NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

The Rangers win the 2020 draft lottery, the Panthers formally part company with Dale Tallon, the opening round of the 2020 playoffs begin today and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday, giving them the first-overall pick and the opportunity to select top prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.


1. New York Rangers

2. Los Angeles Kings

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)

4. Detroit Red Wings

5. Ottawa Senators

6. Anaheim Ducks

7. New Jersey Devils

8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Minnesota Wild

10. Winnipeg Jets

11. Nashville Predators

12. Florida Panthers

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs)

14. Edmonton Oilers

15. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Hurricanes received the Leafs pick as part of the return in last June’s Patrick Marleau trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was 24 hours of suck for the Maple Leafs. They would’ve kept that pick had they won the lottery.

As a result of the Penguins acquiring Jason Zucker in February from the Wild, Pens general manager Jim Rutherford has seven days to decide if he’ll send this year’s first-rounder to the Wild or defer the pick to 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers have parted ways with general manager Dale Tallon. He’d been with the club for 10 years, most of that period as GM. The club issued a statement indicating the decision was mutual. It’s believed they’ll look outside the organization for a replacement. Assistant GM Eric Joyce takes over on an interim basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers made little progress toward their goal of becoming a Stanley Cup contender during Tallon’s tenure. His replacement must build around the club’s core talent (Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad), addressing their weaknesses (such as their poor defensive play), and change the culture of losing that’s dogged this franchise for over two decades. 

NHL.COM: The opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs begins today with four games. The Columbus Blue Jackets face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (3 pm ET), the Calgary Flames meet the Dallas Stars (5:30 pm ET), the Carolina Hurricanes square off against the Boston Bruins (8 pm ET), and the Chicago Blackhawks go up against the Vegas Golden Knights (10:30 pm ET).

SPORTSNET: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is sidelined indefinitely. As per league protocols, no information was revealed regarding his condition.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek (undisclosed) will be a game-day decision when his club faces off with the Canadiens in Game 1 of their opening-round series on Wednesday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Sammy Blais could miss the start of his club’s opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks. He suffered an apparent leg injury during Sunday’s round-robin loss to the Dallas Stars.

TSN: The NHL reported no positive COVID-19 tests in its first two weeks in their secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto.

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame has postponed its Induction Weekend ceremonies (Nov. 13-16) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rescheduling plans will be made during the board of directors meeting on Oct. 29.

TSN: Long-time NHL insider Bob McKenzie is scaling back his schedule in what he deemed a “soft retirement”. He’ll still appear in special events like the World Juniors and the NHL Trade Deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie is the best-connected man in hockey and the most trusted insider. Best wishes in his future endeavors.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2019

Highlights from the opening games of the 2019-20 schedule and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews extended his season-opening goal streak to four games with two tallies in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs also introduced John Tavares as their new captain. There was a bit of drama before the game as Jason Spezza was a surprise scratch by the Leafs.

Auston Matthews scored twice in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ season-opening win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

Senators rookie defenseman Erik Brannstrom got a rough welcome to the NHL as he was accidentally clipped in the face by Matthews’ skate. Brannstrom received several stitches but Senators coach D.J. Smith said he’ll be fine.

The Washington Capitals spoiled the St. Louis Blues’ home opener with a 3-2 victory on an overtime goal by Jakub Vrana. Alex Ovechkin also scored for the Capitals. In a pre-game ceremony, the Blues raised their first Stanley Cup championship banner. Earlier in the day, the Capitals placed goaltender Pheonix Copley on waivers.

Reilly Smith scored twice, Mark Stone had a two-point performance, and rookie Cody Glass netted his first NHL goal to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Golden Knights also announced winger Alex Tuch (undisclosed) was placed on long-term injury reserve.

Leon Draisaitl collected three points and Connor McDavid scored as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.


TRIBLIVE.COM/POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed winger Bryan Rust (left-hand injury) on LTIR and recalled defenseman John Marino. Winger Alex Galchenyuk (lower-body injury) will be a game-day decision for the Penguins’ season opener tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $4.5 million. They also sent goalie Antti Raanta to their farm team in Tucson on a two-week conditioning stint after he missed some training camp time with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuemper was solid during Raanta’s lengthy absence last season. Given Raanta’s injury history, the Kuemper signing and the Coyotes’ claiming netminder Eric Comrie off waivers can be considered insurance moves. 

TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour will be sidelined three-to-four weeks by a hand injury.

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks reports the Rangers won’t have a captain this season.

TSN: Veteran hockey insider Bob McKenzie has signed a five-year contract extension with the network.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was assumed McKenzie was retiring at the end of this season. Glad to see he’ll be doin’ that hockey a little longer. He’s the most respected and best-connected pundit in the business.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2018

The Capitals’ Cup celebration continues plus the latest on Auston Matthews, Antoine Vermette and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: has a collection of the very best of the Capitals celebrating with the Stanley Cup. Among the highlights: partying with DJ Tiesto at a Las Vegas nightclub, Alex Ovechkin twice throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s Washington Nationals’ game, and swimming in a fountain at Georgetown Waterfront. 

NEW YORK POST: Attempting to be the skunk at the garden party, Larry Brooks believes winning the Stanley Cup doesn’t erase Alex Ovechkin’s ledger of losing. 

Auston Matthews recent change of agents has apparently raised concern among Toronto Maple Leafs’ management (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yeah, just like all anyone remembers from the careers of Steve Yzerman, Ray Bourque, Teemu Selanne, Dominik Hasek and Lanny McDonald are the blemishes of losing before they finally won the Cup. 

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are confused over center Auston Matthews changing agents. “What the Leafs want to know: What does this say about Matthews’ loyalty? What does this say about his relationship with Babcock, who tends not to talk to agents? What does this say about his apparent future captain-ship of the Leafs? And what does this say about the disappointing way in which Matthews season ended and the maximum money he is looking for after a playoff disappearance and 20 games lost to injury?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or maybe this is much ado about nothing and Matthews simply felt he needed a change in representation? As Simmons also noted, Matthews was following agent Judd Moldaver, who also changes agencies.

Regardless of who his agent is, the Leafs star is going to get big money on his next contract. Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel, who was drafted second overall in the 2015 NHL Draft a year before Matthews, got an eight year, $80 million contract. Matthews will likely to get a comparable deal, perhaps slightly more expensive but for the same number of years. 

TVA SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette isn’t ready to end his 14-year NHL career, but he suggests his family will take precedence over hockey. Vermette, who turns 36 next month, is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vermette can’t land with another NHL team, it sounds like he’s not keen to continue his career overseas.

BOSTON HERALD: Former Bruins forward John McKenzie, 80, died last night following a long illness. He spent 21 seasons in the NHL and WHA, winning two Stanley Cups in seven seasons with the Bruins in 1970 and 1972. In 691 NHL game, McKenzie scored 206 goals, 268 assists and 474 points, along with 917 PIMs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McKenzie’s family, friends and former teammates. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2018

Islanders fire GM Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight, plus the latest on the Capitals, Golden Knights, Auston Matthews & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello yesterday relieved general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties. Lamoriello takes over as GM and begins the search for a new coach. He said things remain “status quo” for the coaching and scouting staff.

Andrew Gross lists Toronto Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe, former Florida Panthers assistant coach John Madden, former Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils assistant coach Scott Stevens, former NHL coach Brent Sutter, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz and Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach D.J. Smith as potential replacements for Weight behind the Islanders bench. 

New York Islanders fire GM Garth Snow (pictured above) and head coach Doug Weight. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Few folks were surprised by these moves by Lamoriello. While it was assumed the contracts of Snow and Weight might keep them around for at least another season, it’s apparent Lamoriello wants to quickly change the Islanders’ culture.

Snow had a mixed record as Isles general manager, hampered in part by a shoestring budget under former owner Charles Wang for nearly a decade. Regardless, the Islanders failed to significantly improve during his tenure.

It’ll be interesting to see if this move affects Lamoriello’s efforts to re-sign Islanders captain John Tavares, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumors section. 

WASHINGTON POST: Game 4 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final broke the Capitals’ TV viewership records, drawing a 22.9 local household rating. 

SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller suffered a broken nose during Game 4 when he was hit in the face by Capitals winger T.J. Oshie. Despite the injury, Miller still finished the game.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday announced former North Stars general manager Jack Ferreira was named an assistant GM.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has changed agents. He’s joining OrrHockeyGroup, which is led by Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr. The group also represents Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting move by Matthews, whose entry-level contract expires next July. He can be re-signed to a contract extension by the Leafs as early as July 1. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of McDavid, his rookie card sold online for a record $55, 655.

BOSTON HERALD: Sad news out of Wakefield, Massachusetts, as former Boston Bruins star Johnny McKenzie is reportedly dying. The 80-year-old is resting comfortably at home. McKenzie played 13 seasons in the NHL and six in the WHA, winning two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins.  After his playing career ended, McKenzie overcame alcoholism and reconciled with his children. His family is considering donating his brain after his death for CTE research. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2017

The Montreal Canadiens salute their fans after clinching a playoff spot with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Game recaps, updates on playoff race and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff spot by crushing the Florida Panthers 6-2. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and three assists while Paul Byron scored twice for the Habs (97 points), who hold a six-point lead over the Ottawa Senators for top spot in the Atlantic Division. 

Nino Niederreiter scored twice as the Minnesota Wild thumped the Ottawa Senators 5-1. The Sens (91 points) played without captain Erik Karlsson, who’s listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury but could return to action on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. Meanwhile, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is being sued by a former team executive over breach of contract

Connor Brown had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Nashville Predators 3-1. The Leafs (89 points) moved within two of the Senators for second in the Atlantic. They remain a point up on the Boston Bruins for third place.  The Leafs are also reportedly on the verge of re-signing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to a seven-year deal worth $4.5 million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 25-year-old Zaitsev’s quickly established himself on the Leafs blueline in his first NHL campaign. The puck-moving rearguard’s tallied 34 points in 76 games and he’s led all Leafs blueliners in average ice time (22:16) per game and blocked shots (127) this season. While the term seems a bit lengthy the cap hit isn’t too bad. Should Zaitsev remain a vital part of the Leafs defense corps, this deal could be considered a bargain down the road. 

Tuukka Rask made 27 saves while Brad Marchand and Torey Krug scored the only goals as the Bruins blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. With the win, the Bruins (88 points) hold a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Stars forward Curtis McKenzie left the game with a soft-tissue eye injury after being struck in the face by the stick of Kevan Miller. Fortunately, McKenzie reportedly didn’t suffer any damage to his eyeball. 

Ondrej Palat and Andrej Sustr each had two-point performances to give the Lightning a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Bolts played without top scorer Nikita Kucherov (illness).  It was a costly loss for the Wings, as rookie forward Anthony Mantha fractured a finger in a fight with Luke Witkowski and is done for the season. 

Noah Hanfin’s overtime goal gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canes (84 points) extended their points streak to 13 games and are four points out of the final wild-card berth in the East. 

Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier each collected a goal and two assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. The Isles (82 points) have fallen six points back of the Bruins while the Flyers are also six points out of a playoff spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning and Hurricanes are both surging in the Eastern standings and could pose a serious threat to the Bruins for that final wild-card spot. Barring a significant turnaround by the Isles and Flyers, I don’t think they’re going to make it. 

Mark Scheifele scored in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets upset the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. With the loss, the Ducks (96 points) failed to widen their lead over the Edmonton Oilers for top spot in the Pacific Division.

Connor McDavid tallied a goal and an assist and Patrick Maroon scored twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. With the win, the Oilers (95 points) moved one point ahead of the Sharks into second place in the Pacific. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid each scored shootout goals as the Penguins beat the Oilers 3-2.

Game recaps, injury updates, latest fines, Stars re-sign McKenzie & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Phil Kessel’s shootout goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid also tallied in the shootout. McDavid also scored the game-tying goal in the third period as the Oilers overcame a 2-0 deficit. 

Joel Edmundson’s goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Rickard Rakell also had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. 

Eric Staal collected two goals and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 7-4 spanking of the Florida Panthers. Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist. 

Tomas Tatar scored twice and set up another as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 24 saves in his first NHL game since suffering a knee injury on Dec. 20. 

Boone Jenner’s third-period goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky saw his shutout streak end at 182 minutes and 50 seconds.

The Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday unveiled a statue of “Mr. Hockey”, the late, great Gordie Howe. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom is sidelined indefinitely by a concussion. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning centers Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette (lower-body injuries) are listed as day-to-day. 

NBC SPORTS: Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin were each fined $2,000.00 for embellishment/diving. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  The Dallas Stars re-signed forward Curtis McKenzie to a one-year, $700K contract extension. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek ripped NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly regarding the league’s indecision over participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. “It’s stupid and I find it absolutely ridiculous,” said Voracek, adding the players are keen to take part. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: From your lips to Bettman’s ears, Jakub, though I doubt his remarks will have any effect upon the league’s handling of this situation.