NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2023

Leafs captain John Tavares and Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns pick up wins in their respective milestone games during a quiet Sunday for NHL action. Check out the details in the Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares collected two assists in his 1,000th career NHL game in a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. The Leafs blew the game open in the second period with four goals.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Morgan Rielly’s first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Leafs improved to 31-12-8 to sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points. Nicklas Backstrom tallied his first of the season for the Capitals (26-20-6) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (rib) was activated off injured reserve for this game. He’d been sidelined since Jan. 9.

Meanwhile, Leafs goaltender Matt Murray missed this game with an ankle injury. He will be sidelined until after the upcoming All-Star break.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns picked up an assist in his 1,300th career NHL game as his club beat the Boston Bruins 4-1, handing the latter their third straight loss. Sebastian Aho tallied his 21st goal of the season as the Hurricanes (32-9-8) sit atop the Metropolitan Division and second in the overall standings with 72 points. The 38-7-5 Bruins hold a nine-point lead in first overall with 81 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins had never lost consecutive games this season prior to the start of this losing skid on Jan. 26 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did pick up a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

NOTE: With the All-Star Break approaching on Feb. 2-5, we can expect a light schedule of games up to Wednesday. There’s only one game on Monday, Jan. 30 as the St. Louis Blues visit the Winnipeg Jets.

Three games are slated for Tuesday, Jan. 31 as the Los Angeles Kings visit the Carolina Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators journey to Montreal to face the Canadiens, and the Columbus Blue Jackets host the Washington Capitals.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Hurricanes head to Buffalo to meet the Sabres while the Boston Bruins will face off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2023

The Lightning set a franchise record, the Panthers rally to upset the Bruins, the Oilers’ emergency backup gets to live the dream, reaction to the Rangers’ reversal on Pride Night warmup jerseys and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a franchise-record 12th consecutive home win by downing the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Steven Stamkos collected an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games while Nick Perbix collected three assists as the Lightning (32-15-1) moves to within three points of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. The Kings (28-18-6) sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 62 points.

An overtime goal by Sam Reinhart lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 upset of the Boston Bruins. Aleksander Barkov tied the game with three seconds remaining in the third period just 46 seconds after David Pastrnak gave the Bruins the lead. Barkov finished the game with three points while Alex Lyon stopped 38 shots for the 24-22-6 Panthers, who sit three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 54 points. The Bruins (38-6-5) remain atop the overall standings with 81 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got three-point performances from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Darnell Nurse to thump the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3. Tyson Barrie also scored twice for the Oilers (28-18-4), who hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Patrick Kane collected two assists for the Blackhawks, who slipped to 15-29-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: University of Alberta goaltender Matt Berlin was the Oilers’ emergency backup with Stuart Skinner feeling under the weather. He got to live the NHL dream when he replaced Jack Campbell for the final 2:26 in the game and the Oilers leading 7-3, making one save in his appearance.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (NHL Images)

Oilers winger Evander Kane returned to the lineup after being in San Jose during the week dealing with his bankruptcy case.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture scored twice and collected three assists in a 6-4 upset of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alexander Barbashev had a goal and two assists for the 15-25-11 Sharks. Evgeni Malkin tallied two goals and picked up an assist for the Penguins, who dropped to 24-16-9 as they cling to the final Eastern wild-card spot with 57 points.

The Minnesota Wild snapped the Buffalo Sabres’ five-game win streak with a 3-2 victory on a shootout goal by Frederick Gaudreau. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots for the Wild (27-17-4) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 58 points. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen turned aside 33 shots for the 26-19-4 Sabres as they moved to within one point of the Penguins.

Colorado Avalanche netminder Alexandar Georgiev made 26 saves as his club doubled up the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-2. Logan O’Connor collected two assists for the 27-18-3 Avalanche, who’ve won seven of their last eight games and hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 57 points. The Blues dropped to 23-24-3 as they’ve lost four straight and sit eight points behind the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche and Flames each have 57 points but the Avs hold two games in hand over the idle Flames.

The Seattle Kraken (29-15-5) hold first place in the Pacific Division with 63 points following a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Wennberg scored in his 600th career game while Eeli Tolvonan scored for the third straight game. Kent Johnson replied for the Jackets as they dropped to 15-32-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets claimed forward Lane Pederson off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks and placed winger Gustav Nyquist (upper body) on injured reserve.

An overtime goal by Mathew Barzal gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Semyon Varlamov kicked out 44 shots for the Isles as they improved to 25-22-5 and moved within two points behind the Penguins with 55 points. Logan Thompson stopped 33 shots for the Golden Knights (29-18-4) as they dropped one point behind the Kraken in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are mired in a slump right now with a record of 2-6-2 in their last 10 contests.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart made 40 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. Noah Cates and Owen Tippett each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (21-21-9) as they sit six back of the Penguins with 51 points. The Jets (31-19-1) are tied in points with the Kraken (63) but the latter holds second overall in the Western Conference with two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced winger Zack MacEwen will be sidelined for five weeks following surgery to repair a fractured jaw. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo missed this game with a lower-body injury and will be sidelined for their next game as well.

Speaking of shutouts, the Ottawa Senators’ Anton Forsberg stopped 28 shots to blank the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-0. Claude Giroux tallied twice and picked up an assist for the 23-23-3 Senators, who sit eight points out of wild-card contention with 49 points. The Canadiens fell to 20-26-4 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens prospect Owen Beck made his NHL debut on an emergency call-up basis and was returned to his OHL team following this game.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored in overtime in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Ducks improved to 16-29-5. Connor Ingram made 43 saves for the 16-28-6 Coyotes.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are facing criticism over the club’s decision not to wear rainbow jerseys or tape during warm-ups as promoted prior to Friday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights as part of their scheduled Pride Night. Two Rangers players told the Post that there was no team discussion over the decision and they don’t know why they didn’t wear them, prompting speculation that the choice was made higher up in the organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decision came over a week after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov opted not to wear a rainbow jersey during warm-ups as part of his club’s Pride Night game.

It appears the Rangers ownership may have been rattled by the fallout from Provorov’s actions. Maybe they were afraid of one of their own players doing the same thing. If they felt it would help them avoid a backlash, they were wrong.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and will miss the club’s next two games before the upcoming All-Star break.

DAILY FACEOFF: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray is dealing with an ankle injury and will be undergoing further tests to determine its severity. Murray missed his scheduled start on Friday against the Ottawa Senators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2022

The Penguins end a lengthy losing skid, Evander Kane goes on LTIR after a serious wrist injury, Charlie McAvoy could be poised to return soon and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Two power-play goals by Kirill Kaprizov lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots for his first win with the Wild as their record improved to 6-6-1 while the Ducks fall to 4-9-1.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Kaprizov was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Anaheim Ducks star Trevor Zegras scored another lacrosse-style goal but “The Michigan” was overturned on a coach’s challenge as his teammate Dmitry Kulikov was ruled offside on the play.

Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight made 40 saves to shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Nick Cousins, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett were the goal scorers as the Panthers improved to 8-5-1 while the Hurricanes are 8-4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone night for Panthers forward Eric Staal and head coach Paul Maurice. Staal skated in his 1,300th career NHL game while Maurice moved into sixth place among NHL coaches for career wins with 783. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were without goalie Frederik Andersen as he returned to Carolina for treatment regarding an undisclosed injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 shots while Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (5-6-2) while the Capitals fall to 6-7-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recorded his 901st career assist to tie Bryan Trottier for 19th on the career assist list. He’s also one point back of Trottier (1,425) for 17th on the all-time points list.

Montreal Canadiens winger Kirby Dach scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist and Sam Montembeault kicked out 31 shots for the win as the Canadiens rise to 7-6-1 while the Canucks fall to 4-7-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens played without rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky. He received a two-game suspension for boarding Detroit Red Wings forward Matt Luff, who will be sidelined for 10-12 weeks. Meanwhile, Canadiens winger Josh Anderson served the second game of his two-game suspension for boarding Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

HEADLINES

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane was placed on long-term injury reserve following surgery to repair a deep cut on his wrist suffered during Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a statement, Kane thanked the doctors, paramedics and training staffs for both teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was fortunate not to suffer more serious damage to his wrist. While it appears he won’t suffer any permanent effects from the injury, his absence will leave a big gap at left wing on their top scoring line.

SPORTSNET: Isaiah Meyer-Crothers released a statement through the Hockey Diversity Alliance claiming he’s seen no proof that Mitchell Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers suffered years of racist bullying from Miller, culminating in the latter pleading guilty at age 14 in juvenile court in 2016 to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act.

Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and has developmental disabilities, said Miller recently contacted him by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help youth. “I told him, ‘That’s all cool but where is the proof though? He didn’t give me any (proof)”, said Meyer-Crothers. “All the lies I have been told from him for so many years I don’t believe what Mitchell told me.”

Mitchell signed an entry-level contract last Friday with the Boston Bruins but they rescinded the deal on Monday following sweeping criticism from team captain Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins’ fan base. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also weighed in by saying that Miller wasn’t currently eligible to play in the league without major changes.

Meyer-Crothers detailed the years of abuse he suffered by Miller and the toll it has taken on him and his family. He indicated Miller’s friends continued to abuse him even after Mitchell was expelled from school. He also said he recently received racist and abusive messages on social media.

Mitchell isn’t my friend. It hurts my heart what he did to me. So I just wanted to tell everyone – when Mitchell says we’re friends it isn’t true,” wrote Meyer-Crothers. “I can’t take more of this.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ signing of Miller and their clumsy handling of the aftermath poured salt on emotional wounds for Meyer-Crothers and his family that haven’t fully healed. All because management didn’t conduct due diligence in vetting Miller before signing him.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens prospect defenseman Logan Mailloux will also require clearance by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before he can play in the league. He remains on an entry-level contract with the Canadiens and currently plays with the OHL’s London Knights. Canadiens president Jeff Gorton said he and Mailloux knew that Bettman’s approval would be required since the Canadiens drafted him and when he signed his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mailloux withdrew from the 2021 NHL Draft following a report that – while playing in Sweden in 2020 – he was charged and fined by Swedish police after he secretly photographed a young woman engaged in a consensual sex act with him and shared it with his teammates. The Canadiens drafted him anyway and faced considerable criticism throughout the hockey community.

The report also said Mailloux has been more open and transparent about his ongoings since being drafted, along with signs of growth and accountability. Earlier this year, he discussed his participation in the Canadiens’ Respect and Consent program, indicating he’s undergone therapy and met with Sheldon Kennedy, the former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor who co-founded the Respect Group.

The Canadiens continue to evaluate Mailloux but it will be up to him to prove to everyone, especially Bettman, that he’s sufficiently grown as a person to earn the right to play in the NHL.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers as Charlie McAvoy is getting close to returning from offseason shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believes McAvoy could make his season debut as early as tonight’s game against Calgary. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.

DALLAS HOCKEY NOW: The Stars have sent Matt Murray to their AHL affiliate to make room for goaltender Jake Oettinger, who’s been sidelined for five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is not to be confused with Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray nor are the two related.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs’ Matt Murray, he could be ready to return from a groin injury by Saturday. The injury limited him to just one game this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2022

Brad Marchand is practicing with the Bruins, Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury acknowledges his poor start, Matt Murray’s injury could have a silver lining for the Leafs, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL didn’t schedule any games for Sunday, Oct. 17, 2022, so no game recaps this morning.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Brad Marchand returned to practice with his Bruins teammates for the first time since undergoing double hip surgery in May. The 34-year-old winger was a full participant in a light on-ice practice Sunday. “I feel really good. Today was more of a mental victory than anything, “ said Marchand. “It’s been a long four months.”

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand is expected to return to action around the American Thanksgiving long weekend in late November. He’ll be participating in morning skates with his teammates for the time being.

Speaking of the Bruins, they recalled defenseman Dan Renouf. That move suggests Brandon Carlo could be sidelined for a while with an upper-body injury suffered on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

TWINCITIES.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury acknowledged his poor start to this season and admitted he has to improve his play. The 37-year-old goaltender gave up 11 goals on 49 shots over his first two games and was booed off the ice by Wild fans during their 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. “I don’t blame them; I’d boo myself,” said Fleury. “I was not good. I feel bad for the fans. I feel bad for my teammates.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild signed Fleury to a two-year contract and handed him the starter’s job after trading Cam Talbot to the Ottawa Senators. He’s at a point in his career where age could be catching up with him. If so, the Wild could be in serious trouble between the pipes this season.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos suggests losing goalie Matt Murray for four weeks to an adductor injury could be the best thing that could’ve happened to the Maple Leafs. With Murray on long-term injured reserve, it provided them with the salary-cap wiggle room to recall Wayne Simmonds, Nick Robertson and Victor Mete.

This situation gives them an opportunity to fully evaluate Ilya Samsonov in the starter’s job. It also provides the club with a much-needed kick in the pants after they seemed to sleep-walk through their first two games of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The more important factor is Samsonov’s performance. If he proves up to the challenge as a starting goaltender, the Leafs will be fine. Their season could depend on it.

NEW YORK POST: Sammy Blais returns to the Rangers lineup tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s his first NHL regular-season game since suffering a season-ending knee injury last November. An upper-body injury suffered during preseason play kept him out of the lineup through the Rangers’ first three games of this season.

NHLPA released a statement on Saturday after the NHL announced it was closing its investigation into allegations of sexual assault and grooming leveled at Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole due to lack of evidence.

 

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Tyler Pitlick is still skating in practice with the St. Louis Blues despite being released from his professional tryout offer last week. He could earn a contract with the club with Logan Brown looking like he’ll be headed to injured reserve.

THE PROVINCE: It appears Tucker Poolman could be sidelined longer than anticipated as the Vancouver Canucks recalled Noah Juulsen. Poolman was injured during the Canucks 3-2 loss on Saturday to the Philadelphia Flyers.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the NHL and NHLPA should reach an agreement at the end of this season to spread the anticipated $9.5 million increase in the salary cap in 2024-25 and 2025-26 over the next three seasons. It would provide an annual cap increase of $3 million in each season, giving some much-needed cap relief to a number of teams next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks points to a number of teams forced to ice reduced rosters already this season due to constraints brought about by the flattened salary cap. It will rise by just $1 million for next season before jumping by a projected $4.5 million in 2024-25 and another $4 million in 2025-26.

Cap Friendly indicates 13 teams are at or above this season’s $82.5 million cap with another four clubs carrying under $250K in cap room. That makes it difficult for those clubs to ice full rosters or call up replacements from the minors if injuries strike. It could become a problem over the course of the season and perhaps prompt some team owners to call upon the league for some form of cap relief of the kind suggested by Brooks.

The argument can be made that it’s the fault of those teams for overspending on talent. However, some of those big contracts were signed several years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic flattened hockey-related revenues in 2019-20 and 2020-21, freezing the cap over the past two seasons and leading to marginal increases for this season and the next.

Those contracts were signed with the understanding that the cap would continue rising based on the annual projections from league headquarters. No one expected a global pandemic that led to shortened schedules and significantly reduced revenue nor can they be faulted for that lack of foresight.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2022

Game recaps, the league finds no evidence to support anonymous allegations against Ian Cole, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby had his second straight three-point game to lead his Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tristan Jarry got the win with a 34-save performance while Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter each had two points for the Penguins. Lightning forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each had two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also the second straight game that the Penguins scored six goals.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned aside 26 shots and Justin Holl snapped a 2-2 tie to nip the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Samsonov got the start when Matt Murray suffered an adductor injury that will sideline him for four weeks. The Leafs recalled Erik Kallgren as Samsonov’s backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take long for Murray to be sidelined again, bringing into question the decision by general manager Kyle Dubas to acquire the oft-injured netminder this summer. The Leafs had better pray Samsonov remains healthy and plays well given their limited cap space and lack of depth in quality goalies within their system.

The Los Angeles Kings tamed the Minnesota Wild 7-6 on a third-period goal by Adrian Kempe, who finished the night with two goals and an assist. Anze Kopitar collected three assists while Kevin Fiala notched three points against his former team. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after he gave up four goals on 14 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild overcame a 3-0 deficit and had tied the game at six before Kempe’s game-winning tally. It was a sloppy defensive contest for both clubs. Zuccarello didn’t mince words about his team’s performance. “Sometimes we play defense like we’re a f**king junior team. It’s the whole team. We have to sharpen up,” he said.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals while Pavel Buchnevich and Brayden Schenn each had two points as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 5-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnny Gaudreau collected an assist for the Jackets, who have dropped three straight to start the season.

The Calgary Flames got a three-point performance from defenseman Michael Stone and two points from Nazem Kadri as they held off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Connor McDavid scored a goal and Leon Draisaitl had two assists for the Oilers.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 37 shots for the win. Devils captain Nico Hischier returned to the lineup after being sidelined by a hamstring injury during preseason play.

The Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-1. Roope Hintz had two goals and an assist, Jason Robertson a goal and two assists while netminder Jake Oettinger kicked out 29 shots.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice and Adin Hill made 31 saves to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2. The Golden Knights have won three straight. Andre Burakovsky had two assists for the Kraken.

Boston Bruins winger A.J. Greer scored twice and set up another in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Charlie Coyle, Nick Foligno and Pavel Zacha each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Brandon Carlo in the first period to a possible head/concussion injury following a hit by Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien. Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins left the game with an upper-body injury.

Defensemen Robin Salo and Scott Mayfield each scored twice and Anders Lee collected three assists as the New York Islanders crushed the Anaheim Ducks 7-1. Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom each had two points. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck returned from injured reserve but Sebastian Aho went on IR with an upper-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Travis Konecny scored the game-winner and assisted on Scott Laughton’s game-tying goal while Carter Hart made 28 saves for the win. Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game following the first period with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are 2-0-0 while the Canucks have lost their first two games. Canucks star J.T. Miller is frustrated by his performance, acknowledging he’s been on the ice for all eight goals scored against his team thus far. Speaking of the Flyers, they placed winger Owen Tippett on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Three unanswered second-period goals by Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie lifted the Washington Capitals over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Oshie finished with two points. Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens, who remain scoreless in 10 power-play opportunities thus far this season.

The Florida Panthers held off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Aleksander Barkov chipped in two assists. Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Two second-period goals by Sam Lafferty helped the Chicago Blackhawks overcome a 2-0 deficit to down the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Sharks have dropped four straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sharks honored former general manager Doug Wilson, who stepped away from the role last season for health reasons.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league announced Saturday it had concluded its investigation into anonymous allegations of sexual assault on social media made against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole, finding no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

The league conducted two interviews with Cole as well as interviews with NHL club personnel and other individuals with potentially pertinent information. It conducted a detailed review of online and social media, public data, court records and law enforcement checks, as well as attempted to contact the source of the allegations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this report on social media has been mixed, with some claiming the league didn’t go far enough with its investigation, expressing skepticism over the findings or insisting they turn this over to the police. That’s understandable given Kyle Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach were so poorly handled.

However, I don’t see this as sweeping it under the table. The league took the allegation seriously and suspended Cole with pay while conducting what appears to have been a thorough investigation.

I’m not saying the anonymous source shouldn’t be listened to or believed but if they’re unwilling to speak to the league or the police then there’s not really much else that can be done. Cole, meanwhile, will be reinstated but this incident has tarnished his personal life and reputation.

THE ATHLETIC’S Peter Baugh reports there’s still no timeline for Gabriel Landeskog’s return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup. He remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets head coach Rick Bowness hopes to return behind the bench on Wednesday. He’s currently sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.

SPORTSNET: The Washington Capitals are reportedly poised to sign free-agent winger Sonny Milano to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

Evgeni Malkin to test UFA market while Penguins re-sign Rickard Rakell, Avs promote Joe Sakic and re-sign Valeri Nichushkin, Senators trade Matt Murray to the Leafs and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger broke the news yesterday that long-time Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin intends to test the free-agent market when it opens on Wednesday at noon ET. Colleague Pierre LeBrun reported there was a bit of progress in negotiations between Malkin and the Penguins but his decision to go to market reflects his frustration with the process.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins reportedly are offering Malkin a three-year term while he’d prefer a longer deal. I can’t say I blame him considering the Pens re-signed teammates Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to six-year contracts.

There’s still time for the two sides to reach an agreement and the Pens have the cap space to re-sign him. Nevertheless, Malkin could draw plenty of interest in the open market. Whether he’ll get a long-term deal remains to be seen.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins re-signed Rickard Rakell to a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the March trade deadline, netting 13 points in 19 regular-season games with the Penguins. The AAV is reasonable but the term is too long for a 29-year-old winger who last reached 30 goals in 2017-18.

Maybe Rakell will regain that form with the Penguins, but I think his chances of doing so would be better skating alongside Malkin. His linemates for next season could include an aging Jeff Carter and a frequently injured Jason Zucker.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche promoted general manager Joe Sakic to president of hockey operations. Assistant general manager Chris MacFarland takes over as the GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic will still be involved in the major decisions but MacFarland will handle the day-to-day work. The move was made in part because other clubs were expressing interest in hiring MacFarland as a general manager. This was a shrewd decision by the Avs to keep him in the fold.

Speaking of the Avalanche, they signed Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million. The 27-year-old winger was slated to become a UFA on Wednesday. Meanwhile, it appears winger Andre Burakovsky will be testing the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bought out by the Dallas Stars in 2019, Nichushkin turned his career around in Colorado, enjoying a career-best 52-point regular season and netting nine goals and 15 points in 20 playoff games in their march to the Stanley Cup. It’s a major raise for Nichushkin on a deal that seems rather lengthy. However, it could work out for the Avs over the long term if he maintains that high level of two-way play.

OTTAWA SUN: The Ottawa Senators traded goaltender Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in 2024 for future considerations. The Senators also retained 25 percent of the 28-year-old Murray’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As more than one pundit and fan pointed out on social media, this trade will either make Kyle Dubas look like a genius or ensure the coming season will be his last as Maple Leafs GM.

When healthy, Murray is a good goaltender who backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. However, he’s been plagued by injuries in recent years that have sidelined him for lengthy periods of time and hampered his performance. Dubas now needs to find a reliable backup goaltender for Murray.

Senators GM Pierre Dorion is enjoying a fine off-season thus far. He acquired a proven 40-goal scorer last week in Alex DeBrincat and freed up a logjam in goal while shedding the bulk of Murray’s cap hit. He now has room to pursue some additional veteran depth via free agency or the trade market.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’re working on trading winger Connor Brown and hired former Sens defenseman Wade Redden as a player development coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have granted Evander Kane’s agent permission to speak with other clubs. However, they remain hopeful of working out an agreement on a new contract with the 30-year-old winger. It’s believed they offered Kane a three-year deal worth $4.75 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Kane’s situation pans out. The uncertainty over the outcome of his contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks plus his well-documented personal baggage could scare off other clubs, making the Oilers perhaps his best option.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports St. Louis Blues winger David Perron could be heading to market. The Blues want to re-sign him but currently lack sufficient cap space to do so. Perron could command up to $6 million annually on the open market.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are reportedly in negotiations with David Krejci for a potential return to Boston. The 36-year-old center spent last season playing Czechia.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks placed Henrik Borgstrom and Brett Connolly on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out their contracts. They’ll become UFAs on Wednesday. They’ve also brought back Derek King as an assistant coach following his solid stint as their interim bench boss in 2021-22.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov has been offered a one-year contract by his former KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s a restricted free agent who cannot be signed to an offer sheet. It’s believed this is an attempted leverage move by his agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL offer is for less than $1 million US. I doubt Isles GM Lou Lamoriello will be swayed by this tactic. There was concern over whether this offer meant Romanov would have difficulty returning to the United States. However, he and his wife are reportedly in Miami.

TSN: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Ondrej Kase and Chicago Blackhawks forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik were among a number of restricted free agents who did not receive qualifying offers by Monday’s 5 pm ET deadline. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puck Pedia also has a list of RFAs who didn’t get qualifying offers. Some, like Samsonov, Kase, Strome and Kubalik would’ve cost more to qualify than their teams could afford because their actual salaries were higher than their annual cap hit. Some of them could’ve also received higher salaries through arbitration. These players could still sign with their current clubs but it would be for less than what they would’ve received through qualifying offers or arbitration.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ben Bishop has returned to the Dallas Stars as a coach in an informal capacity.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks have parted ways with scouting director Doug Wilson Jr.