NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

Four more members of the Senators test positive for COVID-19, plus the latest on Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: Three more Senators’ players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to seven people aboard the club’s charter flight that returned from their California road trip on March 12. The club indicated the five players and the staff member have all recovered. Broadcaster Gord Wilson confirmed a positive test on Friday.

League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there aren’t any plans to test the entire Senators team. “Everyone who had symptoms was tested,” Daly said.”There really is no reason to test anyone else. No one is symptomatic and no one is sick and they all have been in self-quarantine for three weeks.”

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been hardest hit among the 31 NHL teams by this pandemic. Fortunately, it seems they suffered mild symptoms and most recovered quickly.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres captain Jack Eichel is partnering with hockey manufacturing company Bauer to donate 5,000 protective shields to Buffalo area hospitals. Teammate Jeff Skinner, meanwhile, is donating $53,000 to a fund created by Pegula Sports and Entertainment to help frontline health care workers and others affected by the coronavirus in Western New York.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino will be ready to go if the NHL season resumes. Dumoulin underwent surgery in December to repair lacerated ankle tendons. Marino missed five games in March before the schedule was paused recovered from broken facial bones.

THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he won’t be interviewing coaching candidates during the NHL’s schedule hiatus. He’s happy thus far with the work of Dean Evason, who took over as head coach in mid-February on an interim basis after Bruce Boudreau was fired. The Wild are 8-4-0 under Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are one point out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Guerin sounds like he wants to continue evaluating Evason before deciding if he’ll keep him on the job or seek a full-time replacement.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The play of Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Robby Fabbri was among the pleasant surprises in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Wings.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The ECHL and Professional Hockey Players’ Association announced a relief fund to help the league’s players and their families left without salaries following the cancellation of the season.




NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2020

Game recaps, stars of the week, the latest on possible NHL participation in future Winter Olympics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime. With 77 points, the Lightning sits just three behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. The Jackets (70 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, they revealed defenseman Seth Jones is sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury.

Nikita Kucherov scored both goals in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2-1 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images).

Milan Lucic had a goal and two assists to lead the Calgary Flames over the San Jose Sharks 6-2. David Rittich kicked out 34 shots for the win as the Flames (64 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the West. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic (upper-body injury) returned to Calgary earlier in the day for further examination.

The Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game winless skid by dumping the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each picked up two points and defenseman Quinn Hughes collected three assists for the Canucks (67 points), who remain atop the Pacific Division. With 59 points, the Predators remain four points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Two first-period goals by Anthony Beauvillier powered the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each picked up three assists. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin remains two goals shy of 700 for his career. Washington (77 points) sits atop the Metropolitan Division, seven points up on the third-place Isles.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 30 saves to backstop his club over the slumping Florida Panthers 4-1. Hart was sidelined nine games with an abdominal strain. James van Riemsdyk scored a goal and collected an assist for the Flyers (69 points), who hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, meanwhile, have dropped three straight and remain two points behind the Leafs.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame an early 2-0 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Jakob Chychrun tallied the game-winner with a power-play goal in the final minute of the third period, while teammate Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist. Canadiens center Phillip Danault left the game after being struck in the mouth by a shot from linemate Tomas Tatar. The Coyotes, meanwhile, played without goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who suffered an injury earlier in the day. The Coyotes (63 points) remain just outside the Western Conference playoff picture, while the Canadiens (61 points) remain five back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division.


Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor, and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 9.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said his sore knee is unrelated to the more serious injury he suffered at the end of last season. He bruised the knee during Saturday’s game against Nashville and remains questionable for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins rookie defenseman John Marino underwent surgery on Monday to repair a facial injury. There is currently no timeframe for his return.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha will return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. He’d been sidelined since Dec. 21 with a rib injury and a punctured lung.

TSN: NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider called last week’s meeting with the International Olympic Committee as “really positive” and “a good gesture” on the IOC’s part. The news generated hope of future Winter Olympic participation involving NHL players, but league deputy commissioner Bill Daly struck a more cautious tone. “From an overall perspective, I would say we have a long way to go. I wouldn’t get overly excited,” he said. Collective bargaining talks between the league and the PA are expected to resume today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly further tamped down expectations in an email yesterday to the Associated Press. “We aren’t there yet. In fact, we aren’t even close to being there,” Daly wrote.”At this point in time, we continue to believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.”

Those “negatives” include the travel and insurance costs for the players, as well as allowing the league and the PA to access video and images to market their players. Until those issues are suitably addressed, the league won’t participate in future Olympic games.

ESPN.COM: The coronavirus could soon affect the NHL’s stick supply. 75 percent of the composite sticks are made in China, where the virus has reduced transportation and exports to a trickle.

NHL Injury Outlook: Injuries spike this Valentine’s Week

NHL Injury Outlook: Injuries spike this Valentine’s Week


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2020

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jack Campbell made 26 saves in his Toronto Maple Leafs debut to backstop his new club to a 5-4 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks. Campbell and Kyle Clifford were acquired on Wednesday night from the Los Angeles Kings. John Tavares scored twice (including the game-winner), Auston Matthews tallied his 40th goal of the season, and Mitch Marner collected three assists. With the win, the Leafs vault into third place (65 points) in the Atlantic Division. They played without Frederik Andersen (neck injury) and William Nylander (flu). The Leafs also recalled defenseman Timothy Liljegren to replace sidelined Cody Ceci.

A two-goal performance by John Tavares carried the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images)

The Buffalo Sabres kept their playoff hopes alive by edging the New York Rangers 3-2. Sabres goalie Carter Hutton made 37 saves, Sam Reinhart scored his 20th goal while Jack Eichel and Jimmy Vesey each collected two points. Mika Zibanejad also netted two points for the Rangers. The Sabres (56 points) are nine points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

A 42-save effort by Jimmy Howard wasn’t enough to prevent the Detroit Red Wings from falling 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner were the goal scorers, while Elvis Merzlikins picked up his fifth shutout in his last eight games.  It was the 18th consecutive defeat for Howard. The Jackets (69 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Divison.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard deserved better. He played well enough to pick up the win, but the flatlining Wings simply aren’t good enough.

The Minnesota Wild overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the Dallas Stars 3-2. Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period. The Wild (58 points) moved to within two points of the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers got some good news as sidelined captain Aleksander Barkov will return from a lower-body injury tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Panthers have dropped three of their last four games and slipped out of a playoff berth. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, rookie defenseman John Marino could be sidelined for a while. He suffered a broken left cheekbone after being struck by a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marino will reportedly require surgery that could keep him out of the lineup for several weeks. It’s another blow for the injury-ravaged Penguins. Marino was enjoying a fine debut season, becoming an invaluable part of their blueline.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere tossed his stick and stormed off the ice following practice yesterday, raising questions over the source of his frustration. The blueliner’s trying to work himself back into the roster following a lengthy absence recovering from recent arthroscopic knee surgery.

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs defenseman Brian Glennie passed away yesterday at age 73. He spent nine seasons in the NHL, most of those with the Leafs. The hard-hitting blueliner netted 114 points and 621 penalty minutes in 572 NHL games. He was also a member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series and a bronze medal with Canada in the 1968 Winter Olympics. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

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

Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20

Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

The latest on Alex Ovechkin, Joe Murphy, Marko Dano, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin doesn’t want to discuss speculation he might retire when his contract expires in 2021. Earlier this month, Ovechkin said he’d wait and see whether he’d continue his career depending on his health. Speaking from Beijing where he’s spending the week as an NHL ambassador, Ovechkin said he’ll talk about that in two years. For now, he’s focused on the upcoming season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin isn’t ready yet to consider retirement (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Ovechkin, who turns 34 next month, continues playing at a high level over the next two years, I can see him continuing his NHL career with the Capitals. I believe they’ll be quite receptive to re-signing him.

If pursuing another Stanley Cup isn’t motivation enough, breaking the record for most 50-goal seasons could be enticing. Ovechkin is one season away from tying the record (nine seasons) held by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. With 658 career NHL goals, he also has a shot at perhaps beating Gretzky’s record of 894 goals.

USA TODAY: Former NHLer Joe Murphy is once again homeless and refusing help in Kenora, Ontario. Over the past two years, dozens of people – “including the NHL Alumni Association, members of the local police department, former teammates, his lawyer and an entire team of mental health experts and social workers” – have tried to assist Murphy. He suffered several concussions during his playing days but it’s inclusive whether those injuries contributed to his current condition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A year ago, Murphy was the focus of a TSN documentary on his plight. While people are trying to help him, it’s done little to change his current situation. It’s a sad situation that probably won’t end well for Murphy.

CBS SPORTS: Marko Dano is back with the team that drafted him, signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round draft pick (27th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft), Dano was once a highly touted young player. Sadly, he hasn’t developed as anticipated. He’s bounced from Columbus, Chicago, Winnipeg, and Colorado before returning to the Jackets. It’s probably his last chance to establish himself as an NHL regular.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman John Marino to a two-year, entry-level contract on Thursday. Acquired in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, the latter receives a sixth-round draft pick in 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Former Florida Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell has been named ” hockey director of the team’s IceDen in Coral Springs.”

THE SCORE: The New York Islanders arena project at Belmont Park received approval of its environmental impact statement by the state of New York yesterday. “The next step before groundbreaking can begin is for the Franchise Oversight board to rubber-stamp the state’s environmental review.” That’s expected in a matter of weeks.