NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2022

The Devils’ Lindy Ruff reaches a coaching milestone, the Leafs’ Mitch Marner and the Stars’ Jason Robertson maintain their points streaks, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff picked up his 800th career NHL win as his club defeated the Washington Capitals 5-1. Jack Hughes tallied his first career hat trick and Vitek Vanecek made 37 saves as the Devils (18-4-3) move into a tie for first place in the overall standings with the Boston Bruins. John Carlson replied for the Capitals as they fall to 9-11-3.

New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ruff is the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-win milestone. He’s also the leader in wins among active coaches. As for the overall standings, the Bruins hold a game in hand over the Devils. It will be interesting to see if these two clubs can maintain their strong performance through the first quarter over the remainder of the schedule.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his points streak to 16 games with a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists while William Nylander had a goal and an assist as the Leafs (13-5-5) are 6-0-2 in their last eight games. Rickard Rakell tallied for the 11-8-3 Penguins.

A 41-save performance by Alexandar Georgiev carried the Colorado Avalanche over the Dallas Stars by a score of 4-1. Josh Manson had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (12-6-1). Dallas winger Jason Robertson collected an assist on Joe Pavelski’s goal to extend his points streak to 15 games but his Stars fall to 12-6-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Avalanche announced winger Evan Rodrigues will be sidelined for two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser stretched his points streak to nine games with a goal in a 5-1 upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists while Spencer Martin stopped 26 shots as the Canucks improved to 8-10-3. Jonathan Marchessault replied for the 16-6-1 Golden Knights, who hold a five-point lead over the Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 33 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got four unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the New York Rangers 4-3. Evan Bouchard scored twice, Dylan Holloway scored his first career NHL goal and Leon Draisaitl tallied the winning goal as the Oilers rise to 11-10-0. Ryan Lindgren collected two assists for the 10-8-4 Rangers.

Speaking of comebacks, the St. Louis Blues also scored four unanswered goals in a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers. Jordan Kyrou tallied twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Blues improved to 11-10-0. Sam Reinhart had two assists for the Panthers (10-8-3), who were playing without captain Aleksander Barkov as he was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

The New York Islanders also staged a four-goal rally as they dumped the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Zach Parise scored twice, Ryan Pulock collected four assists and Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots for the 15-8-0 Islanders. Lukas Sedlak and Joel Farabee scored for the Flyers (7-10-5) as their winless skid extends to 10 games.

A third-period goal by Brett Pesce lifted the Carolina Hurricanes (11-6-5) to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, ending their winless skid at five games. Dan Vladar made 30 saves for the 9-9-3 Flames but they’ve dropped three straight games. Flames defenseman Michael Stone returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a non-disclosed injury.

HEADLINES

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck wants a rule change for an immediate stoppage of play when a netminder’s mask is knocked off or comes off during play. Hellebuyck lost his mask during a collision in Friday’s game against the Dallas Stars and was lying prone and shaken up on the ice with no stoppage of play, enabling the Star to score an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL situation rule allowed the Stars’ goal to stand. Hellebuyck was able to resume playing but he and teammate (and NHLPA representative) Adam Lowry would like clarity on this issue. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek suggest this could lead to a new directive from the league.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. No word as to the seriousness of his undisclosed injury but he will be sidelined for at least a week.

THE ATHLETIC’S Michael Russo tweeted the Wild have recalled goaltender Zane McIntyre as a precautionary measure after one of their goalies had an issue at practice on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Netminder Filip Gustavsson apparently left practice early.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Rudolfs Balcers is expected to miss the club’s upcoming three-game road trip with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2022

The Rangers and Golden Knights win their season openers, the latest on Carey Price plus some contract signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mika Zibanejad scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves as the New York Rangers opened their 2022-23 season with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Barclay Goodrow also scored for the Rangers while Steven Stamkos replied for the Lightning.

New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Rangers as winger Vitali Kravtsov left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period following a collision with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Kravtsov is listed as day-to-day.

Mark Stone’s snapped a 3-3 tie with 26 seconds remaining in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Logan Thompson made 27 saves for the win. Alex Pietrangelo, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson each had two points. Jonathan Quick kicked out 47 shots for the Kings.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Carey Price will undergo Osteochondral Autograft Transfer (OAT Surgery) in what could be a long-shot gamble to resume his playing career. The 35-year-old Montreal Canadiens goaltender said he’s still plagued by swelling in his knee and is trying to reach a place where he’ll be at least pain-free in his everyday life.

In an exclusive interview with Arpon Basu, Price revealed he has a large hole in the cartilage in the joint of his injured knee. Describing the OAT procedure, he said, “They would basically take a plug of bone and cartilage out of a lower-wear area in my knee, and then place that plug into the damaged area of my knee.”

Basu cites two studies indicating the estimated long-term success rate to be 72 percent, and that is for a pain-free, normal life. Price acknowledged that he might not be able to resume his playing career following the procedure but won’t give up hope.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like it would take a miracle for Price to not just resume his career but regain the form that made him one of the best goaltenders of his generation.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, they placed forward Paul Byron (hip injury) on long-term injury reserve and recalled defenseman Arber Xhekaj from the Laval Rocket. Byron’s annual average value is $3.4 million.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin underwent arthroscopic surgery to address a chronic hip injury. He’s out indefinitely and is listed as an injured non-roster player.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins have signed Anton Stralman to a one-year, $1 million contract. The 36-year-old defenseman had been on a professional tryout offer.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Derek Stepan to a one-year, $750K contract. He’d attended training camp on a PTO contract.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed Michael Stone to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. He’d been on a PTO contract with the club.

ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes reports he’s been told the Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Jason Demers are discussing the possibility of his signing an AHL contract.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton was moved to injured reserve with an upper-body injury retroactive to Oct. 5.

TSN: Hockey Canada’s board of directors announced their resignations yesterday. The move came amid calls for a change in the organization’s leadership following its mishandling of sexual assault allegations against players from Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

Rick Westhead reports members of the Canadian parliament will continue to investigate Hockey Canada’s historical response to those allegations. They’ll also want answers about any severance package offered to chief executive Scott Smith, who stepped down on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It took several major sponsors and provincial hockey organizations withdrawing their support of Hockey Canada for those directors to finally step down. It’s a long overdue step in the right direction but it will take more than just sweeping aside the former leadership to restore trust in Hockey Canada. This organization needs a massive overhaul.

NHL.COM: Former Buffalo Sabres head coach Joe Crozier has died at age 93. Crozier took over as coach in January 1972. In his three seasons behind the Sabres bench, he put together the famous French Connection line of Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert and Richard Martin. Crozier also guided the Sabres to their first-ever playoff appearance in 1972-73.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crozier was head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1979-80 and 1980-81. He achieved success with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, coaching them to three Calder Cups in four seasons from 1964-65 to 1967-68. He also guided the WHL’s Vancouver Canucks to a championship in 1968-69 and the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers to a Memorial Cup championship in 1981-82. My condolences to Crozier’s family, friends, and to the players he coached over his long career.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 17, 2022

A prediction regarding Bo Horvat’s contract talks, Nil Lundkvist won’t report to Rangers training camp, plus the latest on the Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

HORVAT

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson believes Bo Horvat will stay in Vancouver. He predicts the 27-year-old Canucks captain will sign a new contract and “the sooner the better”, though he acknowledged negotiations could drag into the upcoming season.

Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Simpson doesn’t the player or the team want this to drag on as a distraction. He also doesn’t see Horvat shutting down talks once the regular season begins. Pointing to the Canucks recently signing J.T. Miller to a seven-year extension, he acknowledged it would be a “big commitment” by the club to do the same for their captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat’s contract status and his future with the Canucks will become fodder to media trade gossip if he’s still unsigned once the regular season begins next month. Miller was also the subject of conjecture for most of last season and during this summer until he and the Canucks reached an agreement on an extension earlier this month.

I also believe Horvat will sign with the Canucks. For all management’s talk of wanting to stock their roster with younger, affordable talent, they clearly understand how important Miller and Horvat are to their plans going forward.

It wouldn’t be surprising if ownership wants to keep those two around. After spending the past several seasons rebuilding there’s probably little patience for another roster teardown.

How much Horvat gets and for how long will have an effect on the Canucks’ salary-cap payroll over the next several years. It could make it difficult to retain young stars like Elias Pettersson or to find sufficient cap room to address their roster weaknesses.

LUNDKVIST

TSN: cites USA Today’s Vincent Z. Mercogliano reporting Nils Lundkvist won’t be reporting to the New York Rangers training camp when it opens next week. Claude Lemieux, who represents the 22-year-old defenseman, said his client intends to remain in Sweden until his trade request is honored.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report eliminates earlier uncertainty over Lundkvist’s intentions. He wants out and he’ll continue training in Sweden until he’s traded.

Lundkvist could be in for a long wait. Teammate Vitali Kravtsov requested a trade last fall after refusing demotion to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. He returned to Russia and spent last season on loan to a KHL team waiting for a trade that never materialized. He’s now back with the Blueshirts hoping to earn a roster spot for the coming season.

A few pundits and bloggers (including yours truly) have suggested several potential trade destinations for Lundkvist. His status as a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman could make him enticing to several clubs.

However, there hasn’t been any hint yet of any clubs making a serious offer to the Rangers. Perhaps that changes once training camps are underway and teams look to address their roster needs.

FLAMES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane took note of Michael Stone signing a professional tryout offer with the Flames. He wouldn’t be surprised if the 32-year-old defenseman earns another one-year contract with them if general manager Brad Treliving shops a defenseman or two in return for more forward depth.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

The Canadiens name Nick Suzuki as their new captain, an update on Carey Price, the Avalanche sign Evan Rodrigues, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday announced Nick Suzuki had been named as the 31st captain in franchise history. The 23-year-old center succeeds Shea Weber, whose playing days were cut short by injuries. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson were named alternate captains.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels pointed out that this is a departure from the old way of doing things when it comes to choosing the Canadiens captain. In the past, the honor was bestowed upon a long-time veteran of the team.

Suzuki is the youngest captain in franchise history with just three seasons under his belt. The move is in line with the club’s efforts to build around promising young talent. His best seasons remain ahead of him and he would be in a better position to lead by example.

The new Canadiens captain is already facing pressure from Quebec politicians to learn French, something he’s been doing during the offseason. Suzuki also has the support of Gallagher and Edmundson, who praised his maturity and pointed out how quickly he garnered respect in the dressing room.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price isn’t expected to suit up with the Canadiens this season. However, the 35-year-old goaltender intends to spend the season in Montreal and be around the team as he continues receiving treatment for his nagging knee injury.

Price has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He’s been placed on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. The indications are he’d like to play again if he can. That could require more surgery on his knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spending time with the Canadiens could also serve as a stepping stone toward scouting, coaching or a management role for Price if he’s unable to continue his playing career.

The Canadiens will also be among seven NHL teams that will take advantage of a new league rule allowing them to carry advertising on their jerseys. They’ll sport a small RBC patch on their right chests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news generated howls of protests on social media among some Canadiens followers and other fans who are against ad patches on NHL jerseys. I don’t have a problem with it as long as they don’t end up looking like the jerseys of some European leagues where they’re covered in ad patches. The league has limited them to just two small patches per jersey.

We’ll soon see every team in the league sporting those patches because they can earn between $5 million and $10 million annually from jersey ad deals. It’s part of hockey-related revenue, which will help to increase the salary cap, making it a little easier for your favorite team to retain your favorite players.

Besides, it’s silly to get upset over a couple of small ad patches on jerseys. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out, you’ve been watching a game for years in arenas named for corporations where the boards and ice have been covered with ads.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old center was an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, enjoying a career-high 43-point performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues didn’t get much term on this contract but he does get a nice pay raise over the $1 million he received last season. He’s expected to fill the second-line center position with the Avalanche vacated by Nazem Kadri after he signed with the Calgary Flames last month.

A strong effort with the defending Stanley Cup champions should ensure Rodrigues gets a more lucrative contract next summer, either with the Avalanche or another club via free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Good news for the Flyers entering training camp as Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes both received clean bills of health. Hayes missed 34 games last season due to two abdominal injuries and an infection in his groin area. Couturier, meanwhile, was sidelined for 54 games due to persistent back problems that required season-ending surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Michael Stone has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Flames. The 32-year-old defenseman has spent the past six seasons in Calgary.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Matthew DeFranks reports former Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been hired as their player development coordinator.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes recently reported Chris Phillips has returned to the Ottawa Senators as their vice president of business operations. The former Senators defenseman had severed ties with the club last summer by announcing his departure from the Senators Community Foundation. Phillips’ return is seen as another step by the franchise to repair the relationship with the local community.