on this topic. Lest anyone thinks he’s simply a Trump hater, Miller also explains that he didn’t agree with everything done under the Obama administration. He stressed the need to become well-informed on contentious issues.
POSTMEDIA (via CALGARY SUN): Former NHL star Eric Lindros believes education and awareness have evolved in the recognition and treatment and of concussion injuries. However, he feels more can be done to avoid head injuries.
TMZ: Former NHL defenseman Bryan Berard is suing the league for failing to protect him from brain injuries during his 12-year career. Berard was the first-overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft.
STLTODAY.COM: Former NHL forward Joe Vitale has taken over from Kelly Chase as an NHL in-game analyst covering St. Louis Blues games for KMOX 1120 AM.
SPORTSNET: revealed their NHL preseason broadcasting schedule, kicking off with the Boston Bruins versus the Calgary Flames at Shenzhen, China on Saturday, Sept. 15.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: “The Florida Panthers will host ‘Legacy Saturdays’ at the BB&T Center throughout the 2018-19 season as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations.”
Game recaps, Flyers honor Eric Lindros plus latest on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jake Muzzin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sean Couturier’s overtime goal gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. The Flyers rallied from a 2-0 deficit on third-period goals by Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds. Before the game, the Flyers honored Hall of Fame center Eric Lindros by retiring his No. 88 to the rafters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved recognition for Lindros, who was one of the most dominant players of his generation. Following the game, soft-spoken Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen voiced his unhappiness over his club’s sputtering performance of late.
The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a two-game losing skid and picked up their 30th win of the season by downing the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. David Perron had a two-point game, as did teammate Deryk Engelland, who also collected his 100th career NHL point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights (63 points) are not only the top team in the Western Conference, they also moved to within two points of the Lightning in the overall standings.
The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 15 games with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Brad Marchand had a three-point night.
The Colorado Avalanche continue to roll, picking up their eighth consecutive win by defeating the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Avs goalie Jonathan Bernier made 45 saves while Nathan MacKinnon and Miko Rantanen each collected three points. The Avalanche hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing concern among Sharks followers over the play of starting goaltender Martin Jones. Since returning from an injury on Dec. 2, his save percentage is just .886 through 13 games. That’s quite a decline from the .930 SP before his injury.
Rick Nash scored twice and set up Pavel Buchnevich’s game-winning goal as the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3.
A three-goal second period carried the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Brayden Schenn and Alexander Steen each scored a goal and collected an assist.
Casey DeSmith made 28 saves for his first NHL victory backstopping the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, who’ve now dropped five straight games. Pens forward Patric Hornqvist scored two goals. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to action after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
Taylor Hall scored in overtime as the New Jersey Devils edged the Washington Capitals 4-3. Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen collected three assists while Capitals winger Brett Connolly scored two goals.
The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Dallas Stars 2-1. Artemi Panarin scored the only goal in the shootout while goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves for the win.
Ryan Ellis’ goal late in the third period set the stage for Craig Smith’s shootout winner as the Nashville Predators squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on injured reserve with a bruised sternum.
Hall of Famers Eric Lindros & Jean Ratelle to have their numbers retired. Details & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CSN PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers will retire Eric Lindros’ No. 88 in a ceremony on Jan. 18 at the Wells Fargo Center prior to their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lindros spent eight of his 13 NHL seasons with the Flyers (1992-93 to 1999-2000) and had his best years in Philadelphia.
NEW YORK POST: The New York Rangers will retire Jean Ratelle’s No. 19 in a pregame ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings. Ratelle played for the Rangers from 1960 to 1975 and is the club’s third-leading all time scorer (817 points). In 1975, he was traded to the Boston Bruins, playing for them until his retirement in 1981.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well deserved honors for both Hall of Famers, and long overdue in Ratelle’s case.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Brett Kulak to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level.
SPORTSNET: Russian winger Danis Zaripov has been cleared to pursue an NHL contract. He was banned by the KHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation for doping, but wouldn’t have been banned under NHL rules. He also wasn’t allowed to testify at the hearing for his initial ban. Zaripov is appealing his IIHF ban and agreed to additional drug testing if he signs an NHL contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the offending drug Zaripov is accused of using is pseudoephedrine, which is a nasal decongestant. In large doses, however, it can be a stimulant. The Vegas Golden Knights and New York Rangers are rumored to be among the clubs that could pursue him.
WGR 550: Seven Buffalo Sabres will have new numbers for the upcoming season.