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.










2020 NHL Awards – Calder Trophy, Lindsay and Adams Award Finalists

2020 NHL Awards – Calder Trophy, Lindsay and Adams Award Finalists

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2020

The Calder Trophy and Adams Award finalists revealed, plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Shea Weber, Patrik Laine, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, Chicago Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the finalists for the 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy honoring this season’s rookie-of-the-year.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik was a pleasant surprise for the Blackhawks this season, become the leading goal-scorer (30) among this season’s rookie class, but he will be overshadowed by Hughes and Makar. During the first half of this season, Makar seemed a lock for the Calder, but Hughes steadily came on throughout the season. The Canucks blueliner leads this season’s rookies in assists (45), points (53), and power-play points (25) while sitting second in ice time, averaging 21:53 per game.

Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, and Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault are this season’s finalists for the Jack Adams Award honoring the league’s top head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cassidy’s Bruins were the NHL’s top team during the regular season. Tortorella’s efforts helped his injury-ravaged Blue Jackets remain a playoff contender. Vigneault guided the Flyers to their first best performance (second in the Metropolitan Division) since 2010-11. Tortorella is a two-time winner (2003-04, 2016-17) of the Adams Award while Vigneault took home the award in 2006-07.

NHL TRAINING CAMP NOTES

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine admits he’s not quite up to speed following his lengthy layoff. “Still kind of far away,” he told reporters yesterday. “It’s kind of hard to see myself playing playoff hockey in two weeks.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine won’t be the only NHL player trying to shake off the rust and return to game shape following a four-month layoff. He said he’s trying to make the most of it and hopes to be game-ready when the puck drops.

TRIBLIVE.COM: There are mixed reports regarding Matt Murray’s performance in the opening three days of Pittsburgh Penguins’ training camp. Mark Madden cites sources claiming  Tristan Jarry is outplaying Murray, but Seth Rorabaugh (who’s covering the Penguins’ training camp) said he’d seen no difference in play between the two. Rorabaugh observed Murray is more often between the pipes when facing some of the Penguins’ top players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s restricted free agent status at season’s end ensures he’ll be closely watched in practice and the upcoming playoff tournament. He’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation this season. His performance will determine his future with the Penguins.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak joined his teammates for his first practice since completing his mandatory quarantine period after returning from the Czech Republic.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to make his training camp debut before the weekend. He’s been sidelined with an undisclosed issue.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber returned to full practice Wednesday. He’d spent Tuesday doing drills on his own.  

CANES COUNTRY: Sami Vatanen is healthy and looking forward to making an impact with the Carolina Hurricanes in the upcoming playoff tournament. The Hurricanes acquired the 29-year-old defenseman near the trade deadline, but an injury prevented him from suiting up with his new team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Dougie Hamilton recovered from a broken leg, he and Vatanen will provide a much-needed boost to the Hurricanes’ defense corps, especially if Brett Pesce (shoulder surgery) remains unable to participate.

NBC SPORTS: The pause in the schedule proved to be a silver lining for a banged-up Columbus Blue Jackets lineup, allowing sidelined players such as Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Cam Atkinson an opportunity to recover.

CALGARY SUN: Flames bench boss Geoff Ward denies he’s split up some of his roster over fitness-related issues. Johnny Gaudreau’s removal from the Flames’ top line raised eyebrows this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league’s clampdown on the players’ medical status only stokes speculation over the motivation behind such moves.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs were told to stop using on-ice officials during their practices following complaints from rival clubs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks officially signed defenseman Ian Mitchell to a three-year, entry-level contract beginning next season. He would’ve had the first year of his ELC burned off if he’d joined his teammates for Phase 3 training camp.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Former Carolina Hurricanes TV announcer John Forslund will be freelancing for NBC Sports during the upcoming playoff tournament. His status with the Hurricanes remains uncertain since his contract expired last month.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2020

The NHL considers its options as the NBA suspends its season over coronavirus concerns, plus game recaps and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The National Hockey League will provide an update on its season later today regarding coronavirus concerns. The league released a statement last night indicating its awareness of the National Basketball Association’s decision to suspend its season indefinitely after a player tested positive for the virus. NHL officials will continue to consult with medical officials and evaluating options. It is also in close contact with the NHL Players Association.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the league is expected to hold a conference call with all 31 clubs today.

SPORTSNET: While the league hasn’t yet decided on suspending its season, Chris Johnston believes it wouldn’t be surprising if it followed the NBA’s lead. “How can they reasonably play on with the virus spreading quickly in North America?”, asked Johnston. Even if the league held games in empty arenas, it might not be enough to guarantee the safety of the players and officials. Johnston also raised concern over whether the NHL can award a Stanley Cup champion this season, noting several European leagues have scrapped their seasons over COVID-19 concerns.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports playing games without fans would have consequences for league revenue this season, in turn affecting the salary cap for 2020-21. The NHL is the most gate-reliant for revenue among the four major North American sports leagues.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have grounded their international scouts over COVID-19 concerns.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith attempted to find some humor over the possibility of playing games in empty arenas. “I played in an empty building for a couple of years in Florida so I’m used to it,” he said.

Could the NHL suspend its season over COVID-19 concerns? (Image via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this situation. The Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks already announced it would play several upcoming home games without fans. The league could go that route with all its clubs on a week-by-week basis, they could postpone the remaining schedule by two or three weeks or suspend it indefinitely.

Whatever the league decides, it will affect hockey-related revenue for this season. It’s probably safe to assume those rosy projections of the cap rising next season to between $84 million to $88 million can be scrapped.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Pietrangelo scored twice to lead the St. Louis Blues over the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 to complete the game that was postponed last month after Blues defensemen Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident. With the win, the Blues (94 points) hold a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first overall in the Western Conference.

An overtime goal by J.T. Compher lifted the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Cale Makar collected three assists for the Avs in his return to the lineup following a five-game absence to an upper-body injury The Rangers (79 points) sit two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Earlier in the day, the Avs announced center Nathan MacKinnon was sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Kyle Connor scored two goals for the Jets (80 points), moving two points ahead of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers (83 points) remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his 30th goal of the season in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Kubalik leads all NHL rookies in goals this season. Patrick Kane scored twice for the Hawks.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their seventh straight win by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Kings have won 10 of their last 13 contests.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 32 goals and 66 points.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens sophomore center Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s season is over following an injured spleen suffered on Friday playing for the Habs’ AHL affliate.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina’s attempt to return from an ankle injury has been delayed by a mid-body injury. The Wings are hoping it won’t be season-ending for the young winger.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers center Nate Thompson will be sidelined for two weeks with a sprained left knee.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

PHWA midseason award winners, All-Star Game skills competition participants announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the midseason favorite for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced their 2019-20 Midseason NHL Award winners. Among them are  Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Calder Trophy). The PWHA also named Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander as their comeback player of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring serious injury or a significant decline in performance, McDavid is a lock for the Hart, Carlson for the Norris, and Makar for the Calder. Hellebuyck’s had an outstanding first half, but he’s struggled of late, which could affect his Vezina chances over the remainder of the season.

Participants for the skills competition for the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis were announced yesterday.

CALGARY SUN: The upcoming All-Star game is a family affair for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. The brothers grew up watching their father Keith play for the St. Louis Blues in the early 2000s until his retirement in 2010.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The effects of Kendall Coyne Schofield’s participation in the skills competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game are examined in a new documentary.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner voiced his support of general manager Doug Wilson despite the club’s disappointing season. “While we are all very disappointed in the team’s performance thus far this season, Doug has a long history of leading our team to success,” said Plattner. He pointed to the club’s quick turnaround under Wilson after missing the playoffs in 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Plattner’s confidence of Wilson, but I think the Sharks GM is facing the biggest challenge of his management career. He’s saddled himself with expensive veterans and doesn’t have much to draw upon in the prospect pipeline for trade bait.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin’s imminent return is good news for a Leafs blueline that’s struggled in his absence.

CBS SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve.

TSN: Marc Methot believes his playing career has come to an end. He underwent knee surgery a year ago while with the Dallas Stars, but the knee continues giving him pain. The 13-year NHL veteran spent five seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Methot said he hasn’t made an official decision yet on his future.










Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20

Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20