NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2023
A hat-trick performance for Patrick Kane while Jonathan Toews steps away for health reasons, the Senators ship Tyler Motte to the Rangers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: A hat trick by Patrick Kane powered the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kane also collected an assist as he and Max Domi each finished the game with four points as the Blackhawks improved to 18-32-5 on the season. John Tavares and Mitch Marner were among the scorers for the Leafs (34-15-8) as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane received a standing ovation from the fans at Chicago’s United Center as there is a sense that game could be among his last in a Blackhawks jersey. He could be playing for another club by the March 3 trade deadline.
Before the game, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews released a statement indicating he was stepping away from the team as he deals with the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome which sidelined him for the entire 2020-21 season. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 28 but indicated he’d been struggling with symptoms for several weeks.
Toews’ condition effectively ends any talk of the Blackhawks shopping him before the March 3 trade deadline. General manager Kyle Davidson said the team will do all it can to help their captain regain his health and perhaps return to action at some point before the end of the season.
The Colorado Avalanche overcame a 5-3 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on an overtime goal by Mikko Rantanen. J.T. Compher had a goal and three assists while Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists as the 31-19-5 Avalanche (67 points) moved to within two points of the second-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division. Warren Foegele tallied twice for the Oilers (30-19-8) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 68 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar missed this game with an upper-body injury after taking incidental contact to the head during Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. It was his first game after being sidelined since Feb. 7 with a similar injury. The Avs also announced that defenseman Erik Johnson will be sidelined for multiple weeks recovering from a broken ankle.
The Oilers played with Evander Kane as the winger is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Speaking of the Jets, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils. Dawson Mercer scored two goals as the Devils improved to 37-14-5 (79 points) to move within three points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division. Mark Scheifele and Neil Pionk each had two points for the Jets (34-21-1) as they remain three points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 69 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers left the game with an undisclosed injury in the third period.
The Minnesota Wild nipped the Nashville Predators 4-3 on a goal by Ryan Hartman with 21 seconds remaining in the third period. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice as the Wild (30-21-5) sit in the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 65 points. Tommy Novak had a goal and two assists for the 26-22-6 Predators (58 points) as they sit seven points behind the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators announced they will be unveiling a statue of Pekka Rinne on March 10 outside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Rinne spent his entire NHL career with the Predators and is the only player on the team to have his number retired.
Ottawa Senators forwards Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat each had three points to thump the St. Louis Blues 7-2. With 58 points, the Senators (27-24-4) are five points behind the New York Islanders, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Blues dropped to 26-27-3 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues forward Jake Neighbours suffered an upper-body injury in the first period of this game. Head coach Craig Berube believes Neighbours will be sidelined for a while.
An overtime goal by Barrett Hayton lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Connor Ingram made 34 saves as the Coyotes (20-28-4) have gone 5-0-4 in their last nine games. The Blue Jackets slipped to 18-34-5 as Johnny Gaudreau missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the Coyotes lineup for the first time since being sidelined on Jan. 24.
IN OTHER NEWS…
TSN: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Blues, the Ottawa Senators traded left wing Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers in exchange for right wing Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Motte returns to the Rangers after spending part of last season with the Blueshirts.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculates Gauthier could be a potential replacement for winger Austin Watson if he’s moved at the March 3 trade deadline. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple believes the Rangers have sufficient salary-cap space to add a fourth-line center at the trade deadline.
Speaking of the Senators, Garrioch also reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the sale price of the franchise could reach $1 billion. Former owner Eugene Melnyk bought the franchise 20 years ago for $130 million.
More than 15 groups were granted permission to review the Senators’ financial statements and a copy of the memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission for a new rink at LeBreton Flats.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks winger Timo Meier is questionable for today’s game against the Seattle Kraken with an upper-body injury.