NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2022

A look at the potential off-season plans for the Senators and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch looked at some potential offseason moves for the Senators. They need to determine Matt Murray’s status as the oft-injured goaltender was sidelined for the final 30 games of the season with a neck/head injury. He’s appeared in just 47 games over the last two seasons with the Senators and has two more years remaining on his contract.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

The 27-year-old Murray will have to earn his job back if he returns next season. Anton Forsberg was their best goaltender this season and signed a three-year contract extension in March. Filip Gustavsson had a strong finish and is signed to a one-way deal for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch recently spoke with colleague Wayne Scanlan and the Senators’ French play-by-play man Nicolas St-Pierre to get their thoughts on Murray’s situation. Both suggested buying out the veteran netminder but Garrioch doesn’t see that happening because the Senators aren’t likely to be a cap team.

The only other option the trio sees is Murray returning healthy and battling for his job this fall. There was speculation about placing him on long-term injury reserve but they have no reason to believe Murray won’t play again.

Murray’s injury history makes a trade unlikely. His $6.25 million annual average value through 2023-24 and 10-team no-trade list also complicates things. It doesn’t mean Murray can’t be shopped if the Senators were to pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit but concerns over his health should keep him in Ottawa for the foreseeable future.

The Senators will have to make a decision regarding Colin White, who missed most of this season due to shoulder surgery and was inconsistent on his return. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens had an interest in the 25-year-old center before the trade deadline. Perhaps that deal is revisited if the two sides can work something out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether the Canadiens revisit their rumored interest in White will depend on how they go about addressing their needs during the offseason. They’ve got 14 picks in this year’s draft, with 10 of those in the first four rounds. They must determine whether Carey Price and Shea Weber will be returning next season and if they can find a suitable trade partner for defenseman Jeff Petry. They could find better options than White through this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Unrestricted free agents Chris Tierney, Tyler Ennis and Scott Sabourin likely won’t be back. Restricted free-agent defenseman Victor Mete requested a trade in March and probably won’t get a qualifying offer. Blueliner Michael Del Zotto has a year remaining on his contract and could be shopped this summer.

Garrioch also reports Senators fans will be keeping a close eye on Florida Panthers center Claude Giroux. There’s a belief the 34-year-old Ottawa native might be intrigued and interested in the possibility of playing for the Senators if he wins a Stanley Cup with the Panthers. He could play a big role in helping Ottawa’s young roster take the next step.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not dismissing the possibility of Giroux signing with Ottawa if he wins a Cup this spring in Florida. However, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high if I’m a Senators fan. A lot could depend on whoever replaces late owner Eugene Melnyk and what type of contract Giroux would seek to come home to play.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE RED WINGS?

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman offered up his thoughts on possible off-season moves by the Detroit Red Wings.

Making a decision behind the bench is the priority for general manager Steve Yzerman as head coach Jeff Blashill’s contract expires at the end of this season. While the rebuilding club showed improvement in the first half of the season, things went really sideways for them from late February onward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings head coach for seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for the club’s struggles through most of his tenure as management tore down and rebuilt the roster. However, they were expected to make significant strides this season. It may be time for Yzerman to find a new bench boss who can turn this roster into a legitimate playoff contender.

Yzerman could decide to bring in some veteran help via free agency and trades like the Los Angeles Kings did last summer. They have over $30 million in salary-cap space to make those investments if they wish to sign second-tier free agent talent (such as Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck or the Rangers’ Andrew Copp) to medium-term contracts. The Wings GM could also bide his time and wait for more prospects to arrive, or he could opt to sacrifice some of his current core players for more promising talent in order to build a playoff window for three or four years from now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman has observed that Yzerman likes to add players who are proven winners, such as Oskar Sundqvist from the St. Louis Blues and Jakub Vrana from the Washington Capitals. Copp, Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat and Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky were among his suggested free-agent targets.

Bultman suggests remaking the defense, bolstering their scoring punch, re-signing captain Dylan Larkin and deciding what to do with winger Tyler Bertuzzi should also be on Yzerman’s offseason to-do list. Larkin and Bertuzzi both have a year remaining on their current contracts and will be eligible next summer for UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman has been patiently rebuilding with youth while adding several veterans to provide some experienced depth and leadership. However, I think the time has come to make a bold move or two to get this club over the hump. I’m not saying he should blow all his cap space on an expensive addition but he can certainly bring in some secondary talent that won’t break the bank and provide some real improvement to the roster.

It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does with Bertuzzi and Larkin. Bertuzzi was the subject of trade speculation in the weeks before the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up getting shopped this summer. Larkin could also hit the trade block if he’s grown weary of the rebuild and decides to move on to a playoff contender next summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the Sharks sign Tomas Hertl to a contract extension, Claude Giroux approaches his 1,000th career game as the trade deadline looms, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Victor Hedman scored two goals and Steven Stamkos collected three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Seattle Kraken 4-1. Hedman reached the 60-point mark for the third time in his career. With 84 points, the Lightning are four back of the first-place Florida Panthers and three up on the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

The Calgary Flames rolled to a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Andrew Mangiapane reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists. Devils captain Nico Hischier collected two assists. With 81 points, the Flames hold a seven-point cushion over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice as his club doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2. Jordan Greenway snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period while Cam Talbot made 24 saves for the win. The Wild (74 points) sit two points back of the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division while the Bruins (79 points) remain three points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron missed this game and will sit out their next contest as a precautionary measure to avoid infection arising from a previous injury.

A two-goal performance by Jack Roslovic carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski each collected two assists. Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot left the game with an upper-body injury and could miss several games as a result.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chabot isn’t the only Senators who could be sidelined for some time. Before the game, head coach D.J. Smith said he doesn’t know if goaltender Matt Murray will return this season. Murray suffered an upper-body injury during a March 5 game against the Arizona Coyotes.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday signed center Tomas Hertl to an eight-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the total value is $65.1 million with an annual average value of $8, 137, 500. It also comes with a full no-movement clause in the first three seasons, a three-team trade list from 2025-26 to 2027-28, and a 15-team trade list in the final two years of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing takes a significant name off the trade board with the March 21 trade deadline only days away. Trade rumors linked Hertl to the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.

Hertl and the Sharks are obviously pleased to have reached an agreement on a long-term contract. Sharks fans on social media also seem happy that Hertl’s staying put.

However, San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng raises concerns over the Sharks investing heavily in yet another aging star (Hertl turns 29 in November), especially one with a history of knee injuries. This deal could handcuff the Sharks as they attempt to restock their roster and try to return to the Stanley Cup contender form.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Claude Giroux is in a reflective mood as he prepares for his 1,000th career NHL game (all with the Flyers) with Monday’s trade deadline fast approaching. It’s anticipated Giroux will waive his no-movement clause to accept a trade to a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Giroux has agreed to waive his NMC and a deal could already be in place with another club. He and the Flyers wanted him to play his 1,000th game in Philadelphia. He could be traded on Friday but I wouldn’t be surprised if that move happens over the weekend.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s ankle injury may not be as serious as originally believed. He was supposed to be sidelined between 2-4 weeks but could return sooner than that. Chychrun is expected to hit the ice later this week to test the injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun is among the notable names in the trade market with the deadline approaching. The severity of his injury could determine whether potential suitors will continue to pursue a deal for him.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues center Tyler Bozak is expected to be sidelined for a month with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed forward Joe Snively to a two-year, $1.6 million contract extension.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2022

Jason Robertson makes Dallas Stars history, the Lightning set a franchise record, questionable calls prove costly for the Senators and Sharks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jason Robertson became the first player in Dallas Stars history to tally a hat trick in consecutive games to lead his club over the Minnesota Wild 6-3. Jake Oettinger made 34 saves for the win. The Stars (67 points) have won four straight games and moved ahead of the Nashville Predators into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Kirill Kaprizov scored two goals for the Wild, who’ve dropped eight of their last 10 and cling to third place in the Central Division with 67 points. They activated defenseman Matt Dumba off injured reserve for this game and placed winger Jordan Greenway on IR.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson is also the second player in franchise history to net back-to-back hat tricks, as Bill Goldsworthy did it with the Minnesota North Stars in 1971. The Stars sophomore is a rising talent, with 100 career points in 101 games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a franchise-record three goals in 32 seconds by Victor Hedman, Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Hedman finished the game with two goals and Sergachev with three points. Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome each had a goal and an assist. The Lighting (80 points) sit three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Conference-leading Hurricanes, they extended their home points streak to 11 games by downing the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Carolina winger Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-tying goal in his 500th career NHL game while Martin Necas netted the winner in the third period. Antti Raanta made 28 saves for the win.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin kicked out 45 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. New York winger Chris Kreider scored twice to reach 38 goals and sits one back of Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the goal-scoring lead. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 77 points and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets (58 points) are eight points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jack Eichel scored on a power play with five seconds remaining in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights squeaked past the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The goal was the result of a questionable tripping call on Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot with 46 seconds remaining in the period. Vegas holds third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points. Robin Lehner made 39 saves for the Golden Knights while the Senators’ Anton Forsberg stopped 40 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg got the call as the Senators placed Matt Murray on injured reserve before yesterday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings got two goals by Andreas Athanasiou and a 19-save shutout by Cal Petersen to blank the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. The win keeps the Kings one point ahead of the Golden Knights in second place in the Pacific Division. Sabres forward Alex Tuch left the game with an injury in the third period.

An overtime goal by Rickard Rakell gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Cam Fowler, Troy Terry and Adam Henrique each had two points for the Ducks (63 points) as they sit three points out of a Western wild-card spot. The Sharks have dropped 11 of their last 13 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks head coach Bob Boughner wasn’t happy over Rakell’s goal, claiming the Ducks had too many men on the ice at the time. “It’s a complete, disastrous blown call,” said Boughner, who also chastised the officiating crew for racing off the ice without coming over to the Sharks bench to explain the call.

The New Jersey Devils upset the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko each had two points for the Blues, who sit second in the Central Division with 71 points.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson is pain-free for the first time in four years after undergoing artificial disc replacement surgery (ADR) in December to address ongoing neck pain. It’s the same procedure Jack Eichel underwent last November following his trade to the Vegas Golden Knights from the Buffalo Sabres. Johnson returned to action on March 3.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON/WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin underwent surgery last Tuesday after suffering an eye injury during practice. He’ll be sidelined indefinitely amid concern his vision could be affected by the injury. Meanwhile, winger Joe Snively underwent wrist surgery and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Hagelin makes a full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Mike Matheson have resumed skating at the club’s practice facility. No timetable is set for the sidelined players to return to action.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With goalie Mike Smith suffering from stomach flu, the Oilers have recalled Stuart Skinner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Liam O’Brien to a two-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $775K.

THE SCORE: The Detroit Red Wings claimed defenseman Olli Juolevi off waivers from the Florida Panthers while the New York Islanders claimed forward Austin Czarnik from the Seattle Kraken.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2021

The NHL returns to action from its COVID-extended holiday break while Brad Marchand and Vladimir Tarasenko express their unhappiness over the league’s withdrawal from the 2022 Winter Olympics. Details & more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 8-7 in the highest-scoring game of 2021-22. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl scored in the shootout to give the Sharks the win. Couture, Timo Meier and Alexander Barbanov each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks while teammate Brent Burns was held scoreless in his 1,200th career NHL game. Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse each had four points for the Coyotes.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and added an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. Both clubs combined for four goals in 76 seconds in the first period with the Golden Knights jumping to a 3-1 lead. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 4-3 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on an overtime goal by Ondrej Palat. Corey Perry scored with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra frame. Lightning forward Braydon Point finished with two goals and an assist in his first game since being sidelined for 14 games by an upper-body injury. Canadiens defenseman Kale Clague and forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard each tallied their first career NHL goals.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Brad Marchand took to Twitter to once again condemn the NHL’s decision to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics. He noted the recent mutually-agreed change to the collective bargaining agreement allowing NHL teams to use taxi squads to maintain their rosters and not miss any games or lose money due to postponements.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Marchand wondered why taxi squads couldn’t be used to allow players to participate in the Olympics. “please tell me that’s not bullshit,” he tweeted, calling for the league to allow the players to make the choice.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko also expressed his unhappiness over the league’s decision. “I think every Russian has a dream to play for the national team,” he said. “It’s very bad they took it away from us, I think it’s unfair. They give each player a choice, but we don’t have a choice at the end. So I think it’s very bad from them.”

Tarasenko indicated he read Marchand’s interview on Monday and agreed with the Bruins winger. “So with all the restrictions, all the rules, I don’t really understand the point when people are deciding for you.” He added he would’ve participated in the Beijing Games if given the choice. “I think you’d be surprised how many people would choose to go,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the frustration felt by Marchand and Tarasenko and sympathize with having this opportunity to participate in the Winter Olympics taken away from them. Given their ages, this was likely the only opportunity for both players to represent their countries on the Olympic stage.

However, the NHL didn’t arbitrarily decide to screw over the players. The CBA allows the league to withdraw from the Winter Olympics before Jan. 10 if participation would jeopardize the completion of the 2021-22 schedule in a timely manner. This was mutually agreed upon by the league and the PA as per the CBA. The players should know this. If they don’t, that’s the fault of their PA leadership, not the league.

It’s well known NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league board of governors (team owners) don’t like Olympic participation because there’s no money in it for them. Given their choice, they’d never take part in the Winter Games ever again. Nevertheless, they agreed to send players to the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics as part of their concessions to get the players to sign off on the CBA extension last year.

Up until roughly two weeks ago, the NHL was going to leave Olympic participation up to the players. The only reason they took their current action (in conjunction with the PA) was the latest COVID-19 outbreak led to multiple game postponements that threatened to derail the season.

Yes, the league is concerned about hockey-related revenue. So should the players. Another shortened season means the salary cap remains flattened beyond 2024, meaning less money to go around for players in line for new contracts in two years’ time. That also means it will take longer for the players to pay back the debt they owe to the owners because their share of HRR in 2020 exceeded that of the owners’ share.

Speaking of postponed games, the total number yesterday reached 80 with 10 more games put on hold. Nine of them were upcoming games in Canada due to limits on large gatherings in Canadian NHL cities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was media speculation yesterday suggesting the league could soon announce some Canadian teams could end up playing home games scheduled for January on the road until those restrictions are eased or lifted. That’s because playing those games with limited attendance or no fans in the stands will adversely affect HRR for this season.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson were the latest notable NHL players placed on the COVID protocol list yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were hoping to avoid an outbreak with their Jan. 1 Winter Classic game against the St. Louis Blues at Target Field fast approaching. Brodin is the only member of the wild (thus far) to test positive.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have recalled goaltender Matt Murray from a month-long stint with their AHL affiliate in Belleville.

CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights placed defenseman Alec Martinez (facial injury) on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined since Nov. 11.










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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2021

Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigns amid reports linking Habs to Jeff Gorton, Artemi Panarin and Andrei Svechnikov fined, Islanders games postpone through Nov. 30, game recaps and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MELLANBY RESIGNS AS HABS ASSISTANT GM, CLUB LINKED TO GORTON

SPORTSNET: Scott Mellanby resigned yesterday as assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens amid reports linking the club to former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton.

Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton (NHL.com).

Elliotte Friedman reported there’s a widespread belief Marc Bergevin will not return as Canadiens general manager following this season. Friedman felt Bergevin recommended Mellanby as his successor or for a more significant role with the club. There had been recent discussions between team owner Geoff Molson and Mellanby but the latter resigned after being informed the club was going in a different direction.

The Canadiens reportedly sought and received permission from the New York Rangers to speak with former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton. Friedman said Gorton would not be taking over as the Habs GM but could fill the role of president of hockey operations or another senior front-office role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial reports, it appears Molson has made a mess of this situation by upsetting Mellanby and alienating Bergevin, who is now a lame-duck general manager. TVA Sports’ Louis Jean reports Bergevin was hurt by how this went down, that he was kept in the dark and only learned about this situation through the media.

Nevertheless, this could still work out for the Canadiens if the end result is Gorton taking over as president of hockey operations. It would be a significant step toward returning this floundering franchise to respectability and perhaps a long-overdue rebuild.

Gorton did a fine job building up the Rangers roster. He signed Artemi Panarin, acquired Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba and drafted Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Before that, he was an assistant general manager for several seasons with the Boston Bruins. During a brief period as their interim GM in 2006, he acquired Tuukka Rask, drafted Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, and signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.

Molson has indicated the role of Canadiens GM has to be filled by a Francophone or someone who is bilingual. Gorton is neither but he would hold a role of considerable influence within the organization with input on trades, signings, drafting and player development.

Should Gorton get the role of hockey ops president, finding Bergevin’s successor becomes their next priority. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels mused about Patrick Roy, Roberto Luongo, Martin Madden Jr., Vincent Damphousse and Mathieu Darche as possible candidates. Jeff Marek reported the Canadiens have not contacted Patrick Roy about a role in the organization.

It will be interesting to see how the coming week unfolds in Montreal.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Canadiens (6-15-2), they got a rare win by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Jake Allen made a career-high 47 saves for the win while Josh Anderson scored twice and Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak each had a goal and two assists. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also had a goal and two assists while teammate Bryan Rust remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury. Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman missed the game with an upper-body injury.

The Florida Panthers’ season-opening home winning streak has ended at 11 games after falling 4-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Former Panthers goalie Chris Driedger made 33 saves while teammate Jordan Eberle celebrated his 800th career NHL game with two goals.

Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick powered the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Cale Makar collected three assists while Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky each had two helpers. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram returned to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion.

The Edmonton Oilers ran up a 3-0 lead over the Vegas Golden Knights and held on for a 3-2 victory. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 36 shots while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi scored for the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the score sheet by the Golden Knights.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists and Carl Gundstrom tallied twice to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was ejected from the game for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk’s hand during a scrum in the third period. Tkachuk wasn’t pleased, calling what Lemieux did “the most gutless thing somebody could ever do” following the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could also earn supplemental discipline for his antics. He bit Tkachuk’s hand hard enough to draw blood.

An overtime goal by rookie Lucas Raymond gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their fifth loss in six games. The Sabres’ Jeff Skinner sent the game to overtime with the tying goal late in the third period.

The Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by nipping the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Braden Holtby made 25 saves for the Stars, Joe Pavelski had two assists and Roope Hintz scored his seventh goal in his last eight games.

St. Louis Blues forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev each scored twice in a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists. Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Before the game, the Blues placed winger James Neal on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 4-2. Kyle Connor led the way with two goals for the Jets to snap a five-game skid while ending the Flames’ win streak at four games. Flames winger Milan Lucic was ejected in the second period for boarding Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was fined $5,000.00 for throwing one of his hockey gloves at Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand on Friday. Panarin said he was incensed over Russia-related insults made toward him by Marchand.

NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton on Friday.

NEW YORK POST: The NHL has postponed the New York Islanders’ next two games through Nov. 30 after Casey Cizikas became the eighth player on the club to test positive for COVID-19.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed goaltender Matt Murray on waivers. He’s expected to report to their AHL affiliate in Belleville if he goes unclaimed today. The Senators also claimed forward Adam Gaudette off waivers yesterday from the Chicago Blackhawks.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Nate Thompson missed practice yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury during Friday’s game against the Hurricanes.