NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2021

Recaps of Thursday’s action, the league introduces enhanced COVID-19 protocols, two more Flyers are added to the protocol list and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Sidney Crosby’s shootout winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the New York Islanders 4-3. Penguins Bryan Rust had a goal and an assist while teammate Zach Aston-Reese scored in his first game since returning from offseason shoulder surgery.

The Florida Panthers picked up a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning to snap the latter’s six-game winning streak. Alex Wennberg and Aaron Ekblad each tallied a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who were playing without winger Anthony Duclair as he was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The Lightning played without captain Steven Stamkos, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have 18 points (8-1-2) and sit one point behind the Lightning in the Central Division.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (NHL Images).

A four-goal third period rallied the Columbus Blue Jackets from a 4-2 deficit to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5, ending the latter’s three-game win streak. Cam Atkinson scored and collected three assists while Jack Roslovic tallied twice. Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and two assists. The Blackhawks played without Andrew Shaw as he suffered another concussion during Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars. They also learned defenseman Connor Murphy will miss 10-14 days with an injured right hip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw has a history of head injuries. It may be time for him to consider retirement rather than risk further serious injury by continuing his playing career. Roslovic, meanwhile, has four goals and nine points in eight games since being acquired from the Winnipeg Jets and now centers the Jackets’ top line.

The Nashville Predators ended a three-game losing skid by clipping the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Dante Fabbro netted the game-winner in the final minute of the third period. Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm missed the game with an undisclosed injury and was placed on injured reserve.

Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves backstopping the Winnipeg Jets over the Ottawa Senators 5-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. The Senators also lost goalie Matt Murray as he left the game after two periods following a collision with teammate Nikita Zaitsev. More information about his condition could be released later today.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith made 38 saves for his 40th career shutout to blank the slumping Montreal Canadiens 3-0. Jujhar Khaira, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie were the goal scorers. The start time for the game was pushed back an hour after Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi was held out of the game-day skate and placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. The game was allowed to proceed following rapid testing of his teammates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have returned to earth after their red-hot start. They’ve dropped three of their last four games and managed just six goals during that period. Opponents have neutralized the Habs’ offense by clogging the neutral zone and outworking them in their own zone. In recent years the Canadiens have started strong only to suffer setbacks during the second quarter of the schedule that leaves them struggling over the remainder of the season. Time will tell if the latest slump is a minor speed bump or the harbinger of yet another collapse.

The Carolina Hurricanes dumped the Dallas Stars 5-3 to hand the latter their four straight loss. Nino Niederreiter broke a 3-3 tie with a breakaway goal early in the third period. Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera returned to the lineup after spending a week on the COVID-19 protocol list while goalie Anton Khudobin played his first game after being scratched from Sunday’s game for missing Saturday’s practice.

Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves to give the Calgary Flames a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Markstrom and teammates Chris Tanev and Josh Leivo were playing their first game in Vancouver since the former Canucks signed with the Flames last fall. Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano each collected two points for the Flames while the spiraling Canucks suffered their sixth straight defeat.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their first win in six games by thumping the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Drew Doughty collected three assists for the Kings while Tomas Hertl scored both goals for the Sharks. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced goaltender Devan Dubnyk was listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Bob Boughner called out goalie Martin Jones following this game, saying his performance was “not up to our standard.” Jones (5-3-0) has been erratic, playing well in his victories and getting pulled early in each of his defeats this season.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 21 saves to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0. Max Comtois tallied the lone goal as Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (27 saves) suffered his first loss of the season. The Golden Knights played without netminder Robin Lehner, who’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The NHL is adding game-day rapid testing for players, team personnel and on-ice officials as part of its expanded safety protocols in hope of stemming potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The number of Flyers on the COVID-19 protocol list rose to five as Jakub Voracek and Morgan Frost were added on Thursday. The club’s next scheduled game is Feb. 18, after which they’re slated to travel to Nevada to face the Boston Bruins in an outdoor game at Lake Tahoe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL could be forced to find a replacement for the Flyers in that game or postpone that contest and shift it to an indoor venue at a later date.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild are cleared to resume team activities today though 12 players remain on the protocol list. They are scheduled to return to action against the Kings on Tuesday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes fired assistant general manager Steve Sullivan, adding they would not be seeking a replacement for him. Sullivan was interim GM after John Chayka left his role with the club last summer.

CBS SPORTS: A lower-body injury will sideline Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk against the New York Rangers tonight.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery today.

NHL.COM: Willie O’Ree’s number retirement ceremony has been rescheduled to Jan. 18, 2022, to allow for in-person attendance. A trailblazer for players of color, O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2018. He’ll become the 12th player in Bruins history to have his number retired.










Avalanche’s Cale Makar the Early Calder Trophy Candidate

Avalanche’s Cale Makar the Early Calder Trophy Candidate

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2019

The Lightning edged the Penguins, the Senators clip the Red Wings, an update on Mikko Rantanen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cedric Paquette and Victor Hedman lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hedman’s winning goal came with 57 seconds remaining in the game. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made a goal-line glove save in the dying seconds to preserve the victory.

Victor Hedman’s late goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo via NHL Images).

Anthony Duclair scored twice and Anders Nilsson made 34 saves to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. Thomas Chabot and Chris Tierney each had two points for the Senators, who were playing without sidelined forwards Colin White and Artem Anisimov. White will be out three-to-five weeks with a hip flexor injury.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is listed as week-to-week after suffering a lower-body (leg) injury on Monday against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the first test of adversity for the high-flying Avalanche this season. Rantanen, their top-line right wing, had 12 points in nine games before his injury. They could promote Andre Burakovsky or J.T. Compher.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar suffered a lower-body injury in practice. His status for tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks is unknown.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets claimed defenseman Luca Sbisa off waivers yesterday from the Anaheim Ducks.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed defenseman Connor Murphy (groin injury) on long-term injury reserve.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2019

The latest on Alex Ovechkin, Joe Murphy, Marko Dano, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin doesn’t want to discuss speculation he might retire when his contract expires in 2021. Earlier this month, Ovechkin said he’d wait and see whether he’d continue his career depending on his health. Speaking from Beijing where he’s spending the week as an NHL ambassador, Ovechkin said he’ll talk about that in two years. For now, he’s focused on the upcoming season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin isn’t ready yet to consider retirement (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Ovechkin, who turns 34 next month, continues playing at a high level over the next two years, I can see him continuing his NHL career with the Capitals. I believe they’ll be quite receptive to re-signing him.

If pursuing another Stanley Cup isn’t motivation enough, breaking the record for most 50-goal seasons could be enticing. Ovechkin is one season away from tying the record (nine seasons) held by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. With 658 career NHL goals, he also has a shot at perhaps beating Gretzky’s record of 894 goals.

USA TODAY: Former NHLer Joe Murphy is once again homeless and refusing help in Kenora, Ontario. Over the past two years, dozens of people – “including the NHL Alumni Association, members of the local police department, former teammates, his lawyer and an entire team of mental health experts and social workers” – have tried to assist Murphy. He suffered several concussions during his playing days but it’s inclusive whether those injuries contributed to his current condition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A year ago, Murphy was the focus of a TSN documentary on his plight. While people are trying to help him, it’s done little to change his current situation. It’s a sad situation that probably won’t end well for Murphy.

CBS SPORTS: Marko Dano is back with the team that drafted him, signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round draft pick (27th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft), Dano was once a highly touted young player. Sadly, he hasn’t developed as anticipated. He’s bounced from Columbus, Chicago, Winnipeg, and Colorado before returning to the Jackets. It’s probably his last chance to establish himself as an NHL regular.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman John Marino to a two-year, entry-level contract on Thursday. Acquired in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, the latter receives a sixth-round draft pick in 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Former Florida Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell has been named ” hockey director of the team’s IceDen in Coral Springs.”

THE SCORE: The New York Islanders arena project at Belmont Park received approval of its environmental impact statement by the state of New York yesterday. “The next step before groundbreaking can begin is for the Franchise Oversight board to rubber-stamp the state’s environmental review.” That’s expected in a matter of weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2019

Update on Mitch Marner plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will have Mitch Marner re-signed on the opening day of the 2019-20 season. He’ll miss all of training camp and perhaps the first few games of the regular season but it’ll be a better outcome than William Nylander’s contract standoff a year ago.

Could it take until the start of the regular season for the Toronto Maple Leafs to re-sign Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule out that possibility. I doubt Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants another season where one of his best young players isn’t signed until December and I don’t think Marner’s keen on that possibility.

By reacquiring all-but-retired David Clarkson, Dubas can place his $5.25-million salary-cap hit and that of Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on LTIR to start the season. That’ll provide sufficient cap space for Marner’s next contract. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with David Rittich, re-signing the goaltender to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable bridge deal for Rittich, allowing the Flames sufficient time to evaluate his performance to determine if he’s ready to become a full-time starting goalie.

This signing also affects the Flames’ salary-cap space for 2019-20 and their efforts to re-sign power forward Matthew Tkachuk. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section. 

DKPITTSBURGHSPORTS.COM: Defenseman Marcus Pettersson won’t be re-signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins until the club frees up sufficient salary-cap space. His agent, Peter Wallen, said the Penguins are currently up against the $81.5-million salary-cap ceiling and lack the money to re-sign his client. “I guess we’re waiting for them to make some room,” said Wallen. The Penguins currently sit just over $157K over the cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wallen said he’s had cordial negotiations with Penguins management and acknowledged there’s sufficient time to get a deal done. However, he’d like to have a new contract in place for Petterssen before training camp opens in September.

Depending on how much it’ll take to re-sign Petterssen, the Penguins could bury a couple of contracts in the minors or make a trade to free up cap room. Petterssen completed his entry-level contract last season so he doesn’t have much leverage. He also shouldn’t be too expensive to retain. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed forward Mike McCarron to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2019

Game recaps, including Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang reaching career milestones, plus updates on Derick Brassard, Sami Vatanen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang both reached career milestones in the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Malkin tallied his 600th career assist while Letang set a franchise record for Penguins defenseman with his 108th career goal. Malkin also dropped the gloves with Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. The Penguins skated without center Derick Brassard, who’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brassard has frequently surfaced in trade rumors of late. Teams with interest in him will be monitoring his status as to the severity of the injury and its potential effect upon his performance. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin tallied his 600th career assist in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop had a 30-save shutout performance to blank the Buffalo Sabres 1-0. Stars captain Jamie Benn scored the only goal. 

NJ.COM:  New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen was diagnosed with a concussion suffered during Monday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils also placed blueliner Ben Lovejoy on injured reserve. The Devils also acquired minor-league defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for rearguard Michael Kapla.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers rookie center Brett Howden suffered a knee sprain during Tuesday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He underwent an MRI yesterday and more information could be revealed today. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights recalled goaltender Maxime Legace and defenseman Jake Bischoff from the minors. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have assigned rookie forward Michael Rasmussen to the AHL on a conditioning stint. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens forward Mario Roberge is being praised as a hero after rescuing two elderly women from an apartment fire on Jan. 22.