NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2019

The winners of the 2019 NHL Awards, plus updates on Roberto Luongo, Alex Edler, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov won the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award at the 2019 NHL Awards. Teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award at the 2019 NHL Awards (Photo via NHL Images).

Mark Giordano became the first defenseman in Calgary Flames history to win the James Norris Memorial Trophy. Vancouver Canucks rookie center Elias Pettersson took home the Calder Memorial Trophy. St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov was the winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner won the Bill Masterton Trophy.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz won the second Jacks Adams Award of his career. Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney took home the GM of the Year Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list of winners by clicking the link above. Congratulations to all the winners and their fellow nominees. All were deserving of recognition for their efforts this season. 

The league also announced the Montreal Canadiens will host the 2020 NHL Draft.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the cover boy for EA Sports’ video game NHL 20.

TSN: Goaltender Roberto Luongo intends to inform the Florida Panthers of his plans within the next several days. He could return for another season, retire, or go on long-term injury reserve with a lingering hip injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Luongo retires, the Vancouver Canucks will be hit with the bulk of the salary-cap recapture penalty. That’ll be over $2.8 million per season for each of the remaining three seasons of his contract. The Panthers would be hit with $1.2 million per season. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Various reports last night suggested the Canucks were closing in on a three- or four-year contract extension with defenseman Alex Edler. Canucks GM Jim Benning, however, said the two sides were still working on a deal, calling the reports a “bad scoop.” Edler’s agent declined to comment. The blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of days ago, most of the Edler reports made it appear he was destined to hit the UFA market. Just goes to show how quickly things can change in contract talks. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: As noted yesterday in the Rumors section. the Anaheim Ducks bought out the final two years of winger Corey Perry’s contract.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed goaltender Marcus Hogberg to a two-year contract.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The NHL Board of Governors approved the sale of the Arizona Coyotes to businessman Alex Meruelo.

STLTODAY.COM: “The 16-person ownership group led by Blues chairman Tom Stillman completed its acquisition of the minority interest in the team previously held by Sports Capital Holdings.”


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2019

Game recaps plus updates on Roberto Luongo, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Kesler, Glen Sather, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Jonathan Toews scored the only goal in a shootout as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Toews set a personal best with 45 goals on the season while teammate Patrick Kane hit a career-high 107 points for the Blackhawks, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday. The loss prevented the Blues (95 points) from moving into a tie for first place in the Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied his career-high 45th goal of the season in a 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images)

The Anaheim Ducks upset the Calgary Flames 3-1 thanks to a 25-save performance by goalie Ryan Miller. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau collected an assist for his 98th point of the season. Speaking of the Ducks, their medical staff have set up appointments with hip specialists for sidelined center Ryan Kesler to determine whether he can continue his playing career. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist came up short in his effort to secure his 450th career victory in a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Brady Tkachuk and Colin White each had two points for the Senators, who tallied four straight goals for the win. Speaking of the Rangers, Glen Sather is reportedly on the verge of stepping down as team president. He’s been part of their front office as general manager and president since 2000. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Bob McKenzie cites sources saying this is Sather’s call and he’ll still be an advisor to executive chairman and CEO of MSG. 

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo remains undecided if he’ll return for another season. He has three years remaining on his contract but injuries have hindered the 40-year-old netminder, raising speculation this season could be his last.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is inching closer to returning from a lower-body injury that’s sidelined him since late-February. He participated in team practice on Wednesday. He’s vowed to be 100 percent when the playoffs open next week.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams isn’t ruling out returning for next season. He’s having one of his best offensive performances in years and played a key role in the club’s rise into playoff contention. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have recalled Adin Hill following an injury to starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper on Tuesday. 

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed to extend the current playoff format through next season. The matter will continue to be discussed between the two sides. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reading the tea leaves, perhaps this is another indication that a new collective bargaining agreement could be in place before September 2020. The league and the PA each have the opportunity for an early “opt-out” of the current CBA this September but there’s speculation the two sides could reach a new agreement before then. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils hired Tyler Dellow as their vice president of analytics. Dellow is a former analytics blogger who worked for two seasons as a consultant with the Edmonton Oilers (2014 to 2016) and recently wrote for The Athletic. 

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2019

Officially eliminated from the playoff race, the Florida Panthers could make some big offseason changes this summer. Get the details in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

THE SCORE: cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun’s recent interview with Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who indicated his club will be aggressively attempting to build up their roster this summer. “It’s just a matter of adding the right pieces this summer. The great thing is our owner Vinnie Viola is committed to being a cap team. He wants to win. He wants us to do what we have to do. It’s a really good situation,” said Tallon. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 yesterday, LeBrun said he expects the Florida Panthers will try to make a big splash in the offseason. LeBrun believes they’ll pursue Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and left-wing Artemi Panarin via free agency this summer. Failing that, they’ll attempt to make some trades. 

Does goaltender Roberto Luongo still have a future with the Florida Panthers? (Photo via NHL Images)

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe the Panthers must sort out their goaltending. Roberto Luongo has three years remaining on his contract and no intention of leaving the Panthers. They speculate the oft-sidelined Luongo could end up on long-term injury reserve next season. Backup James Reimer has two years left on his contract but he’s been a big disappointment this season. The Panthers might also consider making room for promising Sam Montembeault. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes the Panthers must focus on repairing a leaky blueline. He suggests they target Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. Campbell feels every indication suggests Trouba could depart the Jets perhaps as early as this summer and could be a prime trade candidate.

Campbell also doubts the Panthers have much chance of landing San Jose Sharks blueliner Erik Karlsson via free agency, especially with Mike Hoffman in the lineup. He doesn’t see much depth for blueliners in the free-agent market beyond Karlsson to address the Panthers’ defensive needs, listing Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Vancouver’s Alexander Edler, and Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers as other possible options. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have a solid nucleus of young talent, led by forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Vincent Trocheck, and blueliners Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson. They have no trouble scoring goals, sitting ninth this season in goals per game (3.19). It’s keeping the puck out of their net that’s the problem. Their 3.40 goals-against per game is the league’s third worst.

Cap Friendly indicates they have nearly $62 million invested in 16 players, giving them nearly $21 million to work with if the cap reaches the projected $83 million. They could get more if they place Luongo ($4.53 million) on LTIR or move Riemer and his $3.4 million salary-cap hit. 

Luongo said he hasn’t made a decision either way regarding his future but admits it’s a bit of a tough situation. He still loves to play but the 39-year-old admits he cannot handle a heavy workload anymore but he hopes to contribute in some way going forward.  

Bobrovsky is the only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner in the league. His struggles this season could be tied to his obvious unhappiness playing with the Blue Jackets and he could regain his form with a change of scenery. His poor playoff record, however, could be cause for concern. Given the lack of quality depth in this summer’s free-agent and goalie market, however, the Panthers might not have much choice but to pursue Bobrovsky.

I agree with Campbell’s take on the Panthers defense corps. If the Jets are willing to move Trouba this summer, Tallon should definitely pursue him. The Jets won’t give Trouba away but the Panthers’ salary-cap room and the depth in draft picks and prospects could give them an edge.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2019

Game recaps, Lightning extend Jon Cooper’s contract, Flyers re-sign Michael Raffl, an update on Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored three times to lead the Edmonton Oilers to an 8-4 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected four points while Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists. With 76 points, the Oilers are five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl tallied his first career NHL hat trick in an 8-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings (Photo via NHL images).

Darcy Kuemper turned in a 31-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0. With the win, the Coyotes (81 points) move into a tie with the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western wild-card berth. The Blackhawks (76 points) remain five points behind.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 49th goal of the season and John Carlson netted his 400th career point as the Washington Capitals downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals (98 points) opened a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders.

Before the game, Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov responded to Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry calling him “a jerk” over his bird dance goal celebrations. “If he want(s) to say something, he can call me or he can meet me, but to call me (a) jerk on TV doesn’t make him look good, you know? But whatever he said, my parents (taught) me a lot of good things when (I was) young, and I’m not going to say anything bad about a guy who’s much older than me,” said Kuznetsov.

Speaking of the Islanders, they failed to gain ground on the Capitals after the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked them 4-0. Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his third shutout in his last four games and moved into a tie with Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury for the league lead with eight. The Jackets (88 points) remain two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Earlier in the day, the Islanders announced winger Andrew Ladd suffered a season-ending injury in his left knee. His recovery time will be four-to-five months and he’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. 

The Canadiens (90 points), meanwhile, rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Florida Panthers and moved within a point of the Hurricanes for the first wild-card spot. Carey Price made 33 saves while Tomas Tatar scored twice and collected an assist. Canadiens forward Paul Byron left the game with a suspected concussion following a fight with Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.

Anaheim Ducks rookie Sam Steel had his first NHL hat trick as his club edged the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Despite the win, the Ducks are officially eliminated from the playoff race. 

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. The Sabres have lost 13 straight road games. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday announced they’ve signed head coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year contract extension. Cooper is the league’s longest-tenured active coach and is the franchise leader in wins (300) and games (500). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This comes as no surprise. Under Cooper’s tenure, the Lightning won their first Presidents’ Trophy this season, reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and advanced to three Eastern Conference Finals (2015, 2016, 2018). 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks have reduced Erik Karlsson’s practice schedule as he continues to rehab a groin injury. Karlsson recently said he expected to be 100 percent in time for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed winger Michael Raffl to a two-year, $3.2-million contract extension. It’s a 32 percent pay cut from his current three-year, $7.05-million deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raffl’s production has declined in recent years but he remains a versatile, physical checking-line forward. He obviously had no qualms about accepting a pay cut to stay with the Flyers. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, Golden Knights to re-sign Mark Stone, Roberto Luongo reaches another milestone, Wild re-sign Eric Staal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: A four-goal second period carried the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 30th goal of the season while Sabres center Jack Eichel scored twice. The Sabres (66 points) sit six points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Leafs (80 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division.

The Montreal Canadiens (73 points) failed to widen their lead in the standings over the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, falling 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider made 34 saves and Connor Carrick collected two assists for the Devils. The Canadiens sit one point ahead of the Hurricanes and Penguins in the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

Victor Hedman’s shootout goal enabled the Tampa Bay Lightning to edge the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. The Bolts are the first team this season to reach 100 points.  

Shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Brian Boyle gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Predators defenseman P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist while Leon Draisaitl tallied twice for the Oilers. The Predators (79 points) move one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets into first in the Central Division. 

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo moved into third on the all-time wins list (Photo via NHL Images)

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 485th career win in a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Luongo moves into third on the all-time wins list. Teammate Mike Hoffman had a three-point performance. With the loss, the Avalanche (66 points) fall out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Avs were playing without forward Matt Nieto, who’s sidelined six-to-eight weeks with a lower-body injury

Jacob Markstrom had a 29-save shutout performance and Bo Horvat scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. The Canucks (62 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, and Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 24. 

SPORTSNET: Mark Stone has agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights shortly after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators yesterday. The deal, expected to be worth over $9 million annually, cannot be officially signed until March 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will be a significant new contract for Stone, who’s on a one-year, $7.35-million deal this season and was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. With 62 points in 59 games, the 26-year-old Stone is among the league’s best two-way players and would’ve been among the top free agents in the 2019 UFA market. It’s a big commitment by the Golden Knights, signaling their intent to continue building upon their early success and remain a legitimate playoff contender. 

TSN: The Minnesota Wild re-signed center Eric Staal to a two-year, $6-million contract extension. Staal was slated to become a UFA in July

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal stated his intent to stay with the Wild before the trade deadline. They’ve rewarded him for his loyalty and see him as an experienced leader who’ll help guide them through their current roster retool. 

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars winger Mats Zuccarello will undergo surgery today to repair a broken arm and will be sidelined four weeks. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have activated goaltender Corey Crawford off injured reserve and assigned Collin Delia to Rockford.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (upper body) could be sidelined longer than expected after suffering an apparent left arm injury during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyles. Teammate Ben Chiarot, meanwhile, was fined over $3,700.00 for cross-checking Coyotes forward Nick Cousins.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo reaches a milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in their 2019 Stadium Series game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia before a sellout crowd of 69,620. The Penguins also lost defensemen Brian Dumoulin to a concussion following a hit from Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and Kris Letang to an upper-body injury in the ensuing scrum.  Simmonds received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Flyers (65 points) moved to within six points of a playoff spot while the Penguins (32 wins, 72 points) slipped out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

Claude Giroux scored the game-winner as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in their Stadium Series game (Photo via NHL Images)

Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0. Hurricanes center Jordan Staal picked up an assist in his first game since being sidelined with concussion symptoms on Dec. 22. The win moves the Hurricanes (33 wins, 72 points) ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Stars, clinging to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference (30 wins, 65 points), subsequently acquired Mats Zuccarello from the Rangers.  Follow this link for details and my reaction. 

Sergei Bobrovsky’s 26-save shutout performance enabled the Columbus Blue Jackets to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Matt Duchene tallied his first goal since being acquired by the Jackets on Friday. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson left the game in the second period with a groin strain.  The Jackets now sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Following the game, the Jackets acquired winger Ryan Dzingel from the Ottawa Senators. Follow this link for details and reaction. 

Sam Reinhart’s hat trick powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals to snap their four-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 44th goal. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner suffered a scare when he had to be helped from the ice in the second period with an ankle injury but return to play in the third. The Sabres (66 points) sit six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Shootout goals by Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais helped the St. Louis Blues to edge the Boston Bruins 2-1. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury but it’s not believed to be serious. Earlier in the day, the Blues placed center Brayden Schenn (upper body) on injured reserve

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 484th career victory backstopping his club to a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. With the win, Luongo tied Ed Belfour for third place on the all-time wins list. The Panthers also re-signed winger Frank Vatrano to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.35 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatrano, 24, is enjoying a breakout performance with the Panthers, tallying 20 goals and 33 points in 59 games this season. It’s an affordable deal that could prove a real bargain for the Panthers if he carries over that 20-plus goal per season pace throughout the term of his new contract. 

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots as the Colorado Avalanche shut out the Nashville Predators 5-0. The win vaulted the Avalanche (65 points) into the final Western Conference wild-card berth. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Zach Hyman scored twice, including the winner late in the third period. The Canadiens (73 points) sit one ahead of the Hurricanes for the first wild-card spot in the East. 

Robin Lehner picked up a shutout with a 36-save effort as the New York Islanders blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. The Canucks (60 points) sit five points out of a Western Conference playoff spot. 

Charlottetown, PEI native Josh Currie scored his first career NHL goal and Sam Gagner tallied the winner as the Edmonton Oilers nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. The Oilers were playing without Connor McDavid, who’s serving a two-game suspension. 

A three-goal first period carried the New York Rangers to a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Strome scored twice for the Rangers.