NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2021

Could the Capitals shop Evgeny Kuznetsov in the offseason? Is Jets coach Paul Maurice in danger of losing his job? Will the Senators leave Matt Murray exposed in the expansion draft? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals could be willing to listen to trade offers this summer for Evgeny Kuznetsov. The 28-year-old center has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.8 million, plus a modified no-trade clause.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

LeBrun noted Kuznetsov and teammate Ilya Samsonov were scratched by the Capitals from Monday’s game against the New York Rangers for disciplinary reasons stemming from missing a team function. The center also missed time earlier this season when he ran afoul of COVID-19 protocols. Two years ago, he was suspended by the league for three games for “inappropriate conduct.”

Kuznetsov’s play over the last couple of years has been inconsistent. LeBrun said he’s hearing it’s starting to irritate some members of the Capitals’ organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also the Capitals could be running out of patience with Kuznetsov, pointing to head coach Peter Laviolette saying the club is “working through things inside the room.”

Kuznetsov is a talented player but his stats have tumbled since his career-best 83-point performance in 2017-18. His on-ice inconsistency, recent off-ice issues and a hefty contract could make him difficult to move, especially with the salary cap remaining around $81.5 million next season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre suggests this season could be Paul Maurice’s last as head coach of the Jets if the club makes another early playoff exit. While the Jets are certain to clinch a postseason berth they’re mired in a seven-game losing skid.

McIntyre doesn’t expect Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will make an immediate move to replace Maurice. Nevertheless, the pundit noted the Jets’ bench boss has made some questionable choices lately.

Maurice keeps playing Tucker Poolman with Josh Morrissey when it’s clear that defense tandem isn’t working while keeping Dylan DeMelo stuck on the third pairing. He has also relied heavily on the struggling first line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and hasn’t found a way to get Pierre-Luc Dubois going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen doesn’t see Maurice losing his job before the playoffs. He noted the loyalty Cheveldayoff and team chairman Mark Chipman have toward their head coach. Friesen also pointed out the players aren’t showing any sign of quitting on Maurice. Still, he doesn’t rule out Maurice losing his job if the Jets get bounced from the opening round.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Senators won’t protect Matt Murray in this summer’s expansion draft. He doubts the Seattle Kraken will select a goaltender “with a 10-13-1 record, 3.38 average, .893 save percentage, injury question marks and with three years and $21 million remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Even if Murray had better stats this season his injury history and remaining salary should scare off the Kraken.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2021

Connor McDavid leads the Oilers over the Jets, the Hurricanes clinch a playoff spot, the stars of the week are announced, a new broadcasting deal with Turner, the latest on Patrick Roy and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a hat trick and added an assist leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-1 rout of the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers have 58 points, sitting one up on the Jets for second place in the Scotia North Division while McDavid has a league-leading 81 points. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced winger Zack Kassian was placed on long-term injury reserve. The Jets, meanwhile, announced winger Nikolaj Ehlers will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 81 points (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will miss Ehlers’ production. He’s second among their scorers with 46 points.

The Montreal Canadiens (51 points) opened a six-point lead over the Calgary Flames for fourth place in the Scotia North Division with a 2-1 victory. Tyler Toffoli scored the game-winner while Cole Caufield was held scoreless in his NHL debut. The Flames suffered another blow earlier in the day when they learned defenseman Noah Hanifin will require season-ending shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens control their fate as they hold a game in hand over the Flames.

The Carolina Hurricanes clinched a playoff spot despite dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Dallas Stars. Stars captain Jamie Benn scored the game-winner and collected three assists. The Hurricanes sit atop the Discover Central Division with 69 points, securing a third straight postseason berth for the first time since the franchise relocated to North Carolina in 1997. With 54 points, the Stars remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Speaking of the Predators, they got a 39-save performance by Juuse Saros to down the Florida Panthers 4-1 to prevent the latter from clinching a playoff spot. Florida goaltender Chris Driedger left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Panthers sit two points back of the division-leading Hurricanes.

The St. Louis Blues regained fourth place in the Honda West Division with a 4-1 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. David Perron had a goal and two assists as St. Louis (48 points) moved a point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes. Blues defensemen Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn missed the game with upper-body injuries. The Avs played without winger Brandon Saad, who’s sidelined two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. They sit in second place with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Canadiens, the Blues control their fate as they hold three games in hand over the Coyotes.

A four-point performance by Evander Kane (one goal, three assists) gave the San Jose Sharks a 6-4 win over the Coyotes. The Sharks (43 points) sit four back of the Coyotes and five behind the Blues.

A 25-save performance by Marcus Hogberg gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Brady Tkachuk collected two assists while Drake Batherson tallied the winning goal. The Canucks played without goaltender Thatcher Demko as he suffered an undisclosed injury during the morning skate. The Senators, meanwhile, could be without Matt Murray (lower-body injury) for the rest of the season.

Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. The Ducks have dropped five in a row.

HEADLINES

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, and Florida Panthers left winger Jonathan Huberdeau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 25, 2021.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury and is doubtful for tonight’s game with the New York Islanders. Defenseman Justin Schultz (lower body) is also doubtful though he did skate in yesterday’s practice in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has reportedly reached an agreement with Turner Sports on a seven-year broadcasting deal that includes three Stanley Cup Finals. This deal would give the league two television partners for the first time since 1998-99 as it recently reached an agreement to return to ESPN starting next season. The Turner deal spells the end of NBC Sports’ coverage of NHL games following this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The combined deals will reportedly provide the NHL $625 million annually in broadcasting revenue. That’s a significant increase over the $200 million annually on its current deal with NBC.

SPORTSNET: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy is exploring options for a possible return to the NHL as a coach or general manager. Roy was head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-14 to 2015-16 but stepped down citing a lack of input in personnel decisions. He’s also the long-time head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news sparked speculation among Montreal Canadiens fans that Roy could replace Marc Bergevin as general manager. Roy’s new agent, however, claimed they haven’t had any conversations with the Canadiens and no deals are imminent with any other NHL club.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Andrew Shaw yesterday announced his playing career is over after 10 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens. Multiple concussions cut short his career at age 29. Shaw spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks, winning two Stanley Cups and scoring 116 goals and 247 points in 544 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Shaw and his family in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

Sidney Crosby set a franchise scoring record and a points-per-game milestone, Zdeno Chara reached a games-played milestone, the Wild clinch a playoff spot, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each scored their 20th goals of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Crosby’s empty-netter late in the game set a franchise record for most 20-goal seasons with 13. He also joined Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe as the only NHL players with 16 point-per-game seasons, sitting fifth on the all-time list in that category. The Penguins sit in second place in the MassMutual East Division with 65 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Devils have dropped nine straight games.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to play 1,600 games during his club’s 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. Daniel Sprong scored twice and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who played without captain Alex Ovechkin as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Islanders (63 points) sit third behind the Penguins.

Aleksander Barkov’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally by the Florida Panthers as they nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and three assists while Carolina blueliner Dougie Hamilton scored twice. The Panthers (67 points) sit one point behind the first-place Hurricanes in the Discover Central Division.

The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive on Jamie Benn’s overtime goal to edge the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 50 saves in a losing cause. With 52 points, Dallas sits just two behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. Stars defenseman John Klingberg missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The league-leading Vegas Golden Knights (70 points) picked up their ninth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Chandler Stephenson scored twice for the Golden Knights, who opened a four-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf left the game following the second period with an upper-body injury.

A hat trick by Ryan O’Reilly rallied the St. Louis Blues past the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. O’Reilly also collected an assist as the Blues (46 points) are one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the West Division. Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche.

The Minnesota Wild became the third team to secure a berth in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs in a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Kevin Fiala and Jared Spurgeon each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (65 points), who moved one point behind the Avalanche. Before the game, the Sharks honored Patrick Marleau for recently setting the NHL all-time games played record.

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper had a 26-save shutout to blank the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist.

Joe Thornton became the oldest player (41 years, 296 days) in Toronto Maple Leafs’ history to score a goal as his club beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Toronto sits atop the Scotia North Division with 65 points, eight up on second-place Winnipeg. The Jets played without forward Adam Lowry, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames moved closer to the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division by downing the sputtering Habs 5-2. Johnny Gaudreau scored twice as Calgary sits just four points (45 points) sit just four behind Montreal. Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Canadiens forwards Tomas Tatar and Paul Byron missed the game with lower-body injuries while goaltender Carey Price returned to Montreal for further treatment for a concussion suffered earlier in the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames season seemed over three weeks ago after winning just once in nine games. They’ve since won five of their last seven to keep their playoff hopes alive while the floundering Canadiens have won just three of their last 11.

Third-period goals by Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa goaltender Matt Murray left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Canucks center Elias Pettersson is reportedly doubtful to return this season as he remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on March 2.










What Next For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Next For The Anaheim Ducks?

 










What Next For The New Jersey Devils?

What Next For The New Jersey Devils?

 










NHL Trade Deadline: Top Five East Division Targets

NHL Trade Deadline: Top Five East Division Targets