NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2021

The Hurricanes clinch first place in the Central Division, the Panthers and Lightning will face each other in the playoffs, the Blues clinch a postseason berth, the Stars stay alive and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Joe Pavelski led the way with two goals and two assists while Roope Hintz had three points. With 58 points, the Stars sit two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

Thanks to the Stars, the Carolina Hurricanes clinched first place in the Discover Central Division. The Lightning will face the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have an opportunity to win their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy. They have 80 points with two games remaining while the Vegas Golden Knights have 78 points with three games left.

The Panthers-Lightning will be facing each other for the first time in postseason competition. I’m looking forward to watching their opening-round series. These rivals are evenly matched, with each team have won three of their six games thus far in their season series. We’ll get a first-round preview as their final two games of the schedule (today and Monday) are against each other with playoff seeding on the line.

The Washington Capitals remain two points out of first place in the MassMutual East Division after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Wade Allison scored two goals for the Flyers. Washington was without Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID-19 protocol list). With 73 points, the Capitals have a game in hand over the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins (75 points), who play their final game of the schedule today against the Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins, Sabres, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks all have one game remaining in their respective schedules.

The St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff spot in the Honda West Division despite falling 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally by the Golden Knights, who hold a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues were in danger of missing the playoffs in early April following a seven-game losing skid. Their current eight-game points streak (including five wins) put them over the top.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied his 30th goal of the season as his club held off the Los Angeles Kings 3-2, eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon missed the game with a lower-body injury in what appeared to be a precautionary move by head coach Jared Bednar. Earlier in the day, the Kings announced winger Dustin Brown will miss the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Kaprizov has 27 goals on the season as the Wild sits one point back of the Avalanche in third place with 73 points.

Phil Kessel collected his 900th career point as his Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Kessel had a goal and an assist while teammate Conor Garland collected three points. The Sharks were without captain Logan Couture, who could miss the remainder of the regular season with a lower-body injury.

A three-goal outburst in the second period rallied the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice, Valtteri Filppula collected three assists and Joe Veleno tallied his first NHL goal.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Friday he’s hopeful of returning to action for his club’s postseason opener. Stamkos has been sidelined by a lower-body injury since April 8.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Phillip Danault is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Carey Price (concussion) has been working out on the ice at the Habs’ practice facility but there’s no timetable for his return. Shea Weber and Paul Byron are each listed as day-to-day. Brendan Gallagher (broken thumb) has resumed skating while Jonathan Drouin remains on an indefinite leave of absence.

THE PROVINCE: The NHL department of player safety handed a one-game suspension to Vancouver Canucks forward Zack MacEwen for kneeing Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse on Thursday.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Ondrej Kase returned to Bruins practice for the first time in four months after taking a high hit from New Jersey Devils winger Miles Wood back in January. He hasn’t ruled out returning for the Bruins’ final two games of the season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

Alexis Lafreniere tops the first-round selections in the 2020 Draft, the NHL and NHLPA target Jan. 1 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, the Capitals re-sign Brenden Dillon, the latest contract buyouts and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft (NHL.com).

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere with the first-overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft last night. The Los Angeles Kings selected Quinton Byfield with the second-overall pick while the Ottawa Senators selected Tim Stuetzle with the third-overall selection. Rounds two through seven will be held today starting at 11:30 am ET. (Stick tap to NBC Sports for the list below):

1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) – Tim Stuetzle, C/LW, Mannheim (DEL)
4. Detroit Red Wings – Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
5. Ottawa Senators – Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP (USHL)
6. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
7. New Jersey Devils – Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL)
8. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
9. Minnesota Wild – Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
10. Winnipeg Jets – Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)
11. Nashville Predators – Yaroslav Askarov, G, St. Petersburg (VHL)
12. Florida Panthers – Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (SM-liiga)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) – Seth Jarvis, C, Portland (WHL)
14. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) – Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
16. Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ) – Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
19. New York Rangers (from CGY) – Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL)
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB) – Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Yegor Chinakhov, RW, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
22. Washington Capitals (from CGY via NYR via CAR) – Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL)
24. Calgary Flames (from WSH) – Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
25. Colorado Avalanche – Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
26. St. Louis Blues – Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton (WHL)
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI) – Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL)
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)
30. Dallas Stars – Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB) – Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

The NHL and NHLPA issued a joint statement targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be great if the league and PA can safely start next season on New Year’s Day. Whether they can is another matter. COVID-19 will ultimately decide if that start date can be met. The priority is the safety of everyone involved in the games.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Capitals. They acquired Dillon before the trade deadline and he quickly fit in well on their blueline.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Capitals, defenseman Michal Kempny will be sidelined six-to-eight months following surgery to repair an Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempny will likely go on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. It would give the Capitals $2.5 million in wiggle room if necessary to make other moves.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed defenseman Karl Alzner on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the remaining two years of his contract. It will count as $3.9 million for 2020-21 against their cap hit, dropping to $1.9 million in 2021-22, and $833K per season for the final two years of the buyout

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could’ve waited another year to buy out Alzner when it wouldn’t have counted as long against their cap. It’s believed they did this to allow the veteran blueliner an opportunity to try and sign with another NHL club.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed forward Justin Abdelkader on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the final three years of his contract. It’ll count as $1.8 million against their cap in 2020-21, $2.3 million annually for the next two seasons, and $1.05 million for the final three years of the buyout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland decided not to tender qualifying offers to Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning. Both players will become unrestricted free agents on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland is catching flak from Oilers supporters because he gave up two second-round picks as part of the return to the Detroit Red Wings last February for Athanasiou. The Oilers GM was hoping the speedy winger could regain his 30-goal form but he managed just two points in 13 games in Edmonton. The cost of qualifying his rights was $3 million, which would’ve been too expensive for the cap-strapped Oilers.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Zack MacEwen to a two-year contract worth $825K per season.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

Game recaps, the Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer, Forbes releases its annual evaluation of NHL franchises, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: T.J. Oshie scored two goals as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2. John Carlson scored the game-winner, snapping a 2-2 tie in the third period. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 26th goal of the season,

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied twice in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after being sidelined for three games. The Avalanche are unbeaten in their last eight contests (7-0-1). Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers.

An overtime goal by Ben Chiarot lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators made things interesting by overcoming a 2-0 deficit. Max Domi collected two assists while rookie goaltender Cayden Primeau picked up his first NHL victory. Brady Tkachuk picked up two points for the Senators. The Canadiens played without Matthew Peca. They also placed center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (upper body) on injured reserve.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday fired head coach Peter DeBoer and three of his assistant coaches. Bob Boughner takes over for DeBoer on an interim basis.

San Jose Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are struggling to score and the defense hasn’t played well, but poor goaltending is the real reason DeBoer lost his job. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have been terrible, sporting the league’s third-worst goals-against per game (3.42). Boughner might improve their defense, but I doubt he’ll be able to elevate the goaltending.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Speaking of coaches on struggling teams in danger of losing their job, Jeff Blashill’s performance is under the microscope as the Red Wings approach the longest losing skid in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The record is 14 straight games. The Wings are in a death spiral, sparking comparisons to the “Dead Things” of the early-’80s. General manager Steve Yzerman’s been patient, but one wonders how much longer he’ll wait before shaking up the coaching staff.

FORBES.COM: For the fifth straight year, the New York Rangers top the magazine’s annual evaluation of NHL franchises. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins round out the top five. The Arizona Coyotes came in last in the rankings.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lapointe is undergoing treatment for oral cancer. A team statement indicates this form of cancer has a high cure rate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to “Pointu” for a speedy recovery.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks due to a dislocated rib and broken cartilage.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski will work his 2,500th NHL game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.

THE SCORE: The Colorado Eagles’ equipment manager had been placed on administrative leave after former NHL player Akim Aliu revealed he attended a team Halloween party in blackface dressed as Aliu. The incident took place in 2011.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2019

Game recaps, the fallout from the Ducks firing coach Randy Carlyle, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues extended their winning streak to six games by edging the Nashville Predators 5-4 in overtime. Vladimir Taranseko tallied a hat trick, including the game-winning goal. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice for the Predators. With the win, the Blues (59 points) move into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference and sit two points behind the third-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division. 

Vladimir Tarasenko’s hat trick lifted the St. Louis Blues to their sixth straight win (Photo via NHL Images).

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (one goal, one assist) extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Dominik Kahun scored twice, Alex DeBrincat collected three assists and Cam Ward made 43 saves. The Blackhawks (55 points) winning streak is now at seven games and they sit four points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. 

Brad Marchand’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche (55 points), handing the latter their seventh straight loss and dropping them four points out of a Western playoff spot. The Avs are also 1-11 in overtime this season. The Bruins (70 points) move one ahead of the Montreal Canadiens into third in the Atlantic Division. 

Third-period goals by Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, snapping their three-game losing skid. Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian missed the game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

Marcus Johansson scored two goals and Nico Hischier had three assists as the New Jersey Devils edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. The Hurricanes (62 points) remain one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes announced goaltender Scott Darling has been granted a leave of absence for personal reasons. Darling has spent most of this season with the Hurricane’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darling’s performance has suffered over the last two years. Hopefully, this leave of absence gives him the opportunity to rest and refocus on getting his career back on track. 

The New York Islanders (72 points) picked up their third straight win by nipping the Minnesota Wild 2-1, widening their lead in the Metropolitan Division by five points. The Wild (59 points) have won just once in their last six games and now cling to the final wild-card spot in the West.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice to snap a 10-game goalless drought to help his club beat the Florida Panthers 5-2. Entering the game at the end of the second period, Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo appeared in his 1,030th career game, moving past Patrick Roy into second place on the all-time list. 

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made a career-high 55-saves on his 23rd birthday in a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Earlier in the day, the Leafs activated winger Tyler Ennis off injured reserve.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday fired head coach Randy Carlyle. General manager Bob Murray takes over as interim coach for the remainder of the season. Murray said he’ll name a full-time replacement in the offseason. Dallas Eakins, coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego and former head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, is considered a definite candidate for the job. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a move long overdue and probably should’ve been made two or three weeks ago before this current tailspin got out of hand. For those wondering why Eakins isn’t promoted now, it appears Murray and company prefer he finish the season with their farm club. Murray also said he wants to focus on the roster to better determine what needs to be fixed. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed winger Kenny Agostino on waivers and demoted defenseman Karl Alzner to their AHL affiliate in Laval. 

CBC.CA: Stratford, PEI native Zack MacEwen has been called up by the Vancouver Canucks. MacEwen, 22, spent the past two seasons with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica, NY.