NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2021

Jack Eichel changes agents plus the latest on John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Bo Horvat and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Still in a dispute with the Buffalo Sabres over treatment for his neck injury, center Jack Eichel has changed agents. He will now be represented by Pat Brisson of Creative Artists Agency, who also represents high-profile players such as Sidney Crosby and John Tavares.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s former agents released a statement a month ago that was critical of the Sabres’ handling of their now-former client’s situation. With no end of the stalemate in sight, hiring Brisson has sparked speculation over its effect upon his trade status. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Speaking of Tavares, the Toronto Maple Leafs captain said he’s “doing fantastic” in his recovery from a concussion and knee injury suffered during the playoffs. He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp next month.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good to hear that Tavares is healthy and gearing up for the start of the new season. He’ll be under considerable pressure this season to lead the Leafs to playoff success after the club’s stunning first-round collapse against the Montreal Canadiens three months ago.

THE SCORE: After signing Sean Couturier to a contract extension on Thursday, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher indicated contract talks with captain Claude Giroux will be held off until the end of 2021-22. Giroux, 33, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher also said both sides are comfortable with that decision. It will allow the Flyers to evaluate their captain’s performance and his future with the club. Giroux will use this season to prove his worth to the Flyers (or other clubs) in his contract year.

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat is determined to reach the playoffs this season. He believes they have the team to do it. “Enough is enough, we can talk all we want, at the end of the day we have to go out there and prove it on the ice,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expectations were high for the Canucks entering last season after reaching the second round of the 2020 playoffs. A shortened season, an outbreak of COVID-19, the offseason departures Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Toffoli, and Elias Pettersson’s season-ending injury were critical factors that scuttled their 2021 postseason hopes.

General manager Jim Benning shook up the roster, bringing in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Jaroslav Halak and Jason Dickinson while shedding Nate Schmidt, Braden Holtby, Loui Eriksson and several others. Time will tell if those moves improve the Canucks, especially their porous blueline.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes some Jets fans are being overly critical of Josh Morrisey. While the 26-year-old defenseman was accused of slacking off last season after landing a big contract, he was in fact dealing with his father’s fight with brain cancer that eventually took his life on Aug. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morrissey didn’t use that as an excuse for his inconsistent play but McIntyre believes it’s a justifiable reason. “How could it NOT have impacted his on-ice performance?”, he asked his readers.

We fans and pundits are quick to criticize players when their performance is not up to their usual standard. Sometimes it’s justified, but more often than not there are genuine reasons behind the decline. Sometimes they’re dealing with a loved one’s life-threatening illness or death. Sometimes they’re trying to play through a serious injury.

Sure, a handful of them can find the physical and mental toughness to overcome those issues and continue playing at a high level of competition. Most, however, will struggle to cope. That doesn’t make them weak. It just makes them normal. We tend to forget that.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Jordie Benn to a one-year, $900K contract.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are reportedly close to signing defenseman Libor Hajek.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed center Ryan Poehling to a two-year contract. That leaves Jesperi Kotkaniemi as their only remaining restricted free agent.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

Leon Draisaitl tallies four goals against the Predators, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl tallied four goals and Connor McDavid had four assists as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Nashville Predators 8-3. The Oilers broke a 3-3 tie with five unanswered third-period goals. With 78 points, the Oilers moved within two points of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. The Predators (72 points) cling to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Draisaitl (107 points) holds a big lead in the NHL scoring race. He also moved into fourth place (43 goals) in the goal-scoring race.

Leon Draisaitl had a five-point game in the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-3 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury or a significant scoring drought, Draisaitl has the Art Ross Trophy locked up for this season. He’s also put himself into the running for the Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, and should be a serious contender for the Hart Trophy as MVP. 

The Colorado Avalanche (87 points) edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to move within one point of the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues. Michael Hutchinson made 17 saves in his debut with the Avs. Colorado rookie defenseman Cale Makar missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. The Wings, meanwhile, played without winger Adam Erne, who could miss the remainder of the season with a broken hand.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 1.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson underwent shoulder surgery on Monday and will need four-to-six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was considerable interest in Anderson leading up to last Monday’s NHL trade deadline, but uncertainty over the status of his injury likely scared off potential suitors. His status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent status could make him a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks indicated defenseman Jacob Middleton is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. They’re also believed to have agreed to a four-year, $8-million contract extension with blueline Radim Simek, though this hasn’t been confirmed by general manager Doug Wilson.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino are close to returning to the lineup. Both are game-day decision’s for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And not a moment too soon for the struggling Penguins, who’ve dropped six straight games.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs blueliners Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci have returned to practice and could rejoin the lineup sometime next week.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey is expected to return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres after being sidelined for four games with an upper-body injuy. Winger Patrik Laine (left foot injury) could also return tonight.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg is returning to Sweden for family reasons. The club hopes to provide a further update shortly.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has no plans to make any changes to its emergency backup goalie rule.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

Bobby Ryan scores a hat trick in an emotion return with the Senators, Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik nets his first NHL hat trick and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bobby Ryan scored a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. It was Ryan’s second game since returning from the player assistance program for alcohol abuse. He was overcome with emotion as his teammates and Ottawa fans cheered after he scored his third goal. The loss left the Canucks with 74 points, four behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Bobby Ryan tallied a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well done, Bobby Ryan.

David Pastrnak scored his league-leading 46th goal as the Boston Bruins held off the Dallas Stars 4-3. The league-leading Bruins (92 points) widened their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning by seven points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his first NHL hat trick as his club netted five unanswered third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Lightning, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Kubalik leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 29 goals. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to down the Florida Panthers 5-3. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman, and Justin Holl each had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Leafs (76 points) moved four ahead of the Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Colton Parayko’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the New York Islanders 3-2. The Blues (86 points) widened their lead atop the Western Conference standings by five points over the Colorado Avalanche. With 78 points, the Islanders cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund scored the tying and winning goals in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Ryan Ellis collected three assists for the Predators (72 points), who hold the final Western wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets (72 points) got a 34-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to blank the Washington Capitals 3-0. Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. The Capitals (84 points) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Patrik Laine left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period. The Jets also played without defenseman Josh Morrissey and Sami Niku. Morrissey is expected back in the lineup on Saturday, but Niku could be sidelined for weeks.

The New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2, picking up their ninth straight road win. Ryan Strome scored two goals and Mika Zibanejad extended his goal streak to six games. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed the game with an injured ankle. The surging Rangers (74 points) have won nine of their last 10 and sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Matt Dumba scored twice as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1, handing Wings goalie Jimmy Howard his 20th straight defeat. Kevin Fiala had a three-point performance for the Wild (69 points), who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

Logan Couture scored in overtime as the San Jose Sharks edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights re-signed William Carrier to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $1.4 million.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson (shoulder injury) could be done for the season.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion hopes to make Mark Borowiecki a “Senators for life”. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2019

Connor McDavid extends his points streak to 10 games, the Leafs get their second straight win under Sheldon Keefe, the Islanders’ point streak reaches 17 games and more from a busy Saturday in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Linemate Leon Draisaitl collected three assists to maintain a one-point lead (47-46) over McDavid in the NHL scoring race

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 10 games (Photo via NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their second straight win under new head coach Sheldon Keefe by downing the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. Former Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie collected two points while former Leafs center Nazem Kadri picked up two assists.

Logan Couture’s overtime goal lifted the San Jose Sharks over the New York Islanders 2-1. Despite the loss, the Isles extended their points streak to 17 games (15-0-2).

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat tallied the only goal in a shootout as his club edged the Washington Capitals 2-1. Elias Petterson also scored for the Canucks while Jakub Vrana tallied for the Capitals. Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler left the game with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames snapped a six-game winless skid with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Matthew Tkachuk netted the only goal in the shootout frame while goalie David Rittich made 36 saves for the win. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Antti Raanta kicked out 43 shots as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. The Coyotes have won three of their last four games to maintain their hold on fourth overall in the Western Conference. The Kings’ five-game home-winning streak came to an end. Arizona forward Lawson Crouse left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Andrew Copp’s third-period goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored and added an assist. It was a costly win for the Jets, as blueliners Josh Morrissey and Nathan Beaulieu and goalie Laurent Brossoit left the game with injuries.

The Boston Bruins overcame a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on an overtime goal by Torey Krug. David Krejci scored two consecutive third-period goals to force the extra frame while Patrice Bergeron collected four assists.

Brendan Lemieux scored twice as the New York Rangers rallied from a 4-0 deficit to upset the Montreal Canadiens 6-5. Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen each scored twice in a losing cause for the Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his franchise-best 132nd career win backstopping his club over the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov returned from a two-game absence with a goal and an assist. Brayden Point scored two goals for the Bolts.

The New Jersey Devils rolled to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Blake Coleman tallied twice for the Devils while Wings forward Anthony Mantha left the game in the first period with an lower-body injury.

Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Teuvo Teravainen collected three assists. The Hurricanes have won five of their last six contests.

The Nashville Predators ended a six-game winless streak by dropping the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Viktor Arvidsson, who left the game with a lower-body injury.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Roope Hintz and John Klingberg each picked up a point in their first games back from injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2019

Game recaps, Sharks bring back Patrick Marleau, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Winger James Neal scored four goals as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Neal set a franchise record with six goals in his first three games of the season. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected three assists. The Oilers also welcomed back center Riley Sheahan off injured reserve. Islanders defenseman (and Prince Edward Island native) Noah Dobson picked up an assist in his first NHL game.

Edmonton Oilers winger James Neal scored four goals in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After tallying just seven goals in 63 games with the Calgary Flames last season, Neal now has six goals in his first three games with the Oilers.

The San Jose Sharks dropped their fourth straight game, falling 5-2 to the Nashville Predators. Roman Josi tallied twice for the Predators. Off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, the Sharks announced they’re bringing back Patrick Marleau. Before the game, they signed the 40-year-old winger to a one-year, $700K contract. The Sharks also revealed forward Marcus Sorensen is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson declined to sign Marleau during the off-season, preferring to give more playing time to his younger players. Given Marleau’s age and declining production, there’s some skepticism over how much he’ll improve the Sharks’ sputtering offense.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender James Reimer made 47 saves against his former team in a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers. Winger Ryan Dzingel scored two goals as the Hurricanes extended their franchise-record season-opening win streak to four games. Panthers forwards Aleksander Barkov and Mike Hoffman each collected two assists while defenseman Keith Yandle skated in his 800th career game.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame an injury-depleted blueline to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1, snapping an 18-game losing skid in Pittsburgh. Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine each had three assists while rookie defenseman Ville Heinola tallied his first NHL career. The Jets played without blueliners Josh Morrissey and Dmitry Kulikov and center Bryan Little. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist left the game following the first period after being struck by a shot from teammate Kris Letang.

David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each collected three points as the Boston Bruins held on for a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suited up for his 1,488th career game, passing Wayne Gretzky for 23rd on the all-time list.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their first win of the season by edging the Calgary Flames 4-3. Drew Doughty tallied the game-winner in overtime. Flames winger and Doughty’s nemesis Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the game-tying goal that forced the extra frame.

Tyler Seguin’s overtime time lifted the Dallas Stars to their first victory of the season by edging the Washington Capitals 4-3. Alexander Radulov scored twice for the Stars. Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first goal of the season after serving a season-opening three-game suspension.

Third-period goals by Rickard Rakell, Nick Ritchie, and Jakob Silfverberg powered the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Ducks goalie John Gibson kicked out 31 shots for the win. Earlier in the day, the Ducks recalled Max Comtois and placed Sam Steel (mid-body) on injured reserve.

SABRES PR: Buffalo Sabres winger Conor Sheary is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2019

Game recaps, three stars of the week, plus updates on Evgeni Malkin, Josh Morrissey, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Pietrangelo’s 400th career point was also the game-winning goal as the St. Louis Blues edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 32 saves for the win. The Leafs best scorers – Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner – were held pointless in his contest.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tallied the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

Alexandre Texier’s overtime goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. He and teammate Nick Foligno each had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha, and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 6, 2019.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin threw the ceremonial first pitch in Game 4 of yesterday’s National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals won 6-1 to tie the best-of-five series at two games apiece.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad will be sidelined “longer term” due to lower-body injuries. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan expects Malkin will be out longer than Bjugstad but said his injury wasn’t season-ending.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big blow to the Penguins depth at center. Jared McCann could shift from the left wing to cover the second-line center position. Dominik Kahun could slot into the third- or fourth-line center spot. The Penguins also called up Sam Lafferty and Andrew Agozzino.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey returned to practice yesterday after missing Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders. Blueliner Dmitry Kulikov will miss tonight’s game in Pittsburgh as he’s in Winnipeg dealing with a personal matter.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings placed Andreas Athanasiou, Frans Nielsen, Trevor Daley, and Jonathan Ericsson on injured reserve. They’ve called up forwards Evgeny Svechnikov and Ryan Kuffner, and defensemen Oliwer Kaski and Alex Biega.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers traded forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for minor-league defenseman Nick Ebert and a 2021 fourth-round pick. The Rangers reportedly retain $750K of Namestnikov’s salary-cap hit

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a cost-cutting move by the Rangers, saving over $3 million in salary-cap space. Namestnikov is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and no longer fit into their future plans. This move brings experienced depth at center to the rebuilding Senators.

THE DENVER POST: With defenseman Ian Cole returning from injury, the Colorado Avalanche reassigned rookie blueliner Conor Timmons to the Colorado Eagles.

THE SCORE: Journeyman goaltender Michael Leighton announced his retirement after 18 season of professional hockey. He played for 21 teams during his career, mostly in the AHL. His NHL high point was backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

In 111 career NHL games with the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Carolina Hurricanes, Leighton finished with a record of 37 wins, 43 losses, and 14 overtime defeats, with a 2.98 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and four shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Leighton in his future endeavors.