NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2020

The Lightning eliminate the Bruins, the Avalanche stay alive against the Stars, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the fourth time in six years, the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Eastern Conference Final. Victor Hedman scored in double overtime as the Lightning edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 to win their second-round series four games to one.

Tampa Bay LIghtning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images)

Hedman had a goal and an assist while teammates Brayden Point and Kevin Shattenkirk each had two assists. Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli scored in regulation for the Bolts, who played without winger Nikita Kucherov as he left the game before the third period after being high-sticked by Zdeno Chara in the first period. David Pastrnak and David Krejci scored for the Bruins.



SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning did a good job keeping Boston’s top line under wraps as this series went on. The Bruins’ lack of secondary scoring and the absence of starting goalie Tuukka Rask were contributing factors to their early demise.

After reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season and winning the Presidents’ Trophy this season, questions are being asked if the Bruins’ championship window is closing. Asked about his future plans, the 43-year-old Chara said he hadn’t reached a decision, intending to be open-minded.

No word yet as to how long Kucherov might be sidelined. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh returned to the lineup since being sidelined in the first game of this series.

The Colorado Avalanche avoided elimination by riding a five-goal first period to a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of their second-round series. Avs third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson made 31 saves in his first-ever playoff start while the Stars’ Ben Bishop was pulled after giving up four goals on 19 shots. Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and collected an assist, giving him a playoff-leading 23 points. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and added an assist. The Stars still lead the series 3 games to 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was shaky in his first start since Aug. 13 but he had little help from his teammates. The Stars were flat-footed and unprepared in the first period, outshot 23-5 in the first period.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers hired Jacques Martin as their new assistant coach.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jeremy Rutherford cites sources claiming St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Bill Armstrong is believed to be a finalist for the vacant Florida Panthers GM position.

TSN: Thirteen NHL clubs will carry salary cap overages into next season. The Stars lead the list with over $2.9 million, followed by the Bruins ($1.928 million), Vancouver Canucks ($1.7 million), Carolina Hurricanes ($1.367 million), and Buffalo Sabres ($1.275 million). Because of the unusual circumstances emerging from this season, those teams have the option of dividing that amount equally over the next two seasons.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Edmonton Oilers re-signed forward Patrick Russell to a one-year, $700K contract extension.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said the club intends to honor defenseman Andrei Markov, who spent his entire 16-season NHL career with the Habs.    



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

Potential revenue streams for playing in empty arenas, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Connor Hellebuyck and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL could make between $400 million and $500 million USD through various media deals and sponsorships if the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were staged in empty arenas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, folks, is why the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are examining every option to safely resume this season during the summer. Last month, the league reportedly informed the PA of potential losses up to $1.1 billion if the entire season was scrapped. If it’s at all possible to cut those losses in half, they’ll look into it.

ESPN.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the three Avs players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. The trio adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will face off against Wayne Gretzky in an NHL 20 game broadcast live on the Capitals’ Twitch channel on April 22, with the proceeds going toward COVID-19 relief benefits.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of virtual hockey, Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is among several NHL players to team up with professional esports gamers to hold a 14-day live streaming virtual hockey marathon called Hockey2Help to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts. Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad are among the participants.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is considered the front-runner to win the 2020 Vezina Trophy, but he’d rather have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it,” he said.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a four-year, $13.1-million contract extension. Scandella, 30, appeared in just 11 games with the Blues after being acquired in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Scandella’s small body of work with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong was impressed enough to pay the veteran blueliner $3.275 million annually over the next four seasons. The 30-year-old rearguard took a pay cut from his current $4 million AAV but he obviously felt it was worthwhile sticking with the defending Stanley Cup champion. Given the uncertainty over the effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and this summer’s free-agent market, it was probably a wise decision.

The problem, however, is the Blues now have over $78.5 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with captain Alex Pietrangelo slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Either Armstrong intends to let Pietrangelo depart, or he’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade and/or buyout to free up sufficient cap payroll to keep his captain in the fold.

TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has announced his retirement as a professional player. He spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Canadiens, tallying 119 goals and 453 assists for 572 points, as well as 32 points in 89 playoff contests. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Markov sits sixth among the Canadiens’ all-time leaders in games played. He’s also tied with Guy Lapointe for second in all-time points among Habs defensemen and sits second among their blueliners in all-time assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Markov in his future endeavors.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid rally the Oilers over the Capitals, Vladimir Tarasenko and Matt Duchene sidelined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal completed a 3-1 comeback as the Edmonton Oilers upset the Washington Capitals 4-3. Draisaitl and linemate Connor McDavid each collected three points in this contest. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sniped two goals.

Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Brayden Schenn’s two-goal effort helped the St. Louis Blues defeat the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2. It was a costly win for the Blues as winger Vladimir Tarasenko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. An update on his condition could be made today.

The Nashville Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 as Pekka Rinne turned in a 26-save shutout performance. Predators center Matt Duchene left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition has yet to be made. Colton Sissons scored a goal and collected an assist.

Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in regulation and the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames nipped the Florida Panthers 6-5. Aleksander Barkov collected four assists for the Panthers, extending their points streak to seven games.

The New York Islanders picked up their fifth straight victory by down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Islanders winger Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Islanders activated Casey Cizikas off injured reserved but winger Leo Komarov’s (illness) status remains uncertain.

Evander Kane scored two power-play goals, Tomas Hertl collected three assists, and Aaron Dell kicked out 35 shots as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

Cam Atkinson scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, handing the latter their third straight loss. Jackets blueliners Ryan Murray and David Savard each had two-point performance.

The New York Rangers ended a five-game losing skid with a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Strome scored twice while Rangers defensemen Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo each had two points.

Claude Giroux tallied his first goal of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. James van Riemsdyk scored and collected an assist. Flyers forward Michael Raffl left the game in the third period with an injured leg after blocking a shot.

Two first-period goals by Denis Gurianov gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Stars winger Corey Perry’s first game against his former club since his contract buyout this summer. Dallas goalie Ben Bishop made 27 saves, handing the Ducks their third straight loss. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson injured his left leg while winger Ondrej Kase left the game with an upper-body injury.


NBC SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov returned to the KHL, signing a professional tryout contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Markov had hoped to sign with an NHL club this summer after spending the last two seasons with KHL club Ak-Bars Kazan.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening is expected to be sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks assigned forward Adam Gaudette to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster Mike Maniscalco underwent successful surgery this week to remove a large non-cancerous mass from his abdomen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mansicalco has a speedy recovery.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has announced his retirement. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders. Seidenberg’s longest tenure was with the Bruins (over six seasons), helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reach the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In 859 NHL games, he collected 251 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Seidenberg in his future endeavors.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2019

The latest on Justin Faulk, Dougie Hamilton, Roman Josi, and Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton notes the Carolina Hurricanes signing free-agent defenseman Jake Gardiner creates a logjam on their blueline. It also pushes them above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $1.5 million, forcing them to become cap compliant before the season opens next month.

Could Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton become a trade candidate again? (Photo via NHL Images)

One option could be demoting fringe players such as Gustav Forsling and Clark Bishop ($1.57 million combined cap hit). Clinton also suggested trading a defenseman such as Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton.

Faulk has a limited no-trade clause, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could fetch a solid return. Clinton felt Hamilton, who lacks no-trade protection, wasn’t as integral to the Hurricanes’ blue line last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell addresses this situation. The absence of a clear-cut starting goaltender could entice Waddell to maintain a deep blueline corps. He could go the cheap demotion route and see how things unfold this season.

Faulk is the better all-around defenseman but his UFA status could be a sticking point in any trade negotiations. Hamilton is a right-handed shot with good offensive skills but he’s now on his third team since 2014-15.


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi is among several notable potential 2020 UFAs still unsigned as training camp approaches. That’s a big change from last year when notables such as Drew Doughty, Logan Couture, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Ryan McDonagh all re-signed with their respective clubs. So did Ryan Ellis, Josi’s defense partner.

An NHL agent blames it on the current stalemate involving notable restricted free agents and their teams. While it doesn’t directly impact the Predators, it affects their efforts to forecast their already-tight salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Josi’s current annual average value is $4 million, which he’s also earning in actual salary this season. He’s in line for a significant raise on his next contract, more than Ellis’ $6.25-million AAV.

How much more could be determined by how much RFA rearguards like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Columbus’ Zach Werenski receive on their new deals. If either of them gets, say, $8 million annually, Josi’s agent could point to that as a comparable.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan cites Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin telling RDS’ Marc Denis he’s not interested in bringing back former Habs defenseman Andrei Markov. The 40-year-old blueliner is hoping to return to the NHL following a two-year absence. His first choice was to return to Montreal, where he spent his entire 16-year NHL career.

Bergevin said Markov has aged, the Canadiens’ organization has changed direction, and they want to give more playing time to up-and-coming defensemen like Noah Juulsen, Victor Mete, Josh Brook, and Alexander Romanov.

Markov said he’s also willing to listen to offers from other NHL clubs. His agent, Allan Walsh, recently claimed numerous teams had called expressing interest in his client.

Possible NHL Landing Spots for Andrei Markov

Possible NHL Landing Spots for Andrei Markov


NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2019

The latest on Nikolaj Ehlers, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck notes Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers became a fixture in offseason trade speculation. He believes the Jets would come to regret moving him, pointing to Ehlers’ positive impact on the Jets’ shot attempts, controlling possession out fo the defensive zone, and into the opposition zone.

Could the Winnipeg Jets dangle Nikolaj Ehlers as trade bait for a defenseman? (Photo via NHL Images)

Billeck acknowledged Ehlers’ poor postseason numbers and that he can sometimes be unpredictable. His critics would like to see him be stronger on the puck.

Ehlers was linked to the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres. While some suggest swapping him for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Billeck believes the Jets would lose in that deal. He consider it folly to trade him unless the return is a “young, top-pairing defenseman with a high ceiling.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Billeck notes the Jets could draw upon their depth on the wings for trade bait, making Ehlers a prime candidate to swap for a blueliner. Finding the right fit, however, could be difficult.

The Sabres loaded up with defensemen this summer, making Ristolainen a potential trade candidate. I don’t share Billecks’ low assessment of Ristolainen but Ehlers probably isn’t a fit with the Sabres because they’re deep enough at left wing.

Hurricanes veteran Justin Faulk is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer and could be shopped if an agreement on a contract extension can’t be worked out. However, he won’t fit that requirement for a young top-pairing rearguard with upside.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson weighed in on his thoughts regarding Jesse Puljujarvi opting to play in Finland while awaiting a trade by the Oilers. The winger’s poor stats (37 points in 139 games) resulted in tepid trade interest, though if he were placed on waivers, the other 30 NHL teams would put in a claim for him.

Unless a club offers up a good, young prospect and a draft pick, he doesn’t see the Oilers moving Puljujarvi. Matheson wonders if the winger’s value might improve while he plays in Finland or if other clubs get into injury problems.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not much else to say about Puljujarvi’s situation that hasn’t already been said. Barring an unexpected rise of interest in the former first-round pick in the coming weeks, it could take a while before the Oilers receive a decent offer.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: With Andrei Markov hiring agent Allan Walsh in hopes of making an NHL comeback, Jared Clinton looks at possible destinations for the 40-year-old defenseman.

Markov spent his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens and would prefer a return with the Habs. With Victor Mete, Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak, and Mike Reilly on the left side, Markov might not be a fit with the Canadiens. Clinton wondered if a reunion with former Habs defense partner P.K. Subban might be possible on the New Jersey Devils.

The Calgary Flames could seek a replacement for sidelined defenseman Juuso Valimaki. Age and money, however, could work against Markov heading to the Stampede City. The Colorado Avalanche could use a little more experienced blueline depth, as could the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out Markov returning to Montreal but that depends on general manager Marc Bergevin. I daresay he’ll assess his blueline during training camp and preseason play before deciding if his defense corps needs help. Even then, Markov might not be on his list of options.

As for the other clubs, Markov’s age and his two-year absence from the NHL work against him. He could be forced to accept a professional tryout offer.