NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2024

Nathan MacKinnon extending his points streak plus the latest on Connor Bedard, Corey Perry, Cutter Gauthier and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon tied a franchise record for the longest season-opening home points streak in a 3-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his streak to 23 games, tying Hall-of-Famer Joe Sakic. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice and Alexandar Georgiev had a 25-save shutout for the 27-12-3 Avalanche, who sit third in the overall standings with 57 points. Jiri Patera stopped 32 shots for the Golden Knights (23-13-5) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 51 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Teammate Miles Wood was sidelined by an illness. Meanwhile, Golden Knights forward William Carrier is listed as week-to-week following surgery for an upper-body injury.

The Dallas Stars thumped the Minnesota Wild 7-2. Esa Lindell had three assists while Mason Marchment and Nils Lundkvist each had two points for the Stars (24-11-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 53 points. Matt Boldy had a goal and an assist while Jesper Wallstedt made 27 saves in his NHL debut for the 17-19-4 Wild.

A shootout goal by Sean Couturier gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost scored in regulation as the Flyers overcame a 2-0 deficit while Jamie Drysdale picked up an assist in his first game with his new club. Cayden Primeau stopped 37 shots for the 17-17-6 Canadiens while the Flyers (21-14-6) sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers dominated most of this game but Primeau stole a point for the Canadiens in this contest.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced rookie star Connor Bedard underwent surgery to repair a fractured jaw. He’ll be sidelined for six to eight weeks. The 18-year-old center suffered the injury on Jan. 5 after being checked by New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith.

SPORTSNET: Corey Perry is cleared to sign with a new NHL team after meeting this week with league commissioner Gary Bettman. The 38-year-old winger’s contract was terminated by the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 30 for engaging in what the club called unacceptable conduct that violated the team’s workplace rules and his standard player contract.

Perry subsequently issued an apology, adding he was seeking treatment for his struggle with alcohol. He’s now an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take long for speculation to arise over which club Perry might sign with. Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now believes five or six clubs could be in the mix with Stauffer suggesting the Oilers should be looking into it.

Perry remains well-respected around the league. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he signs with a new club before the March 8 trade deadline, making him eligible to play in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

NHL.COM: Prospect winger Cutter Gauthier declined to go into details as to why didn’t want to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers. His decision forced his trade earlier this week to the Anaheim Ducks.

Gauthier told the Ducks podcast “Light The Lamp” on Wednesday that the decision was a personal matter between himself, his family and his agent. He also addressed rumors claiming former Flyers center Kevin Hayes influenced his decision. “I would like to specifically say that he had zero, zero conflict with anything that had to do with the trade…(Hayes) had nothing to do with the situation at hand. “

As for his plans going forward, Gauthier intends to focus the remainder of his sophomore season with Boston College, who have a good shot at winning the Beanpot tournament and the NCAA championship. After that, he intends to sign an entry-level contract with the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gauthier’s within his rights to keep his reasons for spurning the Flyers a private matter. Nevertheless, it will only serve to stoke a rumor mill that’s been churning furiously over why he made that decision.

Speaking of Hayes, Flyers head coach John Tortorella went off on the reporter who claimed the Blues center was involved in Gauthier’s choice.

It just pisses me off that you guys throw that around and affect someone’s life”, said Tortorella. The Flyers bench boss acknowledged that he and Hayes had a problem regarding his playing time last season. Nevertheless, Tortorella praised him as “a good man” and called the reporter’s story “bullshit”.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid wasn’t pleased with a review of an offside call that wiped out teammate Zach Hyman’s goal during the club’s 2-1 win on Tuesday over the Chicago Blackhawks. “If it takes 15 minutes to determine whether it’s offside or not, it probably doesn’t matter,” he said following the game.

The officials shut the game down for over six minutes reviewing the play from different angles before deciding that Leon Draisaitl’s skate blade might’ve been a centimetre offside and that he held the puck a fraction of a second too long.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The offside reviews, like the goal reviews, are taking way too long to reach conclusions. The league must do something to address this. I understand they want to ensure they’re reviewing every angle closely. However, they’re sometimes reaching their decisions long after the fans have seen it for themselves on the arena jumbotron.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres are awaiting word about Jeff Skinner as he underwent a series of tests for an upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs recalled Ilya Samsonov from their AHL affiliate but will continue to assess the struggling goaltender closely.

OTTAWA SUN: Forward Shane Pinto can now practice with his Senators teammates. He has only five games remaining in his 41-game suspension for violating the league’s sports-wagering rules.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Ducks claimed defenseman Gustav Lindstrom off waivers from the Canadiens.

TORONTO SUN: The NHL Players Association officially unveiled a new in-house education program called “Line Change”, which instructs players in training each other in identifying potential mental health issues. Twenty players, including Calgary Flames captain Mikael Backlund, have already taken part in the three-hour session.

Keith Pelley is expected to be announced as the president and chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and the MLS club Toronto FC. Pelley is a former president of Rogers Media and of Bell Media’s TSN.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2024

Recaps of Tuesday’s games, the fallout from the Gauthier-for-Drysdale trade, an update on the top vote-getters for the 2024 All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs crushed the San Jose Sharks 7-1. Mitch Marner had two goals and two assists while William Nylander collected three assists for the 21-10-7 Leafs, who sit third in the Atlantic Division with 49 points. Henry Thrun scored for the 9-29-3 Sharks as they lost their 12th straight game and sit at the bottom of the overall standings.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk’s natural hat trick in the third period lifted his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Anthony Stolarz stopped 29 shots for the Panthers (26-12-2) as they sit third overall in the Eastern Conference with 54 points. Brayden Schenn scored the lone goal for the 20-18-1 Blues (41 points), who sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

The Winnipeg Jets (27-9-4) maintained their hold on first place in the overall standings with 58 points by blanking the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Connor Hellebuyck had a 29-save shutout while Cole Perfetti scored twice for the Jets, who picked up their seventh straight win and extended their points streak to 13 games. Daniil Tarasov made 18 saves for the 13-20-9 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets center Mark Scheifele left the game after being struck in the face by a deflected shot by teammate Josh Morrissey. He missed the remainder of the game receiving stitches but returned at the end of the game to celebrate his club’s win. It’s unknown if Scheifele will miss any games.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson tallied his 20th goal of the season in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Conor Garland and Filip Hronek each collected two points for the 27-11-3 Canucks as they sit one point behind the Jets in second place in the overall standings. Brock Nelson netted both goals for the Islanders (18-12-10) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 46 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders activated defenseman Adam Pelech off long-term injury reserve for this game. He’d been sidelined since Nov. 24 with an upper-body injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime, giving head coach Jon Cooper his 500th career NHL victory. Brandon Hagel scored the tying goal and set up the game-winning goal by Nick Perbix as the Lightning (20-17-5) hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 45 points. Trevor Moore picked up two assists for the 20-10-7 Kings as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 47 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hagel was outstanding for the Lightning. His hard work and skill made their comeback possible, especially with his assist on the game-winner.

An overtime goal by Nick Schmaltz lifted the Arizona Coyotes over the Boston Bruins 4-3. Connor Ingram turned aside 30 shots while Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the 20-17-2 Coyotes (42 points) as they sit one point behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. David Pastrnak tallied his 25th goal of the season for the Bruins (24-8-8) as they sit in third place in the overall standings with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also lost goaltender Linus Ullmark in the overtime period as he had to be helped from the ice while attempting to make a glove save. There was no update regarding his condition.

Edmonton Oilers stars Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid scored in a narrow 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Stuart Skinner made 25 saves for the 21-15-1 Oilers, who picked up their seventh straight win to hold the final Western wild-card spot with 43 points. Jason Dickinson scored for the 12-27-3 Blackhawks as they held the Oilers to 15 shots.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a five-game losing skid as they upset the Nashville Predators 5-3. Troy Terry had a goal and an assist, Alex Killorn collected two assists and Lukas Dostal kicked out 39 shots for the 14-25-1 Ducks. Juuse Saros stopped 28 shots for the 22-18-1 Predators as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 45 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks forward Trevor Zegras left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Ducks head coach Greg Cronin said the 22-year-old Zegras could be sidelined “for a while.”

Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Joey Daccord made 36 saves for his sixth straight win as the 17-14-9 Kraken (43 points) extended their win streak to seven games and their points streak to 11 games to sit just behind the Oilers. Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist for the 17-20-4 Sabres.

The Calgary Flames scored four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Yegor Sharangovich and Blake Coleman each tallied twice for the 18-18-5 Flames (41 points) as they sit two points back of the Oilers. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves for the 14-22-0 Senators as they’ve lost four straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators center Josh Norris left this game in the third period with an upper-body injury following an awkward collision with Flames center Elias Lindholm. Before the game, the Senators activated forward Mathieu Joseph off LTIR. He’d been sidelined since Dec. 15 with a lower-body injury.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports the Philadelphia Flyers still don’t have an answer as to why top prospect Cutter Gauthier refused to sign with them, forcing the club to trade him on Monday to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Flyers held early contract talks with Gauthier last spring following the completion of his freshman year at Boston College and were prepared to sign him last May. However, they couldn’t promise the young winger a roster spot and he’d have to compete for one in training camp like everybody else. If he failed to qualify, he would’ve been sent to their AHL affiliate in LeHigh Valley.

Following the 2023 World Championships, the Gauthier camp informed the Flyers that he didn’t want to play for them and would return to Boston College for his sophomore season. It was assumed that his college coach Greg Brown convinced Gauthier it would be best for his development if he stayed in school for another year.

St. Louis Blues center (and former Flyer) Kevin Hayes was rumored to have influenced Gauthier’s decision as the two are believed to be friends. However, he denied having anything to do with it. Flyer president Keith Jones said Hayes told general manager Daniel Briere the same thing.

TSN: Hayes sounded off against the backlash he was receiving following the rumor that he may have influenced Gauthier’s decision. “It’s 100 percent false,” he said, adding that he didn’t know where it came from. He indicated that death threats were made against himself and his family with some saying they were happy Hayes’ brother had died.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cited several sources suggesting whatever discussions took place back in March threw an unexpected wrench into the relationship. One theory is the Flyers wanted to sign Gauthier but doing so would’ve resulted in a higher bonus overage against their salary cap for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also rumored that Gauthier didn’t want to play for Flyers coach John Tortorella. That has been debunked.

Gauthier and his representatives remain silent about his decision not to sign with the Flyers. Based on the reports thus far, it sounds like he was unhappy about not getting a guaranteed spot on their roster. Until he clears the air, the rumors will persist.

The speculation about Hayes was based on the belief that his parting with the Flyers was acrimonious. However, both sides indicated that wasn’t the case. He had no axe to grind and no reason to get involved in Gauthier’s plans. Even if he did, it doesn’t merit death threats or cruel comments about his late brother.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander is leading the fan voting for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game. Thirty-two players (one from each club) were already chosen by the league with the remaining 12 roster spots to be determined by fan voting

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is currently second, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is third, and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson is fourth thus far. The voting ends at midnight on Thursday.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils center Jack Hughes is expected to be sidelined for “weeks, not months” with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler (fractured foot) is week to week.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues signed forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.55 million contract extension.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed defenseman Gustav Lindstrom on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2023

Analysis of the Canadiens trading Jeff Petry to the Red Wings plus the latest on Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, David Krejci and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Nine days after reacquiring Jeff Petry from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens traded the 35-year-old defenseman to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

The Penguins had retained 25 percent ($1.56 million) of Petry’s $6.25 million average annual value through 2024-25. The Canadiens retain half of the remainder, meaning the Wings’ share of his cap hit is $2.34 million.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Jeff Petry to the Detroit Red Wings(NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial reaction from a majority of Canadiens fans on social media was disappointment that Habs general manager Kent Hughes didn’t get a better return for Petry. However, Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont believes this shows the market for the veteran blueliner was rather mediocre at best.

Dumont also points out that moving Petry completed a series of deals completed by Hughes that started when he initially traded the rearguard to the Penguins last summer for Mike Matheson. That includes moving Mike Hoffman to San Jose and adding goalie Casey DeSmith, three draft picks and gaining more salary-cap flexibility.

Lindstrom, 24, struggled to earn a regular roster spot with the Red Wings. Dumont believes he’s likely bound for the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval this season but the Canadiens are in a position where they can afford to give Lindstrom an opportunity.

This was also a classy move by Hughes. A Michigan native, Petry’s family now lives there year-round. He won’t have to uproot his family or spend most of the regular season apart from them as he did last season.

Petry’s production has waned over the past couple of seasons but he brings veteran skill and experience to the rebuilding Red Wings blueline, especially with promising Simon Edvinsson undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. This move should buy time for Edvinsson to fully recover and improve his game.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, Hughes indicated that Paul Byron is expected to announce his retirement before the start of the upcoming season. The 34-year-old forward missed all of last season and played just 27 games in 2021-22 due to an ongoing hip injury. Byron will meet with management next month to discuss a position with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Claimed off waivers in 2015 from the Calgary Flames, Byron’s energetic two-way play quickly made him a fan favorite in Montreal. In 521 regular-season games over 12 seasons with the Canadiens, Flames and Buffalo Sabres, he had 98 goals and 208 points along with 11 points in 38 playoff contests.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: During a recent appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show”, Golden Knights captain Mark Stone revealed that he suffered a fractured wrist during the first period of his club’s 9-3 series-clinching victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Stone tallied a hat trick in that match, scoring twice after he was injured.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It takes a lot to sideline a player who’s on the verge of winning hockey’s holy grail.

TSN: David Krejci has left the door open on playing in Europe and representing Czechia at the 2024 World Championships. Earlier this week, the 37-year-old center announced his NHL retirement, bringing his 16-season career with the Boston Bruins to an end.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: A report out of Russia claims Artemi Panarin was fined by Novgorod police for firing a weapon inside a non-designated area on July 6. The report states the 31-year-old New York Rangers winger fired several shots and that it was his first offense. His weapon was also confiscated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No details were provided as to why Panarin was discharging his weapon. Perhaps he’ll shed more light on that when he reports to Rangers training camp next month.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes have agreed to a 20-year lease with PNC Arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: PNC Arena has been the Hurricanes’ home since it was opened in 1999. The area surrounding the arena is currently being renovated to include a sports and entertainment district.

TSN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bobby Baun passed away on Monday at age 86. A 17-season NHL veteran from 1956-67 to 1972-73, Baun spent nearly 14 of those seasons with the Leafs, along with over three seasons with the Oakland Seals and Detroit Red Wings.

Baun earned a reputation as a hard-hitting blueliner, helping the Leafs win four Stanley Cups in the 1960s. He gained legendary status when he scored the series-tying overtime goal against the Red Wings in Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final while playing on a broken ankle. He also played in the Cup-clinching Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens two nights later.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m old enough to remember watching Baun’s second tenure with the Leafs in the early-1970s. He was a master of the hip check, played a solid defensive game and never shied away from anyone who challenged him. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.