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. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2018

Sabres re-sign Sam Reinhart, Max Domi to face disciplinary hearing, plus updates on Derick Brassard, Connor Murphy and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres yesterday re-signed forward Sam Reinhart to a two-year, $7.3-million contract. The annual average value is $3.65 million.

The Buffalo Sabres re-signed forward Sam Reinhart to a two-year contract. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Winnipeg Jets re-signing Josh Morrissey and the Edmonton Oilers re-upping Darnell Nurse, Reinhart’s new contract is a reasonable short-term option for a player coming off an entry-level deal who has yet to reach his full potential.

In three NHL seasons, Reinhart’s averaged around 23 goals and 45 points but tends to be a streaky scorer. If he can improve on those numbers over the course of his new contract he’ll be in line for a more lucrative deal down the road. 

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi faces a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player safety for sucker-punching Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during the Panthers’ 5-2 preseason win over the Habs last night. Domi received a match penalty. Ekblad left the game with a bloody nose and passed the mandatory concussion protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not the best debut with the Canadiens for Domi, who was acquired in June in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk from the Arizona Coyotes. In March 2016, Domi received a one-game suspension for instigating a fight with then-Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Garbutt. He could be facing another, possibly longer suspension for the Ekblad incident.

NBC CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy could miss eight-to-twelve weeks with a back injury. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard hit the ice in training camp yesterday for the first time since being sidelined by a lung infection. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: A shoulder injury could sidelined Minnesota Wild defenseman Gustav Olofsson for two weeks. 

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott (shoulder) is listed as day-to-day. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports blueliner Jake Dotchin showed up last week for Tampa Bay Lightning training camp over 30 pounds overweight, with around 25 percent body fat. The Lightning terminated his contract citing a “material breach” after he cleared unconditional waivers over the weekend. The NHL Players Association is appealing the decision. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2018

Henrik Zetterberg forced to retire plus updates on Corey Crawford, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Jake Dotchin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: A degenerative back issue has forced Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to retire. “Zetterberg steps away having played 1,082 games, and having produced 960 points. He has a Stanley Cup title from 2008, the same year he was named playoff MVP. ” He’s been dealing with back pain for several years, undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair an injured disc.

A nagging back injury has forced Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to retire. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The announcement isn’t really a surprise as the Wings have been hinting for weeks that Zetterberg’s playing days could be over. That doesn’t diminish the sadness over the premature end of his career. It truly is the end of an era. Zetterberg was among the few links to the Wings’ last Stanley Cup championship a decade ago.

Selected 210 overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft, Zetterberg made an immediate impact upon joining the Wings in 2002-03, tallying 22 goals and 44 points in 79 games. A versatile forward who could play center or wing, he established himself among the league’s best two-way players,  Even in his final seasons while plagued with a bad back, Zetterberg was still one of the Wings’ best players, tallying 50-or-more points in each of the last four years. 

Zetterberg never won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward and was named a finalist only once, in 2007-08. Nevertheless, he became one of the NHL’s most respected players and was the natural choice to take over as the Wings captain following Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement in 2012. His retirement leaves a huge leadership void for the rebuilding Wings that will be difficult to replace. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford admitted he’s still recuperating from concussion symptoms suffered during last season. Though he’s made progress in his recovery, he said he’s not ready yet to come back and had no timetable for his return. Meanwhile, defenseman Connor Murphy will be sidelined up to eight weeks with a back injury while Brent Seabrook will miss a week with an abdominal injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks’ season hinges on a healthy Crawford between the pipes. They brought in Cam Ward this summer as insurance but he’s no longer considered an elite goaltender. Ward can buy them some time but they need Crawford  if they’re to contend for the playoffs. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators confirmed center Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be sidelined a minimum of six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon in his right leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having watching franchise player Erik Karlsson traded away to San Jose on Thursday, Pageau’s injury is just salt in the wound for Senators fans. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed defenseman Jake Dotchin on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract for a material breach. Details weren’t disclosed but it’s believed they were unhappy over Dotchin’s conditioning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Joe Smith reports Dotchin and his agent intend to fight the Lightning’s attempt to terminate his contract. Cap Friendly indicates he’s in the final season of a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $812,500. 

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel will miss training camp owing to a concussion suffered during an informal scrimmage before his arrival in Vancouver.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have invited winger Joel Ward to training camp on a professional tryout offer.

 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

Latest on Sean Couturier and Josh Morrissey, Randy Lee steps down as Senators assistant GM and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TVA SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reinjured the medial collateral ligament of his right knee during a tournament in Quebec City two weekends ago. He originally injured the knee in practice during the 2018 playoffs. After meeting with Flyers doctors, Couturier isn’t expected to undergo surgery. However, it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready in time for the start of training camp next month.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reportedly reinjured his right knee earlier this month. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier enjoyed the best season of his NHL career before his injury, tallying 31 goals and 76 points.Though he returned to play with the Flyers after missing one game in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he later told reporters he likely would’ve missed four weeks if the injury occurred during the regular season. That he doesn’t require surgery suggests he could be good to go for training camp.

OTTAWA SUN: Randy Lee has stepped down as assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators. He’s awaiting “the outcome of court proceedings on two non-criminal harassment charges filed against him for an alleged incident in Buffalo in May.”

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Restricted free agent defenseman Josh Morrissey believes he’ll be under contract before training camp opens next month.  “Everyone’s confident it will be handled and done, definitely in time for the season,” Morrissey said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time for Morrissey and the Jets to get a deal worked out. The only question is whether it’ll be an affordable bridge deal with the promise of a bigger pay raise in two or three years or a long-term contract. Given the Jets’ cap constraints next summer and with big stars such as Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine to re-sign, perhaps they’ll go the bridge route to give the Jets some cap flexibility. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Jets, they signed  forward Nicolas Kerdiles to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

USA TODAY: Former NHL forward Joe Murphy is reportedly homeless in Kenora, Ontario. The first-overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Draft, Murphy won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and scored 233 goals and 528 points during his NHL career. He is the subject of a TSN documentary tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sad to hear about Murphy’s current status. There are several organizations that provide assistance to former players in need. Here’s hoping they reach out to him if he’s unable to contact them for help. 

SPORTSNET: Defenseman Brandon Davidson reportedly rejected a professional tryout offer from the Edmonton Oilers. He’s more interested in landing a contract and could be close to getting one with another club.

CALGARY SUN:  The Calgary Flames inked winger Anthony Peluso to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650K in the NHL.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Jim Corsi as their goaltending development coach. Corsi spent 16 seasons as the Buffalo Sabres goalie coach and held the same role for three seasons with the St. Louis Blues. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have officially named the Fort Wayne Komets as their ECHL affiliate. 

HOKEJPORTAL.SK: Former NHL forward Michal Handzus is expected to announce his retirement as a player on Friday. Handzus spent 15 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, winning a Stanley Cup in 2013 with the Blackhawks. Between 2014-15 to 2016-17, he played three seasons for Banska Bystrica. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link. Best wishes to Handzus in his future endeavors.