NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2020

The Lightning beat the Stars to tie the Stanley Cup Final at a game apiece, the latest NHL Award winners are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three first-period goals and held on to edge the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, tying the series at a game apiece. Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Kevin Shattenkirk tallied for the Lightning, while Joe Pavelski and Mattias Janmark replied for the Stars. Game 3 is Wednesday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars were sloppy and undisciplined in the first period, giving up two power-play goals and getting outshot 14-6. They rallied back with a better effort over the next two periods to make it interesting, but the Lightning got solid goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy for the win. The Stars also lost Blake Comeau to injury in the second period. An update on his condition could be released today.

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl wins the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award (NHL Images)

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is the winner of the 2020 Hart Memorial Trophy and the 2020 Ted Lindsay Award. Draisaitl was also this season’s winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is the 2020 winner of the Vezina Trophy. He’s the first Jet to win a major award since Teemu Selanne won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1993.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi took home the 2020 James Norris Memorial Trophy. He’s the first Predators blueliner to win the Norris.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the winner of the 2020 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. He’s the first Avs player to win that honor since teammate Nathan MacKinnon in 2013-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

The NHL also revealed its 2019-20 First and Second All-Star Teams.

2019-20 NHL First All-Star Team

G: Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

D: John Carlson, Washington Capitals

D: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

C: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

RW: David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

LW: Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers

2019-20 NHL Second All-Star Team

G: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

D: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

D: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

C: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

RW: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

LW: Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

The 2019-20 All-Rookie Team was also revealed:

G: Elvis Merzlikins, CBJ

D: Quinn Hughes, VAN

D: Cale Makar, COL

F: Dominik Kubalik, CHI

F: Victor Olofsson, BUF

F: Nick Suzuki, MTL

CBC SPORTS: Former NHL right wing Bob Nevin passed away at age 82. In 1,182 career games, Nevin scored 307 goals and 726 points from 1958-59 through 1975-76 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and Los Angeles Kings. He won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1962 and 1963, and served as captain of the Rangers from 1965 to 1971.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Nevin’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2020

As the 24 teams involved in the return-to-play plan move to their hub cities for the upcoming playoff tournament, check out the latest NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRAINING CAMP UPDATES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford finally took part in training camp yesterday and confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19. After self-quarantining in Chicago for the past several weeks, Crawford received clearance to resume practicing and will travel with his teammates to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why the Blackhawks management and coaching staff were so cryptic about Crawford’s status over the past two weeks. It’s potentially good news for the Hawks if their long-time starter can shake off the rust before they face off against the Oilers in their qualifying round series. He’ll only have a few days to try to get up to speed.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak will travel with his teammates to Toronto for the upcoming tournament after missing all but one practice due to potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Ondrej Kase’s status, however, remains uncertain after being unfit to participate in Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kase’s situation has sparked speculation he tested positive for COVID-19 because league protocols prevent the Bruins from elaborating on his condition.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: An injury suffered before Phase 3 training camp will prevent goaltender Ilya Samsonov from traveling to Toronto with his Capitals teammates. He’ll remain in Washington for treatment and is expected to be healthy for the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for the Capitals, long-time starter Braden Holtby had a good training camp and should be match-fit for the upcoming tournament. Nevertheless, the loss of Samsonov could become a significant factor if Holtby should be sidelined or struggles in the playoffs.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Dougie Hamilton was absent from the Carolina Hurricanes’ final training-camp session yesterday. He’s been sidelined since Wednesday after leaving the ice in some discomfort. Forward Martin Necas left the ice on Saturday but his condition isn’t considered serious.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton’s return would provide a big boost to an already-deep Hurricanes defense corps. They can adjust without him but they’d be much better with the mobile Hamilton patrolling the blueline.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers skated briefly yesterday but didn’t scrimmage with his teammates. He’s believed to be nursing an injury as he was held out of Thursday’s scrimmage.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was held out of practice yesterday as a precautionary measure after tweaking something earlier in the week. Center Riley Sheahan left yesterday’s scrimmage with an apparent injury.

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar returned to Colorado Avalanche practice yesterday.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart took part in a full practice yesterday and said he’ll be ready for the club’s upcoming exhibition game this week against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland has played his way back into a regular roster spot. He’ll be traveling with his teammates to Edmonton for the playoff tournament. Ferland missed most of this season and the early part of training camp dealing with head trauma symptoms.

LATEST ON CHAYKA AND THE COYOTES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the relationship between the Arizona Coyotes ownership and general manager John Chayka apparently fell apart over the latter receiving a job opportunity with another club.

The Coyotes were approached about Chayka’s availability and permitted him to explore the offer. An NHL source said the offer wasn’t for a general manager position. When it became apparent Chayka could leave, the Coyotes resisted. The two sides reportedly discussed a transition period where he would finish out the season as Coyotes GM, but talks fell apart. 

AZ COYOTES INSIDER Craig Morgan asked a Coyotes spokesperson about Chayka’s status but they declined to comment. Morgan also said the job opportunity wasn’t with another team but was another professional opportunity.

AZCENTRAL: Kent Somers and Richard Morin report the Coyotes ownership group made a contract offer to Taylor Hall during a recent dinner meeting. Chayka was not part of that meeting and learned about the offer a day or two later.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Patrick Johnston suggests Buffalo could be a destination for Chayka. Pegula Sports and Entertainment own the Sabres, the NFL Bill, and the AHL’s Rochester Americans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan wonders why the Coyotes balked after granting Chayka permission to explore it. What’s apparent is the relationship between the two sides is eroding, perhaps to the point where Chayka seems to be on his way out. It’s a puzzling situation that could become an unnecessary distraction as the Coyotes head to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2020

Seattle’s expansion franchise chooses Kraken as its team name, a look at what life will be like inside the host cities for the playoff tournament, and updates on Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise yesterday announced its team name will be “Kraken”. The club also unveiled its logo, a stylized S to reflect the mythical monster squid, as well as their home and away jerseys.

Seattle Kraken home jersey (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not a fan of the Kraken name, and I’m not just talking about the rum (I’m a scotch man, but I digress). I felt they should’ve picked one that better reflected the Seattle/Pacific Northwest area rather than a creature from Scandinavian lore. It’s already ensured their fans will be nicknamed “Krakheads” and their arena “The Krakhouse.”

Nevertheless, I think they did very well with the jersey rollout. The logo is well done, I like the color scheme, and the anchor on each shoulder incorporating Seattle’s Space Needle is a nice touch. That jersey could become a popular NHL merchandise item.

NHL REVEALS DETAILS OF LIFE IN PLAYOFF HUB CITIES

NHL.COM: The league yesterday released details of what life will be like for the teams in the two host cities under Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan. That included videos of accommodation and amenities within each of the Secure Zones in Edmonton and Toronto, special theme nights for selected games, and in-game sounds and supplemented crowd noise for televised games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be plenty of facilities and recreational activities available for everyone involved in the tournament. Those will be crucial for morale as they adjust to life under a quarantine bubble. 

LATEST PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews rejoined his teammates yesterday after missing practice on Tuesday. He also denied a report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming he voted against the return-to-play plan and CBA extension.

“I don’t know where he got that from,” said Toews. He added, “I voted yes. If anything, I kind of wanted the guys in our room to educate themselves on what was going on to the best of their ability and ultimately make their own decision.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to hear Friedman’s response. He’s among the NHL media’s well-connected pundits. In his recent 31 Thoughts podcast, he said he’d heard from several people claiming Toews had voted against the plan.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby didn’t participate in yesterday’s scrimmage but skated on his own yesterday. He hasn’t participated in practice since leaving the ice on Saturday. While league protocols prevent the Penguins from revealing details, a source explained Crosby’s absence was a precautionary measure as he deals with a minor ailment. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been listed as unfit to play after missing practice yesterday. Hamilton had recovered from a broken leg suffered last January but left the ice on Wednesday in some discomfort. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said he hoped this wasn’t a long-term issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton was mentioned as a possible Norris Trophy finalist before his injury. While the Hurricanes adjusted to playing without him, they’re a much better team with the puck-moving blueliner in the lineup. It would be a blow to their Stanley Cup hopes if he’s sidelined for another indefinite period. 

THE DENVER POST: Cale Makar could be close to returning to practice. The Colorado Avalanche defenseman hasn’t skated with his teammates since Saturday but took part yesterday in individual on-ice drills. Meanwhile, Avs captain Nathan MacKinnon skipped scrimmage yesterday. No explanation was given for his absence.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Carter Hart didn’t participate in the Philadelphia Flyers’ final training camp scrimmage yesterday. The young goaltender was absent from practice since Sunday but did take part in some individual on-ice training. As per league protocols, no explanation was given for his absence.

THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba missed yesterday’s scrimmage for undisclosed reasons. Coach Dean Evason has no expectations where Dumba will participate in today’s practice.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella isn’t pleased with the effort of two or three of his key players during Phase 3 training camp. He didn’t mention names, but he did stop practice yesterday to yell at his players after 30 seconds of the opening drill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella’s probably not the only coach involved in the playoff tournament to have a concern about the performance of some players in training camp following a long layoff. They just don’t express it as openly as the Blue Jackets’ colorful bench boss.

MONTREAL GAZETTE/WINNIPEG SUN: Canadiens defenseman Xavier Ouellet and Jets blueliner Anthony Bitetto revealed they had tested positive for COVID-19. Both have since recovered and rejoined their teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2020

Check out the latest on David Pastrnak, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins president Cam Neely doesn’t expect wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase on the ice before the club flies to Toronto on Sunday for the upcoming playoff tournament under Phase 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Pastrnak’s been quarantined after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Kase, meanwhile, has been deemed unfit to play with no explanation as per league health protocols.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (Photo via NHL Images).

Both players were seen together socially in Boston’s North End and skating together locally before their disappearance from Bruins’ training camp. Neely said he wished both players had returned to Boston from the Czech Republic a little earlier but noted the club had no control over that. The previous phase of the return-to-play plan didn’t require players to be in their NHL cities until the days leading up to the July 13 start of Phase 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak and Kase are expected to travel with their teammates to Toronto for Phase 4. Fortunately for the Bruins, both players will have roughly two weeks to get back into game shape. That because they’re already assured of a playoff berth and will be taking part in the round-robin seeding round during the qualifying round.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins fans can breathe a little easier. Captain Sidney Crosby returned to practice yesterday for the first time since leaving the ice during a scrimmage on Saturday. He skated on his own but didn’t take part in team practice. As per league protocols, coach Mike Sullivan did not explain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby’s absence was not COVID-related. He appears to be nursing what could be a minor injury.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Jonathan Toews was reportedly one of two NHLPA player reps to vote against the return-to-play plan and CBA extension. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Blackhawks captain was among the most vocal of the player reps, asking relevant questions and challenging whether it was safe enough to return to play. Carolina Hurricanes’ Jordan Martinook was the other PA rep to vote against it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews’ questioning shouldn’t be surprising. He also took an active interest in CBA negotiations during the 2012-13 lockout. By the sound of things, his position was well-intentioned. He now has more pressing concerns as he was listed as “unable to participate” since leaving practice on Monday.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty has missed his club’s last three practices. Coach Pete DeBoer indicated Pacioretty was dealing with a minor issue and could resume skating soon.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar missed his third straight practice since leaving the ice on Saturday. Coach Jared Bednar provided no update as per league protocols.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Oskar Lindblom’s comeback from a rare bone cancer continued yesterday as the Flyers re-signed him to a three-year, $9-million contract. The annual average value is $3 million. Management also isn’t ruling anything out if the winger travels to Toronto with his teammates for the upcoming playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be the feel-good story of the postseason if Lindblom returns to action during the upcoming tournament. The Flyers will leave that decision up to him.

SPORTSNET: Andreas Johnsson will be joining his Toronto Maple Leafs teammates inside the team bubble for Phase 4. He intends to continue his recovery from knee surgery with the team and hopes to return to the lineup during the playoffs if the Leafs get that far.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise is expected to reveal their team name later today. A live-streamed news conference is slated for 9 AM PT today for a “significant” event. The club teased the event on Twitter yesterday.

WINGING IT IN MOTOWN: The Detroit Red Wings are open to loaning winger Filip Zadina to the Czech League’s HC Ocelari. The Wings could be waiting until December at the earliest for the start of the next NHL season. Loaning out Zadina would allow the youngster to get in some meaningful gameplay before then.

NEW YORK POST: Swiss investment bank UBS has secured the naming rights for the Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park. The arena is expected to be ready for the 2021-22 season.

IIHF.COM: Former Soviet defenseman Alexander Gusev passed away at age 73. Gusev was part of two World Championship clubs in 1973 and 1974, won gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics, and was part of two Summit Series with Canadian NHL stars in 1972 and WHA stars in 1974.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Gusev’s family, friends, and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

Check out the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, Johnny Gaudreau, Jakub Voracek, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby was absent from Pittsburgh Penguins practice yesterday after leaving the ice during Saturday’s scrimmage. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment, citing the NHL’s new rules withholding player medical information during the coronavirus pandemic. However, a team source said Crosby’s departure was a precautionary measure for an undisclosed ailment.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL.COM’s Rick Sadowski reports Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar skipped practice yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday. Coach Jared Bednar couldn’t comment on Makar’s status citing the league’s new injury protocols.

NEW YORK POST: Pavel Buchnevich’s absence from Rangers practice since Saturday is not expected to be long-term. The winger is suffering from an undisclosed ailment not related to COVID-19. Coach David Quinn doesn’t expect Buchnevich to miss the start of the Rangers’ upcoming qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the league’s cone of silence on a player’s health during the pandemic, we’ll have to get used to deciphering clues over whether they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus or dealing with something else. It’ll get easier when the games begin. A good indicator a player absence isn’t COVID-related is if he leaves the ice limping or clutching an arm or a shoulder.

CALGARY SUN: Johnny Gaudreau was reunited with linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm yesterday. It’s the first time the winger has skated at his usual spot on the Flames’ top line since training camp opened last week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames tried to downplay Gaudreau’s situation, but it sparked whispers among fans and pundits over everything from contracting the coronavirus to concerns about his conditioning to questions about his future in Calgary.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Jakub Voracek returned to practice yesterday after being “unable to participate” on Saturday.

“I feel good,” said Voracek. “Why are you asking? You guys panic so much it’s not even funny, holy f—. You guys are making it sound like I’m dying or something. Everything’s fine.”

Voracek’s absence was due to a delay in the results of his COVID-19 test on Friday, which subsequently came back negative.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was held out of practice on Saturday for precautionary reasons following an inconclusive COVID test. A follow-up test came back negative.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland revealed he’s dealing with an issue related to his vestibular system, which is an inner-ear sensory system tied to the brain dealing with balance, eye movement, and spatial transmission. It was originally suspected Ferland’s lengthy absence was related to a concussion suffered earlier this season. He’s attempting to play his way back into the Canucks lineup during Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report noted Ferland’s play still needs improvement, but he managed to play a full scrimmage on Sunday.

TORONTO SUN: Zach Hyman was back on the ice Sunday taking shots on a couple of Maple Leafs’ reserve goaltenders. He missed practice Saturday after blocking a shot on Friday.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is feeling better following the NHL’s four-month pause. He’d been struggling to regain his form following hamstring surgery in April 2019.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes posed for their annual team photo with everyone wearing masks.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2020

Updates on Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Cale Makar, Jakub Voracek, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left yesterday’s scrimmage in the second period for “undisclosed reasons.” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment citing league protocols, but winger Conor Sheary suggested Crosby’s departure was a “maintenance thing.”

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (Photo via NHL Images).

 THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar left practice yesterday. Coach Jared Bednar said Makar was “unfit” to complete practice. It’s uncertain if he’ll participate in Sunday’s scrimmage.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek didn’t participate in yesterday’s practice. It could simply be a day off for Voracek after participating in every practice since Monday.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Fluto Shinzawa reports the Boston Bruins had nine regulars – David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Tuukka Rask, Nick Ritchie, Charlie Coyle, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner – listed as “unfit to play” on Saturday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t elaborate other than to say the club had no injuries to speak of.

Pastrnak is quarantined after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Krejci, Ritchie, Coyle, Kuraly, Wagner, Krug, and Rask all participated in practices before Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich left training camp early yesterday for undisclosed reasons. Coach David Quinn declined to comment citing league protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league’s cone of silence over a player’s health status leaves fans and pundits playing a guessing game. In most of the cases indicated above, it appears a player was either banged up during practice or having a maintenance day following a full week of practice and scrimmaging. Apart from Pastrnak, none of these absences appear tied to COVID-19.

THE SCORE: cited The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting Steven Stamkos was a full participant in practice yesterday. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is nursing a lower-body injury suffered during Phase 2 training. Head coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos could get a shot at playing in the club’s exhibition game on July 29 if he’s healthy and feels ready to go.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta was back on the ice Saturday after skipping practice on Friday. His absence may have simply been a maintenance day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maintenance means anything from simply having a day off for rest to getting treatment for a nagging injury.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Former NHL linesman Kevin Collins is the president, CEO, principal owner, and clerk of the works of Mass Alternative Care, Inc. It’s a marijuana-based company he started up that employs around 60 people in western Massachusetts. The company using cannabis for a diverse range of products for medical and adult recreational use.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the story suggests, Collins’ post-retirement business is growing like a weed.