NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2020

The Wild trade Eric Staal to the Sabres for Marcus Johansson, Canadiens re-sign Joel Edmundson, and the latest on Brayden Point, Johnny Boychuk, Kyle Clifford and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild traded center Eric Staal last evening to the Buffalo Sabres for center Marcus Johansson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a straightforward one-for-one swap with no salary retention by either club. Cap Friendly indicates Staal, 35, has one year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.25 million. He has a 10-team no-trade list but the Sabres reportedly weren’t on it. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported Staal was stunned by the news.

Johansson, 29, also has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.5 million AAV. He’s a versatile forward (when healthy) who can play center or on the wing. However, he managed just 30 points in 60 games last season as a center with the Sabres. Staal netted 47 in 66 contests.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin made no secret of his intentions to shore up his depth at center. Last week, he acquired center Nick Bjugstad from the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, I don’t see the trading away Staal for Johansson as an improvement.

Staal may be older but he was more productive than Johansson, who seems better suited for the wing. Guerin’s recent re-signing of Jonas Brodin has sparked speculation he’s shopping defenseman Matt Dumba for a scoring forward, preferably a center.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are reportedly going to set an internal cap of $70 million for 2020-21. Shedding Johansson for Staal shaves $1.25 million off their payroll. He’ll play a second-line role behind Jack Eichel and perhaps help out in a leadership role.

Speaking of the Wild, StarTribune.com’s Sarah McLellan reported Guerin said it’s unlikely pending free agent center Alex Galchenyuk returns. He also declined to comment on the future of captain Mikko Koivu, who’s also a pending UFA.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed Joel Edmundson to a four-year, $14-million contract extension. The Habs acquired the 27-year-old defenseman last week from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.5 million, making Edmundson an affordable, physical addition to the Canadiens’ defense corps. The deal also comes with a 10-team no-trade list for all four seasons.

Adding Edmundson provides experienced depth on the left side of the Habs’ blue line. It’s also sparked suggestions Brett Kulak or Victor Mete could be packaged in a deal for a scoring forward. The Habs now have over $10.2 million in cap space invested in 19 players for 2020-21.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point’s status for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final remains uncertain. Point missed the previous game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t practice yesterday. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t know if Point will be available but remains hopeful he’ll be in the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lost both games Point missed due to injury.

NEW YORK POST: The return of veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk provided a big lift for the New York Islanders in their Game 5 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. Boychuk returned to action for the first time since being sidelined in the opening game of the qualifying round against the Florida Panthers.

TORONTO SUN: Agent Todd Reynolds said client Kyle Clifford will be testing the unrestricted free agent market. The 29-year-old left wing was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings last February. If Clifford doesn’t re-sign with Toronto, the Kings will receive a third-round pick from the Leafs.

THE SCORE: The St. Louis Blues announced former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery will be joining them as an assistant coach on a two-year deal. He’ll replace Marc Savard, who stepped down earlier this month.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks are expected to make interim head coach Bob Boughner their full-time bench boss.

TSN: A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against North America’s most powerful hockey leagues (including the NHL, AHL, and the Canadian junior leagues) alleging conspiracy to limit opportunities for young players. The suit was filed by Kobe Mohr, who played in the WHL from 2015 to 2020.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins president Jack Kelley died Tuesday at age 93. Kelley was the Penguins president from 1993 to 1998. He was also inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and the WHA Hall of Fame in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kelley’s family and friends.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.

The Dallas Stars yesterday fired head coach Jim Montgomery (Photo via NHL.com).

General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.

The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.

Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.

The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).

Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.

A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.










What Exactly Is Going On With The Dallas Stars?

What Exactly Is Going On With The Dallas Stars?

 










Sense or Nonsense – Early NHL Rumors of Coaching Changes

Sense or Nonsense – Early NHL Rumors of Coaching Changes

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, fighting continues to decline, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: After missing three games with a lower-body injury, New Jersey Devils rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves as his club edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. Teammate Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist. Flyers forwards Sean Couturier and James van Riemsdyk also had two-point performances. 

The New York Rangers picked up their first-ever victory at Barclays Center by defeating the New York Islanders 2-1. Mats Zuccarello tallied the winner late in the third period for the Rangers, who lost defenseman Fredrik Claesson to an apparent right shoulder injury

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov widened his lead in the scoring race with three points in a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Three unanswered third-period goals by Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Ryan Callahan lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Kucherov, the NHL’s scoring leader, collected three points and now has 75 in 45 games. 

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak’s late second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as his club nipped the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Sean Kuraly had a goal and two assists while Tuukka Rask turned aside 30 shots. 

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price kicked out 28 shots to pick up his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Phillip Danault had two assists for the Canadiens, who vaulted over the Islanders and Sabres into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Washington Capitals 2-1 on an overtime tally by Artemi Panarin, after which he and his teammates mimicked Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov’s “bird dance” goal celebration. Capitals starter Braden Holtby left the game after being struck in the left eye with a stick in the second period. He was originally expected to return to action but team doctors felt it better that he remain out of the game. Holtby will be re-evaluated later today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The blade of Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson’s stick somehow slipped through Holtby’s mask during a scrum in front of the Capitals’ net. Here’s hoping the injury isn’t serious. 

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi picked up his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Thomas Vanek also scored twice and Dylan Larkin collected three assists. Following the game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called the loss the worst he’s experienced since taking over as Minnesota’s bench boss.  “Effort, compete, I don’t know where it was,” said Boudreau. 

Boudreau wasn’t the only coach to rip his team’s performance as Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars expressed his unhappiness over his club’s effort in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.  “It’s everybody. Unfortunately, I’m very frustrated that I have not been able to gain consistency in our performance, and I haven’t been able to change the culture of mediocrity,” said Montgomery. Vladimir Taransenko scored twice for the Blues. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Stars possess the talent to be higher than they currently are in the standings. They’re starting to turn underachievement into an art form. 

Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch set a franchise record with a nine-game points streak as his club beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on an overtime goal by Shea Theodore. Tuch and Max Pacioretty each had two points. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the Blackhawks. 

The San Jose Sharks picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has yet to score against his former club. The Sharks activated blueliner Justin Braun off injured reserve but lost winger Joonas Donskoi to an upper-body injury

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s 38-save performance carried his club to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping the latter’s six-game road winning streak. It was Quick’s 301st career victory, tying him with Mike Richter for fourth all-time among American-born netminders. Anze Kopitar scored two goals and Jeff Carter had a three-point game. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel netted both of his team’s goals. 

Arizona Coyotes rookie Conor Garland scored twice, with the first deflecting in off his face, in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Garland left the game for stitches and returned to score the winner in the third period.

THE SCORE: Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle didn’t take kindly to a reporter’s question about his job security following the club’s 10th straight loss on Friday. He abruptly ended the media scrum, calling the reporter “a jerk” and complaining about being asked “dumb questions”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlyle certainly seems to be feeling the heat right now. Remains to be seen if Ducks general manager Bob Murray intends on replacing him. Despite the long losing skid, the Ducks are only one point out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. However, they risk tumbling further out of contention if they fail to find a way to pull out of their tailspin. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fighting continues to decline in the NHL. At the mid-point of this season, the number of fighting majors is down to 0.38 per game. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2018

Sharks square series with Golden Knights, Lightning take series lead over Bruins, Tom Wilson suspended, Stars to announce new head coach. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Martin Jones had a 34-save shutout as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0, tying their second-round series at two games apiece. Logan Couture and Brenden Dillon each collected two assists for the Sharks, who also successfully killed off all five of Vegas’ power-play opportunities. The series returns to Vegas for Game 5 on Friday.

Martin Jones’ 34-save shutout gave the San Jose Sharks a 4-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the Sharks best performance of the series. They did an excellent job neutralizing the Golden Knights’ power play while Jones was stellar between the pipes.

Two goals by Ondrej Palat in the opening 3:19 of the first period powered the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. The win gives the Lightning a 2-1 lead in their second-round series, which resumes Friday in Boston. Winger Yanni Gourde became the second Lightning player to become a father in the 2018 playoffs (J.T. Miller was the other), returning in time to take part in Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Gourde and his wife. For the second straight game, the Lightning managed to contain Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. If the Bruins’ secondary scorers don’t start cashing in soon this series could be over in five games. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON/PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Capitals winger Tom Wilson received a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese during Game 3 of their second-round series. Meanwhile, the Penguins need more from forwards Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard in this series against the Capitals. 

THE TENNESSEAN/WINNIPEG SUN: The Nashville Predators need to regroup and stick with goaltender Pekka Rinne after blowing a three-goal lead to fall 7-4 to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of their second-round series. Meanwhile, Jets forward Mathieu Perreault was medically cleared to return to action after being sidelined for the past seven games with a suspected shoulder injury.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: On Friday, the Dallas Stars expected to name Denver University’s Jim Montgomery as their new head coach. He’ll become just the fifth coach in hockey history to jump directly from the NCAA ranks into the NHL. He guided his club to the 2017 NCAA championship.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having spent parts of six seasons as an NHL player with the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and the Stars, Montgomery knows what to expect at the big-league level. He also has a reputation for working well with young player. That should should prove invaluable to a roster with six regulars under 25 who skated in 70-plus games this season. 

NHL.COM: Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild are this year’s finalists for the King Clancy Trophy. 

The Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames will play a pair of preseason games in China this September.