The NHL’s Most Unassailable Records – Single Game Edition
Game recaps plus the latest on Ben Bishop, Mats Zuccarello, Paul Byron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: David Pastrnak scored a hat trick and set up two other goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. The Bruins (103 points) sit five up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins roster depth was also bolstered by the return of defenseman Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson from injuries.
The Philadelphia Flyers kept their wild-card hopes alive by edging the Leafs 5-4 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Carter Hart made 38 saves for the Flyers while Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. The Flyers (82 points) sit eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the second wild-card spot. Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin made his season debut after being sidelined by a knee injury.
Speaking of the Flyers, forward Jori Lehtera was reportedly sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine. The Flyers placed Lehtera on waivers in early-February and he last played for their AHL affiliate on March 1. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Lehtera’s play already narrowed his chances of landing with another NHL team after this season. This news likely slams that door. Here’s hoping he can get his life back on track.
The Dallas Stars (86 points) maintained their three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by nipping the Calgary Flames 2-1. It was a costly win for the Stars, as starting goalie Ben Bishop was once again sidelined with a lower-body injury. Bishop is listed as day-to-day and the club intends to call up a goaltender for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Stars winger Mats Zuccarello required a couple of stitches over his right eye following a collision with teammate Joel L’Esperance during morning practice yesterday. Zuccarello was otherwise unharmed as he continues his recovery from a broken arm.
The Avalanche, meanwhile, defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected two points and Tyson Barrie set a franchise record for most goals (73) by a defenseman. The Avs (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot.
THE SCORE: Agent JP Barry, who represents Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron, is questioning the unwritten rules about players settling scores by fighting. Byron suffered a concussion during a fight with Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Tuesday. Weegar missed two weeks with a concussion in January following a hit by Byron, who received a three-game suspension. Barry pointed out Byron gave up five inches and 50 pounds to Weegar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Byron had a history of dirty play, was unrepentant over that hit on Weegar and received no supplemental discipline by the league, one could argue he got what he deserved. But that’s not the case. Hockey’s a rough game but that fight served no purpose at all.
CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers winger Brad Malone was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of demoting him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed defenseman Carl Dahlstrom to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $850K.
#RedWings Blashill said Jacob de la Rose saw a specialist today who recommended a procedure for his accelerated heartbeat. He’ll likely undergo and be out for rest of season. But he will be ready for training camp.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) March 27, 2019
Blackhawks ship Marian Hossa’s contract to the Coyotes in a multi-player deal, Jets re-sign Connor Hellebuyck, this summer’s salary-arbitration schedule and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired the contract of right wing Marian Hossa from the Chicago Blackhawks. They also received center Vinnie Hinostroza, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a 2019 third-round pick from the Blackhawks in exchange for center Marcus Kruger, Mackenzie Entwistle (Arizona’s 69th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft), prospects Jordan Maletta and Andrew Campbell, and a 2019 fifth-round pick to Chicago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Coyotes use their cap space to take on another team’s bad contract while also picking up some young assets in the deal. Hossa is as good as retired due to a skin condition. While his cap hit is $5.275-million per season through 2020-21, his actual salary is $1 million annually over the remainder of the deal. The Coyotes intend to place him on LTIR, meaning insurance will pick up $800K of his actual salary.
While the Blackhawks are getting back some assets in this deal, it remains a salary dump on their part. Cap Friendly indicates this move gives them $9.3 million in projected salary-cap space for 2018-19, providing room to perhaps make other moves in the coming weeks. I’ll have more on that later this morning in today’s Rumors section.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday avoided salary arbitration with goaltender Connor Hellebuyck by re-signing him to a six-year, $37-million contract. The annual average value is over $6.16 million, making the 25-year-old the sixth-highest paid goaltender in the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebucyk had a breakout performance last season. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, carrying the Jets to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. It’ll be money well spent by the Jets if he maintains or exceeds his 2017-18 effort over the course of his new contract.
NHLPA.COM: The 2018 NHL salary-arbitration schedule was released yesterday. Among the notables are Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba (July 20), Minnesota’s Matt Dumba (July 23) and Jason Zucker (July 28), Anaheim’s Brandon Montour (July 24), Ottawa’s Mark Stone (Aug. 3) and Vegas’ William Karlsson (Aug. 4).
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Jamie Oleksiak as he inked a three-year deal worth just over $2.137 million per season.
EDMONTON SUN: Given the Oilers’ limited cap space ($4.98 million), defenseman Darnell Nurse could get a two-year bridge deal.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed forward Cody McLeod to a one-year, $750K contract.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Lucas Wallmark to a two-year, two-way contract.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Sean Malone to a one-year, two-way deal.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have invited former NHL defenseman Simon Despres to training camp on a professional tryout basis. He spent 193 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks. Despres spent last season in the Kontinental Hockey League with Bratislava Slovan.
Senators re-sign Craig Anderson plus updates on Joe Thornton, Nico Hischier and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday re-signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a two-year, $9.5 million contract extension. Anderson, 36, was eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. The annual average value is $4.75 million, though in actual salary he’ll earn $5.5 million in 2018-19 and $4 million in 2019-20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this is an affordable short-term move by the Sens to retain Anderson, who’s provided them with reliable goaltending since joining them in February 2011. On the other hand, Anderson is now at a stage in his career when decline in performance is inevitable. Maybe he’ll buck the trend and continue playing well over that period. If he doesn’t, the Sens will have an expensive backup on their hands.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Five months following major knee surgery, San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton was a full participant in an up-tempo practice on Friday. He appears on track to play in their season opener on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, that offseason surgery could have on the 38-year-old Thornton’s performance. His production was down last season prior to his injury.
NJ.COM: Center Nico Hischier, the first-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, has played himself into a top-six role with the New Jersey Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time will tell if Hischier remains in that role throughout this season. The fact he’s now in a top-six spot bodes well for the promising Devils center.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will decide next week if promising defenseman Mikhail Sergachev starts the season with them. Sergachev was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens last June in a move that shipped forward Jonathan Drouin to the Habs. The young blueliner’s preseason play shows he has the potential to skate full-time in the NHL.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have released forward Ryan Malone from his professional tryout offer. He’ll continue his comeback on a tryout basis with the AHL’s Iowa Wild.
NBC SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings released journeyman defenseman Chris Lee from his PTO.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche placed former first-round pick Duncan Siemens on waivers. Siemens was selected 11th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Latest on Artemi Panarin, David Pastrnak, Mike Ribeiro and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Having been dealt by the Blackhawks in June to the Columbus Blue Jackets, winger Artemi Panarin is out to prove himself without Patrick Kane on his wing. “Nobody remembers how I played prior to the last couple of years. I am used to it and I am not paying attention to it. I get a little bit angry at it,” said Panarin.
Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he acquire the skilled Russian winger in part to bolster his club’s offense after they struggled to score against the Pittsburgh Penguins in last spring’s playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin is likely slotted to skate on the Jackets’ top line alongside center Alexander Wennberg. If the duo play well together it should sufficiently address the club’s need for additional offensive punch.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins president Cam Neely said there hasn’t been much dialogue of late with agent J.P. Barry, who represents restricted free agent winger David Pastrnak. Barry said the two sides will speak again today, saying his client is interested in an eight-year contract. Neely mentioned there’s been no talk yet of a shorter term bridge deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this summer, the Bruins reportedly pitched offers of six or seven years for around $6 million annually to the Pastrnak camp. Talk of a bridge deal has originated from pundits musing over what it might take to get a deal done. If talks remain stalled as training camp nears, perhaps the two sides will consider a short-term contract.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Ribeiro’s NHL career is over as he continues to struggle with substance abuse. “He doesn’t train anymore and he doesn’t go out on the ice anymore. He’s going to retire,” said Perno. He adds no NHL or European team has attempted to contact the 37-year-old center regarding a contract.
Perno said Ribeiro has stopped training, is estranged from his wife and apparently dropped out of sight. He spent last season split between the Nashville Predators and the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. In 2015, Ribeiro settled a sexual assault case filed against him by a former nanny of his children and entered the NHL’s substance abuse treatment program.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ribeiro’s playing career may be over but he still has the rest of his life ahead of him. I don’t condone his actions but I hope he gets the help he obviously needs.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild invited former NHL forward Ryan Malone to training camp on a tryout offer. The 37-year-old Malone last played in the NHL in 2014-15.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers signed former Nashville Predators forward Harry Zolnierczyk to a professional tryout offer.
ESPN.COM: Professional hockey players remain reluctant to donate their brains for posthumous concussion studies. Only 19 players have done so thus far, of which nine were found to have suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). All six of those from NHL players were found to have CTE.
Check out the latest collection of notable free-agent signings in your NHL headlines (more…)