PHWA midseason award winners, All-Star Game skills competition participants announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the midseason favorite for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).
The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced their 2019-20 Midseason NHL Award winners. Among them are Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Calder Trophy). The PWHA also named Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander as their comeback player of the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring serious injury or a significant decline in performance, McDavid is a lock for the Hart, Carlson for the Norris, and Makar for the Calder. Hellebuyck’s had an outstanding first half, but he’s struggled of late, which could affect his Vezina chances over the remainder of the season.
Participants for the skills competition for the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis were announced yesterday.
CALGARY SUN: The upcoming All-Star game is a family affair for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. The brothers grew up watching their father Keith play for the St. Louis Blues in the early 2000s until his retirement in 2010.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The effects of Kendall Coyne Schofield’s participation in the skills competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game are examined in a new documentary.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner voiced his support of general manager Doug Wilson despite the club’s disappointing season. “While we are all very disappointed in the team’s performance thus far this season, Doug has a long history of leading our team to success,” said Plattner. He pointed to the club’s quick turnaround under Wilson after missing the playoffs in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Plattner’s confidence of Wilson, but I think the Sharks GM is facing the biggest challenge of his management career. He’s saddled himself with expensive veterans and doesn’t have much to draw upon in the prospect pipeline for trade bait.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin’s imminent return is good news for a Leafs blueline that’s struggled in his absence.
CBS SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve.
TSN: Marc Methot believes his playing career has come to an end. He underwent knee surgery a year ago while with the Dallas Stars, but the knee continues giving him pain. The 13-year NHL veteran spent five seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Methot said he hasn’t made an official decision yet on his future.
Penguins snap Islanders 10-game win streak, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock picks up his 700th NHL victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: The New York Islanders 10-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit and picked up the win on Bryan Rust’s second goal of the night. Teammate Jared McCann enjoyed a three-point night. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed the game with a lower-body injury.
The Toronto Maple Leafs gave head coach Mike Babcock his 700th career victory by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime. John Tavares scored the game-winning goal. Auston Matthews also tallied for the Leafs. Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed Martin Marincin and Nic Petan on waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock sits eighth on the all-time wins list for NHL coaches. He’s three wins behind Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice.
Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson scored the tying and winning goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist while John Carlson had a three-point night. Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. The Capitals (27 points) hold a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon collected four points in a 9-4 win over the Nashville Predators but left the game with an upper-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).
The Colorado Avalanche tallied six goals within eight minutes in the second period to crush the Nashville Predators 9-4, snapping a five-game winless skid. Jonas Donskoi netted a hat trick while Nathan MacKinnon collected four points. MacKinnon left the game in the second period as a precautionary measure after suffering an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed starting goalie Philipp Grubauer would miss the next couple of games with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With first-line wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog already sidelined, it’s understandable why the Avs are being cautious with MacKinnon. It could sink their season if they lose him to a lengthy period.
The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime tally by Sean Couturier. Goaltender Carey Price made 40 saves to carry the Habs into the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Flyers learned defenseman Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months during a conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick (11th overall in 2013), Morin has struggled to establish himself as an NHL blueliner. A second consecutive injury to the same knee could jeopardize his playing career.
The San Jose Sharks took a 6-2 lead and held on to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-5. Sharks captain Logan Couture had a four-point performance while teammate Tomas Hertl picked up three points. Eric Staal had a three-point game for the Wild.
Patrick Kane scored and set up two others to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Corey Crawford turned aside 36 shots for the win and Dylan Strome collected three assists.
The Calgary Flames netted four unanswered goals to down the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin scored a goal and set up two others. Devils rookie Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist.
Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 45 shots as the New York Rangers doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich each collected a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts. The Hurricanes have lost three straight games.
Gustav Nyquist had a three-point performance as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 stops for the win.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
THE HOCKEY WRITERS: KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko doesn’t see his league being in direct competition with the NHL. He believes there’s enough room for both leagues to thrive.
Chernyshenko also cited the difficult logistics of potential games between NHL and KHL clubs. He points out the KHL season is over 1 1/2 months before the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. KHL players also begin their preseasons earlier than NHL players.
While the NHL has reached an agreement to start broadcasting games in Russia, the KHL broadcasts games to 34 different countries and has teams in six countries. The KHL is also in the process of perfecting puck- and player-tracking technology, giving them a potential edge in sports betting.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL has had its ups and downs in its short history. Nevertheless, it has not only survived but is continuing to build its product.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Bryan Little is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a perforated eardrum and vertigo from being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers during Tuesday’s game against the Devils. Little required 25-30 stitches and spent the night in a neurological ward for examination.
SPORTSNET: The hits keep on coming for the Jets as Gabriel Bourque will be out at least four weeks with a lower-body injury.
NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the next two weeks. Blueline John Klingberg (lower body) will miss the next two-to-four weeks.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alex Steen will miss at least a month with a high-ankle sprain.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (lower body) will be sidelined for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed winger Tomas Jurco on waivers and assigned Colby Cave to their AHL affiliate.
Marc Methot continues to skate & train, working toward a possible return. But still a ways to go.
Marc Methot considering retirement, Chris Butler and Colin Greening hang up their skates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
YARDBARKER: cites Le Droit’s Marc Brassard reporting NHL defenseman Marc Methot is considering retirement. The 34-year-old blueliner is still rehabbing from recent surgery on his left knee. However, he’s unsure if he’ll be able to play next season. Methot is considering a future in sports media, as he has a tryout with Ottawa’s TSN 1200 as a guest host today.
Former Dallas Stars defenseman Marc Methot mulling retirement (Photo via NHLPA).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Methot made his NHL debut in 2007-08 with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had his best seasons with the Ottawa Senators from 2012-13 to 2016-17. Nagging knee injuries, however, limited Methot to just 45 games over the last two seasons.
STLTODAY.COM: Defenseman Chris Butler announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. He spent his first six seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. The St. Louis native spent his final five seasons with the Blues organization, though he spent most of that time skating with their AHL affiliate. Butler played 13 games with the Blues this season. He was called up for the playoffs and got to join in the on-ice celebrations when they won the Stanley Cup.
THE TELEGRAM: Veteran forward Colin Greening is retiring as a player. He played for six seasons in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. He spent the last three seasons with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, helping them win the Calder Cup in 2018.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Joseph Blandisi to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed UFA forward Phil Varone to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level.
Game recaps, an update on Tuukka Rask, Stars reacquire Oleksiak from Penguins, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers extended their win streak to a season-high fourth game by defeating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Rookie goaltender Carter Hart made 31 saves while teammate Travis Konecny scored one goal and assisted on another. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and will miss tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.
New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac had a four-point performance in a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo via NHL Images)
New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac had a four-point game (one goal, three assists) to lead his club to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their fourth loss in their last five games. Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid kicked out 37 shots for the win.
Speaking of the Penguins, they traded defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to the Dallas Stars yesterday in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. It was the same pick the Penguins sent the Stars in Dec. 2017 to acquire Oleksiak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was made by the Penguins in part to free up salary-cap space to perhaps pursue a second-line left wing or a third-line center before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. It also frees up space on the blueline for Justin Schultz’s eventual return. Schultz suffered a broken leg earlier this season and is listed as week-to-week.
Oleksiak will replace Marc Methot on the Stars’ blueline. Methot underwent season-ending knee surgery on Jan. 15. His tenure with the Stars is likely over as he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. Oleksiak is signed through 2020-21 with an affordable annual salary-cap hit of $2.137 million.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, and Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 27.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins placed goaltender Tuukka Rask (concussion) on injured reserve, though they haven’t ruled out his return to the lineup for Thursday game against Philadelphia.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec is suing to recover a $200,000 loan to finance a romantic comedy starring his wife and featuring their two children.
Game recaps, players of the week, injury updates and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Auston Matthews continues to make history with the Toronto Maple Leafs, collecting two assists in his club’s 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Matthews is the fifth player in NHL history to have multiple points in each of his first seven games of a season. Kasperi Kapanen scored twice for the Leafs while Ilya Kovalchuk tallied for the Kings. The Leafs, who’ve won five straight, played without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen, who’s listed as day-to-day with a knee injury.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews continues to make history this season. (Photo via NHL Images)
Speaking of the Kings, defenseman Drew Doughty admitted he never seriously considered departing Los Angeles as a free agent last summer. He floated the notion of joining the Leafs as a negotiating tactic with Kings management, who inked him earlier this year to an eight-year, $88-million extension.
Tomas Plekanec scored in his 1,000th NHL game, Tomas Tatar scored a goal and collected two assists and Jonathan Drouin scored twice to give the Montreal Canadiens a 7-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Andreas Athanasiou scored twice in a losing cause for the Wings, who’re still seeking their first win (0-4-2) of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired in a preseason trade from the Vegas Golden Knights in the Max Pacioretty trade, Tatar is lighting it up with his new club. With 3 goals and 7 points, he’s the Canadiens’ leading scorer.
Rookie defenseman Maxime Lajoie extended his points streak to three games and Matt Duchene collected two assists in the Ottawa Senators’ 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars. During the game, the Senators paid tribute to their former starting goalie Ray Emery, who passed away over the summer.
P.K. Subban picked up two assists and Filip Forsberg tallied his third goal in two games as the Nashville Predators doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, and Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 14, 2018
TSN: Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson received a two-game suspension for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct on Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Elias Pettersson, who is expected to be sidelined 7-10 days with a concussion.
CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Canucks, center Jay Beagle suffered a broken wrist and could miss up to six weeks.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz will be sidelined four months with a fractured lower left leg.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could be out for two months with a lower-body injury.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury. More information is expected to be made available later this week.
NBC SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon surprised members of Kenya’s senior men’s hockey team by joining them for a game this summer. The team had been flown to Canada by Tim Horton’s.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad could be a healthy scratch from their upcoming game against the Arizona Coyotes. Saad has struggled this season and was recently demoted to their fourth line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman must be regretting his decision to ship Artemi Panarin to Columbus in June 2017 to bring back Saad. Panarin tallied over 80 points last season while Saad managed 35.
OTTAWA SUN: Dallas Stars defenseman Marc Methot acknowledged he’s been dealing with knee issues since last season. While he hopes to continue playing, he intends to take things one year at a time. Methot is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed winger Marko Dano off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets.
Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017 unveiled, Golden Knights trade Methot to Stars, the latest notable contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Former NHL stars Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Dave Andreychuk headline the 2017 inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Joining them are retired women’s hockey player Danielle Goyette, University of Alberta coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. The induction ceremony takes place in Toronto on November 13, 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars last night acquired defenseman Marc Methot from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for goaltender Dylan Ferguson and a second-round pick in 2020. Methot was selected by the Golden Knights from the Ottawa Senators during last Wednesday’s NHL expansion draft. The Stars also placed goaltender Antti Niemi on waivers for buyout purposes and re-signed defenseman Esa Lindell to a two-year, $4.4 million contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good move by the Stars to bolster their blue line depth. Methot is an experienced stay-at-home defenseman with leadership skills. He should prove an invaluable addition to the Stars youthful blueline corps. No surprise Niemi was bought out. The writing was on the wall for him when the Stars acquired and signed Ben Bishop last month.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers re-signed forward Zack Kassian to a three-year deal worth $1.95 million annually.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $1.95 million deal.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC: The Washington Capitals re-signed forward Brett Connolly to a two-year deal worth $1.5 million per season.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Derek Ryan to a one-year, $1.425 million contract.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed winger Tom Pyatt to a two-year, $2.2 million deal.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed backup goaltender Anton Forsberg to a two-year deal worth $750K per season and forward Tomas Jurco to a one-year, $800K contract.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres re-signed defenseman Taylor Fedun to a two-year deal worth $650K annually.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Gustav Olofsson to a two-year, $1.45 million deal.
NHL.COM: The deadline for NHL teams to extend qualifying offers to their players was 5 pm ET on Monday. Among the notables who didn’t receive offers were St. Louis Blues winger and 2012 first-overall draft pick Nail Yakupov, Calgary Flames winger Alex Chiasson, Colorado Avalanche forward Mikhail Grigorenko, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nikita Nesterov and New Jersey Devils winger Beau Bennett,