NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2019

Matt Cullen announced his retirement, the Vancouver Canucks sign Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: After 1,516 games and three Stanley Cup championships, center Matt Cullen yesterday announced his retirement. The 42-year-old spent 21 seasons in the NHL with eight teams. He began his career in 1997-98 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and moved on to the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won his first Cup with the Hurricanes and two with the Penguins. 

Matt Cullen retires after 21 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Cullen and his family in their future endeavours. He was a well-respected, hardworking checking forward and mentor to his younger teammates as his career progressed.

Cullen sits second to Chris Chelios for most games played by an American-born player. He tallied 266 goals and 731 points, as well as 58 points in 132 playoff contests. Check out the Penguins’ video tribute to Cullen.  

NBC SPORTS: With Cullen’s retirement, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara becomes the NHL’s oldest active player. Chara turned 42 on March 18 and is 136 days younger than Cullen. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday signed free-agent winger Micheal Ferland to a four-year, $14-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 milion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks got Ferland at a bargain. Earlier this year, he was reportedly seeking a contract comparable to Washington’s Tom Wilson. The 27-year-old winger is a feisty forward coming off back-to-back 40-point campaigns.

Ferland’s injury history, however, could be a problem. He struggled to return to form after suffering a concussion early last season. If he can stay reasonably healthy he should be a good addition to the young Canucks.

The Ferland signing leaves the Canucks squeezed for sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumor Mill. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings avoided salary arbitration with forward Alex Iafallo, re-signing him to a two-year contract worth over $2.4 million annually. 

THE SCORE: In a recent interview, former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul talked injuries, loss of confidence, and stress that brought about the end of his playing career. The Leafs placed Lupul on long-term injury reserve before the 2016-17 season and would later buy out the remainder of his contract. At the time, Lupul claimed he hadn’t failed his physical and accused the Leafs of cheating, though he subsequently retracted those comments and apologized. He now admits his injury woes contributed to the decline of his play, which also affected his confidence. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman and assistant coach J.J. Daigneault is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Ryan Warsofsky was named the new head coach of the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2018

Game recaps, Alex Burrows suspended, Jonas Brodin sidelined by injury and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron scored twice leading his club to a 6-1 win over the New York Rangers. The Bruins (74 points) have won four straight and nine of their last ten to sit just one point back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the league’s overall standings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considered by some experts as a playoff bubble team entering this season, the Bruins have exceeded expectations. Barring a significant collapse between now and the start of the postseason in April, they must be considered legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. 

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is the second blueliner in franchise history to tally 300 career assists and 400 points (Photo via NHL Images).

Three unanswered third-period goals by Paul Ladue, Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar carried the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty picked up his 300th career assist and 400th career point to join Rob Blake as the only blueliners in franchise history to reach those milestones.

James van Riemsdyk scored in regulation and the shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. The Leafs had a 2-0 lead but the Predators came back to tie it on goals by Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson. Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson made 44 saves and stopped six of seven shootout attempts. 

TSN: The NHL’s department of player safety suspended Ottawa Senators forward Alex Burrows 10 games for “serving as an aggressor/ kneeing New Jersey’s Taylor Hall” during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin will miss three-four weeks following surgery on Wednesday to repair a broken left hand. For now, the Wild will turn to Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly to fill the void. Both blueliners have rotated in and out of the lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Olofsson and Reilly aren’t up to the task over the next couple of weeks, the Wild could perhaps turn to the trade market for help. More on that later this morning in the Rumors section.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Sam Gagner suffered a sprained ankle during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers and will return to Vancouver for treatment. 

TORONTO SUN: In a recent interview, sidelined Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul acknowledged he’s likely reaching the end of his playing career. Still under contract with the Leafs until the end of this season, Lupul underwent sports hernia surgery two years ago and hasn’t returned to action since then. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lupul attempted to return to the Leafs last fall but failed his training camp medical as well as an independent examination ordered by the league after he insinuated the Leafs were cheating the system. He subsequently withdrew and apologized. Since then, he’s been on long-term injured reserve.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

Sabres signed Jack Eichel, Penguins & Canucks swing a trade and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80-million contract extension. The new deal begins in 2018-19 and is worth an annual average value of $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here, as it was rumored for months Eichel would get a long-term deal worth around $10 million annually. The second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the 20-year-old center is considered the Sabres’ franchise player. 

Yes, it’s an expensive extension for a young player still on his entry-level contract but I doubt he’ll have any difficulty justifying that deal. Eichel has considerable upside and has yet to hit his playing prime. 

Following the signing, I saw some folks on Twitter criticizing the deal by noting Eichel hasn’t cracked 60 points in a season. That’s overlooking the fact he missed 21 games with a high-ankle sprain at the start of last season. He still finished with 57 points in 61 games, putting him close to a point-per-game pace. If he stays healthy this season, he should reach at least 80 points this season.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The NHL ruled the Chicago Blackhawks can place winger Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve for this season. The veteran forward is sidelined with a skin condition related to his hockey gear. Once he’s placed on LTIR, the club can exceed this season’s $75 million cap ceiling to replace him up to his cap hit of $5.275 million.

The Blackhawks will today sign left wing Bryan Bickell to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire with the club. Bickell spent all but one season with the Hawks, winning two Stanley Cups. His career was ended by multiple sclerosis.

SPORTSNET: The league also ruled the Toronto Maple Leafs can placed sidelined winger Joffrey Lupul on LTIR. Lupul, who failed to pass his training-camp physical, also failed a second medical examination. His annual cap hit is $5.25 million.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The PIttsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for  defenseman Andrey Pedan and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move provides Pouliot an opportunity for a fresh start. He struggled to crack the Penguins roster and could have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Canucks. There was some expectation the Penguins might use Pouliot as a trade chip to bring in a third-line center but GM Jim Rutherford is willing to stick with Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney centering the bottom two lines.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes won’t have a captain for this season, opting instead for three alternates. A source said defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson would be named alternates, with centers Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson and blueliner Alex Goligoski in the running for the third spot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a surprise move by the Coyotes. It was anticipated Ekman-Larsson will take over the captaincy from now-retired winger Shane Doan. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed gritty winger Tanner Glass to a one-year, $650K contract. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson received a four-game suspension for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed defenseman Patrik Nemeth off waivers from the Dallas Stars. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights plucked goaltender Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Boston Bruins. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2017

NHL reportedly seeks second opinion on Joffrey Lupul’s medical condition.

Latest on Joffrey Lupul, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

SPORTSNET: The NHL is reportedly going to have Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul reevaluated by an independent doctor. Lupul, who failed the team’s training-camp physical, raised eyebrows earlier this week on Instagram by insinuating the Leafs were “cheating” and claimed he was ready to play. He’s since deleted that post.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lupul later said he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion. However, the attention his earlier remarks received gave rise to criticism over the Leafs’ handling of players on injured reserve to potentially free up salary-cap space. The league obviously wants to nip this issue in the bud before it gets out of hand. 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The NHL’s first preseason game in China saw the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. However, the game drew just over 10,000 fans, prompting NHL Hall of Famer Phil Esposito to claim the league did a poor job of promotion. “You have got to promote. This game tonight – I looked in the papers… “There wasn’t a goddamn word about it. Not one word.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fans enjoyed the speed and physical play. Perhaps the league and NHLPA will do a better job of promoting future preseason contests in that country. 

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug suffered a broken jaw during Tuesday’s preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings. He’ll be reevaluated in three weeks. 

TSN: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen suffered a fracture foot during a preseason game against the Boston Bruins. He will be sidelined for six weeks. 

NBC SPORTS: The Chicago Blackhawks released forwards Drew Miller and John Mitchell and defenseman Mark Stuart from their professional tryout contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mitchell was quickly signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets to a PTO contract. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues hired Hall of Famer Larry Robinson as a senior consultant to hockey operations. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames released ads yesterday disclosing their proposal to put up $275 million toward a new Victoria Park arena. That prompted a response from several city officials disputing claims the city’s proposals would result in the team paying out 123 percent of the cost. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dispute is becoming an issue for the upcoming municipal election. It remains to be seen if it’ll have any effect upon the outcome. 

TORONTO SUN: The United States men’s hockey team has ruled out using NHL draft-eligible prospects at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2017

St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen sidelined by a hand injury.

Injury updates, Erik Cole retires with the Hurricanes & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Alexander Steen injured his left hand and will be sidelined three weeks. He’s the latest Blue to be sidelined. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester fractured his left ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks, while forward Zach Sandford (shoulder surgery) is out five-six months.

NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck suffered an upper-body injury during Tuesday’s preseason game against the Nashville Predators. Panthers head coach Bob Boughner said he doesn’t believe it’s anything serious and expects Trocheck will return to practice in a couple of days. 

TORONTO SUN: After recently appearing to accuse the Maple Leafs of “cheating” over the club’s assertion he failed his training camp physical, forward Joffrey Lupul took to social media to apologize for the remark. He said he would not seek a second opinion regarding his physical. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lupul will likely spend the upcoming season exiled on “Robidas Island”, where he also spent last season. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Kings winger Marian Gaborik continues to rehab from offseason knee surgery. He hopes to rejoin his teammates when they return next week from playing two exhibition games in China, but has no timetable for when he’ll be medically cleared to play. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Defenseman Shea Theodore hopes to stick with the Vegas Golden Knights this season. He’s in the final season of his entry-level contract and is exempt from waivers if the club decides to demote him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights currently have a log jam on defense and it’s expected they’ll make some room via trades or waivers. Demoting the promising Theodore is probably the last thing they want to do, but his waiver exemption gives them an option if they have difficulty moving out a couple of rearguards. 

MLIVE.COM: For Detroit Red Wings fans with lots of disposable income, the club is selling melted ice from the Joe Louis Arena for $85.00 per vial. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Erik Cole signed a ceremonial contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in order to retire with the club. He’ll also go on to become a team ambassador.

Cole spent 13 seasons in the NHL, spending over eight with the Hurricanes and winning a Stanley Cup with them in 2005-06. He also played for the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings. Cole tallied 265 goals and 532 points in 892 career NHL games, along with 14 points in 46 playoff contests. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Cole in his future endeavors. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2017

Minnesota Wild sign captain Mikko Koivu to a two-year contract extension.

Wild re-sign Mikko Koivu, plus updates on Joffrey Lupul, Andrew Shaw & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday re-signed center Mikko Koivu to a two-year, $11-million contract extension. The annual average salary is $5.5 million. In real salary, the 34-year-old Koivu will earn $6 million next season and $5 million in 2019-20. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should Koivu, the long-time Wild captain, finishes his career in Minnesota. He was eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. Koivu tallied 58 points last season to finish third among Wild scorers, marking the seventh time in his 12 NHL seasons (all with the Wild) he’s exceeded 50 points.

The cap hit is a little pricey for a player in his mid-thirties as there’s a risk of declining production. However, the term is reasonable and the annual average value is less than his current $6.75 million. No indication yet if the deal comes with no-trade protection. 

NBC SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul has a deadline of 5 pm ET on Thursday to seek a second medical opinion via the NHL Players Association regarding his failed training-camp physical. Lupul recently raised eyebrows with an Instagram comment (now deleted) saying the Leafs had “cheated” with their evaluation of his condition. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, there’s no indication Lupul intends to use that option. The Leafs, the league and the PA have declined to comment. If he’s placed on LTIR he’ll continue to receive his salary for this season, while the Leafs can receive salary-cap relief if necessary to put toward other players. 

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw admitted he should’ve sought medical help for head trauma suffered during the Habs opening-round playoff series last spring against the New York Rangers. Shaw attributes those “bell ringers” for the concussion that sidelined him from Game 6 and affected him until mid-July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite improvement in concussion education in recent years, some players still attempt to hide symptoms in hopes of overcoming the condition on their own. As Shaw indicates, doing so only made his condition worse. A medical staff can only do so much in spotting concussion symptoms. The injured player must acknowledge their condition and seek immediate help. 

NEWSDAY: After spending part of last season buried in the minors, New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak hopes for a bounce-back effort in 2017-18.

TSN: The Detroit Red Wings have reportedly offered restricted free agent forward Andrea Athanasiou a two-year, $3.8 million contract. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Nico Hischier scored the final goal in the New Jersey Devils 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals in their preseason opener on Monday, Hischier was the first overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft.