NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

The Avalanche sets franchise records in a lopsided win over the Kings, Martin St. Louis clarifies his future plans with the Canadiens, the Flames are poised to clinch a playoff berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche set franchise records with their 53rd win of the season by crushing the Los Angeles Kings 9-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick and collected two assists, Cale Makar had a goal and three assists while Valeri Nichushkin and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each scored two goals. The Avalanche also set a franchise record with their 29th home victory, sitting on top of the overall standings with 112 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs’ franchise record for points in a season is 118 in 2000-21. With nine games remaining in their schedule, they can break that record with four more wins. The Kings, meanwhile, cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 88 points, holding a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Kaapo Kakko scored twice while Jacob Trouba and Barclay Goodrow each had two assists. With 102 points, the Rangers sit two points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers suffered their 40th loss of the season, marking the second time in franchise history they’ve reached that level. They dropped 48 games in 2006-07.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got two goals from Jack Roslovic and three points from Patrik Laine in a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis indicated he’d like to return behind the Habs bench following yesterday’s morning skate. He said he was brought in to finish the season and that’s where he was putting his focus, but added his goal would be to be back with the club next season.

St. Louis was clarifying earlier comments where he seemed to suggest he might not return after this season, raising some concern among Canadiens fans. He’s in his current position on an interim basis but general manager Kent Hughes recently said he’d like to keep him on as their full-time bench boss.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: The Flames can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have their hands full against a determined opponent battling for a wild-card spot.

SPORTSNET: The NHL department of player safety fined Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman $4,250.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct for flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman can afford that fine but that hasn’t stopped Wild fans (and Kane’s estranged wife Anna) from chipping in to an online fund to help him pay it off. I suspect he’ll donate that money to charity.

NEW YORK POST: Vitaly Kravtsov will not be joining the Rangers for the upcoming playoffs. However, he remains in good standing with the organization and plans are being made for him to come to New York this summer to get an early start on training camp. Kravtsov, 21, spent this season on loan to the KHL after refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov was a hot topic for early-season trade speculation. He could resurface in this fall’s rumor mill if he fails to secure a full-time roster spot with the Rangers. It’s also possible he gets traded during the offseason if the Rangers get a suitable trade offer.

NHL.COM: Boston’s Fenway Park will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 as the Bruins face off against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel makes the case for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting to receive votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy despite the 26-year-old rookie’s age and his previous (albeit limited) NHL experience with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I consider Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras as the front-runners for this award, with Seider my choice as rookie of the year.

I acknowledge Siegel’s point that Bunting had to rise to the challenge of dealing with the pressure of playing alongside superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in hockey’s biggest market. However, Seider and Zegras are already establishing themselves as invaluable players on rebuilding clubs lacking big-name talent.

The Leafs would still be a playoff club this season regardless of whether Bunting played on their top line. Seider and Zegras, however, are budding impact players already playing important roles on their respective teams.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Reese Johnson to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau sets a league record in Jonathan Toews’ 1,000th game, Auston Matthews is the first player this season to score 50 goals, potential investors are circling the Senators in the wake of Eugene Melnyk’s death, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau set a single-season assist record for left wingers (71) as his Florida Panthers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, spoiling the 1,000th career NHL game of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves for the shutout while Aleksander Barkov scored twice. With 98 points, the Panthers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but sit in first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau really doesn’t get the attention he deserves for his playmaking skills. He’s fourth overall in total assists (271) since 2017-18, four behind the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and nine behind the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the overall leader during that period with 340.

Toews would’ve reached the 1,000 game mark much sooner had he not missed all of last season to illness. It’s been a difficult campaign for the Blackhawks captain, with 29 points in 57 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season in a 7-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected three points as the Leafs (91 points) move one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division. With 76 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is the fourth player in Leafs history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Rick Vaive, Gary Leeman and Dave Andreychuk. With 15 games remaining in the season, he’s poised to overtake Vaive for the Leafs’ single-season record (54) and has a realistic shot of becoming the first NHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did it in 2011-12.

Third-period goals by Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Nazem Kadri and Erik Johnson each had two assists for Colorado while teammate Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup after missing one game with an injured hand. With 102 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Panthers and Hurricanes atop the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was originally reported that MacKinnon suffered a fractured bone in his hand following a recent fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. While he was declared “good to go” by the Avalanche, it’ll be interesting to see if that injury has any effect on his performance.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Andrei Svechnikov tallied twice while Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens netminder Jake Allen stopped 40 shots in a losing cause.

Jamie Benn’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, extending the latter’s winless streak to 11 games. Jake Oettinger kicked out 21 shots for the win as the Stars (79 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wild-card spot.

A shootout goal by Lias Andersson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Viktor Arvidsson tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the third period while Cal Petersen picked up the win with a 26-save effort. Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the Flames, who hold a five-point lead over the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 89 points.

Evgeni Malkin’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Minnesota Wild 4-3, ending the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Rickard Rakell scored two goals for the Penguins (92 points), who sit one point behind the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jason Zucker’s return to the Penguins lineup after missing the last 30 games to core-muscle surgery didn’t last long. He was helped from the ice in the second period after suffering what looked like a serious leg injury from crashing awkwardly into the boards. No update was provided on his status.

A six-goal second period powered the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Brad Marchand tallied twice while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each collected three points as the Bruins (89 points) hold a five-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins honored recently-retired goalie Tuukka Rask in a ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

The New York Islanders defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN/THE ATHLETIC: Michael Traikos and Ian Mendes report that potential investors are already looking into purchasing the Senators only days after owner Eugene Melnyk passed away on Monday. Ownership of the team is expected to pass to Melnyk’s college-age daughters Anne and Olivia. Mendes confirmed there are “multiple groups” who’ve expressed interest in purchasing the Senators with the plan of keeping them in the Ottawa market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk isn’t even in the ground yet and already the vultures are circling hoping to pick up the Senators. One would think they’d at least allow his family time to grieve before making inquiries about buying the franchise. That’s the cold-blooded business world for you.

Nothing will happen until after Melnyk’s estate has been settled, which could take weeks. That’s when we’ll learn if his daughters will retain or sell the franchise. Based on the reports by Traikos and Mendes, they won’t lack potential bidders keen on keeping the club in Ottawa.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller’s season is over after undergoing surgery for a broken leg suffered during Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. His recovery period is expected to be between four to six months.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a groin injury.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is expected to miss two weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: The Buffalo Sabres will honor long-time broadcaster Rick Jeanneret with a banner prior to tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Hall-of-Fame play-by-play man has covered the Sabres since 1971 and will retire at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for the long-time voice of the Sabres.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

Game recaps, the salary cap will rise next season, possible LTIR changes to be discussed in the offseason, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the first team to reach 100 points this season by downing the Calgary Flames 2-1. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, Darcy Kuemper made 44 saves and Cale Makar became the third defenseman in Avalanche history to reach 50 assists in a season. The Avs hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first overall. Tyler Toffoli scored for the Flames (88 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche got the win without Nathan MacKinnon, who is sidelined with what’s believed to be a fractured hand as the result of a fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba on Sunday.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 4-1 lead over the Montreal Canadiens before rolling to a 7-4 victory with three unanswered third-period goals. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected an assist, tying the record for most assists (70) in a season by a left wing. Ryan Lomberg also had two goals and an assist while Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists. Laurent Dauphin had a goal and an assist.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 49th goal of the season while Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly each had two points as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Boston Bruins 6-4. It was a costly win for Toronto with goaltender Petr Mrazek and defensemen Justin Holl and Ilya Lyubushkin leaving the game with injuries. The Leafs (89 points) sit one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while Boston sits two points behind the Leafs. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 with Steven Stamkos tallying his 30th goal of the season in overtime. Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov finished the game with three points each as the Lightning sits six points behind the first-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (96 points), who hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Rangers, they held on for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chris Kreider scored his 45th goal of the season as the Rangers hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for second place in the Metro Division. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored to reach 70 points for the 12th time in his career.

The Dallas Stars regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on third-period goals by Roope Hintz and Jacob Peterson. The Stars (77 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights. Miro Heiskanen returned to the Dallas lineup after being sidelined since March 2 by mononucleosis. The Ducks have lost 10 straight games.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots to backstop the Minnesota Wild to their seventh straight win by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Kirill Kaprizov’s 37th goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Wild hold second place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros made 36 stops in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Michael McCarron tallied twice and Mattias Ekholm had three assists for the Predators, who sit four points behind the Wild in third place in the Central. Before the game, the Predators held a moment of silence to honor Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away on Monday.

The New York Islanders held on for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brock Nelson netted his 32nd goal of the season while Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each had two assists. Vladislav Gavrikov tallied twice for the Blue Jackets, who played without head coach Brad Larsen and assistant coach Steve McCarthy as they entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

TSN: NHL general managers were officially informed by the league the salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million during the second day of their meetings in Florida. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s revenues are expected to top $5 billion this season.

Pierre LeBrun reports discussions on potential changes to long-term injury reserve rules (such as a playoff salary cap) didn’t lead to any rule changes. However, there is expected to be a further talk on this subject during the NHL Draft in Montreal in July. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he’s already spoken with the NHL Players Association about this issue.

LeBrun mentioned there’s been lots of “white noise” over how the Vegas Golden Knights are handling their LTIR this season. Bettman and Daly, however, said there are no issues with how Vegas is handling their LTIR business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darren Dreger said the league doesn’t consider this to be a major problem but rather a perception one where the media and fans are concerned. Nevertheless, they intend to discuss addressing that impression with the NHLPA. Whether it results in any immediate change remains to be seen. Because this is a collective bargaining agreement issue, it might not be addressed until the next round of CBA talks in 2026.

Chris Johnston reported the league is finalizing an agreement with the NHLPA regarding how no-trade and limited no-trade clauses are submitted by players. The plan would see a player’s no-trade lists sent to NHL Central Registry and the PA to eventually compile a database. This comes on the heels of the NHL overturning the Vegas Golden Knights’ recent attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks because the league was not aware of his no-trade clause when they initially approved the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised it took this long for a snafu like the attempted Dadonov trade to surface.

LeBrun reports there won’t be a Team North America or Team Europe in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey. It will instead return to a traditional format of countries.

SPORTSNET: Bettman also said he’ll be speaking with the daughters of the late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk as well as the executor of Melnyk’s estate. He said an ownership structure has been in place and it’s expected the franchise will continue to operate as it always has.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Senators fans were concerned over whether the team would be sold to a prospective owner who might have designs on relocating the franchise. That is not going to happen.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is hoping to retain interim head coach Martin St. Louis after this season. The club is 10-8-4 since St. Louis took over behind the bench on Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is St. Louis’ if he wants it. Judging by how much fun he’s having and the Canadiens’ improvement despite an ongoing rash of injuries and the recent trades involving four key players, I’ll be surprised if he turns down the opportunity.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Minnesota Wild have reportedly signed defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2 million.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse’s season could be over after suffering a broken bone in his hand.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

Corey Perry reaches a goal milestone in the Lightning’s win over the Oilers, the Avalanche extends their lead atop the overall standings, the Leafs place Jake Muzzin on LTIR, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Corey Perry tallied his 400th career goal as he helped the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. The Lightning surged to a 4-1 lead and sealed the win with Nikita Kucherov’s empty-netter after the Oilers rallied to within one goal. Perry, Kucherov and Pat Maroon each finished the night with a goal and an assist. Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice and teammate Leon Draisaitl collected three assists as both are tied for the points lead with 73. With 72 points, the Lightning sits three back of the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers. The loss dropped the Oilers (59 points) into the second Western Conference wild-card berth.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Corey Perry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss has some pundits wondering what Oilers general manager Ken Holland will do to address his club’s leaky goaltending. It’s been a problem all season, renewing speculation over whether Holland will make a move to address this issue before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche (78 points) opened a three-point lead over the Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavel Francouz made 32 saves for the win while Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals and Cale Makar picked up two assists. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin and defenseman Moritz Seider each collected two assists. Avs center Nathan MacKinnon missed this contest with a lower-body injury but is expected to play against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson tallied two goals (including the game-winner) as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The win vaults the Kings (61 points) over the Oilers into third place in the Pacific Division.

An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Seguin finished the night with two points while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 36 shots. The Stars (58 points) are one point behind the Oilers and Anaheim Ducks while the Jets (53 points) are six points out of that final Western wild-card berth.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault kicked out 32 shots for his first NHL shutout to blank the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Nick Suzuki scored twice and collected an assist while Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist. Canadiens forwards Josh Anderson (head injury) and Paul Byron (upper-body injury) left the game and will be re-evaluated later today. The Habs have won four straight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield remains on a torrid scoring pace under the tutelage of interim coach Martin St. Louis. The rookie winger has six goals and 10 points in his last seven games.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve as he recovers from a head injury (concussion) suffered during Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Canadiens. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days. The move would allow the Leafs to exceed the salary cap by roughly the equivalent of Muzzin’s $5.625 million annual cap hit if they choose to add a player or two before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind the Leafs would have to become cap compliant if they use that LTIR space to acquire a player should Muzzin return to action before the end of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how general manager Kyle Dubas addresses this situation.

The Leafs also announced yesterday prospect forward Rodion Amirov has a brain tumor. The 20-year-old is receiving treatment and remains upbeat that he’ll overcome this condition and resume his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Amirov for a swift and complete recovery.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens will provide a medical update on Friday on the condition of Carey Price. The 34-year-old goaltender has been recovering from off-season knee surgery. He also spent the first month of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program for substance abuse and mental health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price’s on-ice workouts stopped on Feb. 15 but he’s continuing off-ice workouts. It remains to be seen if he’ll return at all this season. At this stage, it might be best if he puts his focus on working toward returning next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they promoted John Sedgwick to assistant general manager. He’d been their vice-president of hockey operations and legal affairs since 2017.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira underwent surgery on his lower back on Tuesday. He’s expected to be sidelined 10-12 weeks, effectively ending his season.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 15 with a lower-body injury. NHL.com reports Jackets netminder Daniil Tarasov’s season is over after undergoing surgery on his right hip. His recovery period is six months.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks president Jonathan Becher declared it’s “highly unlikely” his club will undergo a “proactive rebuild” of its roster. He felt it would be difficult selling season tickets for the next three to five years if the club wasn’t going to be very good over that period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What also hurts season ticket sales is a club in need of a rebuild refusing to do so and icing a product that fails to improve. If you do a rebuild correctly you can sell your fans on hope for the future. Of course, there could be other factors at play here. The pandemic hit all teams hard, some more than others. Perhaps the Sharks could have a more pressing need for revenue compared to other clubs.

TSN: Former NHL forward Sean Avery, 41, has signed a standard player contract with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. He last played professional hockey 10 years ago.