NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

The Devils fire head coach John Hynes, the Canadiens snap a lengthy losing skid, changes could be coming for NHL coaches, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Hours before their game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John Hynes, replacing him on an interim basis with Alain Nasreddine. The move, however, could prevent the Devils from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault tallied a natural hat trick in the third period for the win.

The New Jersey Devils yesterday fired head coach John Hynes (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Devils’ poor performance thus far, it’s not surprising Hynes was fired. He deserves his fair share of the blame, but can’t be faulted for the lousy goaltending, weak secondary scoring, and lack of defensive depth. Nevertheless, the club’s lack of effort in his final two games was indicative that he’d lost the players.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped their eight-game winless skid by doubling up the New York Islanders 4-2. Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist for the Habs, who commemorated their 110th anniversary by honoring 11 former captains in a pre-game ceremony. Among the notables were Hall-of-Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Guy Carbonneau. Saku Koivu, the captain from 1999 to 2009, received the biggest cheer.

Four first-period goals powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Antoine Roussel scored on his first shift in his season debut after being sidelined eight months by a knee injury. Before the game, former Canucks winger Alex Burrows’ name was added to the club’s ring of honor.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle and David Krejci tallied both goals in the third period. The Bruins have won eight straight games.

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 44 shots in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Wild are unbeaten in their last 10 games (7-0-3).

Five third-period goals powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1. Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers collected three assists while Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere each had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Leafs placed Nick Shore on waivers, recalled defenseman Martin Marincin, and announced Trevor Moore (shoulder injury) is weeks away from returning to the lineup.

A three-point performance by Carl Soderberg helped the Arizona Coyotes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the win.

Nikita Kucherov scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had two points on the night. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Nashville center Ryan Johansen was ejected from a game for elbowing Lightning center Brayden Point in the face.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last nine contests by downing the Dallas Stars 5-1. Jets winger Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will be sidelined for two months with an upper-body injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected three points while teammates Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway each scored twice in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former NHL player Akim Aliu believes big changes are coming to the NHL after meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman and other officials at the league’s office in Toronto yesterday. Aliu’s claims that Bill Peters made racist remarks to him a decade ago led to the latter’s stepping down last week as Calgary Flames head coach.

Frank Seravalli reports some of the topics discussed at the meeting include “comprehensive harassment and discrimination policy, whistleblower and retaliation protection for players, encouraging more diversity and inclusion and breaking the culture of silence.”

The NHL Coaches’ Association released a statement yesterday affirming there is no room for abusive behavior by coaches at any level. They are working with the league and the NHL Players Association to ensure respectful working environments for everyone.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Sean Avery spoke out in support of Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was placed on leave as the club investigates allegations of abuse against him. Avery recently said Crawford kicked him during a game but defended the coach’s actions. “He had every right in the world to kick me in the ass. He should have spanked my ass a little bit more. I deserved it. I loved Crow.” He went on to call Crawford his second-favorite NHL coach.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators players Dylan DeMelo and Mark Borowiecki claim they had a good relationship with Crawford during his tenure with the club. Former Senator and Canucks Alex Burrows praised Crawford for helping him become an NHL player.

Another former Canuck, Harold Druken, accused Crawford of physical and verbal abuse when he broke into the league. “I can’t believe he’s still coaching, I wouldn’t let him coach my dog,” said Druken.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Todd McLellan believes players and coaches do their best not to cross the line between right and wrong. However, he acknowledged the changes in the game and society means that line has also changed. He believes it’s important to build trust and treat his players with respect, and expecting it in return.

“The line between pushing a player — I’m not talking physical — but getting the player to maximize his physical talents and to get a team to pull together and go further into their toolbox than they ever have, is delicate,” McLellan said. “Sometimes feelings are hurt. There’s never an intention behind it, but there are feelings that get hurt.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no place in the league, or anywhere else. for racism, which was what resulted in Peters’ downfall. There’s no place for physical abuse, which is what he was also accused of by two other former NHLers.

Crawford, Mike Babcock, and Darryl Sutter weren’t accused of racism, but emerging stories of alleged physical and verbal abuse toward their players have made headlines in recent days. Those tactics may have been effective but it appears they sometimes went too far. Some players shrugged it off or accepted it as part of the game, but others felt tormented by those actions.

Just because many former players tolerated unnecessary abuse by a few coaches doesn’t mean today’s players have to. A coach can motivate and improve their players without resorting to bullying, humiliation or threats.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith could miss at least two more games with a nagging groin injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will be sidelined “longer term” with an undisclosed injury.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Matt Stajan announced his retirement. Stajan played 14 seasons and 1,003 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. He spent last season playing in Germany for EHC Red Bull Munchen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s wishing Stajan and his family all the best in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2019

John Tavares could start the season with new linemates, the Blues re-sign Ivan Barbashev, and Evander Kane and Ryan Reaves continue their war of words. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs center John Tavares could be without regular linemates Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman when the season opens next month. Marner has yet to re-sign with the Leafs while Hyman is rehabbing his right knee following surgery in April. While Marner could be under contract once the season opens, Hyman is expected to be placed on the injury list.

Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares could start this season with new linemates (Photo via NHL Images).

Andreas Johnsson could be among the options as a short-term replacement for Hyman. William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen are the likely candidates to replace Marner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out in a month who Tavares’ linemates will be. If Marner and Hyman aren’t available, Johnsson and Nylander could be skating alongside the Leafs’ first-line center when the season opens.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed forward Ivan Barbashev to a two-year contract worth $1.475 million per season. His signing means the Blues championship roster returns almost intact. The exception is Patrick Maroon as he recently signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have roughly $495K in salary-cap space for 2019-20 with 24 players under contract. If necessary, they can demote one of their lower-paid players to the minors to free up more room.

THE SCORE: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane and Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves continued their verbal jousting over the weekend. Reaves renewed the spat on Twitter by calling himself Kane’s “worst nightmare” while Kane dismissed the broadside as a great example “of trying to be relevant when you’re not.”

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan told a gathering of Kings season-ticket holders it’ll take some time before they notice changes in the club’s performance, particularly on the forecheck, neutral-zone play, and special teams. McLellan was hired as their coach in April. Part of the reason is to break habits and time needed for things to evolve.

SPORTSNET: Dante Fabbro hopes to become the next great young Nashville Predators defenseman. With P.K. Subban traded to New Jersey in June, Fabbro could have an opportunity to become a regular this season on the Predators blueline.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2019

Lightning and Penguins swept from the opening round, Jets tied their series with the Blues, and Golden Knights take 3-1 series lead over the Sharks. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets won their first playoff series in franchise history by sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 7-3 victory in Game 4 of their opening-round series. The Lightning became the first team in league history to win the Presidents’ Trophy and get swept from the first round of the playoffs. Jackets rookie Alexandre Texier scored twice, Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky backstopped his club to a four-game opening-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets dominated the Lightning at both ends of the rink in this series. They got clutch goaltending from Bobrovsky, played a solid overall defensive game while their forecheck forced the Bolts defenders into costly turnovers. The Lightning were also their own worst enemies, struggling to deal with adversity for the first time this season. Changes could be coming for the Bolts this summer. I’ll have more on that later today in the Rumors section.

Robin Lehner kicked out 32 shots and Jordan Eberle scored in his fourth straight playoff game as the New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to sweep the latter from the opening round in four games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Lehner’s goaltending and the Isles stifling defensive play frustrated the Penguins time and again. When the Pens would score a goal, the Isles would quickly counter and regain the momentum. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was held to just one point in this series. Like the Lightning, the Penguins could be facing some offseason changes. Check ’em out later today in the Rumors section. 

The Vegas Golden Knights took a commanding 3-1 lead in their series with the San Jose Sharks by blanking the latter 5-0 in Game 4. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had a 28-save shutout while Max Pacioretty scored twice and set up two others. The series returns to San Jose for Game 5 on Thursday. Sharks winger Evander Kane received a game misconduct after cross-checking Golden Knights center Paul Stastny and sucker-punching Colin Miller in the face. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaky goaltending, a porous defense and a growing lack of composure have caused the Sharks to unravel following their convincing 5-2 victory in Game 1. Left unaddressed, they’ll be hitting the golf course after Game 5.

Kyle Connor’s overtime goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues, tying their opening-round series at two games apiece. Connor also assisted Mark Scheifele’s game-tying goal after St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring early in the third period. The series returns to Winnipeg for Game 5 on Thursday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have been the better team in this series since Game 2. Goalie Connor Hellebucyk looks like he’s returned to form in the last two games while their defensive play has also improved over that time. 

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov has been placed in concussion protocol after being knocked out in a fight with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin in Game 3 of their opening-round series on Monday. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Svechnikov was evaluated at a hospital and looks normal and feels great, but the club won’t be rushing him back into the lineup. Svechnikov isn’t expected to play in Game 4 on Thursday.  

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday announced the hiring of Todd McLellan as their new head coach. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there as the Kings had courted McLellan for some time. He guided the Edmonton Oilers to their first playoff appearance in 11 years in 2017. He also coached the San Jose Sharks to two Western Conference finals and three Pacific Division titles. McLellan is expected to help this rebuilding team improve an offense that was 30th overall this season while also improving their defensive game. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild reached a 10-year extension agreement with the city of St. Paul to continue playing at the Xcel Energy Center through 2035. That will include upgrades to the arena and parking areas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2019

Blue Jackets, Islanders and Blues take 2-0 series leads, Golden Knights tie their series with Sharks, plus the latest on Connor McDavid, Todd McLellan, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a convincing 5-1 Game 2 victory. Matt Duchene had a goal and three assists, Artemi Panarin collected two points, and Zach Werenski had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist, and a five-minute fighting major after scrapping with the Lightning’s Brayden Point. Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov will have a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player discipline for boarding Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara late in the game. 

Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene had a four-point performance in a 5-1 Game 2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After blowing a three-goal lead to fall 4-3 in Game 1, the consensus was the Bolts let that game get away from them. They cannot use that excuse for Game 2, as they were outworked and out-hustled by a motivated Blue Jackets club riding a big shot of confidence from their come-from-behind victory in the previous contest.

As the game went on, the Lightning lost their composure, resulting in Kucherov’s ill-disciplined antics late in the third when the game was out of reach. With the series shifting to Columbus for Games 3 and 4, the Blue Jackets are riding high while the Bolts are struggling to cope with real adversity for the first time this season. 

Third-period goals by Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey lifted the New York Islanders to a 3-1 Game 2 victory and a 2-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Robin Lehner made 32 saves for the Isles while Eberle and Mathew Barzal each had two-point performances.  Erik Gudbranson scored for the Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A thoroughly entertaining and hard-fought playoff game that could’ve gone either way until Eberle broke the tie and Bailey put it out of reach. This is the first time since the 1983 Stanley Cup playoffs that the Islanders have taken a 2-0 lead in a playoff series. This year’s version has served notice to the veteran-laden Penguins as the series moves to Pittsburgh for the next two games that they’re a hungry bunch not satisfied with exceeding expectations during the regular season. 

Ryan O’Reilly scored the only goal in the third period as the St. Louis Blues edged the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 to take a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series. Oskar Sundqvist scored twice for the Blues while Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine tallied for the Jets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs were sloppy defensively but the Blues made the most of it. Jets goalie Connor Hellebucyk was not at his best in this one. Neither was Blues rookie netminder Jordan Binnington but he didn’t need to be as his teammates bailed him out.

Special teams made the difference for the Vegas Golden Knights in their 5-3 series-tying victory in Game 2 of their matchup with the San Jose Sharks. Colin Miller and William Karlsson tallied shorthanded goals and Mark Stone scored on the power play. The Sharks believed the game turned when Logan Couture’s apparent go-ahead goal in the second period with the score tied at three was waved off for goaltender interference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Pete DeBoer didn’t believe the call was goalie interference because Sharks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was outside his crease and it wasn’t Couture’s intent to interfere with Fleury. Regardless, the call stood, the Golden Knights went on to win the game and the series is tied heading to Las Vegas for Games 3 and 4. 

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers sought second and third opinions regarding Connor McDavid’s leg injury while they formulate a recovery plan for their captain. While x-rays revealed McDavid didn’t suffer any broken bones, the exact nature of the injury remains publicly unknown. 

TSN/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Oilers coach Todd McLellan is no longer considered a candidate for the Buffalo Sabres’ head-coaching position. McLellan remains the leading contender to become coach of the Los Angeles Kings. 

WGR 550: Former Oilers coach Ralph Krueger could become a candidate for the Sabres’ job. 

NBC SPORTS: Center David Backes is expected to rejoin the Boston Bruins lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch from Game 1 of their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for a maintenance day after being shaken up in Game 1. 

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche prospect defenseman Cale Makar is the winner of the 2019 Hobey Baker Award. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2019

Stars of the week, Devils extend Ray Shero’s contract, Sabres interested in ex-Oilers coach Todd McLellan, Blues re-sign Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, and Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 7, 2019. 

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko was the NHL’s top star during the final week of the regular season (Photo via NHL Images)

  EDMONTON JOURNAL: An MRI Sunday on Connor McDavid’s left leg revealed no serious damage. The Oilers captain left Saturday’s game against Calgary after crashing into the net. 

TSN: Speaking of the Oilers, team CEO Bob Nicholson said the future of head coach Ken Hitchcock will be up to the club’s new general manager. Nicholson also said he’s still going through the process of hiring the next GM and intends to take his time finding the right one. 

WGR 550: Various reports yesterday indicated former Oilers coach Todd McLellan is a leading candidate to become the next coach of the Buffalo Sabres, who fired Phil Housley after two seasons behind their bench. McLellan is also believed being courted by the Los Angeles Kings. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils yesterday announced a multi-year contract extension for general manager Ray Shero. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Devils disappointing follow-up to last season’s surprising playoff appearance, Shero has done a good job rebuilding the roster. This summer, however, could be the most crucial of his tenure, which I’ll have further details about later this morning in the Rumors section.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a one-year. $3.25-million contract extension. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bouwmeester, 35, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His improved performance over the course of this season, however, convinced Blues management he was worth retaining.

Bouwmeester’s accept a significant pay cut from the $5.4-million annual salary-cap hit of his current deal plus his new contract lacks no-trade protection. At this stage of his career, however, he probably wasn’t going to get a better deal elsewhere.

THE DENVER POST: After missing the final eight games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, right winger Mikko Rantanen will return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup for Game 1 of their opening-round series with the Calgary Flames on Thursday. 

WINNIPEG SUN:  Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey will return to the lineup for Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Blues on Wednesday. Morrissey missed the final 20 games of the regular season with a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, Jets forward Brandon Tanev will miss Game 1 with an upper-body injury

BOSTON GLOBE: Forward David Backes could be a healthy scratch for the first game of the Bruins’ opening-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Bruins will also be without defenseman Kevan Miller (knee injury) to start the series. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sidelined Penguins Brian Dumoulin and winger Zach Aston-Reese could return to the lineup in time for the start of their series with the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: During their season-ending press conference, the Coyotes revealed center Derek Stepan played through a torn MCL late in the season. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was dealing with knee problems and a high ankle sprain, while goaltender Darcy Kuemper required stitches above his right eye and received some scratches to his right cornea after taking a stick in the face during a game last week. He also played through an injured knee. 

CBS SPORTS: Los Angeles Kings forward Carl Grundstrom suffered concussion-like symptoms during the club’s final game of the season on Saturday. 

FOX 9: The Minnesota Wild dismissed assistant general manager Andrew Brunette and co-assistant GM Shep Harder. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2019

The opening-round schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs revealed, Panthers replace Bob Boughner with Joel Quenneville, Sabres fired Phil Housley, an update on Connor McDavid, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The opening-round schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was released yesterday. The puck drops Wednesday with five games that pit the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Pittsburgh Penguins facing off against the New York Islanders, the Nashville Predators squaring off against the Dallas Stars, the Winnipeg Jets facing the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks going up against the Vegas Golden Knights.

On Thursday, the Calgary Flames meet the Colorado Avalanche, the Washington Capitals clash with the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Boston Bruins.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers yesterday fired Bob Boughner as head coach and could announce former Chicago Blackhawks bench boss Joel Quenneville as his replacement today.

UPDATE: The Panthers have hired Quenneville. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports sources saying his contract could be north of $30 million (plus bonuses) on a five-year deal. Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, has close ties with Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who hired Quenneville when he was GM of the Blackhawks in 2008.

Florida Panthers are reportedly close to hiring Joel Quenneville as their new head coach (Photo via NHL.com).

 After narrowly missing the playoffs last year, expectations were high for the Panthers entering 2018-19. Despite possessing considerable depth in talent that include Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers regressed this season despite career-best performances by Barkov, Huberdeau, and others.

Boughner’s critics claim he often seemed overmatched but a lack of quality goaltending and blueline depth didn’t help matters. Tallon must now address those issues. It’s rumored he could pursue Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency in July. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres fired Phil Housley as head coach after two seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to who could replace Housley. GM Jason Botterill could take some time to find a suitable new coach. With the Sabres missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season, the pressure’s on Botterill to get this right.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings announced interim coach Willie Desjardins won’t be returning behind the bench. The Kings have reportedly asked the Edmonton Oilers for permission to speak with Todd McLellan, who was fired in November and has one year remaining on his contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of the Oilers, captain Connor McDavid confirmed he didn’t suffer a broken leg after crashing into the net during Saturday’s season-ending contest against the Calgary Flames. McDavid spoke with the media yesterday and didn’t need crutches to move around. McDavid will undergo an MRI today.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety fined Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf $2,500.00 for roughing Kings forward Adrian Kempe on Friday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward J.T. Brown was arrested in Dallas early Saturday morning on suspicion of public drunkenness. Brown missed the Wild’s final game of the season and subsequently released a statement apologizing to his team, his family and fans for his actions.