NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

A five-point night for Joe Pavelski, a new investigation could halt Evander Kane’s efforts to land a new contract, Tuukka Rask set to return today, the mid-season scouting rankings are released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski had a had in every one of the Dallas Stars goals in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken, handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Pavelski scored twice and set up three others while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists. With 38 points, the Stars sit three back of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Marchand has tallied eight goals in his last four games as the Bruins have won six of their last seven contests. Montreal goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss drops the Canadiens into last place in the overall standing while the Bruins (42 points) opened a five-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Arizona Coyotes moved into second-last in the overall standings by upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Ryan Dzingel snapped a 1-1 tie while Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves for the win. Leafs center Auston Matthews set a franchise record by scoring in nine consecutive road games.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL has opened an investigation into how Evander Kane crossed the border from the United States into Canada on Dec. 29. Kane had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and was still under the AHL’s 10-day COVID protocol when he crossed the border. It was one of the factors that prompted the San Jose Sharks to place the 30-year-old winger on unconditional waivers and terminate his contract last Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said this will likely prevent Kane from landing a new NHL contract as teams await the results of the league’s findings. Some teams are willing to ignore the winger’s apparent disregard for league rules (including a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID passport last fall) and other well-documented issues because they feel they can get a productive player on an affordable, prorated one-year contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he wouldn’t be opposed to Kane joining his club. The Oilers are believed among a handful of clubs in the running to sign the troublesome winner.

TSN: Tuukka Rask is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins earlier this week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports recurring concussion symptoms are behind Bowen Byram’s departure from the Avalanche for personal reasons. His father said his son told him he can’t continue playing feeling the way he does. The 20-year-old defenseman has already suffered three concussions in his young NHL career. There’s no word when he’ll return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Byram can find the treatment he needs to regain his health and hopefully return to the Avalanche. It would be a shame for his promising career to come to a premature end.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are among the noteworthy players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin with Braden Holtby recently being added to COVID protocol.

ESPN.COM: The Buffalo Sabres signed minor-league goaltender Michael Hauser to a one-year, $750K contract and recalled Aaron Dell from the minors to shore up their injury-depleted goaltending. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael Subban were recently sidelined while Craig Anderson remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while Dustin Tokarski is still recovering from COVID-19.

TSN: The Canadiens yesterday claimed Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

NHL.COM: Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright tops Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking of the top North American skaters. Winger Joakim Kemell of JYP in Liiga (Finland’s top professional league) is the leader among International skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright is expected to be the top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal with the first round on July 7. The young center had a slow start to this season but his production has picked up with four multi-point games in his last five contests. TSN’s Craig Button has compared his style of play to that of Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

SPORTSNET: Two former NHL off-ice officials have filed a lawsuit against the league alleging they were fired for “pretextual reasons” after calling out two former supervisors for racist behavior.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

The Penguins get their ninth straight win after making a minor trade, the Leafs hand the slumping Oilers another loss, plus the latest COVID updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their ninth straight win by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Bryan Rust scored twice and set up another while Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist. Brayden Schenn also had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Earlier in the day, the Penguins made a minor trade by shipping Sam Lafferty to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Alex Nylander.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were apparently concerned about losing Lafferty via waivers as they attempt to make room for Evgeni Malkin’s return. By trading him to the Blackhawks they get an asset in return who is exempt from waivers this season.

Nylander, 23, is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wiliam Nylander. A former first-round pick (eighth overall) with the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, he’s struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has spent this season in the minors. He’s expected to be sent to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Ilya Mikheyev broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Alex Kerfoot put the game away with an empty-netter. The Oilers played without Connor McDavid, who entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: McDavid, teammate Tyson Barrie and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson were among the latest players to enter COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed three more home games involving Canadian clubs. Those games are the Jan. 15 contest between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens, the Jan. 17 matchup between the Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Jan. 18 games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: The NHL and 20 of its teams are suing five of their insurance providers over rejected COVID-19 claims citing losses of $1 billion. The suit was filed in California last June.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen doesn’t appreciate bearing the brunt of the criticism from head coach Dave Tippett and the media for the club’s struggles. “It’s not nice being thrown under the bus,” he told a Finnish media outlet. “I have to be better, but at the same time, we scored seven goals in my last six losses. I can’t score goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koskinen’s shaky goaltending is a factor in the Oilers’ recent swoon but he has a good point about the lack of goal production he’s received of late.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday announced the hiring of Chantal Machabee as their new vice-president of communications. She’s spent the past 32 years with the Quebec-based sports network RDS covering the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Machabee’s hiring was met with universal acclaim by her peers throughout the NHL media. She was a pioneer for women hoping to break into sports media.

TVA SPORTS: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re currently meeting with potential candidates for the role of general manager. Among them is Patrick Roy and they’re expected to meet with him at the end of this week.

SPORTSNET: Eric Staal’s agent said his client is interested in playing for Team Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes announced a sports betting partnership with SaharaBets.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2022

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar scores a dazzling highlight-reel game-winner, Ducks winger Troy Terry continues his high-scoring ways, Dougie Hamilton is sidelined by a broken jaw, the latest COVID updates & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 with a brilliant highlight-reel overtime goal. Makar wasn’t the only Avalanche defenseman to hit the score sheet as Erik Johnson also tallied twice. Alex DeBrincat scored two goals for the Blackhawks, who are winless (0-2-3) in their last five games.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry netted his first career NHL hat trick to lead his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Terry exceeded the 20-goal plateau for the first time and sits third in the goal-scoring race with 21. John Gibson picked up the win with 28 saves. The Flyers were without Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov as both were placed on the COVID protocol list.

A three-point effort by Ondrej Palat (two goals, one assist) powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. Brayden Point also had three points (one goal, two assists) as the Lightning (49 points) regained first place in the overall standings. The depleted Blue Jackets were without Zach Werenski (COVID protocol), Elvis Merzlikins (lower-body injury), Alexandre Texier and Jake Bean (non-COVID illness).

The Florida Panthers got a 47-save performance from Sergei Bobrovsky and two goals from Patric Hornqvist in a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Florida defenseman Brandon Montour collected three assists. The win vaults the Panthers (48 points) into second place in the overall standings. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored to extend his road points streak to 11 games.

Third-period goals by David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo lifted the Boston Bruins over the New Jersey Devils 5-3. The Bruins (36 points) have won three straight and remain one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed defenseman Dougie Hamilton on injured reserve as he will undergo surgery this week to repair a broken jaw. Team captain Nico Hischier also missed this game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Hamilton could be a crushing blow to the Devils’ hopes of climbing back into the playoff chase. He sits third among their scoring leaders with 20 points in 30 games. With 31 points, the Devils are five points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Speaking of the Red Wings, they ended a 100-game shorthanded goal drought by scoring twice on the penalty kill in a 37-second span in a 6-2 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Pius Suter and Tyler Bertuzzi scored those shorthanded tallies as both of them finished the night with two goals.

Filip Forsberg scored twice as the Nashville Predators held off the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. The win moves the Predators into first place in the Central Division with 44 points. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their third straight victory by beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Mark Scheifele collected two assists and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored what proved to be the game-winning goal. Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka kept the game close with a 46-save effort.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was among several players to be placed on the COVID protocol list. Others include Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch and the Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs are breathing a sigh of relief as center Auston Matthews tested negative for COVID-19 following a PCR test. While he missed practice yesterday, the Leafs star could be in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Oilers.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed the Blue Jackets vs New York Islanders and Red Wings vs Flyers games originally scheduled for Jan. 18. Three previously postponed Islanders games (vs the Flyers and two against the Leafs) have been rescheduled for Jan. 18, Jan. 22, and Apr. 17.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Tuukka Rask’s agent said his client has not yet signed a contract with the Bruins. Rumors claimed the two sides had an agreement in place on a tentative one-year deal. However, it’s believed they could have a new deal soon. The free-agent goaltender has been rehabbing from offseason hip surgery with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can find more info on Rask later this morning in the Rumors section.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Minnesota Wild placed forward Victor Rask on waivers yesterday.

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks’ search committee for a new general manager includes Ducks Hall-of-Famers Scott Niedermayer and Paul Kariya.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning owner Jeff Vinik sold a minority stake of the franchise to Arctos Sports Partners. The sale was approved by the NHL on Dec. 31.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2021

The NHL returns with CBA exemptions to give teams COVID roster relief, several stars lament the decision to withdraw from the 2022 Olympics, plus injury updates and much more in the morning coffee headlines.

NHL COVID NEWS UPDATES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman provided highlights of recent CBA exemptions formalized by the NHL and NHLPA to provide COVID relief to their teams.

Teams will be allowed to add a third goaltender when two regulars aren’t available. There will be an emergency salary-cap exemption allowing clubs to make emergency recalls for teams that cannot dress two goalies, six defensemen or 12 forwards. The recalled player’s cap hit cannot exceed $1 million.

The taxi squad has returned until at least the All-Star break in early February consisting of a maximum of six players who cannot be on the squad longer than 20 days. Players cannot be on it if they were part of an NHL roster on Dec. 22, are waiver-exempt, were on the roster at least 75 percent of regular-season days or played in 16 of a team’s last 20 games through Dec. 22. Goalies who dressed but didn’t play are counted as having played.

TSN: Because of seven NHL teams based in Canada, the league cannot do blanket testing of fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players due to the rules and restrictions set up by the Canadian federal and provincial governments. A lack of widespread booster availability in Canada could also affect efforts by the NHL to make an extra dose part of being considered fully vaccinated.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league could review its COVID protocol after the US Centers for Disease Control reduced its recommended 10-day isolation period to five days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reduction in the isolation period plus the recent CBA changes could reduce the current upheaval affecting the NHL schedule by leading to fewer postponements in the coming weeks. There have also been calls for the league and PA to allow asymptomatic players to continue playing rather than undergo any isolation period but there’s no indication if that’s under serious consideration at the moment.

NHL.COM: Three more games were postponed due to COVID concerns, bringing the full number of postponements to 70. The three games are the Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets and the home-and-home series on Wednesday and Friday between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild are trying to avoid any positive COVID tests as their Winter Classic matchup on Jan. 1 with the St. Louis Blues at Target Field draws near.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson described the stress the players are feeling trying to play with COVID lurking in the background. “Over the last two seasons, you kind of get used to it a little bit, but it’s not really about hockey, it’s about mental health,” he said. “It tears you down a little bit thinking about it all the time when you’re supposed to be playing and be good out on the ice.” He added that the players have to try to live with that, while also saying they were fortunate that no one has gotten seriously ill and are vaccinated.

SPORTSNET: Has a daily tracker of the NHL players and head coaches currently in COVID protocol. Among the latest are Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen, Detroit’s Lucas Raymond, Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, Philadelphia’s Ryan Ellis, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, Toronto’s William Nylander and Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer.

MORE REACTION TO NHL WITHDRAWAL FROM 2022 OLYMPICS.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid called for a best-on-best tournament if the 2022 Winter Olympics aren’t pushed ahead by COVID in the same way the Tokyo Summer Games were moved from 2020 to 2021. “We can’t go six, seven, eight years without playing best-on-best,” said McDavid. “I’d like to see something worked out if the Olympics don’t get pushed.”

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL owners don’t like Olympics breaks because they don’t make any money from it. They only agreed to participate to get the players on board with last year’s extension to the collective bargaining agreement. However, they would be amenable to a World Cup of Hockey. That’s an NHL-controlled event staged in September that doesn’t adversely affect the regular season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were the latest NHL stars to express disappointment over the league’s decision to withdraw from the Olympics. Bergeron indicated he would’ve gone as it would’ve been his last opportunity to experience it after having played in 2010 and 2014.

Marchand has never played in an Olympic competition and this year was likely his best chance of doing so. He criticized the decision, claiming the league doesn’t care about the Olympics because they don’t make any money from it. “It’s a business and we’re an asset. Let’s call a spade a spade,” he said.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said he would’ve gone to the Olympics despite the potential consequences of testing positive for COVID while in Beijing. Under Chinese law, anyone testing positive while in the country must quarantine three to five weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players’ frustration is understandable but the league took the necessary action and was within its rights to do so under the CBA. The postponed games brought about by the latest spread of COVID-19 threatened to derail this season. That would’ve significantly affected league revenue, in turn affecting next season’s salary cap, which also would’ve impacted the timetable for the players to repay their hockey-related revenue debt to the owners incurred last year.

IN OTHER NEWS…

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Winger Zach Hyman returns to the Oilers lineup after being sidelined by a shoulder injury since Dec. 11. Meanwhile, goaltender Mike Smith looks ready to return to action for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 19.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust took part in full-contact practice yesterday. Rust could return to action later in the week but there’s still no set time for Malkin’s return. Meanwhile, winger Jason Zucker is listed as week-to-week with a nagging lower-body injury.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken forward Bradon Tanev will require season-ending ACL surgery after suffering a knee injury on Dec. 18.

TSN: A lawsuit filed against the Chicago Blackhawks for a former high school student who claimed he was sexually assaulted by former video coach Bradley Alrich has been dismissed. Rick Westhead reports the withdrawal of the suit indicates a settlement has been reached.

THE PROVINCE: Former NHL coach Bob McCammon passed away on Dec. 23 at the age of 80. He served two stints as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers (1978-79, 1981-82 to 1983-84), two stints as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers (1985-86, 1995-96 to 1997-98) and was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks from 1987-88 to 1990-91.

DAILY DEMOCRAT: Former NHL player and coach Jim Wiley died Sunday at age 71. He spent five seasons as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks from 1972-73 to 1976-77, finishing with four goals and 14 points in 63 games. He went on to become a minor league coach from 1984-85 to 2007-08, except for one season as head coach of the San Jose Sharks in 1995-96.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the families and friends of both men.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2021

The Canucks fired Jim Benning and Travis Green, the Flyers fire head coach Alain Vigneault, Blake Wheeler reaches a career milestone, the Lightning picked up a notable win, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CANUCKS FIRE BENNING AND GREEN

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks fired general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. Assistant GM John Weisbrod and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner were also relieved of their duties.

The Vancouver Canucks fired head coach Travis Green (left) and general manager Jim Benning (NHL.com).

Bruce Boudreau takes over as head coach on a two-year contract. Stan Smyl replaces Benning on an interim basis as the club begins its search for a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Team owner Francesco Aquilini reportedly decided to remain patient with the club following a meeting with Benning last month. What likely spurred Aquilini to clean house was their 4-1 loss on Saturday to the Pittsburgh Penguins in which a fan tossed a jersey on the ice in the third period as others chanted “Fire Benning”.

That frustration among Canucks fans has been building for some time. The club reached the playoffs only twice in the past seven years under Benning’s management.

They seemed to be on the rise in 2019-20, coming within one game of reaching the Western Conference Final. A poor start and a COVID-19 outbreak scuttled their 2020-21 campaign. Things didn’t get any better this season despite a healthier roster, the additions of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland and the re-signing of core players Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Canucks respond to Boudreau’s coaching. He’s an experienced NHL bench boss who’s had success in turning struggling or rebuilding clubs into playoff contenders. He faces a daunting challenge this season. With 18 points in 25 games, the Canucks are nine points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

FLYERS FIRE VIGNEAULT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Mike Yeo will replace Vigneault behind the bench for tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Seravalli also believes Rick Tocchet will be high on the Flyers’ list as Vigneault’s full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault was on increasingly thin ice as the Flyers dropped their last eight games. Last night’s lifeless 7-1 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the last straw for general manager Chuck Fletcher.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler celebrated his 1,000th career game with two assists in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who’ve won three of their last four games. Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin departed in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with the Jets’ Neil Pionk. There was no update on his condition following the game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning collected their 1,000th regular-season victory by crushing the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Victor Hedman, Corey Perry, Ryan McDonagh and Ross Colton each had three points. The Flyers have dropped eight straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canucks cleaning house yesterday and the Montreal Canadiens conducting a front-office purge a week ago, could the Flyers be next? Their season has rapidly gone off the rails following a promising start, prompting calls from their fans for Alain Vigneault to be relieved of his coaching duties.

Speaking of teams mired in a winless skid, the New York Islanders dropped their 11th straight in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane potted the game-winner while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 499th career victory. Mathew Barzal assisted on both Islanders’ goals while teammate Matt Martin was a late scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries and a COVID outbreak decimated the Isles’ lineup over the past month. However, they also seemed to lack the spark that sent them to two straight conference finals and had them projected as a potential Stanley Cup contender this season.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner made 23 saves as his club held off the Calgary Flames 3-2. Nicolas Roy had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights while teammates Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov netted the other two goals. Following the game, Lehner announced he had withdrawn from consideration for Sweden’s Olympic team citing health reasons after consulting with his psychiatrist and his agents.

Drew Doughty had a goal and two assists and Adrian Kempe scored twice as the Los Angeles Kings upset the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Kempe in the third period. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse scored in his first game since being sidelined six games with an injured finger.

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the San Jose Sharks 6-4. Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Timo Meier and Matt Nieto each had two assists for the Sharks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2021

Game recaps, players and rookie of the month, the Islanders’ schedule resumes following a COVID outbreak, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews’ hat trick powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to an 8-2 drubbing of the Colorado Avalanche. John Tavares had a goal and two assists while William Nylander and Mitch Marner each collected two points. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had two assists in his return after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. With 35 points, the Leafs have won five straight games and move into first place in the overall standings.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to power his club past the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. Zach Hyman scored twice and Mikko Koskinen made 32 saves for the win. McDavid has reached 40 points and sits one back of league-leader and teammate Leon Draisaitl in the NHL scoring race.

Quinn Hughes collected four assists as his Vancouver Canucks rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting dead last in the overall standings, it’s increasingly apparent the rebuild isn’t over for the Senators. The defense remains porous and the goaltending atrocious.

Shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Adam Erne gave the Detroit Red Wings their fourth straight win by nipping the Seattle Kraken 4-3. Lucas Raymond scored his 10th goal for the Red Wings and leads all NHL rookies in goals and points with 22. Fellow Wings rookie Moritz Seider chipped in two assists. Ryan Donato tallied twice for the Kraken. The Wings played without Tyler Bertuzzi, who will miss five games after being placed in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi was the only unvaccinated NHL player.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves to backstop his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers as they picked up their eighth win in their last nine games. The Flyers, meanwhile, have dropped seven in a row. They also lost winger Joel Farabee in the first period to an upper-body injury.

Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano each collected three assists as the Anaheim Ducks held off the Vegas Golden Knights 6-5. Jamie Drysdale had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who’ve won three of their last four games. Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri are the NHL’s three stars for November 2021.

Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond was named rookie of the month for November 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raymond’s teammate Moritz Seider was rookie of the month in October. The duo has quickly established themselves among the Wings’ core players and are playing key roles in the rebuilding club’s improvement this season.

The New York Islanders returned to practice yesterday after having two games postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. They’re scheduled to face the San Jose Sharks tonight. Five players who were in COVID protocol (Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston, Andy Greene and Adam Pelech) practiced with their teammates yesterday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere appear to be leading candidates for the general manager role with the Montreal Canadiens. Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy has openly expressed interest in the job but it doesn’t appear he’s on the Canadiens’ shortlist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Roy, his mercurial temperament could clash with executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton. The last thing the Canadiens need is a media circus with Roy stirring the pot.

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Tampa Bay Lightning will not stand in Darche’s way if he agrees to interview for the Habs job. He’s currently the Lightning’s assistant GM.

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports Martin Brodeur isn’t looking to leave the New Jersey Devils even if his name is out there as a candidate for the GM job in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Luc Robitaille were all mentioned as possible management material for the Canadiens. I don’t see any of them leaving their current roles with their respective teams for Montreal.

The WHL’s Vancouver Giants announced former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has joined their club as an interim volunteer assistant coach.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The death of Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks on July 4 has been ruled accidental and no criminal charges will be sought.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings reclaimed defenseman Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Buffalo Sabres, who had claimed Wolanin from the Kings back in October.