NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2022

Golden Knights fire head coach Pete DeBoer, Patrice Bergeron sheds light on his future, Mitch Marner was the victim of a carjacking, Islanders name Lane Lambert as their new coach & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights fired head coach Pete DeBoer on Monday after less than three seasons in the role. The decision comes after the club failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Former Vegas Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics suggest DeBoer was made the fall guy for the club’s inability to clinch a postseason berth. He had a number of his core players sidelined by injuries this season as well as management’s inability to suitably address that problem because of limited salary-cap space. The club’s messy split with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury last summer was also a factor, as was the cost of acquiring Jack Eichel and his late addition to the lineup due to his recovery from neck surgery.

Speculation has already started over DeBoer’s potential replacement. Former NHL coaches such as Barry Trotz, Paul Maurice and Joel Quenneville have been mentioned, though the latter would require the approval of league commissioner Gary Bettman due to his role in the Kyle Beach scandal.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron shot down rumors he could sign with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in July. He indicated he’ll either re-sign with the Bruins or retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That rumor was fueled in part by NBC Sports Boston analyst Tony Amonte claiming Bergeron grew up as a Canadiens fan, as well as pointing out his former agent was now the Habs general manager. In fact, Bergeron grew up as a Nordiques fan plus the Canadiens’ limited cap space would’ve made it almost impossible to sign him even if they wanted to.

I believe the Bruins will bring back Bergeron for at least another season. The 36-year-old remains among the NHL’s elite two-way centers and his departure would leave the Bruins quite thin at that position.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner was the victim of a carjacking at gunpoint in Etobicoke on Monday evening. Three suspects armed with two handguns and a knife robbed Marner of his black Range Rover at the Cineplex Theatre on The Queensway.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner and his friend were shaken up but unhurt in the incident and didn’t have guns pointed at them. The suspects apparently didn’t know who he was and were only interested in the vehicle.

TSN: The New York Islanders announced Lane Lambert has been named their new head coach. He served as an associate coach under former bench boss Barry Trotz for the past four seasons.

NHL.COM: New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara, Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price for this season’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point is “highly doubtful” for Game 1 of the second-round series with the Florida Panthers. Point appeared to injure his right leg during Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, he could potentially return later in the second round.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow might return at some point during their upcoming second-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Goodrow is believed to have fractured his foot or ankle in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPORTSNET: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will likely undergo back surgery on Wednesday. He’s expected to be available for the start of training camp in September.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba confirmed the upper-body injury that sidelined him for 12 games in April was a punctured lung and a dislocated rib. He returned for their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues but admitted being less than 100 percent in that series. The Wild were eliminated by the Blues in six games.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a herniated disc. The injury kept him out of the Kings’ series with the Edmonton Oilers. They were eliminated by the Oilers in seven games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will undergo surgery for an injured right shoulder that nagged him most of this season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brian Boyle underwent surgery on his left knee on Monday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Tim Stuetzle suffered an injured left leg playing for Germany against France during a World Championships game on Monday. He left the game and there’s no word yet as to the severity of the injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

Alex Ovechkin takes over third place on the all-time goal list, Connor McDavid, Chris Kreider, Roman Josi and Mitch Marner also reach scoring milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 767th career NHL goal as his club downed the New York Islanders 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anthony Mantha. Evgeny Kuznetsov collected two assists for the Capitals while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. With 76 points, the Capitals hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin surpassed Jaromir Jagr to move into sole possession of third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, becoming the top European goal scorer in NHL history. He now sits 34 goals behind Gordie Howe for second place.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two points and Evander Kane tallied twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 7-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Warren Foegele snapped a 5-5 tie while Leon Draisaitl, Duncan Keith and Kailer Yamamoto also collected two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Marc Staal scored two goals for the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 200th career multi-point game. It’s the most among all players since his debut in 2015-16.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider became the sixth active skater to score at least 20 power-play goals in a season as his club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Adam Fox had three points (including the winning goal in overtime) and Artemi Panarin collected three assists. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 81 points but hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. The Ducks (65 points) have dropped five straight and sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Roman Josi collected three assists, becoming the third place in franchise history to record 50 assists in a season. Josi also leads all defensemen in scoring this season with 69 points while his club moved into third place in the Central Division with 74 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goaltender Erik Kallgren turned in a 35-save shutout in his first NHL start to blank the Dallas Stars 4-0. Mitch Marner collected two assists to surpass the 40-assist mark for the sixth straight season. With 81 points, the Leafs are one back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The loss puts the Stars one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights (68 points) for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first of two games the Leafs will play without Auston Matthews as he serves his suspension for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight defeat as they fell 7-3 to the Winnipeg Jets, who’ve won four of their last five games. Kyle Connor led the way for the Jets with a goal and two assists while Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for the win. They now sit just two points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp missed this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Six weeks ago, the Golden Knights sat atop the Pacific Division with 57 points. The combination of injuries to team captain Mark Stone and starting goalie Robin Lehner has contributed to their decline since then. They’re in danger of dropping out of the playoff race.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and added an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3, snapping a 12-game losing skid against New Jersey. Canucks center J.T. Miller extended his points streak to 13 games with three assists as his club sits one point behind the Golden Knights. Devils forward Pavel Zacha is doubtful for his club’s game tonight against the Calgary Flames after suffering an upper-body injury in this contest.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first team to reach 90 points this season (91) by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his second straight shutout while Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist. Josh Manson logged over 18 minutes in his first game with the Avs since they acquired him from the Ducks on Monday.

Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano scored the game-tying and overtime goals to lift his club to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Panthers center Joe Thornton’s first game back in San Jose against his former club since his departure in 2020. The Panthers (88 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins (79 points) remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves in a losing cause.

A 36-save effort by Karel Vejmelka gave the Arizona Coyotes a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens for their sixth victory in their last seven contests. Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Cole Caufield tallied twice in eight seconds for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens held trade candidate Ben Chiarot out of this game while Josh Anderson missed this matchup with a lower-body injury. The Habs also indicated Ryan Poehling was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST/TWINCITIES.COM: The Colorado Avalanche made their second trade in as many days, shipping forward Tyson Jost to the Minnesota Wild for forward Nico Sturm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move adds more size to the Avalanche roster while also swapping Jost’s $2 million salary-cap hit through 2022-23 for the pending free agent Sturm’s more affordable $725K. Avs general manager Joe Sakic could be setting the table for a bigger move before the March 21 trade deadline.

As for the Wild, this deal is being seen as GM Bill Guerin’s attempt to inject some life into a roster that’s struggled over the past month. He believes Jost will have a better chance to showcase his skills with the Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin underwent season-ending hip surgery on Monday. He’s expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should put an end to the Braden Holtby trade rumors. The Stars won’t shop their backup while they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. He’s currently sidelined by a lower-body injury though he skated with his teammates during practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL defenseman Jean Potvin passed away last night at age 72. An 11-year NHL veteran, he spent two tenures totaling seven seasons with the New York Islanders, winning two Stanley Cups with brother Denis Potvin. He also served stints with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars. Potvin netted 287 points in 613 total games between 1970-71 and 1980-81.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, stars and rookie of the month for February, Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson’s plans, the latest on Filip Forsberg and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first club to reach 40 wins this season by downing the New York Islanders 5-3. Devon Toews had a goal and two assists as the Avalanche hold a five-point lead over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 84 points. Avs defenseman Jack Johnson also reached a notable milestone by playing his 1,000th NHL game.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on an overtime goal by Lucas Raymond. Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the win over his former team. The Hurricanes (79 points) hold a three-point lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

The Lightning, meanwhile, overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the win. The Lightning (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom kicked out 32 shots to backstop his club to 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had two-point performances. The Flames have won 12 of their last 13 games and hold a five-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division with 70 points. The Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 65 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals by Reilly Smith to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Robin Lehner made 16 saves in his first game since being sidelined for a month with an upper-body injury. It was Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer’s 500th career NHL victory. Sharks goaltender James Reimer left the game with a lower-body injury. With 64 points, the Golden Knights are third in the Pacific Division. The Sharks, however, are nine points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 54 points.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen picked up his first shutout since 2019 with a 39-save performance in a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored his 37th goal of the season to tie Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead. With 63 points, the Oilers hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith returned to action after suffering a concussion on Feb.9. However, the club also revealed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered last week.

Trevor Zegras scored with 22 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Anaheim Ducks over the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists as the Ducks (61 points) remain two points behind the Oilers. The Bruins still hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets kept their playoff hopes alive with an 8-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had three points for the Jets. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson tallied a hat trick. With 57 points, the Jets are six behind the Oilers.

Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the win. Devils center Jack Hughes scored to extend his points streak to eight games.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine were the NHL’s three stars for February 2022. Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman was named the rookie of the month for February 2022.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: New Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s looking more at a rebuild than a retool of his roster. “There are some things that we really need to fix that are going to take time,” he said, adding he’s not going to put a timeline on how long it’ll take to complete the rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to provide fodder for speculation over his trade deadline plans and where certain veterans such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fit into the club’s long-term plans. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators GM David Poile maintains his intent is to re-sign Filip Forsberg before the March 21 trade deadline. He added he’s not trying to trade the pending free-agent winger. Poile also indicated a deal isn’t done yet but they’re working on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg became fodder for trade speculation following a report last week claiming Poile was shopping the winger. He quickly denied it but there’s conjecture he’s conducting “due diligence” in case he decides a contract extension won’t be reached by the trade deadline.

TSN: CCM Hockey announced it will stop using Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and other Russian NHL stars in any of its global marketing. The move comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2022

The Lightning defeat the Predators in their Stadium Series, Mitch Marner collects six points in wild Leafs win over the Red Wings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Nashville Predators 3-2 in their 2022 Stadium Series game before a sellout crowd of 68, 619 fans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots as the Lightning (74 points) moved within a point of the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak left the game in the first period following a high hit from Nashville center Ryan Johansen. With 64 points, the Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Mitch Marner enjoyed a career-high six-point performance (four goals, two assists) as his Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Detroit Red Wings 10-7. Austin Matthews tallied his league-leading 37th goal of the season and collected three-assist while rookie Michael Bunting had a goal and four assists. Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) while rookie winger Lucas Raymond scored twice and added an assist. The Leafs sit three points behind the second-place Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At one point, the Leafs led 7-2 before the Wings made it interesting by cutting the lead to 7-6 and then to 8-7 before the Leafs finally put it away. It wasn’t a good night for either club’s defenses or goaltenders. The Leafs’ Jack Campbell gave way to Petr Mrazek after giving up four goals early in the third period while the Wings Alex Nedeljkovic got the hook in the first period but returned in the third.

Edmonton Oilers forward Derek Ryan netted his first career hat trick as his club hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter their third-straight defeat. Mikko Koskinen kicked out 44 shots and Connor McDavid collected two assists for the Oilers, who opened a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points. The Panthers (75 points) remain second overall in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Oilers as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left the game in the first period with a suspected shoulder injury. He’ll be re-evaluated today.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche (82 points) got two unanswered goals by J.T. Compher and Nathan MacKinnon to down the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. Darcy Kuemper turned aside 34 shots for the Avs, who sit six points over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings. The Golden Knights have just one victory in their last six contests and six in third place in the Pacific Division with 62 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ stumble could force them into the trade market before the March 21 deadline. There’s speculation they’re looking for goaltending help with starter Robin Lehner sidelined by what’s believed to be a shoulder injury.

Speaking of the Pacific Division, the Calgary Flames (68 points) hold a three-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings after thumping the Minnesota Wild 7-3. Matthew Tkachuk and Tyler Toffoli each scored twice and picked up an assist. Flames defenseman Oscar Kylington left the game in the third period after an awkward fall into the boards but head coach Darryl Sutter said he’ll be fine. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 65 points.

The Kings, meanwhile, remain three points behind the Flames by dropping the New York Islanders 5-2 to extend their winning streak to five games. Trevor Moore and Matt Roy each had a goal and an assist while Cal Petersen picked up the win with a 26-save performance. Islanders center Mathew Barzal left the game with a lower-body injury as did Zdeno Chara with an upper-body injury.

Tristan Jarry turned in a 27-save shutout and Evgeni Malkin potted the only goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the New York Rangers 1-0 to snap a three-game losing skid. With 72 points, the Penguins moved one point ahead of the Rangers into second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored two goals and chipped in an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. With 66 points, the Bruins have won four straight and moved one point up on the Washington Capitals into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Sharks have lost 10 of their last 12 and also lost defenseman Mario Ferraro to a leg injury.

As for the Capitals, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Cam Atkinson scored and set up another while Carter Hart made 27 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals hold a 10-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets but they’ve been struggling in recent weeks. There’s talk they could go shopping for a goaltender or a top-six winger before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to five games by nipping the Ottawa Senators 2-1. Artturi Lehkonen scored both of the Canadiens’ goals while Andrew Hammond made 26 saves against his former team. Colin White scored for the Senators in his season debut after being sidelined by shoulder surgery.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Wayne Gretzky called upon the international hockey world to ban Russia from participating in the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton as a protest over that country’s invasion of Ukraine. Gretzky pointed to Poland’s Men’s soccer team as inspiration as that club intends to boycott its World Cup playoff game against Russia on March 24.

SPORTSNET: NHL Hall-of-Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek took to Twitter calling on the NHL to suspend the contracts of all Russian players in the wake of Russia’s actions against Ukraine. He also criticized Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin over his “no more war” remarks on Friday, calling Ovechkin an “ablist” and a “liar” among other pointed comments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL won’t be suspending the contracts of Russian players. If they did, the NHL Players Association would immediately file grievances against the league. As for Gretzky’s remarks, there’s no indication of what the International Ice Hockey Federation intends to do regarding Russia’s participation in the WJC this summer.

YARDBARKER: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier remains a few weeks away from returning from a finger injury.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju will be sidelined for at least two games with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan entered COVID-19 protocol yesterday.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed defensemen Kyle Burroughs and Tucker Poolman on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2022

Milestone nights for the Leafs Mitch Marner, the Wild’s Matt Boldy and the Oilers’ Stuart Skinner, Jack Eichel to make his Golden Knights’ debut on Wednesday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner reached 400 career points with a goal and two assists in his club’s 6-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. He joins the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid as the second player from the 2015 NHL Draft to achieve that milestone. With 65 points, the Leafs are three points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild rookie winger Matt Boldy tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 7-4 romp over the Detroit Red Wings. Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and collected an assist as his club opened a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators (60 points) for second place in the Central Division. The Wings (50 points) remain seven points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba missed this game and could be sidelined for several weeks with a lower-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner kicked out 20 shots for his first career NHL shutout to blank the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Oilers forward Evander Kane was held scoreless in his first game against his former club since the recent termination of his contract. The Oilers (53 points) moved within two points of the Anaheim Ducks for the final Western Conference while the Sharks (48 points) remain seven points back.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 31-save performance to backstop his Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Alex DeBrincat snapped a 1-1 tie in the third and Brandon Hagel got the insurance marker. The loss leaves the Jets (48 points) seven points away from a Western wild-card berth. Jets defenseman Neal Pionk missed this game due to border restrictions as he’s ineligible for one more day to cross the border despite emerging from COVID protocol last Thursday.

HEADLINES

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Jack Eichel will make his long-awaited debut with the Golden Knights when the club faces the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. The Golden Knights also placed winger Mark Stone (lower-back injury) on long-term injury reserve, clearing sufficient cap space for Eichel to return to action. Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres last November, the 25-year-old center had been recovering from neck surgery.

The Golden Knights also announced defenseman Alec Martinez remains sidelined by a facial injury that’s taken longer than expected to recover from. He’s been out since Nov.11 after suffering a facial laceration during a game against the Minnesota Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With defenseman Jake Bischoff (716K) already on LTIR for the season, the addition of Stone’s $9.5 million cap hit ensures sufficient cap room for the Golden Knights to activate Eichel ($10 million AAV). It’s uncertain how long Stone will remain sidelined but it will stoke complaints from some fans and pundits if he’s out for the regular season but returns for the playoffs when the salary cap doesn’t count.

Yes, it’s a legalized form of salary-cap circumvention which we saw in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks (Patrick Kane) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (Nikita Kucherov) in 2021. Once again, it’s worth remembering that the league closely monitors players on LTIR with uncertain recovery timelines to ensure a fully healthy player isn’t being held out of the lineup solely for cap purposes.

The NHL had an opportunity to address that loophole during the 2020 extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The issue either didn’t come up during negotiations with the NHL Players Association or else sufficient numbers of team owners had no problem with it. Just remember, folks, it could one day benefit your team.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine, and New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier are the league’s three starts for the week ending Feb. 13.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators could return to full capacity in their respective arenas on March 1 as the province of Ontario eases restrictions on large indoor gatherings provided public health and health system indicators continue to improve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2022

The Avalanche’s home win streak ends at 18 games, the top rookie and the three stars for January are revealed, Willie O’Ree will receive the U.S. Congress’ highest honor, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche’s home winning streak ended at 18 games as the Arizona Coyotes nipped them 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk scored his first goal of the season and tallied the winning goal in the shootout. Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood picked up the win with a 38-save performance. The loss left the Avalanche (68 points) one point behind the first-overall Florida Panthers in the overall standings.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 2-1 lead to drop a 5-2 decision to the New York Rangers. Chris Kreider scored twice and set up another goal while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists. The Rangers (64 points) are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first in the Metropolitan Division with five games in hand.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (63 points) gained some ground on the Panthers by beating the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Victor Hedman. With the win, the Lightning are three points back of the Panthers. Logan Couture had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (48 points), who sit two points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his goal streak to seven games by tallying twice and adding two assists in a 7-1 thrashing of the New Jersey Devils. Auston Matthews netted his 29th goal of the season as the Leafs remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and Juuse Saros kicked out 30 shots for his 100th career NHL win to double up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Predators sit in second place in the Central Division with 60 points while the Canucks (56 points) are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

David Pastrnak’s two power-play carried the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Kraken. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 55 points.

The Calgary Flames overcame a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to drop the Dallas Stars 4-3. Dan Vladar replaced Flames starter Jacob Markstrom after he gave up three goals on 23 shots. Oliver Kylington tallied the winning goal late in the third. The Flames hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 50 points while the Stars sit two points back.

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored twice, including the winner in overtime in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov made 43 saves after Vitek Vanecek left the game following a first-period collision with Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen. The Capitals hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 59 points while the Penguins (62 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights (57 points) opened a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Golden Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist while Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored in his first game in Vegas against his former club.

New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 26 shots in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock returned to the lineup after missing 25 games with a lower-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their second straight win following a 13-game losing skid by downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom tallied two unanswered third-period goals for the Flyers. Jets winger Kyle Connor potted his 25th goal of the season.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The bill to present Willie O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal was signed into law Monday by U.S. President Joe Biden. It is the U.S. Congress’ highest honor and commemorates O’Ree’s achievements as a hockey pioneer and his ongoing contributions to the game. O’Ree became the first black player in NHL history when he took to the ice for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 18, 1958.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree, who will receive the award in a ceremony at a future date.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust are the NHL’s three stars for January 2022 while Panthers winger Anton Lundell was named rookie of the month.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro reports several NHL executives are frustrated over the Arizona Coyotes plan to spend the next three seasons playing at a 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University while the franchise attempts to construct a new arena in Tempe. The Coyotes must vacate the Gila River Arena at the end of this season after the city of Glendale opted out of it lease agreement with the club. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Shapiro the Coyotes’ plan is under serious consideration by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those executives told Shapiro they’re concerned over what that move into such a small venue will have upon hockey-related revenue at a time when HRR has already been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re also upset by the prospect of the Coyotes receiving more money under the league’s revenue-sharing plan. Whether those concerns carry any weight in the league’s decision remains to be seen.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports former NHL star Ralph Backstrom had a severe form of the degenerative brain disease CTE. Backstrom died in Feb. 2021 and had his brain donated for research. His wife revealed the posthumous diagnosis. What was notable was Backstrom was a skill player rather than one who engaged in belligerent physical play. CTE is often diagnosed in athletes with a history of repeated blows to the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Westhead observes, Backstrom’s CTE may have come not from fights but from body checks that occur during a game.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Reid Boucher was sentenced to four years of probation with one year of suspended jail time if he successfully completes his probation in his 2011 sexual assault case. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 13 to third-degree sexual criminal sexual conduct against a minor.