NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2018

Updates on David Backes, Karl Alzner, Kevin Hayes, Shea Theodore and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Having shed 10 pounds in the offseason, a leaner David Backes hopes to garner more playing time and take on a larger role with the Boston Bruins. Backes, 34, hopes the weight loss will improve his speed in order to compete with younger, faster opponents.

Boston Bruins forward David Backes hopes a leaner frame will improve his speed. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes struggled through an injury-hampered performance last season, netting 33 points in 57 games. While getting leaner could improve his speed this season, his age could still work against him. At some point, players lose a step regardless of how hard they work to get faster.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner is drawing upon his disappointing 2017-18 as motivation to improve this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alzner’s motivation might not be enough to overcome his lack of speed. The game is trending toward faster talent and Alzner had difficulty last season containing fleet-footed opposition. 

NHL.COM: Despite signing a one-year contract with the New York Rangers, center Kevin Hayes hopes his play this coming season will lead to a long-term extension. Hayes said he wants to be a leader with the Rangers and aspires to spend his entire career with the Blueshirts.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights and restricted free agent defenseman Shea Theodore appear no closer to a deal with the start of training camp less than three weeks away. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Theodore could be seeking a long-term deal but I think the Golden Knights are leaning toward a two- or three-year bridge contract. He’s coming off an entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights so I expect Vegas general manager George McPhee will use that leverage to his advantage. Theodore could refuse to report to training camp but that tactic rarely works nowadays. I expect he’ll be inked to a short-term contract by the time training camp opens in mid-September. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes joined all of Arizona’s pro sports teams in expressing condolences to the family of Senators John McCain, who passed away last night at age 81.