NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

The Capitals take over the top spot in the overall standings, the Leafs tie their franchise record for consecutive road wins, speculation over the next Canadiens’ general manager, Matt Murray demoted, Evander Kane on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: John Carlson scored and set up two others as the Washington Capitals doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2, vaulting over the Hurricanes into first place in the overall standings. The Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the game but Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov potted the game-winner with a power-play goal late in the third period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 19th goal of the season. Lars Eller returned to Washington’s lineup after missing six games due to COVID-19.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs tied a franchise record with their seventh straight road victory by downing the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Jack Campbell made 39 saves, Auston Matthews tallied his 10th goal of the season and John Tavares (22 points) maintained his place as the Leafs’ leading scorer with two assists. Leafs forward Ondrej Kase missed the game with an upper-body injury. Toronto (16-6-1) has won nine of their last 10 games. They’re tied in points with Washington (33) but the latter holds first overall by having a game in hand.

New Jersey Devils forward Andreas Johnson enjoyed a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve dropped six straight games. Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton also scored using a custom stick in honor of Thea, a young girl Hamilton grew close with in Calgary who passed away from cancer. He put her name on his stick as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night. “It’s great to score for her and her family,” said Hamilton. The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost six straight games.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored in the third period as the Boston Bruins nipped the Vancouver Canucks 3-2, handing the latter their ninth loss in the last 10 games. Linus Ullmark got the win with 36 saves.

Third-period goals by Ryan Hartman and Marcus Foligno lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello missed this contest with an undisclosed injury. Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Timo Meier scored both goals for the Sharks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens owner and president Geoff Molson will hold a press conference today to address the firings on Sunday of general manager Marc Bergevin and head scout Trevor Timmins, the resignation of assistant GM Scott Mellanby on Saturday, and the hiring yesterday of former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as executive vice-president of hockey operations.

TVA SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager Martin Madden Jr are among two of the rumored candidates to become the next Canadiens general manager.

Others included Quebec Remparts GM Patrick Roy, Florida Panthers advisor Roberto Luongo, former senior VP of NHL player safety Stephane Quintal and ECHL Maine Mariners president Daniel Briere.

RDS.CA: Hockey analyst Vincent Damphousse and San Diego Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard are also among the rumored candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere indicated he’d listen carefully to a proposal from the Canadiens but he hasn’t been contacted yet. Neither has Roy, whose name inevitably pops up whenever there’s talk of the Canadiens getting a new GM.

The reason why none of them have been called thus far is that Gorton will be the one who’ll do the hiring. Some pundits believe he will be running the show regardless of who becomes the next general manager.

That doesn’t mean the next GM will be a figurehead or puppet for Gorton. Whoever gets the job will work closely with the new hockey ops VP. However, Gorton will likely have the final say on all significant management decisions while Molson takes a step back from the day-to-day operations.

The next Canadiens general manager must be bilingual, a policy that for years limited the depth of talent the club could draw upon for available experienced management. The current list of available candidates with NHL management experience is rather thin. Having the unilingual Gorton in charge of overall hockey operations is a clever workaround, enabling the Habs to bring in a respected, well-seasoned NHL executive.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday placed winger Evander Kane on waivers in anticipation of the completion of his 21-games suspension on Nov. 30. If he clears waivers later today, he’s expected to report to their AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane doesn’t report he will be suspended without pay. Sharks assistant GM Joe Will didn’t dismiss the possibility of the troubled winger getting traded. I’ll have more on that in today’s rumor mill.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Matt Murray cleared waivers yesterday and has been assigned to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.

Los Angeles Kings winger Brendan Lemieux faces an in-person hearing via Zoom on Tuesday with NHL VP of player safety George Parros for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk on the hand on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could face a suspension of over five games, which would take a bite out of his salary. Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Fenway Sports Group has signed a purchase agreement to assume a controlling stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins. Senior management is expected to remain in place following the sale of the club. Current co-owner Mario Lemieux is also supposed to stay with the club in some capacity.

POST-GAZETTE: Speaking of the Penguins, winger Bryan Rust (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Mark Jankowski to a one-year, $750K contract.