NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa are among the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inducted on Monday, COVID-19 derails the Senators schedule, Alex Ovechkin tops the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa were among the six inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 on Monday. Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson were the other notable former NHL players to be inducted. Canadian women’s hockey star Kim St. Pierre was also inducted into the players’ category while Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was inducted into the builders’ category.

Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa and Kevin Lowe are among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the HHoF Class of 2020. Their induction ceremony was delayed a year due to COVID-19. The pandemic also meant there would be no inductees for 2021 as the decision was made to allow last year’s class to enjoy the same ceremony as those of previous classes.

OTTAWA SUN: The NHL has postponed the Senators’ three games this week due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has sidelined 10 players and assistant coach Jack Capuano. The expectation is the Senators will return to action next Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is the first major North American sports league to postpone games this season. This recent outbreak among the Senators reached the point where the club depleted their AHL affiliate calling up replacements. The San Jose Sharks endured a recent outbreak that sidelined seven players and head coach Bob Boughner but it didn’t reach the point where they could no longer call up replacements from the minors.

Everyone on the Senators and Sharks was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Breakthrough infections, however, can still occur, especially among athletes in close contact with each other despite protocols to limit the spread. The NHL’s protocols had been loosened for this season as COVID restrictions eased throughout North America.

The Senators will make up those postponed games at later dates. Whether this leads to any tightening of the NHL’s COVID protocols remains to be seen.

Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 14, 2021.

GAME RECAPS

Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Victor Hedman collected two assists to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Lightning has won six of their last 10 games while the Islanders (5-5-2) sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an uneven start for the Isles. They were projected to be a Stanley Cup contender after reaching the Eastern Conference Final in 2020 and the semifinal last season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. Yegor Chinakhov tied the game for the Jackets with his first career NHL goal and Zach Werenski tallied the game-winner. Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond each had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Two days after returning from injury, Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is once again sidelined by a lingering lower-body injury. His status is listed as week-to-week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward J.T. Compher will be sidelined for approximately a month with an upper-body injury.

WASHINGTON POST’s Samantha Pell reports Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won’t face supplemental discipline for throwing Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary into the boards during Sunday’s game.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights forward William Carrier entered COVID protocol while defenseman Alec Martinez remains sidelined after suffering a facial laceration requiring 50 stitches in last Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Christian Fischer and Dmitrij Jaskin were placed on injured reserve while Johan Larsson entered COVID protocol.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Kyle Clifford on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enjoy multi-point performances against the Rangers, Carey Price will soon return to the Canadiens, Brady Tkachuk named captain of the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid’s game-tying goal set the stage for Leon Draisaitl’s overtime winner as the Edmonton Oilers overcame 4-1 and 5-4 deficits to defeat the New York Rangers 6-5. McDavid, Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each finished the night with a goal and two assists while Jesse Puljujarvi tallied twice and Darnell Nurse collected three assists for the Oilers. Mika Zibanejad scored two goals for the Rangers. Before the game, the Oilers honored former defenseman Kevin Lowe by retiring his No. 4 jersey.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s highlight-reel goal was another example of why he’s the best hockey player in the world right now. He stickhandled through four Rangers inside the New York blueline at high speed before tucking the puck past a sprawling Alexandar Georgiev. Draisaitl (23 points) and McDavid (22) are currently the NHL’s leading scorers.

Unanswered goals by Matt Duchene and Philip Tomasino lifted the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 26 saves while teammate Mikael Granlund picked up two assists. Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks.

The Winnipeg Jets downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Andrew Copp collected three assists while Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. The Jets (6-2-2) are off to their best start since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011 while the sad-sack Blackhawks fall to 1-9-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s gotta give for the Blackhawks soon. It could be a trade or a coaching change but this is a team badly in need of a shakeup. Another month of this and they can kiss their already fading playoff chances goodbye. Then again, whatever they do will probably already be too late to reverse their fortunes this season.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 28 saves to backstop his club over the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who honored team captain Ryan Getzlaf before the game for becoming the highest-scoring player in team history. The Coyotes have yet to win a game this season, sitting 0-10-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game highlighted two rebuilding clubs going in different directions. The Ducks (5-4-3) are off to a better than expected start while the Coyotes are feeling the effects of management’s offseason teardown moves that depleted the club’s depth, especially in goal. The Ducks still aren’t guaranteed to reach the playoffs but they’re showing early signs of becoming more competitive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are going to endure a very long and difficult season.

The Los Angeles Kings nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Iafallo. Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for the Kings while Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha replied for the Devils.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will rejoin the club on Monday following a 30-day stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. However, there’s no timetable for when he’ll return to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price was recovering from offseason knee surgery prior to entering the program. It will likely take some time, perhaps several weeks, before he’s ready for game action. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that Price feels well enough mentally to make this first step toward resuming his career.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Brady Tkachuk as their new captain on Friday. The Senators also placed winger Auston Watson in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators haven’t had a team captain since trading Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks in 2018. It’s an unsurprising choice as it had been speculated Tkachuk or Thomas Chabot would be named captain at some point this season. He leads by example on the ice and has become the face of the franchise.

Brady’s brother, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a strained oblique.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough setback for Laine, who was off to a good start with 10 points in nine games before the injury. He had just 21 points in 45 games with the Jackets last season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals forward Anthony Mantha is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to plague Mantha, who’s been sidelined in recent years with an injured lung, a broken hand, a fractured finger and a groin injury.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola in COVID protocol and announced center Brayden Schenn will be sidelined for two games with an upper-body injury. Ryan O’Reilly has come out of COVID protocol.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The NHL department of player safety handed down a two-game suspension to Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner on Thursday.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks reassigned winger William Eklund to his Swedish Hockey League club, Djurgardens IF, to save a year of the 19-year-old rookie’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a difficult decision by the Sharks. Eklund collected four assists in nine games and show considerable potential. The youngster is disappointed by the move but I expect he’ll be back full-time with the Sharks next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2021

Jonathan Drouin reveals the reasons behind last season’s leave of absence, Artemi Panarin doesn’t want to be Rangers captain, Travis Zajac retires and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: In a one-on-one interview that aired on RDS on Monday, Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin revealed anxiety and sleep disorder were behind his season-ending leave of absence in 2020-21. “I’ve had anxiety problems for many years,” said Drouin. “Insomnia problems that relate to my anxiety.”

Montreal Canadiens left wing Jonathan Drouin (NHL Images).

Drouin revealed he’d been dealing with anxiety for several years without knowing what it was. He said his problems had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol and he’s never been to a rehab program.

The Canadiens forward said he’d been handling his anxiety issues better in recent years but the restrictions placed on him and his teammates by COVID-19 took a toll on his physical and mental strength. While he never lost his love of the game, he said there were times last season when he went three straight nights without sleep.

Drouin praised the support he received from Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, head coach Dominique Ducharme and his teammates throughout his ordeal. He’s happy with the decision he made last season, wants to remain in Montreal and his mental health is better than ever.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anyone’s who’s ever dealt with anxiety or knows someone who is dealing with it knows how debilitating it can be. Add the pressure of playing for one of hockey’s most iconic teams and it’s no wonder Drouin needed to step away. It’s good to see he’s had the support of his team through all of this. It should help smooth his return to action this season.

NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin said he doesn’t want to be captain of the New York Rangers. “I think we have more deserving candidates for that role now,” he said.

Panarin pointed out the job is more than just playing good hockey. “You also have to give your energy between the periods, motivate guys, giving interviews, being the face of the franchise. Overall, it’s a lot of work off the ice.” He felt he wouldn’t be an effective captain, adding his limited English would also be a problem.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Travis Zajac signed a one-day contract with the New Jersey Devils in order to retire with the club that drafted him 17 years ago. The 36-year-old center spent almost the entirety of his 15 NHL seasons with the Devils until traded late last season to the New York Islanders. In 1,037 career games, Zajac tallied 203 goals and 552 points. He will remain with the Devils in an on/off-ice player development and consulting role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Zajac and his family in their future endeavors.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Edmonton Oilers will retire Kevin Lowe’s No. 4 jersey in the rafters at Rogers Place during a Nov. 5 game against the New York Rangers. He played for both clubs during his 19-season NHL career, 15 of those with the Oilers.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes revealed their proposed arena entertainment district in Tempe, Arizona yesterday. The project would cost an estimated $1.7 billion and calls for private funding along with an additional $200 million portion coming from city tax revenues. The city will review the proposal in a process that could take months before a public meeting and a vote to accept or reject the proposal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season is expected to be the Coyotes’ last in Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale announced it would not renew its operating agreement with the club. They are currently in search of a temporary home.

The Coyotes also revealed their new white Kachina coyote road jerseys for the first time since 2003. The popular Kachina logo will also be the club’s primary logo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I always liked the Coyotes’ original logo. Glad to see they’re bringing it back.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The severity of Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin’s recent knee injury remains uncertain. An initial report claimed the injury was “significant” but Morin’s former teammate Riley Cote tweeted a text message exchange with the blueliner who said one of his knees was banged up but it was “nothing major”. Morin’s career has been hampered by two ACL tears in his right knee since 2018.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins signed winger Zach Senyshyn to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets placed defenseman Sami Niku on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens signed blueliner Cody Goloubef to a professional tryout offer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2020

Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa head the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees, plus the latest return-to-play news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa are the former NHL stars topping the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 inductees. Former NHL defensemen Doug Wilson and Kevin Lowe, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland, and former Canadian women’s goaltender Kim St. Pierre were the other inductees.

Former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla is among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the HHoF Class of 2020.

It wasn’t surprising that Iginla and St. Pierre were inducted. With 625 goals, Iginla was one of the top goal scorers in NHL history, winning the Richard Trophy twice and the Art Ross in 2002. St. Pierre was perhaps the greatest goalie in women’s hockey history.

Hossa was also a first-ballot inductee. He tallied 525 goals and 1,134 points, won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, and developed into a strong two-way forward.

Holland got in as a builder for his work with the Detroit Red Wings, building on a solid foundation to turn that club into a league powerhouse and Stanley Cup champion.

Wilson’s induction was long overdue. He was one of the best defensemen of the 1980s, winning the Norris Trophy in 1982. He was also a first-team all-star in 1982 and a two-time second-team all-star while netting 827 points in 1,024 games.

Lowe had a fine NHL career, winning six Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should have received the nod over more deserving former stars like Alexander Mogilny, Rod Brind’Amour, and Daniel Alfredsson.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston feels the NHL faces a formidable challenge maintaining momentum toward resuming the season as more players return to their respective teams this week. More players mean more COVID-19 testing, which could result in more positive test results. Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan sees training camps open on July 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are returning to their NHL cities by Friday to allow sufficient time to test and self-isolate those who test positive for 14 days. That would allow suitable recovery time before training camp.

The next month will determine if the 24-team playoff tournament begins in August as planned. A significant spike in positive tests could jeopardize the tournament.

THE SCORE: Older NHL coaches are putting their trust in the league’s restart plan despite being in a higher risk category for COVID-19. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports 12 active members on NHL coaching staffs will be 60-or-older by the end of June. The league won’t impose age restrictions on the coaching staff, leaving it up to the individuals to determine if they wish to participate or not.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports a snag in local health protocols for positive COVID-19 tests could threaten Vancouver’s chances to become one of the two host cities for Phase 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Thomas Drance reports the disagreement is in the details. Pierre LeBrun said the Canucks continue to work on this issue with the league, but he and Drance agree it could prove insurmountable.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning reopened its training facility Wednesday after five players and staff tested positive las Friday. Those individuals are now in quarantine.

Former Sportsnet pundit John Shannon reports the NHL Players Association wants the July 1 bonus payments to the players to proceed as scheduled. Shannon said he’s heard the league prefer deferring those payments to the end of the tournament. More than $300 million are owed in bonus payments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shannon indicates the bonus payments are among the issues currently being discussed by both sides. They tentatively agreed to extend expiring contracts to Oct. 31.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: As coronavirus cases rise in Nevada, the Vegas Golden Knights are selling t-shirts encouraging fans to wear masks in public.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The slogan on the shirts is “Don’t Take A Chance”. Maybe it should read, “Don’t Take A Chance On Spoiling Our Hopes of Hosting The Playoff Tournament.”

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Construction of the Calgary Flames’ new arena will begin in August 20201.

NEWSDAY: Despite the owner of Nassau Coliseum shutting down the arena as he seeks a buyer, a county executive suggests the New York Islanders could still use the building next season until their new arena in Belmont Park is ready.