NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 24, 2020

The 2020-21 schedule is released, Nikita Kucherov sidelined for the season, plus a roundup of the latest notable signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released the schedule for the 2020-21 season. It begins on Jan. 13 with five games, including the Tampa Bay Lightning raising their 2020 Stanley Cup championship banner before facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena.

The other four games see the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Vancouver Canucks squaring off against the Edmonton Oilers, and the St. Louis Blues tangling with the Colorado Avalanche.

The league also announced the postponement of the 2021 Stadium Series slated for Feb. 20, 2021, featuring the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hip surgery will sideline Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All timings for those games have yet to be announced. Those will likely be revealed after the locations for the Canadian games are determined.

TSN reported last night the five Canadian provinces hosting NHL teams released a letter calling for increased testing of players, staff and close contacts as well as enhancing the schedule to group game into blocks to reduce inter-jurisdictional travel. The other option is reinstating a bubble model similar to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the league and the NHLPA aren’t keen to implement.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov has hip surgery scheduled for next week and is expected to be sidelined for the entire regular season. The club hopes to have him back in time for the 2021 playoffs beginning in May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big blow to the Lightning’s scoring punch but they will receive $9.5 million in salary cap relief by placing the former Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy winner on long-term injury reserve. That should free up sufficient cap space to sign restricted free agent Anthony Cirelli. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to make a cost-cutting deal. I’ll have more about that in the Rumors section.

The Lightning also signed forwards Mathieu Joseph and Alex Volkov to short-term, one-way contracts. Joseph inked a two-year deal worth $1.475 million while Volkov inked a one-year, $700K deal.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a three-year, $8.4 million contract. The annual average value is $2.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable deal for the Devils. Blackwood will be their starting goaltender entering this season. A solid performance on his part over the course of this deal will ensure more lucrative terms on his next contract.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators signed forward Erik Haula to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing comes on the heels of the Predators bringing back winger Mikael Granlund. It’s a good, cost-effective depth addition. Haula has an injury history but when healthy is a speedy, versatile two-way forward with a decent scoring touch who can skate on the wing or at center.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Goaltender Ryan Miller is returning for another season with the Anaheim Ducks, inking a one-year contract worth $1 million. He’s served as their backup netminder for the past three seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Miller and his family live in the Anaheim area and he doesn’t want to relocate at this stage of his career.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens added more experienced depth to their forward links by signing winger Michael Frolik to a one-year, $750K contract.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Casey Mittelstadt to a one-year contract worth just over $874K.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers inked goaltender Sam Montembault to a one-year, two-way deal.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach suffered an apparent injury to his right wrist during Canada’s 1-0 win over Russia in a tune-up game for the upcoming 2021 World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Dach left the game, underwent X-rays and is undergoing other tests to determine the severity of the injury.

Meanwhile, Blackhawks forward Alex Nylander recently underwent knee surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks hired Jason King as their new assistant coach and Chris Higgins as their new skills and development coach.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

Eric Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury reach career milestones, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal scored to pick up his 1,000th career point, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied a hat trick while Jonathan Toews collected three assists. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Wild.

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal netted his 1,000th career point in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

Marc-Andre Fleury moved into 14th place for all-time games played among NHL goalies (821) backstopping the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas winger Max Pacioretty scored twice and added two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed winger Sven Baertschi on waivers.

Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee faces supplemental discipline for interference on Jets center Mathieu Perreault. The injury-ravaged Flyers have dropped four of their last five games.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice to lead his club over the Detroit Red Wings 4-2, snapping the latter’s two-game win streak.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recently teamed up with sponsor and equipment maker CCM to announce a donation of 87 sets of hockey gear to participants in three programs administered by Hockey Nova Scotia.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar will miss the next two games with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting former San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is willing to entertain offers for coaching jobs this season. “Sometimes coaches wanna take time, maybe the rest of the season before they come back,” Friedman said. “The word is … that, depending on the situation, Peter DeBoer is willing to listen and will consider coaching this year. But again, it depends on the situation.”

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres sent struggling Casey Mittelstadt to their AHL affiliate in Rochester. The 21-year-old winger had been a healthy scratch in three of the Sabres’ last four games.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former NHL winger Vladimir Tsyplakov has died at the age of 50. The cause of death was not revealed. Tsyplakov played nearly five seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and nearly two seasons with the Sabres. He netted 170 points in 331 NHL games.

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

 










NHL Most Important Players: Buffalo Sabres

NHL Most Important Players: Buffalo Sabres