NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2024

The Rangers match their franchise record win streak, the Canucks regain first overall, the Leafs’ Tyler Bertuzzi nets a birthday hat trick, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers tied a franchise record with their 10th straight win by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Rookie forward Matt Rempe’s first career NHL goal was the game-winner as he snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves for the Rangers (39-16-3). With 81 points, they lead the Metropolitan Division and sit in second place in the overall standings. Tyson Foerster scored for the 30-21-7 Flyers as they remain in third place in the Metro with 67 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Travis Konecny missed this game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser tallied two goals, including the winner in overtime, to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2 and reclaim first place in the overall standings with 82 points. The Bruins (34-12-13) jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jesper Boqvist and Danton Heinen before the Canucks (38-16-6) staged their rally. The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division with 81 points and sit third in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins and Rangers have the same number of points but the latter holds a game in hand plus they’ve got more regulation wins.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Bertuzzi (NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their seventh straight win by nipping the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Tyler Bertuzzi celebrated his 29th birthday with a hat trick while William Nylander collected three assists for the 33-16-8 Leafs as they sit third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had three assists for the 35-19-5 Avalanche, who sit third in the Central Division with 75 points but have won only three of their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon sits second in the NHL scoring race with 96 points, two back of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov.

Speaking of Kucherov, he had a goal and two assists for the Lightning in a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Victor Hedman picked up three assists while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for the Lightning (31-23-5), who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson replied for the 23-20-14 Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield missed this contest with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

The Dallas Stars downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on goals by Jason Robertson and Wyatt Johnston. Joel Oettinger turned aside 20 shots as the Stars improved to 35-16-8 and sit atop the Central Division with 78 points. Sebastian Aho scored for the Hurricanes (34-18-5) as they’re perched in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points.

An overtime goal by Gustav Forsling gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Aleksander Barkov scored the tying goal late in the third period for the Panthers (38-16-4) as they sit second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the overall standings with 80 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin played his 1,400th career NHL game but saw his 10-game points streak come to an end as his club’s record dropped to 26-21-9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Capitals forward Anthony Mantha left this game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

A four-goal first period carried the Detroit Red Wings over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-1. Alex DeBrincat led the way with two goals and an assist while Patrick Kane and Michael Rasmussen each had a goal and an assist for the 31-20-6 Red Wings, who sit one point above the Lightning in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 68 points. Blues rookie Zachary Bolduc scored his first career NHL goal as his club dropped to 30-25-2 (62 points) and sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are on a roll of late, winning four straight and seven of their last 10 games. They’re looking like a playoff contender for the first time since 2015-16.

Speaking of the final Western wild-card spot, the Nashville Predators took over that spot with a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Kiefer Sherwood tallied twice while Juuse Saros made 23 stops for the 31-25-2 Predators (64 points) as they picked up their fourth straight victory. Mikael Granlund and Filip Zadina replied for the 15-36-5 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic suffered an upper-body injury during practice on Friday and missed this game as a result.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive by dropping the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 in their ongoing Battle of Alberta. Noah Hanifin scored twice and collected an assist while Jonathan Huberdeau and Connor Zary each had two assists for the 28-25-5 Flames (61 points) as they’ve won three straight and sit three points behind the Predators. Zach Hyman scored two goals for the Oilers (33-20-2) as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 68 points but have won just four of their last 10 contests.

A shootout goal by Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Drew Doughty and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist for the Kings (29-17-10) as they hold the first Western wild-card spot with 68 points and have won seven of their last 10 games. Goaltender John Gibson kicked out 48 shots for the 20-34-3 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Kings placed winger Viktor Arvidsson (lower body) on long-term injury reserve and announced that defenseman Mikey Anderson is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Another team keeping their postseason chances alive is the Minnesota Wild as they defeated the Seattle Kraken by a score of 5-2. Kirill Kaprizov has two goals and an assist while Mats Zuccarello collected four assists for the 28-24-6 Wild (62 points) as they sit two points behind the Predators. Vince Dunn and Jordan Eberle replied for the Kraken (24-22-11), who are five points back of the Predators.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on a shootout goal by Tim Stutzle. Josh Norris and Thomas Chabot each had a goal and an assist for the 25-27-3 Senators, who are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. Chandler Stephenson scored two goals for the Golden Knights (32-19-7) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 71 points.

New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Tyler Toffoli collected two assists for the 29-24-4 Devils (62 points), who sit five points behind the Lightning for that final Eastern wild-card berth. Nick Suzuki scored twice for the 22-28-8 Canadiens as their losing streak reached a season-high five games.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

A record-setting performance for Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram, Bally Sports financial woes could affect 12 NHL teams and Alex Ovechkin mourns his father’s death. Details on these and other stories in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: A record-setting shutout performance by Connor Ingram carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 1-0 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ingram’s 47 saves were the most by a goalie in his first NHL shutout in league history. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller scored in the shootout for the 19-28-8 Coyotes. Steven Stamkos replied in the shootout for the Lightning (35-16-3) as they dropped into third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without defenseman Erik Cernak as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. William Nylander scored his 30th goal of the season and collected two points while Auston Matthews scored the winning goal in his return to action after missing five games with a sprained knee. With the win, the 33-14-8 Leafs vaulted over the Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. The Blackhawks dropped to 16-32-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed captain Jonathan Toews on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined for five games by a non-COVID-related illness.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each scored two goals and collected an assist in a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers (32-14-8) have won six straight and sit three points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points. Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the Canucks as they fell to 21-30-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Curtis Lazar left this game with lower-body injuries. In his post-game interview, head coach Rick Tocchet said the severity of Ekman-Larsson’s injury was unknown but Lazar’s might not be serious.

The Colorado Avalanche got a 41-save performance from Alexandar Georgiev to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche improved to 29-19-5 and remain third in the Central Division with 63 points. Kirill Kaprizov netted his 31st goal of the season for the Wild (28-21-5) as they’ve dropped five of their last six games and slipped out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to the lineup after missing 31 games with a lower-body injury. Wild blueliner Calen Addison was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Shootout goals by David Perron and Pius Suter lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri each had a goal and an assist while Ville Husso turned aside 41 shots for the Red Wings (25-20-8) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid collected two assists for the 30-19-6 Oilers as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings’ call-up Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch from this game while defenseman Jake Walman remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Seven Sabres, including Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch, collected two points each as they improved to 27-22-4 to sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Cam Fowler tallied twice for the Ducks as they dropped to 17-32-6 on the season.


ESPN.COM: The owner of Bally Sports regional networks skipped $140 million in interest payments due Wednesday, starting a 30-day grace period that could be the prelude to a bankruptcy filing.

Bally is owned by Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. It provides regional coverage to 12 NHL teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those 12 NHL teams are the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted yesterday that the NHL Board of Governors held an impromptu conference call to discuss the situation. No word yet from the league regarding the outcome of those talks.

This isn’t expected to affect regional coverage for the remainder of this season as the rights for those games were already paid before the start of the season. However, it will be a problem for next season and beyond if the league is left scrambling to find a replacement for Bally.

This won’t affect the salary cap for 2023-24 as that’s based on hockey-related revenue earned this season. However, it could have a substantial impact on the cap for 2024-25.

The salary cap is projected to increase by just $1 million for next season as the players still have to pay back the remainder of their escrow debt to the owners arising from the shortened seasons due to the pandemic. There is speculation suggesting the league and NHLPA perhaps reaching an agreement to increase it by up to five percent.

For 2024-25, the salary cap is forecast to jump to between $3.5 million and $4 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25. It is also projected to rise by $4 million in 2025-26 to $92 million. However, the potential hit to hockey-related revenue from losing Bally’s regional coverage could adversely affect those projections.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to an eight-year, $33-million contract extension on Wednesday. The average annual value will be $4.125 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable cap hit for Anderson, who is on a one-year, $1 million contract this season and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

The 23-year-old defenseman is earning first-pairing minutes alongside Kings blueline stalwart Drew Doughty. He can move the puck, play a solid physical game in his own zone, and leads the Kings in short-handed ice time per game (2:26) this season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced the death of his father Mikhail on Wednesday. He was 71 years old. Ovechkin will be away from the Capitals for an undetermined period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ovechkin and his family.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2022

Jack Campbell is looking forward to his role as the Oilers’ starting goalie, Jonathan Drouin hopes to change his luck this season, the Kings re-sign Mikey Anderson, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jack Campbell is excited about the opportunity to help the Edmonton Oilers become a Stanley Cup champion. The 30-year-old goaltender signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the club in July following 2 1/2 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

I just can’t wait to do my part to try to help out and to get to the next step of being a champion,” said Campbell. He acknowledged the Oilers have a lot of work ahead of them but he’s ready to help them out as best he can as their starting netminder.

For Edmonton to believe in me and allow me to be here for five years and get to work with this group every single day and try to accomplish some amazing things, I’m just so excited.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Campbell is getting the opportunity in Edmonton that he thought he’d earned with the Maple Leafs over the past two seasons. This will provide him the chance to silence the critics who point to his inconsistent play over the second half of last season as justification for questioning his abilities as a starting goalie.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin is seeking a fresh start in the coming season by changing his sweater number from 92 to 27. He wore the latter number during his junior years with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads and his tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Drouin, 27, has been sidelined by injuries and a mental health break over the past several seasons. He’s in his contract year and eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hockey players are a superstitious bunch. Most will look for anything to change their puck luck, including a number change.

Drouin needs something to help him have a healthy and productive season. It will determine if he has a future with the Canadiens and if not, will bolster his stock in the free-agent market.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to a one-year, $1 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract and has become a key part of their blueline corps over the past two seasons. His lack of arbitration rights gave Kings general manager Rob Blake the hammer in contract talks but that will change next season when the young blueliner becomes arbitration-eligible.

The Kings have one restricted free agent left in defenseman Sean Durzi, who is also coming off an ELC. With less than $1.4 million remaining in cap space, he’ll probably get a deal similar to Anderson’s.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dominik Simon has rejected an offer from the Penguins to attend training camp to sign with Czech Elite League club Sparta Praha. The 28-year-old forward spent most of his seven NHL seasons with the Penguins along with stops with the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, amassing 77 points in 256 career games.

NJ.COM: Jonathan Bernier won’t be ready to start the upcoming season with the Devils. The 34-year-old goaltender underwent hip surgery in January and it isn’t clear when he’ll return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bernier’s in the final season of his two-year contract with the Devils. They’re pressed against the $82.5 million salary cap but could place him on long-term injury reserve if necessary to garner some cap relief.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH’s Jim Thomas recently reported via Twitter that all 32 NHL teams were informed they will be returning to normal, pre-pandemic media access regulations.